Going to Seed
It’s important to choose heirloom and organic seeds for use in your garden. You will be doing your part to maintain a complex ecosystem, and have the benefit of eating produce that tastes better. Go local! See what’s happening in your neck of the woods. My friend Maya, an avid organic gardener, uses the Hudson Valley Seed Library (www.seedlibrary.org) for her seed source. The bonus is that you know the seeds are acclimated to the area. Some more good resources:
www.rareseeds.com You’ll find some very unusual species that just may surprise you. www.seedsavers.org A non-profit organization of gardeners dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
www.seedsofchange.com A great site featuring certified organic seeds, plants, and bulbs.
Roasted Zucchini Cubes
It’s the time of year when your garden or farmers’ markets will have an abundance of zucchini and mint. Take charge with this simple recipe from Chef Sheamus Feeley of the Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead Restaurant located in St. Helena, the heart of Napa Valley. His 3-acre farm is entirely powered by solar energy and services the restaurant converted from the original barn. Long Meadow Ranch sells its seeds, as well as items sourced from the farm, like grass-fed beef, eggs, heirloom fruits and vegetables, chickens, handcrafted extra virgin olive oil, and honey.
Chilled Squash Soup with Extras
You don’t need to be in the country to have a garden. The Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond, Virginia’s Lemaire Restaurant has transformed a parking lot into an urban oasis. More than 15 different types of herbs and vegetables can be found in the 35-by-35 foot space. You can serve Chef Walter Bundy’s signature Crookneck (yellow) Squash soup with or without the brie and garden chili oil, but why would you? Making a batch of the oil will allow you to spread the flavor of your garden-grown peppers and is great poured over fish, or mixed in vinaigrettes. It keeps in the refrigerator several weeks, just take it out 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Trellis’ Chef Brian Scheehser loves driving his vintage tractors at the Heathman Hotel on Kirkland’s 10-acre farm. He was named “Best Green Chef” by Seattle Magazine not only for his fresh cuisine, but for recycling the oil from fryers into bio-diesel, and using restaurant scraps for compost. Brian’s proudest offspring are his 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes he’s been cultivating for 10 years. This refreshing vinaigrette recipe is great with fish, or drizzled over any grilled item.
Warm Brussels Sprout Salad
James Beard Award-winning Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, pioneers of the farm-to-table sustainable dining movement, have partnered with Marriott to open Summer Winter in Burlington, Massachusetts. Summer Winter supplies seasonal cuisine with the help of an all-season greenhouse—on-view from the dining room—that provides an astonishing array of herbs, lettuces, tomatoes, vegetables, even strawberries. Their Brussels sprouts recipe can really come in handy this time of year, on its own or accompanying meat or hearty fish dishes.