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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Garden Poll

What's the best fall garden activity?
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Written by Ann Shepphird   

La Costa herb gardenThe first thing you notice about the new herb gardens at the Spa at La Costa is how beautifully manicured they are – so manicured, in fact, you wonder if they aren’t just for show. But, no, the mint is used in the Spa Café’s mojito (and, yes, you’ve gotta love a spa with a mojito on the menu) and the parsley and lemon thyme are used in the Warm Mediterranean Vegetables with Goat Cheese that Executive Chef Hans Wiegand has created for their new spa menu. The dish is also great for gardeners (or farmers market shoppers) who’ve got a surplus of zucchini, squash, eggplant, bell pepper, shallots and Roma tomatoes – or those looking to make a low-calorie dish filled with healthy vegetables.

Warm Mediterranean Vegetables with Goat Cheese

1 zucchini diced ½ inch
1 yellow squash diced ½ inch
1 small Italian eggplant diced ½ inch
1 red bell pepper diced ½ inch
2 pc shallots small diced
8 pc vine-ripened Roma tomatoes diced ½ inch
15 lg basil leaves chopped
Salt, pepper, chili flakes to taste
1 tblsp chopped garlic
4 slices goat cheese
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
1.5 oz olive oil
1 tbls chopped parsley
1 tbls chopped lemon thyme

In a saucepan sauté the shallots and garlic for 2 minutes add all other vegetables and seasonings. Cook till vegetables are done for about 15 minutes. Check seasoning. Ladle the vegetables into a baking dish or individual baking dishes, sprinkle the Panko breadcrumbs on top and the goat cheese on top and bake until golden brown.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Avocado Ice Cream from the Palm Terrace Restaurant Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Bill Bracken of Palm Terrace Restaurant at The Island HotelYou’ve gotta love a restaurant that a. has their own take on macaroni and cheese on the menu, b. uses it as a way to keep people from yakking into their cell phones while the rest of us are dining (the menu notes that the use of cell phones interferes with the dish’s taleggio sauce) and – perhaps most importantly – c. comes up with a sassy new take on a summer heirloom tomato salad. Chef Bill Bracken (pictured, left) and the Palm Terrace Restaurant at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach have done just that.

Here’s his take on a salad of baby heirloom tomatoes – together with hearts of palm, micro basil and (here’s the really sassy part) avocado ice cream.

Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
with Hearts of Palm, Micro Basil and Avocado Ice Cream

Recipe courtesy of Chef Bill Bracken, Palm Terrace Restaurant and Lounge
Serves 4

¾ pound baby heirloom tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh micro basil
2 teaspoons chopped shallot
½ teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 ounces fresh hearts of palm, thinly sliced

1 cup Avocado Ice Cream (recipe follows)
Micro basil for garnish

Las Ventanas al Paraiso's Fresh Guacamole Print E-mail
Written by Chef Fabrice Guisset   
Choose avocados carefully: touch the top end to determine ripeness, rather than squeezing the mid-section. Haas avocado preferred.

Las Ventanas guacamoleIngredients:
6 large Haas avocados
1 red onion
1 Roma tomato
1 bunch of cilantro
1 Serano chili
1 Jalapeño chili
1 oz. limejuice
Salt to taste

Mince the onion and chili (cut chili end off, cut in half, carefully remove seeds). De-seed and chop the Roma tomato.
Using a sharp knife, cut the avocado away from the pit. Quickly insert knife into pit, twist slightly to remove. Use a flat spoon to scrape avocado away from skin. Using a pairing knife, cut the avocado into cubes.
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl; season with salt and hand-squeezed lime juice.  
Serve with tortilla chips.
The Piedmont Region's Langhe-style Peppers with Salsa Verde Print E-mail
Written by Melissa Pellegrino and Matt Scialabba   
Langhe Peppers from Piedmont RegionIn the summer and fall months, the local markets are ripe with extraordinarily large and vibrantly colored bell peppers, whose sweetness lends them to a host of different recipes. These sweet bell peppers spread with a pungent variation of salsa verde are a mainstay at Tra Sole e Vigne, where guests are presented a large assortment of antipasti each night.

2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of stale italian bread, crust removed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic
5 anchovy fillets
1 hard boiled egg + 1 hard boiled egg yolk
3 oz. Italian tuna packed in olive oil, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

Rub peppers with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place on a sheet pan.
Roast in the oven until browned and tender, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from oven and immediately place in a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Soak the bread in 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar for 30 minutes.

Mince the parsley, anchovy fillets, garlic, hard-boiled egg and yolk, and
tuna. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Chop the bread very fine and
stir into the parsley mixture. Add ¼ cup olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the remaining tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Remove peppers from the bag or bowl, peel the skin from the peppers,
and remove the seeds. Cut the peppers into strips about 2 inches thick.

Spread 1 tablespoon of the filling over each pepper strip. Drizzle with
the remaining tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and serve at room temperature.

Mii Amo Cafe's Tomato Gazpacho Print E-mail
Written by Chef Steve Sicinski   
Mii Amo Gazpacho10 Tomatoes (stem & core removed)
¾ Peeled English Cucumber
½ Small Red Onion
½ Red Bell Pepper
½ Bunch Cilantro
6 Fresh Basil Leaves
1Tbsp Oregano
2Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
Dash Salt
Dash Pepper

Rough chop all ingredients. Add everything in blender. Blend to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning with vinegar.

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