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Welcome to Gardens to Tables Travel Articles A Chat with the Ocean House's Food Forager (Plus a Recipe From Their Kitchen!)
A Chat with the Ocean House's Food Forager (Plus a Recipe From Their Kitchen!) Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   

Ocean House Chef Eric HaugenWith designated "food forager" on its staff, the newly re-opened Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, takes farm-to-table seriously. Pam Stone, whose full title is food forager and director of culinary education, not only serves as a liaison between local farmers and the Ocean House's chefs (headed by Executive Chef Albert Cannito) but, as a master gardener, also oversees the resort's private gardens and provides education and tours for visiting guests. To give us a taste of that partnership between garden and table, Pam Stone lets us in on what's going on in their gardens -- and then Chef Eric Haugen (pictured) offers a recipe that makes the most of the corn and tomatoes that are currently in season.

What is just being planted now (mid-August) in the garden?
We are beginning to plant Forono beets, Hakurei turnips and D' Avignon radishes, which we will harvest in September.

What are some tips for home gardeners planting those crops?
Be sure your dirt is good. It is also important that the soil is loose when planting root crops. Barely cover your future crop with soil, keep the soil moist and start thinning when it reaches two inches in height.

What are some of the things on your garden tours that guests seem to particularly enjoy?
Guests enjoy seeing things they buy in the market that they have never seen planted, like brussel sprouts. We also grow heirloom vegetables with seeds from “the Chefs Collaborative." Guests are also drawn to unusual things like Boothbay cucumbers and Gilfeather turnip.

When you go into the kitchen, what are you telling the chefs is ready for harvest?
Corn and tomatoes are in their prime and ready for harvest. Enjoy them while you can because they are only here for a short time! (Click "Read More" for Recipe)

Salad of Marinated Toybox Tomatoes with Haas Avocado, English Cucumber, Coriander and Sweet Corn Pudding

by Chef Eric Haugen
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.

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