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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Garden Poll

What's the first thing you're planting this spring?
Scallops with Spinach Risotto from Studio at Montage Laguna Beach Print E-mail
Written by Executive Chef Craig Strong   
Chef Craig StrongServes 4

8 scallops
2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion finely diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup risotto rice
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoon parmesan
1 tablespoon butter

2 cups spinach
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt

1 bottle port wine
1 can truffle juice
1 quart cream

(Click "read more" for method.)

Butternut Squash Tortellini from Studio at Montage Laguna Beach Print E-mail
Written by Executive Chef Craig Strong   
butternut squashServes 4-6

1 ¾ cups flour
6 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
¼ cup cream

¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
20 sage leaves
3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

(Click "read more" for method.)

Secrets of the Corn from Morning Glory Farm on Martha's Vineyard Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Morning Glory Farms cover pageWith a farm stand that has become a Martha's Vineyard institution (attracting everyone from celebrities and islanders to foodies and restauranteurs), Morning Glory Farms was started 30 years ago when the Athearn family bought a tractor and set up a table to sell their vegetables. The story of the Athearns and their family farm -- plus 70 recipes inspired by their produce -- can be found in the new book “Morning Glory Farm and the Family That Feeds an Island” by Tom Dunlop, with photographs by Alison Shaw.

Here, in an excerpt from the book, are some tips from Morning Glory Farm on picking the perfect ear of corn along with a recipe for corn muffins (as we enter these last few weeks of corn season):

The crop that invariably earns so much affection at Morning Glory is the corn. So what makes Morning Glory corn snap with such exceptional sweetness in the mouth? According to the Athearns, you can answer this question three ways—none of them perfectly correct by themselves. The first is the types of corn they grow. After thirty years in the business, the family relies on ten or twelve varieties, bred to various degrees of sweetness. When there are two types on sale at the farm stand, customers often ask Jim Athearn which is the sweetest. He answers, “Well, this one is, but maybe that’s not the question you want to ask. Maybe it’s, ‘Which one tastes better?’” Among his favorite varieties is Silver Queen. It’s neither as sweet nor as tender as Delectable, a popular sugar-enhanced variety; still, it has “a character to its flavor that I’ve been trying to describe to people for years, but haven’t managed to.” The second factor: how it’s harvested. (Click "read more" for whole post and corn muffin recipe.)

Garden-Fresh Frittata with Amaranth Leaves Print E-mail
Written by Michael Costa   
Michael Costa's Amaranth FrittataIf you’ve seen my previous recipes on Gardens to Tables, you know I’m a big fan of utilizing every part of a vegetable, and not just the “premium” pieces—radish greens and carrot tops being the most recent examples.

Amaranth definitely falls into that category. It’s a versatile, ancient grain, but its less-famous leaves are edible too. However, unlike radish greens and carrot tops, eating them raw can be a challenge. Its pleasant, grassy flavor quickly turns into a chalky, bitter aftertaste that feels like it’s camping in the back of your throat the rest of the day.

I recently received a beautiful bunch of dark purple amaranth leaves from Harmony Valley Farm in Viroqua, Wisconsin, and put them right to work in my sauté pan with some fresh yukina savoy greens (which add a tasty mustard component), creating the base for this delicious, rustic, garden-heavy frittata. (Click "read more" for recipe.)

Grange Restaurant's Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho Print E-mail
Written by Chef Michael Tuohy   

Serves 6-8 people

3 Heirloom Tomatoes, rough chopped
2 Cucumbers, peeled, seeded and rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T pimenton dulce (sweet smoked Spanish paprika)
1 T pimenton piquante (spicy smoked Spanish paprika)
1 T toasted ground cumin
1 C torn sour dough bread
1 C almonds, rough chopped (marcona preferred)
2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C sherry vinegar
salt to taste

***note: For best results, I like to double puree using an immersion blender first,
then transfer to a high powered blender like a Vita Prep for a smooth, light airy texture.
If you blend just once using a standard blender or food processor, you will have a more
coarse texture, which can be nice and just as satisfying.

1. Place all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a container large enough to hold while blending with an immersion blender. Or, place into a standard blender container.
2. Begin blending and slowly adding the olive oil to create an emulsion.
3. After all ingredients are incorporated, taste and adjust for seasoning.
4. Chill very well before serving.

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, some chopped almonds and a bit of coarse sea salt like Fleur de sel, or maldon.

Cilantro-and-Macadamia-Nut Crust and Tropical Citrus Marinade for Fish, Chicken or Tofu Print E-mail
Written by Chef Marc McDowell, Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua   

Below is an easy recipe for a tropical citrus marinade that is great for fish, chicken or tofu. Also a macadamia and cilantro mixture I use as a crust. It’s wonderful and full of flavor!! 

Cilantro and Macadamia Nut Crust for Fish, Chicken or Tofu

6- 5 oz. portions of Mahi Mahi
1/3 Cup of Macadamia Nut pieces
1/2 Cup Cilantro Stems, chopped
11/2 tsp. Ginger, peeled & finely chopped
11/2 tsp. Garlic, minced
0.5 oz. Lime Juice, fresh
1 oz. Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp. Serrano or jalapeno Chili, chop with seeds
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1. Combine the cilantro stems, macadamia nuts, ginger, garlic and Serrano and process in a robot coupe or food processor for 15 seconds.
2. Add the lime juice and oil, season and process for another 20 seconds.
3. Taste and adjust as necessary.
4. Marinate the fish, chicken or tofu in tropical citrus marinade 6 hours, drain off excess. Season with salt and fresh ground white pepper and sear in a hot saute’ pan with 1 Tbl oil on both sides. Remove and let chill slightly until cool enough to spread 1-2 Tbsp. of crust on top.
5. Place in 375 degree oven for 6-7 minutes and remove and serve with nice fresh pineapple salsa.

Tropical Citrus Marinade for Fish, Chicken or Tofu

Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime
1 tsp Lemongrass pulverized
3 each Kaffir Lime Leaf Pulverized
2 Tbl. Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp lime or lemon thyme leaves                                                           
2 tsp lime basil leaves                                                                     
1/2 Tbl  Garlic, chopped
1/2 Tbl Ginger, chopped
6 oz. Salad Oil                                                                                                       

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and emulsify for 15 seconds. Or mix in a bowl with whisk for a temporary emulsion.

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