Recently Farmscape teamed up with Ray Garcia, Executive Chef at FIG, Surfas a restaurant supply and gourmet food store, and A Sustainable Kitchen, a community based organization whose mission is to bring people together to learn, share, and discuss sustainable strategies for everyday life. Together we hosted a cooking demonstration using a variety of our garden-fresh tomatoes. We were excited to work with Chef Ray because his food philosophy is, "Fresh, simple, unassuming, sustainable, and organically grown" which we thought fit perfectly with our mission. He is a big advocate of locally grown ingredients and "wants the ingredients to stand out on their own." No better vegetable to give him than our homegrown, flavorful tomatoes!
Farmer Lowell and I met bright and early to pick the tomatoes on Saturday morning. For those of you who don't know Lowell he routinely wakes up at 5 AM. This is not true for me. However, I arrived at the farm exactly 15 minutes earlier than Lowell at 6 AM and I was pretty proud of myself. This was our harvest for the day:
Here is a photo with the varieties labeled. The variteties included Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Brandywine, Gold Medal, Black Japanese Trifele, Kellog's Breakfast, Mr. Stripey, Golden Boy, Box Car Willie, Black Krimm, Sun Gold, Super Sweet 100, Caspian Pink, and a dozen more not pictured here.
And here is what urban farming looks like. This is me loading up all of the tomatoes into my hatchback.
During the demo, Chef Ray prepared two recipes, a Summer Panzanella Salad and Heirloom Tomato Caprese with Hand stretched Mozarella and Pesto. All recipes courtesy of Ray Garcia.
Summer Panzanella Salad with Caper Berries and Arugula
3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 cup Sherry Vinegar
2 cups Caper Berries (halved)
1 cup Red onion (julienned)
2-3 lbs of Assorted Heirloom Tomatoes
4 cups Arugula
1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cut the baguette into approximately 3/4″ cubes. Toss the cubes in EVOO and season with parsley, salt and pepper. Then bake in a 350° oven until golden brown. Allow to cool. this can be done hours in advance.
Heat vinegar over a medium flame. Once vinegar comes to a boil, add onions and reduce to a simmer. Remove vinegar from heat and add remaining EVOO. Allow mixture to cool.
Cut tomatoes into assorted shapes and sizes. Mix tomatoes with caper berries and arugula. Toss with vinaigrette, season to taste and serve.
Heirloom Tomato Caprese with Hand Stretched Mozzarella and Pesto
1 lb Mozzarella Curds (or 1 lb fresh Mozzarella)
2 gallons Water (not needed if mozzarella is store-bought)
1 bunch Basil
1 lb Pine Nuts
2 cloves Garlic
2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
4 oz. Grated Parmesan Cheese
2-3 lbs Assorted heirloom Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper as needed
Season water very heavily with salt, about twice that for pasta water. Bring water to approximately 180°. Add the curds to the water and allow to bloom for about a minute or until they become soft and pliable. Remove the curds from the water and stretch them. Work them into a ball then put into a bowl of room temperature water.
The pesto can also be made in a blender or food processor. The mortar and pestle gives you more control over texture. Using a mortar and pestle mash the garlic cloves. Tear basil into small pieces and mash with the garlic.
Toast pine nuts in a 350° oven until golden brown. Allow to cool. Once cooled, add the pine nuts to the mortar and pestle and mash, slowly adding the EVOO.
Fold in the grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut and arrange tomatoes as desired. Drizzle tomatoes with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Slice the mozzarella and add to the plate along with the pesto.
It was a wonderful event and we would love to do another demonstration with Chef Ray. Here is Farmscape enjoying our prepared tomatoes: