Gardens to Tables

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The Tomatomania folks will be offering pop-ups through the end of April throughout Southern California. They will not only (obviously) have a wide variety of tomato seedlings but also peppers and other veggies. For more information, click here.

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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Parmesan Risotto with Parsnips, Kale and Watercress from Laguna's Three Seventy Common Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Ryan AdamsIt's no secret that Laguna Beach, California, is a bit of a farm-to-table foodie paradise -- something I covered recently in a story for FarewellTravels.com. What's even better is the number of young chefs who've opened their own restaurants in the city's downtown with an emphasis on farm-to-table. These include Chef Ryan Adams (left), who opened Three Seventy Common last year. A Laguna native, Chef Ryan grew up working with the fresh fruit and vegetables from his mom's extensive garden. He still does: When we were there she had recently come in with bushels of Meyer Lemons and Blood Red Oranges, which he turned into new menu items and fresh cocktails.

During our visit, Chef Ryan told us that due to the end of mushroom season, he was about to switch out his very popular wild mushroom risotto with one that featured parsnips, kale and watercress. Even better for those of us who are more likely to grow parsnips, kale and watercress than to forage for wild mushrooms, he was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

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Discovering Kozlik's Canadian Mustard at Toronto's St. Lawrence Market Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Kozlik's at St. Lawrence MarketOne of my favorite things to do when traveling is to find the local fresh market as it's where you really learn what it's like to live -- and eat -- as a local. In Toronto, this was the St. Lawrence Market, an easy walk from almost anywhere in the downtown area and open Tuesday-Saturday, with a special farmers' market added on Saturdays. Highlights of the 120 vendors at the market include the Carousel Bakery and their "world-famous peameal bacon sandwich," and the Market Kitchen, which offers cooking classes.

But for a truly local experience, Anton Kozlik's Canadian Mustard -- a staple at the market since 1948 -- is the place to go. Made in a variety of spicy, savory and sweet flavors using local ingredients, it can be hard to choose. I went with a Dijon by Anton and a Lime & Honey that's been great in salad dressings. Even better, they offer recipes for each of the mustards. With tomato season on the horizon, here's their recipe for Green Peppercorn Tomatoes with Goat Cheese. Enjoy!

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Garden Cocktails (for a Good Cause) from Lanai Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Four Seasons Lanai Jeremy SidmanThere are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce and then there are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce AND help restore native environments. That would be the Cocktail with a Cause, found at the Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai. Created by Beverage Manager Jeremy Sidman (pictured left), the Tree-tini not only highlights local flavors but the proceeds from its sale are used to help restore native plant seedlings along the Koloiki Ridgeland on the island through the Four Seasons' partnership with the Lanai Native Species Recovery Program. Sidman created the program to help support their overall farm-to-table philosophy. "In Hawaii, we have access to the freshest produce and ingredients, therefore it was very important to develop organic cocktails that are a reflection of our natural paradise," said Sidman. "We take pride in creating the ingredients in house."

For home gardeners who want to create their own cocktails, Sidman recommends starting with herbs such as mint or thyme. "It's a quick and simple way to add a nice aroma and flavor to any cocktail," said Sidman, who then recommends combining those herbs with citrus, such as limes, lemons, oranges or calamansi, and then muddling together. "The citrus cuts the alcohol and helps balance the acidity."

Sidman offers more ideas -- and a new cocktail recipe -- every Friday on the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai Facebook page. Even better, this week's, the 100-Mile Cocktail, is made with local ingredients from four of the Hawaiian islands: Lanai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island (all within 100 miles). And below is the recipe for the Tree-tini. That's a lot of Aloha!

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A Focus on New Mexico's Best at the Corn Maiden Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Corn Maiden at Hyatt Regency TamayaOdds are that when you think of local produce from New Mexico you think of chile peppers, as the state isfamous for growing some of the best (and hottest) peppers in the world. One of the restaurants that takes advantage of the localpeppers-- and many more local products --is the Corn Maiden at theHyatt Regency Tamaya Resort &Spa. Known for its rotisserie, the signature dish is theCorn Maiden Classic("k'uchininak'u" in the local Tamayame language), whichfeatures New Mexico Chorizo Sausage, Fresno Chile Chicken andRed-and-Green-Chile-rubbed New Mexico Heritage Beef. The Corn Maiden makes a point of sourcing its meat from New Mexico Ranches that have been chosen for their humane treatment of cattle and their dedication to preserving ranch lands and wildlife habitat.Other locally sourced items at the resort, according to Executive Chef Cheryl Scantlebury, include cheese, pecans, pistachios, pinon seeds, bluecorn flour, honey, jams and jellies, bolita beans, pinto beans and herbs from their own Tamaya Herb Garden.

The Corn Maiden's Chef de Cuisine, Sam Reed, also sources as muchseasonal produceas possible. During a recent visit, he took advantage of in-season beets and butternut squash(and, yes, peppers)to create an amazing beet bisque --andwas kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

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Traditional Christmas Tamales from El Pinto Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

El PintoOn a recent visit to El Pinto --the Albuquerque institution known notonly for its restaurant (which has grown over the years to the point where they can serve up to 2,700 plates a night) but also for its all-natural green and red chile salsas and sauces (found inmarketsall over the U.S.)-- I learneda fewthings of interest to the GardenstoTables crowd: 1. El Pinto partners with a farmer in Hatch, New Mexico, to grow as many of their chiles as possible organically, which are then hand picked and roasted; and2. How to make traditional tamales, a Christmas tradition in Mexican and New Mexican households. (Seen here in this great video by PilotGirl Productions' Sonja Stark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFSptE8i-VE).

If you'veever wanted to try your hand at making Christmas tamales, the folks at El Pinto were kind enough to pass along their recipe, which was passed down fromthe owners'grandmother, Josephina Chavez Griggs. Once you see all that goes into making a traditional tamale, you'll realize why it's only made for holidays: It's a lot of work. And, okay, it's a lot of lard (which you'll see in the video), too. But also filled with good things such as as onions, garlic, chiles and masa. And absolutely delicious. Enjoy.

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