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What's the best fall garden activity?
High-Country Mushrooms from Chef O'Dowd of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Michael O'DowdWhen it's mushroom season, you'll know it by the abundance of them at your local farmers market. If you manage to get your hands on some great high-country mushrooms and are wondering how to get the most out of them using items (such as garlic, shallots, basil, lavender and rosemary) from your garden, here’s a great recipe from Chef Michael O’Dowd (pictured right) of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass – and its acclaimed Kai restaurant, who says these high-country mushrooms are one of his favorite seasonal items to use.

Northern Arizona Mushrooms

4 oz wild local high country mushrooms
1 tbsp roasted & minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 tbsp chopped Ms. Burns basil (substitute normal fresh basil)
1 tsp chopped fresh lavender
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 oz extra virgin olive oil
1/2 aged sherry vinegar
1 pat of plugra butter
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

First brush the dirt off all of your mushrooms with a brush (do not rinse or get wet). Take the stems off if they are tough. In a saute pan heat olive oil on high heat. Once the pan is extremely hot add you mushrooms, garlic, shallots and half of your herbs. Sear until you see the mushrooms caramelizing. Add the sherry vineger and toss and then finish with the butter, remaining herbs & s&p to taste.

Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
There are a number of nice things about the partnership between La Costa Resort & Spa and the Chopra Center, which was founded by Deepak Chopra and David Simon and has its headquarters on the grounds (pictured, right). The first is the center's daily guided meditation, free of charge to resort guests. There are also yoga classes, Ayurvedic spa treatments and longer wellness programs. But if there is one really unique touch Chopra has brought to the resort it’s his ginger elixir, made out of fresh ingredients and designed to jump-start the digestive system. Chopra advises one ounce before lunch and another before dinner.

Here is the recipe for those who’d like to make it at home:
1 3-to-4 inch piece of unpeeled fresh ginger root
4 to 6 lemons
1 cup purified water
¾ cup raw organic honey
¼ tsp black pepper

Cut the ginger into ½-inch pieces. Using a powerful juicer, push the ginger through the juicer and juice enough to make 1 cup. In a citrus juicer, juice the lemons to make 1 cup of juice. Combine the juices in a large bowl. With a wire whisk, mix the water, honey and black pepper into the ginger and lemon juice. Whisk until blended. Store in a pitcher or glass jar in the refrigerator. Don't chug the whole thing -- just one ounce is recommended. And a word to the wise: It definitely has a kick.
A Summer Sangria from the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Four Seasons Sangria Recipe ChefWhat says summer more than an icy white sangria? Here’s a summer sangria recipe from Executive Chef Mario Alcocer (pictured right) of the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. The drink was inspired, in part, by some of the herbs (specifically, the mint and rosemary) found in the hotel's new chef’s greenhouse and garden, which Chef Alcocer oversees along with Head Gardener Benji Zavala. Guests who want to learn more can join Chef Alcocer each Saturday on his garden tours – or in one of his cooking classes. Enjoy!

Summer Sangria

One bottle - white wine (any preferred varietal)
1 oz chopped fresh rosemary
1 oz fresh mint
2 fresh ruby red grapefruit (segmented and cut in half)
4 oranges (segmented and cut into small pieces)
½ cup of lemon juice
2 cups of white cranberry juice
3 oz organic agave syrup

Combine all ingredients and allow mixture to rest for one hour. Mix well and serve chilled or over ice. Makes 4-6 servings.

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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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.

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