Thursday, May 27, 2010

Garden Greens Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

By mid-May in the Edible Garden we were knee deep in beets and lettuce.  Garden Chef Megan McCarthy was inspired to harvest these vegetables and prepare a fresh salad.  I'm not sure if fresh is a strong enough word to describe the process of plant to plate within one hour and a hundred feet of each other. 

Bulls Blood Beets with Deja Vu Calendula

Australian Yellow Leaf Lettuce

Red Velvet Lettuce nestled between Cardoon and Zefa Fino Fennel

Garden Greens Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

6 cups Garden lettuce, chopped
1 beet, boiled and finely diced
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
½ cup toasted walnuts

Toasted Walnut Vinaigrette:
3 tbsp toasted walnut oil
2 tbsp fig vinegar
½ lemon, freshly squeezed
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut off the beet tops about an inch above the beet. In a large pot cover the beets with three inches of cold water and bring to a boil.  Cover and boil over medium heat until tender, about 45 minutes.  Drain the beets under cool running water. Take off skins. Trim off stems and root ends and slice.

Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together and drizzle on lettuce greens and toss. Top dressed greens with beets, carrots, goat cheese and toasted walnuts.

Find printable versions of the Garden Chef recipes here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kale Quinoa Salad

Atlanta Botanical Garden Chef Megan McCarthy cooked up this delightful salad featuring frequently used garnishes.  Kale and parsley are more that just frilly greens to dress up a plate. First of all, they look great in the garden:

Secondly, they are full of flavor and nutrients.  Megan refers to these at Superfoods.  To learn more about Chef Megan, check out  Give this recipe a try while kale is readily available at the grocery store and farmer's markets.

Kale Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ red onion, diced
2 Roma plum tomatoes, diced
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover and turn down to simmer for 12-15 minutes, until water is absorbed.

In sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil on medium high. Add chopped garlic, diced onions and cook for 2 minutes before adding diced tomatoes. Add chopped kale and cover for 1-2 minutes or until kale is wilted.

Transfer cooked quinoa to large bowl. Drizzle quinoa with remaining 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add kale mixture and gently toss.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Toss again and serve.

Pick up an extra bunch of kale while your at it and try out surprisingly addictive kale chips!

Kale Chips
Makes 24

12 large kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems removed.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 300F. Toss kale with oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and lemon zest. Arrange leaves in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, turning the leaves over once during baking.

From top to bottom: Starbor kale and Neri Di Toscana kale in the Edible Garden

Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen

Located at one end of the Edible Garden, the Outdoor Kitchen is a sight to behold. By day, it's a great spot to catch some shade and dream about building a kitchen in your own backyard. By night, it's a dramatically lit space set against Atlanta's Midtown skyline. A frequent expression I hear from visitors is "wow!" Here are a few photos that show some wow moments happening in the Outdoor Kitchen. Come see it in person for the full effect!

Chef Scott Serpas of Serpas True Food preps garden fresh ingredients for his demonstration at the Grand Opening.
Chef Adam Evans of Craftbar moves with ease in the spacious kitchen outfitted with Viking outdoor appliances.

Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene enjoys a casual conversation with visitors, something that naturally happens in this thoughtfully designed space.

An audience gathers in the Outdoor Kitchen every Saturday and Sunday at noon and 1:00 p.m. to experience a Garden Chef Cooking Demonstration.  Each weekend May through October the Garden Chef showcases fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs in simple and mouthwatering recipes.

For information on Atlanta Botanical Garden's classes in the Outdoor Kitchen visit:

Welcome to the Edible Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden!

We couldn’t have been more excited to open the Edible Garden to the public on May 1, 2010! Those of us who were fortunate enough to be present during the creation of this addition were amazed by the dramatic changes visible weekly, if not daily, as the Garden’s old parking lot became the most stunning edible garden. Visit this blog to stay updated on the edibles growing in the garden, food prepared in the Outdoor Kitchen, and to hear from the team of people connected to this garden.

To read more visit: