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Garden Poll

What's the best fall garden activity?
Poached Prawns Bruschetta with Tomato-Olive Vinaigrette from Spago Colorado Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Spago Colorado tomatoesJoining the ranks of chefs who’ve added a kitchen garden isn’t easy when that garden is at 9,000 feet in mountains of Colorado. But Executive Chef Mark Ferguson of Spago Colorado at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, did just that – growing tomatoes (right), fingerling potatoes, rainbow chard, carrots, English peas and a variety of herbs this past summer and incorporating them into the restaurant’s summer menu. With the season for tomatoes coming to a close, here’s his recipe for a bruschetta featuring poached prawns and a tomato-olive vinaigrette.

Poached Prawns Bruschetta with Tomato-Olive Vinaigrette

8 ea. Fresh Santa Barbara spot prawns
½ lb. unsalted butter
¼ cup Ligurian extra virgin olive oil
1 ea. House-grown heirloom tomatoes, concasse
1 ea. House-grown baby leeks, chopped
4 ea. Olives (kalamata or gaeta) sliced thin
1 ea. Lemon, for juice
4 slices House-made ciabatta bread, grilled
1 ea. Garlic clove
Pinch House-grown red chili
1 sprig House-grown min and basil, leaves torn in small pieces
To taste Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Peel the tail section of the prawns, leaving the tail fin intact and devein, leaving  the head on or off based on preference.
Bring the butter and oil up to a boil in a sauce pan, season the shrimp with salt and chili and place in the butter-oil mixture and allow to sit off the heat for 3-5 minutes.
Mix the tomato, shallot, olive and mint together and season with salt and pepper.
Slice the ciabatta thick and grill, remove and rub with the garlic clove and the poaching oil.
Place a small amount of the vinaigrette n the center of four places. Top with the ciabatta.
Remove the shrimp from the butter mixture and lay on the bread slides.
Top the prawns with the tomato vinaigrette and a generous amount of cracked pepper.
Serve immediately!


Apple Banana and Kabucha Pumpkin Soup from the Fairmont Orchid Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Collin Thornton of Fairmont OrchidI have just returned from a great trip to Hawaii’s Big Island – one of the most agriculturally rich places in the world. Because of this, most of the places we visited were really dedicated to sourcing their produce locally. Some, like the Fairmont Orchid, have gone a little further by putting in their own kitchen gardens. Here’s the Fairmont Orchid’s Executive Chef Collin Thornton (right) on what’s growing in their garden – plus a great recipe for fall:

The Fairmont Orchid’s Herb Garden features three varieties of Bananas: Apple, Williams and Cuban Reds. All are delicious but the local favorite is the apple banana. This small sweet banana packs a big punch with great texture and a rich sweet flavor. Kabocha pumpkin squash seems to flourish as well here on the resort. Our seedlings have started producing 10 pound-plus pumpkins in as little as two months with no sign of stopping! They make beautiful ground cover and will continue to produce for months. This simple but wonderful soup is bound to leave an impression with friends and family as the velvet smooth pumpkin soup is rounded off with the subtle notes of sweet banana. (Click "read more" for recipe.)

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.

Salad of Marinated Toybox Tomatoes with Haas Avocado, English Cucumber, Coriander and Sweet Corn Pudding Print E-mail
Written by Chef Eric Haugen   

Chef Eric HaugenMakes 6 Servings

48 each, Toybox Tomatoes (cherry tomatoes will work too)
2 ounces, Champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon, granulated sugar
4 ounces, extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon, shallot, minced
1 each Haas avocado, ripe
1 each, English cucumber, peeled, seeded, 1/2" dice
1 each, lime
30 each, coriander leaves
8 ears, sweet corn, husks removed
Kosher salt
Fleur de sel or sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. For the tomatoes, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Have an ice bath ready. Add the tomatoes in four stages. This will prevent the water from cooling down by adding too many tomatoes at once. Once cooked for 25 seconds, remove and shock in an ice water bath. Once all tomatoes have been cooked, peel the skins. Peeling creates a better texture for the tomato, and also allows the marinade to penetrate the fruit.

2. Combine the Champagne vinegar, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, and shallot. Toss the tomatoes in the marinade and season lightly with kosher salt. Leave at room temperature until ready to serve. Allowing the tomatoes to warm slightly will release their natural sugars and flavors.  

3. For the avocado, cut the avocado with a knife, lengthwise around the seed. Twist the avocado to separate into two halves. Tap the blade of your knife into the seed so it sticks, then twist to remove the seed.  Use a large spoon to scoop out the avocado, leaving as whole as possible. Thinly slice the avocado and season with kosher salt.

4. For the cucumber, toss the diced pieces with the juice of one lime and season with kosher salt.

5. For the sweet corn pudding, cut the kernels off the corn and place in a blender. Puree and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Press the pulp using a spoon or ladle to extract all of the juice. Put the juice in a sauce pot and place over medium heat.  Whisk the juice continuously, making sure to cover the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching. The natural corn starch in the vegetable will thicken the juice.  Once a pudding like consistency, season with kosher salt and remove. Allow to cool.

6. To complete, place three small dollops of the sweet corn pudding on a plate. Toss eight tomatoes with a small amount of the English cucumber and a small amount of the marinade. Season with fleur de sel and fresh ground pepper (tomatoes tolerate more salt that most cooks realize). Arrange on the plate with the sweet corn pudding. Place the thin slices of avocado around the tomatoes along with five cilantro leaves per plate. Serve chilled.

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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