Verde Community Farm and Market: Back in Action

It’s taken a while, but the shiny revamped kitchen and cafe at Verde Community Farm and Market in Homestead is now open for business – that is, many businesses. They’re a cafe and juice bar serving dishes made from organically grown produce from their farm, a year-round market selling produce, a nursery selling plants, a commercial kitchen, even a cut-flower market.

“We’ve signed on chef Adri Garcia to create a lunch menu using produce grown on the farm for the restaurant,” says Bill Squire, market manager. One of her creations is Sunshine Rolls, tangy buns packed with citrus zest, a healthy take on sticky buns. The cafe, open for lunch Tues. through Sat., also features pizza, sliders and juices, smoothies and fruit pops made with local mango, coconut, dragonfruit, and other fruits. Dishes are made with an eye toward healthy eating – but, also, tastiness. “We’re hiding the healthy element behind delicious,” says Squire. It’s a true farm-to-table atmosphere in the cafe – communal picnic tables at the breezy cafe surrounded by crates of freshly picked produce and nursery plants.

Even in the summer heat, farm manager Chuck Lyons is growing produce at Verde’s fields a few blocks away, including … Read More

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Sweet Summer: Tropical Fruit Festivals

Complain about the heat and humidity all you want. We wouldn’t trade summer in South Florida for one anywhere else, not when we can stroll in our backyard for a breakfast mango every morning or pick up lychees from a roadside stand and pop them in the freezer for an icy treat. This is the season for ciruelas – hog plums – and longans (the brown, grapelike fruits similar to lychees), pineapples and bananas, mamey sapote and sapodilla and many other tropical treats. Farmers markets vendors, like Adena of LNB Groves, right, at Pinecrest Gardens, offer up tastes of jackfruit and passionfruit.
Here are the best events in June and July where you can taste, celebrate and learn more about your favorite fruits:

Redland Summer Fruit Festival

Sat.-Sun., June 13-14 • 10am-5pm • Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead • Adults $8, children 11 and under free
With hundreds of varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and nuts, Fruit and Spice Park is the perfect host for this annual festival. If you’ve already visited this gem, part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, you’ll know that you can always sample what’s growing. At this event, it’s all about tasting their bounty. Look … Read More
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Celebrating Summer Fruits: Mango Chutney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every year, the staff and volunteers at The Kampong in Coconut Grove gather to make jars of tangy mango chutney using mangos from the many trees on the property. It’s a big job, rooted in tradition. David and Marian Fairchild’s daughter used the recipe to make chutney to sell as a fundraiser in the 1960s. Today, the jars are coveted gifts used during the year.

Today, the process remains the same as it did decades ago, though The Kampong’s recipe remains a closely guarded secret. Mangos – primarily green – are harvested, peeled and chopped and combined with papaya, then cooked in a syrup of vinegar, sugar and spices. During chutney-making days, the vintage orange kitchen is filled with fruity aromas, eye-watering vinegar boiling off, and convivial chatter in the assembly line – timeless sounds and smells of South Florida community.

See our Summer 2013 story here.

Make Norman Van Aken’s Mango Lychee Chutney.Read More

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Dining Deals: Taste of Gables, Restaurant Week(s)

What’s good about South Florida summers? Mango and lychee season, an ever-so-slight letup in crazy traffic and great restaurant promotions. Let’s focus on the third item for now.

The first dining deal of the season is Gables Restaurant Week, actually three weeks (June 8-28) of at least a 20-percent savings on special three-course menus. Coral Gables has always been a great international dining destination – home to French bistros, Peruvian cevicherias, sushi bars, gastropubs, healthy hotspots, Italian trattorias, tapas bars, trendy cafes and much, much more. It’s grown beyond the very pedestrian-friendly downtown business district along Miracle Mile to include the Ponce de Leon corridor from SW Eighth Street south to the Village of Merrick Park, plus centralized valet parking and public garages. The free trolley runs along Ponce during the day till 8pm (till 10pm on Gallery Night, the first Friday of the month), making it easy to hop on and hop off.

