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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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Garden Poll

What's the best fall garden activity?
Zucchini Bread with Pineapple and Pecans Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

A few years ago, the star in my garden was the zucchini. You know how it is -- suddenly you have dozens of giant zucchinis from one small seedling. Naturally, that has led to a need for zucchini recipes. Here is one I found for a zucchini bread that was handed down from a friend's grandmother. I made the bread today for a potluck at the community garden and it turned out great (very moist), so enjoy! You can find more (including a recipe for Sicilian stuffed zucchini) on the recipes tab.

Zucchini breadIngredients
3 eggs beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmug
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Add zucchini and crushed pineapple. Combine dry ingredients and add them to zucchini mixture. Mix well. Add pecans. Pour mixture into two greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool 10 minutes in pans. Very moist. Will last a week or two in refrigerator. Freeze well.

Raw Blackberry Tart from Travaasa Austin Print E-mail
Written by Linda Hayes   

While I enjoyed many delicious dishes during a recent stay at Travaasa Austin, one in particular stood out -- a raw blackberry tart from Executive Chef Benjamin Baker that had a rich, nutty crust that was pure summertime on a plate. I devoured it at a patio table under swaying oaks and within view of a striking canyonlands sunset, but it's sure to be just as tasty at your table.

Raw blackberry tartChef Ben's Raw Blackberry Tart
Serves 6

For the crust:
2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
2/3 cup almonds
2/3 cup pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Divide mixture into six small pieces and mold into little concave tart shells. (The mixture should be very pliable and easy to shape.) Chill.

For the filling:
3-4 cups farm fresh blackberries
One Texas grapefruit, juiced
Agave nectar to taste
Fresh mint

Macerate the blackberries in grapefruit juice and sweeten with agave nectar. Fill the pre-chilled tart shells with the blackberry filling. Garnish with mint to serve.

Hawaii Vanilla Company's Frozen Peanut Chocolate Chip Pie Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Hawaii Vanilla Company kitchenAnyone who’s grown orchids knows how, let's say, sensitive they can be. Try growing one that only blooms one day a year and has to be hand pollinated. That, my friends, is the Vanilla Panifolia Orchid, from which we get the spice vanilla. Those interested in learning more about what goes into growing vanilla can do so at the Hawaii Vanilla Company on Hawaii’s Big Island. The farm not only offers tours but also has a shop filled with vanilla-infused goodies and the ability to have lunch or tea in their restored coffee mill (above). (For more on what's offered at the lunch, see the article I wrote for

The Hawaii Vanilla Company is owned and operated by the Reddekopp family: Jim’s the farmer and guide, Tracy’s the chef and the kids serve as kitchen help and servers. Tracy’s working on a cookbook and was kind enough to share this recipe with us for frozen peanut chocolate chip pie – perfect for the upcoming holiday season. (Click "read more" for recipe.)

Fuju Persimmon and Cranberry Cobbler Print E-mail
Written by Cal-a-Vie Executive Chef Jason Graham   

Cal-a-Vie CobblerINGREDIENTS

For the cobbler:
1 egg
1/3 cup Vanilla soy milk
½ t vanilla extract
1/3 cup agave
¼ cup unbleached white flour
¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 t baking powder
Non stick butter spray
6 1T scoops of SoyDream Vanilla Ice Cream

For the filling:
2 large ripe fuju persimmons
1 t lemon juice
30 dried cranberries, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained and towel dried
½ t whole wheat pastry flour
2 t agave


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the cobbler, place all wet ingredients into a bowl and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly add the unbleached white flour, whole wheat pastry flour and the baking powder and mix until smooth, scraping the sides as needed, for about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until baking.

2. For the filling, place the two large, ripe fuju persimmons, peeled and cut into medium dice, into a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients to the fuju persimmons and fold together gently with a spoon to combine.

3. Generously spray 6 3oz ramekins with the Nonstick butter spray and place them on a cookie sheet. Spoon 1 rounded Tablespoon of the filling into each ramekin. Then ladle 1oz of the cobbler batter on top of the fuju persimmons and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

4. Let cool for 5 minutes and finish 1 Tablespoon vanilla soy ice cream and 5 cranberries per cobbler.

Yields 6 servings / Serving size 3 ounces
CAL 190 / FAT 3g

Celebrating the Fall Harvest at Sapphire Laguna Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Azmin at SapphireSapphire Laguna Restaurant & Panty in Laguna Beach, California, recently held a local fall harvest dinner party. The meal, prepared by Chef Azmin Ghahreman (right) and his team, celebrated local sustainable farming, with Chef Azmin letting guests know how each of the ingredients in the dinner was grown or raised and how it got to their table at Sapphire.

One of the dishes at the event was a Pistachio Date Pudding, for which Chef Azmin was kind enough to provide a recipe. For more information on Sapphire Laguna and other upcoming events, call (949) 715-9888 or visit

By Chef/Owner Azmin Ghahreman
Sapphire Laguna Restaurant & Pantry
(Serves 10-12)

8 cups (about a 1-pound loaf) egg bread or brioche with crust, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
Unsalted butter for greasing
2 ¼ cups Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
½ cup pistachios, shelled and coarsely chopped
6 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Powdered sugar
Vanilla ice cream
(click “read more” for method)

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