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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
A Spring Cocktail Menu That Honors Farmers from Locanda del Lago Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Thursday, 22 March 2012 14:14

Lago caprese martiniIn honor of spring, Locanda del Lago restaurant in Santa Monica has launched a spring cocktail menu that celebrates the farmers who grow the produce used in the cocktails -- all regulars at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, located right outside the restaurant's door. For those of us for whom spring brings thoughts of TOMATOES (and Tomatomania, which has started its annual seedling sale -- click here for locations and dates), there is The Wong Farm, a Caprese-style martini made with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and cubed mozzarella as a garnish. For those who like their cocktails a bit more sweet, Maggie's Farm features fresh sage, cucumber and prosecco. Recipes for both are below. Hello Spring!!!

The Wong Farm (Caprese Martini)
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 sprigs fresh basil
A dash of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 oz. Crop Organic Tomato Vodka
Fresh mozzarella

Muddle tomatoes, sugar and basil together, add vodka and vinegar and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a skewer of alternating cherry tomato halves and cubed fresh mozzarella

The Maggie's Farm (Sage Mist)
4 sprigs fresh sage
4 slices cucumber
2 oz Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka
1 tsp sugar
1 oz. prosecco

Muddle cucumber and sugar, add vodka, then shake vigorously. Note: Do not muddle sage; it bruises the leaves and leaves a bitter taste. Serve in chilled martini glass, then top off with a prosecco floater. Garnish with a floating cucumber slice.

 
Parmesan Risotto with Parsnips, Kale and Watercress from Laguna's Three Seventy Common Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 18 March 2012 14:47

Chef Ryan AdamsIt's no secret that Laguna Beach, California, is a bit of a farm-to-table foodie paradise -- something I covered recently in a story for FarewellTravels.com. What's even better is the number of young chefs who've opened their own restaurants in the city's downtown with an emphasis on farm-to-table. These include Chef Ryan Adams (left), who opened Three Seventy Common last year. A Laguna native, Chef Ryan grew up working with the fresh fruit and vegetables from his mom's extensive garden. He still does: When we were there she had recently come in with bushels of Meyer Lemons and Blood Red Oranges, which he turned into new menu items and fresh cocktails.

During our visit, Chef Ryan told us that due to the end of mushroom season, he was about to switch out his very popular wild mushroom risotto with one that featured parsnips, kale and watercress. Even better for those of us who are more likely to grow parsnips, kale and watercress than to forage for wild mushrooms, he was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

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Discovering Kozlik's Canadian Mustard at Toronto's St. Lawrence Market Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Saturday, 03 March 2012 16:13

Kozlik's at St. Lawrence MarketOne of my favorite things to do when traveling is to find the local fresh market as it's where you really learn what it's like to live -- and eat -- as a local. In Toronto, this was the St. Lawrence Market, an easy walk from almost anywhere in the downtown area and open Tuesday-Saturday, with a special farmers' market added on Saturdays. Highlights of the 120 vendors at the market include the Carousel Bakery and their "world-famous peameal bacon sandwich," and the Market Kitchen, which offers cooking classes.

But for a truly local experience, Anton Kozlik's Canadian Mustard -- a staple at the market since 1948 -- is the place to go. Made in a variety of spicy, savory and sweet flavors using local ingredients, it can be hard to choose. I went with a Dijon by Anton and a Lime & Honey that's been great in salad dressings. Even better, they offer recipes for each of the mustards. With tomato season on the horizon, here's their recipe for Green Peppercorn Tomatoes with Goat Cheese. Enjoy!

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Garden Cocktails (for a Good Cause) from Lanai Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Friday, 03 February 2012 09:39

Four Seasons Lanai Jeremy SidmanThere are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce and then there are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce AND help restore native environments. That would be the Cocktail with a Cause, found at the Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai. Created by Beverage Manager Jeremy Sidman (pictured left), the Tree-tini not only highlights local flavors but the proceeds from its sale are used to help restore native plant seedlings along the Koloiki Ridgeland on the island through the Four Seasons' partnership with the Lanai Native Species Recovery Program. Sidman created the program to help support their overall farm-to-table philosophy. "In Hawaii, we have access to the freshest produce and ingredients, therefore it was very important to develop organic cocktails that are a reflection of our natural paradise," said Sidman. "We take pride in creating the ingredients in house."

For home gardeners who want to create their own cocktails, Sidman recommends starting with herbs such as mint or thyme. "It's a quick and simple way to add a nice aroma and flavor to any cocktail," said Sidman, who then recommends combining those herbs with citrus, such as limes, lemons, oranges or calamansi, and then muddling together. "The citrus cuts the alcohol and helps balance the acidity."

Sidman offers more ideas -- and a new cocktail recipe -- every Friday on the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai Facebook page. Even better, this week's, the 100-Mile Cocktail, is made with local ingredients from four of the Hawaiian islands: Lanai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island (all within 100 miles). And below is the recipe for the Tree-tini. That's a lot of Aloha!

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A Focus on New Mexico's Best at the Corn Maiden Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 09:27

Corn Maiden at Hyatt Regency TamayaOdds are that when you think of local produce from New Mexico you think of chile peppers, as the state is famous for growing some of the best (and hottest) peppers in the world. One of the restaurants that takes advantage of the local peppers -- and many more local products -- is the Corn Maiden at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa. Known for its rotisserie, the signature dish is the Corn Maiden Classic ("k'uchininak'u" in the local Tamayame language), which features New Mexico Chorizo Sausage, Fresno Chile Chicken and Red-and-Green-Chile-rubbed New Mexico Heritage Beef. The Corn Maiden makes a point of sourcing its meat from New Mexico Ranches that have been chosen for their humane treatment of cattle and their dedication to preserving ranch lands and wildlife habitat. Other locally sourced items at the resort, according to Executive Chef Cheryl Scantlebury, include cheese, pecans, pistachios, pinon seeds, blue corn flour, honey, jams and jellies, bolita beans, pinto beans and herbs from their own Tamaya Herb Garden.

The Corn Maiden's Chef de Cuisine, Sam Reed, also sources as much seasonal produce as possible. During a recent visit, he took advantage of in-season beets and butternut squash (and, yes, peppers) to create an amazing beet bisque -- and was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

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