Saturday, October 30, 2010

Taste of Atlanta Preview at the Garden

The Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen has proven itself to be a gateway for the Atlanta Botanical Garden to host several of Atlanta's finest chefs throughout the course of its first season.  The Taste of Atlanta Preview at the Garden on October 16 was a day of beautiful fall weather, great chefs, and delicious food.

Chef Shane Touhy of Dogwood woke up the kitchen with a big batch of Creamy Polenta and Red-eye Gravy.

Perfect for a 10 a.m. demo on a cool day, the gravy is made with coffee. If you’re looking for polenta or grits done right, Shane Touhy is your chef.

Chef Dave Larkworthy of 5 Seasons Brewing joined Garden Chef Christina Curry for her usual noon demonstration.

Chef Dave used a melon baller to carve perfect little spheres from his favorite eating pumpkin – the Jarrahdale pumpkin.

He dropped the pumpkin balls into the hot mixture of apple cider and spices to cook briefly. Can you get any closer to tasting fall than pumpkin, apple, and spices? I think not.

Chef Marie Nygren of Serenbe had the visitors salivating as she prepared Grits and Greens with Sweet Onion Butter and Goat Cheese.  I love when chefs bring out the big equipment.  Note the huge cast iron pan used as a serving dish.

One of the kale varieties that Chef Marie brought from Serenbe had such large leaves, it apparently stumped her staff. We confirmed that the greens in this container were indeed kale before serving to the one hundred plus people who attended the demonstration.

Chef Joe Truex of Watershed wrapped up the day with Silken Turnip Soup.  Finished with a few drops of truffle oil, the soup brought warmth to our stomachs and smiles to our faces.  Want to give turnips a try at home?  Here's Chef Joe Truex's recipe:

Silken Turnip Soup
Serves 8

2 oz. butter
2 cups yellow onions, roughly chopped
1 ½ lbs. turnip roots, peeled and roughly chopped
6 oz. baking potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 qt. chicken stock, maybe more needed after blending
½ tsp. nutmeg berry, grated
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
truffle oil, for garnish

Heat butter until foamy, then add onions and season. Cook for 5 minutes, then add potato and turnip root and season with salt again. Cover a cook on low heat for 10-25 minutes, stirring often. Add heated chicken stock and cook uncovered until root vegetables are tender. Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust thickness by adding more heated chicken stock if needed. Finish with grated nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with a few drops of truffle oil if desired.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Taste of Atlanta Preview

Garden Chef Christina Curry was invited to guest blog about the upcoming Taste of Atlanta Preview at the Garden as well as her upcoming appearance at Taste of Atlanta.  If you've been meaning to catch a Garden Chef demonstration in the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen, make sure you mark your calendar prior to our last demos of the 2010 season on October 31.

Fall is in full swing and it is the perfect time to check out the Atlanta Botanical Garden and see what’s cooking in our outdoor kitchen.  My name is Christina Curry and I am one of the Garden Chefs at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  The Edible Garden and Outdoor Kitchen are a wonderful addition to all the beautiful attractions that have brought visitors to the Garden for years.  As one of the chefs, I am able to harvest, prep and cook with the herbs and vegetables that have been growing each season.  It has been a great experience working in the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen, and we have prepared some delicious recipes this year.

With just a few weeks left before our demo season is over, we have some exciting things coming up.  On October 16, Shane Tuohy of Dogwood, Dave Larkworthy of Five Seasons Brewing, Marie Nygren of Serenbe, and Joe Truex of Watershed will join us in the Outdoor Kitchen for the Taste of Atlanta Preview.  Each will prepare a dish keeping with the seasonal theme that we embrace weekly at the Garden.  Later this month we invite you to come out and support us at the one of the country’s best food festivals, Taste of Atlanta.  I will be doing a cooking demo on the Farm to Festival stage on October 23, at 1:00 p.m.  The Taste of Atlanta presentation will be an extension of what we do at the Garden every weekend.  Mark your calendar and come on out!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Okra and Tomato Sauté

Don't be fooled by the rasberry shade, this is some good looking 'Hill Country Red' Okra.  Thriving in the Edible Garden during our hot summer, it stood tall and proud in August and September.  These red okra are stockier than their common green counterparts and suprisingly not woody or stringy for their large size.  The flowers are attractive as well, once again demonstrating that edibles can be a beautiful addition to your home landscaping.  

We like to keep food light and fresh in the Outdoor Kitchen.  Chef Megan McCarthy thought outside the fried okra box and presented a tasty and quick side dish.

Okra and Tomato Sauté

2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. fresh okra
2 large fresh tomatoes, diced
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Wash and trim okra.  Cut okra into 1-inch pieces.  Dice tomatoes.  In large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat and add chopped garlic.  After 1 minute, add in okra and diced tomatoes.  Turn down to medium heat and sauté for about 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Watch a video of Chef Megan McCarthy preparing this dish.  Find printable versions of the Garden Chef recipes here.

The okra was pulled out two weeks ago to create space for cool crops.  Still standing is this fabulous display of glass pumpkins and gourds by Cohn-Stone Studios.  Witness the stunning displays throughout the Edible Garden before October 31, 2010.