Gardens to Tables

Fall is time for:

Planting cover crops

Sow cover crops like mustard, clover or peas and then turn them over to add nutrients when it's time to plant your veggies again.

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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Beyond the Juicer: Quick and Easy Carrot Greens Salad Print E-mail
Written by Michael Costa   

Carrot Green and Fennel SaladCarrot greens are pretty tough customers, and that reputation is well earned—you’ll be giving your jaw a workout if you try to chew them straight off the carrot. They’re often tossed into a juicer as a “why not” ingredient for something like carrot/apple juice, and they’re definitely overlooked as a primary component in salads.

With some preparation though, they make an excellent addition to a summer salad, especially after you’ve used all your carrots in other dishes. I add carrot greens to raw fennel, diced onion, chopped basil, halved grape tomatoes, and diced feta cheese, tossed with a citrus-infused olive oil, and an herb-infused balsamic.

The anise flavor of the fennel combines nicely with the mild, grassy sweetness of the carrot greens. The onions add an aromatic bite, the feta adds a salty, creamy component, and the grape tomatoes add a bit of acid. It’s a tasty balance of flavors.

Just like radish greens, you want to soak and spin the carrot greens before chopping to remove all the dirt present. Also, chopping the carrot greens takes a bit of effort. You want them to resemble finely chopped dill when you’re done. I chop the fennel stalks and the carrot greens at the same time so they have a similar consistency.

Growing the Gardens at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef McDowell in gardenIn the last year, Maui’s Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, has added an extensive array of organic chef's gardens – starting with herbs and then fruit trees and, ultimately, vegetables (175 varieties of vegetables, to be exact). The gardens were the brainchild of Executive Sous Chef Marc McDowell, who offers a personal tour of the gardens every Monday at 3 p.m. that also includes instruction on making a raw food spinach-and-berry smoothie he promises is “delicious.”

In undertaking the project, McDowell has found that growing the food for his kitchens is a lot of fun and inspiring. He’s also found that gardening can be a lot of work, but work he’s found a real passion for -- something he may have gotten from his mother, Mary, who was an expert rose gardener and able to see her son’s project come to life before being diagnosed with stage four cancer and passing away this summer.

I recently spoke with McDowell about the new gardens and some of the things he’s learned along the way. He’s also provided recipes for a cilantro-and-macadamia nut crust and a tropical citrus marinade, both of which can be used on fish, chicken or tofu. (Click “read more” for the whole article and to see the recipes, which are also listed under the “Recipes” tab.)

The Terranea Resort's Basil Grape Martini Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Here is the recipe for the Basil Grape Martini, served in the lobby bar of the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California -- which offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean from its outdoor deck. Whatever your view, I'm sure the drink will be just as tasty and, with the lemons, limes, grapes, basil and cranberry juice, it's chock full of antioxidants.

Muddle two lemons, two limes, four grapes and four basil leaves.
2 oz citron vodka
1 ½ oz Cointreau
1 oz cranberry juice

Shake, strain into chilled martini glass, garnish with skewed grapes or a lime wedge.

Mar'sel Summer Garden Salad Print E-mail
Written by Chef Michael Fiorelli   
MarselAt the newly opened mar’sel (Spanish for sea and French for salt) restaurant, located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes and part of the new Terranea Resort, Chef Michael Fiorelli has placed an emphasis in using local ingredients. And that doesn’t just mean visits to the local farms and farmers markets but his own chef’s garden right outside the front door. The garden – and menu – will change seasonally, with planting for fall already under way.

Herbs, fruits and vegetables grown in the garden include purple basil, Russian tarragon, French tarragon, watermelon, cantaloupe, yellow squash, cucumber, rainbow tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, purple red beans, yellow onions, chives, sweet red onions, black beauty eggplant, purple eggplant, baby carrots, rainbow carrots, beets, curly parsley, nasturtium petals, culinary lavender, ghost white pumpkin, summer squash and sweet corn.

For gardeners with an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, hearts of palm and basil (or cooks with the opportunity to gather these items), Chef Fiorelli offers us the following recipe:

Direct from Garden to Kitchen at Brix Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

It’s pretty much a given today that the top chefs are looking to use the freshest produce in their cooking. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to follow chefs as they traveled to local farms or scoured farmers markets and talked to the gardeners to find just the right ingredients for that night’s meal.

Brix, the well-regarded restaurant in the Napa Valley town of Yountville, has taken that symbiotic relationship of gardener and chef a step further by having its own two (actually 16, if you include the vineyard and orchard) acres on the property set aside for produce to be used in the restaurant.

I recently talked to Guillermo “Memo” Rodriguez (above), the master gardener at Brix and started by asking what the chefs had come to pick from his garden that day. The answer was English peas, plus some tarragon and parsley and thyme for an English-pea risotto that Executive Chef Anne Gingrass-Paik was looking to put back on the menu. The peas were also being used in a chicken pasta that was already on the menu. (If anyone was lucky enough to eat that dish at Brix on May 29, please let me know how it was …)

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