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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Studio's Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad Print E-mail
Written by Executive Chef Craig Strong   

Studio watermelon saladSummer’s almost over but there’s still a lot of watermelon out there to be had, people. And here’s a great new recipe that uses in-season watermelon (and onion and mint and lime and….well, you get the picture) from Executive Chef Craig Strong of Studio Restaurant at the Montage Laguna Beach.

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad 

Serves 2 - 4 people ??
1 small red onion ?
1 lime
1½ cups watermelon
? cup feta cheese
Bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
Bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pitted black olives
Black pepper

Preparation: ?
Peel and halve the red onion into very fine half moons, put in a small bowl with the lime juice, this will bring out their transparent pinkness and diminish their rasp. ??Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon and cut into chunks. Cut the feta into similar sized chunks. Place the melon and feta into a large bowl, add the leaves of the parsley, left whole and used as a salad leaf, and add the chopped mint. ??Add the onions with the lime juice, to the bowl with the oil and olives. Toss the salad gently with your hands, making sure the watermelon and feta don’t break up. Add a good grinding of black pepper. Check the dressing; it may need the addition of more lime, depending upon how much the lime originally yielded.

Spreading the Word About Farm Stays in the U.S. Print E-mail
Written by Scottie Jones   
Farm Stay US imageLeaping Lamb Farm is a 60-acre working sheep farm in the Coast Range of Oregon that started as a self-sustaining homestead back in 1895 when the timber was old growth and town was a two day ride. We (my husband Greg Jones and I) bought the farm seven years ago and are only the third owners. We try to be as self-sustaining as possible in terms of the vegetables and fruits we put up for the winter, but at least now the town is only a 30-minute drive.
Neither of us was raised on a farm, so we came into the agricultural aspect of pasture management, lamb husbandry and predator control with little formal training. We have learned by the seat of our pants, through classes from our local extension services, via books on farming, and through the kindness of neighbors who took pity on us. We realized, after several years of producing lamb (and turkeys) for market, that we were not commercially viable at our small level of production and began contemplating other sources of on-farm income.
I had always wanted to share our farm with others because I felt it was truly an enchanted place. Granted, these days I look at the farm and see things that need to be fixed and beds that need to be weeded, but I also remember what I saw when we first arrived. I was also familiar with the concept of 'farm stay' from having lived and traveled in Europe and felt that offering a glimpse into the lifestyle of a small farm had value to our largely urban population, now generations removed from the land. (Click "read more" for rest of article.)
High-Country Mushrooms from Chef O'Dowd of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Michael O'DowdWhen it's mushroom season, you'll know it by the abundance of them at your local farmers market. If you manage to get your hands on some great high-country mushrooms and are wondering how to get the most out of them using items (such as garlic, shallots, basil, lavender and rosemary) from your garden, here’s a great recipe from Chef Michael O’Dowd (pictured right) of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass – and its acclaimed Kai restaurant, who says these high-country mushrooms are one of his favorite seasonal items to use.

Northern Arizona Mushrooms

4 oz wild local high country mushrooms
1 tbsp roasted & minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 tbsp chopped Ms. Burns basil (substitute normal fresh basil)
1 tsp chopped fresh lavender
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 oz extra virgin olive oil
1/2 aged sherry vinegar
1 pat of plugra butter
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

First brush the dirt off all of your mushrooms with a brush (do not rinse or get wet). Take the stems off if they are tough. In a saute pan heat olive oil on high heat. Once the pan is extremely hot add you mushrooms, garlic, shallots and half of your herbs. Sear until you see the mushrooms caramelizing. Add the sherry vineger and toss and then finish with the butter, remaining herbs & s&p to taste.

Camper's Cocktails from Montanya Distillers Print E-mail
Written by Linda Hayes   

Montanya DistillersWhen a sudden downpour cut our search for a Mineral Creek-side campsite short last weekend, there was only one thing to do -- hightail it into nearby Silverton for a cocktail at Montanya Distillers.

Set in a century-old stone building (pictured left and typical of the historic Colorado silver-mining town) with a funky little tasting room and bar, the distillery is home to award-winning Montanya Oro and Platino rum. Owners Karen and Brice Hoskin make it in-house with pure Hawaiian cane sugar and snowmelt out of Boulder Creek, in a 400-litre alembic copper still imported from Portugal.

That day, a bartender named Matt was busy mixing garden-fresh cocktails for a hearty, if slightly damp, crowd. Two, the Thai Boxer made with fresh blueberries and the Joker with fresh peaches from Palisades (home of the Colorado Peach Festival this month), were must-haves. A couple-three later, the sun came out. We were happy campers, indeed.

Try the recipes below and sip for yourself. (Click read more for recipes.)

Grilled Borden Farms Squash & Zucchini Bisque from Restaurant six89 Print E-mail
Written by Linda Hayes   

At nearly 8,000 feet, Aspen's growing season is short, short, short. So when the farmer's markets kick in mid-June, fresh food-lovers flock to the stands. Last week, one of my favorite purveyors, Borden Farms, showed up with a few varieties of picture-perfect summer squash and zucchini that Guy Borden and his crew hauled up from Delta (farm country on Colorado's Western Slope). Bought some.

Next thing I know, one of my favorite restaurants, six89 in nearby Carbondale, sends out a message on Twitter (my, how word-of-mouth has come a long way!) about the Grilled Borden Farms Squash & Zucchini Bisque they've just added to their menu. Naturally, I had to get the recipe. Cook some up from a crop near you.

Linda Hayes squash photoGrilled Borden Farms Squash & Zucchini Bisque

by six89 Chef de Cuisine Bryce Orblom
Serves 6
1T vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, medium dice
1T garlic, minced
2 yellow squash
2 green zucchini
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 T lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
Garnish: roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, croutons

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until they are soft and fragrant. Add the cumin, rice and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.

In the meantime, slice the squash and zucchini lengthwise, 1-inch thick. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, and grill on high heat, turning once until both sides are lightly charred but not cooked completely through. Let cool enough to handle and cut into 1-inch dice.

Add the grilled squash and zucchini to the soup. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and, working in small batches, puree. Once pureed, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve: In hot bowls, add finely chopped roasted tomatoes. Ladle the hot soup over the tomatoes and garnish with croutons and fresh herbs of your choice.

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