So where do you want to eat? One way to get a sampling is at Taste of the Gables, the kickoff event on Thur., June 4 at the Westin Colonnade Hotel. Twenty participating restaurants will be on hand offering samples (vote on … Read More

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Gables Culinary Students Awarded Scholarships

Janise Guyot-Cabada, Ibeth Funes and Ahylin Carballo

For some students, the cooking bug bites early. For such students at Coral Gables Senior High School, the Culinary Arts Program gives them a jump start on their career education. Thanks to the Coral Gables Community Foundation, some talented culinary students who display a passion for cooking and a goal to study the culinary arts after high school also receive scholarship money to further their careers.

This year, each of these Culinary Arts Program students received a $2,000 Culinary Arts Fund Scholarship:

Ahylin Carballo has been a part of Gables’ Culinary Arts Program since her freshman year and understands the importance of working as a team with her fellow kitchen colleagues. She has an interest in French, Italian and Mediterranean cuisines and will study culinary arts at Miami-Dade College later this year.

Ibeth Funes has shown an interest in cooking since an early age. During her time at Gables’ Culinary Arts Program, she has interned at Doctors Hospital and the Biltmore Hotel and has participated in events throughout the community. She plans to study at Johnson & Wales University and pursue a career in the culinary arts.

Janise Guyot has a strong passion

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Burger Brawl 2015: Around S. Florida in 20 Burgers

This simple cheeseburger bears little resemblance to some of the burgers on the Burger Brawl menu.

Oh, there will be burgers at Friday’s Burger Beast Burger Brawl. Burgers topped with truffle sauce, with pulled pork, with kimchi, with provolone. Not one, but two burgers slathered in pimento cheese. Tempura-fried burgers stuffed with cream cheese and bacon. Burgers accompanied by fried pickles, candied jalapeño, bacon jam. Simple burgers served with secret sauces.

Twenty burger joints, plus dessert and snack places, will be serving up their fare at the Magic City Casino from 7-10pm May 15 in this annual event that showcases the best burgers. It is a competition – attendees get to vote on their favorite burger – but it’s also a carefully curated gathering of chef-owners of old and new restaurants and food trucks in South Florida.

“This is the best bet if you want to learn about locally owned businesses,” says organizer Sef Gonzalez, aka Burger Beast.

This year’s contestants have waxed poetic in describing their creations. Consider Pincho Factory’s Quesadilla Burger:  Chuck, Brisket and Short Rib Patty (Schweid & Sons) topped with Fresh Pico, Homemade Guac, Queso Fresco, Crema and Cuddled Between 2 Cheesy Quesadillas. And how … Read More

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Jaboticaba Caipirinha

When this grapelike Brazilian fruit is in season – find it in farmers markets – save some to make this potent cocktail. Photo: Alfredo Añez

  • One handful jaboticaba, cut in half
  • Sugar
  • Ice
  • Cachaça

For each drink, place fruits in a glass and add sugar. Mash gently. Add ice and cachaça and stir.… Read More

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Goat Cheese 
Herb Dressing

Take advantage of our local goat cheese sources. Drizzle over roasted beets, red onion and arugula salad. Recipe: Maria Anselmo

4     oz. goat cheese, room temperature
2     tablespoons plain full-fat Greek yogurt
2     tablespoons light olive oil
2     teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1     tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½     tablespoon honey
1     tablespoon water (or more if needed)
⅛    teaspoon kosher salt
¼     teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1     tablespoon fresh chives, minced

In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients (except chives) until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; add in chive and pulse to incorporate. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Dressing should be thick but pourable. If it’s too thick, add water in small amounts until the proper consistency is achieved.… Read More

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Miso Carrot 
Ginger Dressing

Makes about ¾ cup | Toss this tangy dressing with thinly sliced cucumber, julienned snow peas and sweet peppers or chopped kale salad with shelled edamame, thinly sliced red onion and chopped cashews; or drizzle over roasted bok choy or tatsoi. This dressing will keep up to 3 days. Recipe: Maria Anselmo. Photo: Alfredo Añez

 1½     tablespoons white miso paste
1     medium carrot, chopped, cooked until soft
1     teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1     teaspoon lime zest
2     tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 ripe lime)
2     tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½     teaspoon Sriracha
1         small garlic clove, mashed
1     small scallion, chopped
¼     cup grapeseed oil

Add all ingredients except oil to a small mixing bowl. Using an immersion hand blender on low setting, blend until well incorporated. While blender is running, slowly add oil in a stream and continue to blend until emulsified. Follow the same instructions if using a blender or food processor.… Read More

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Raspberry Vinaigrette

Makes about ¾ cup | Bright in both color and flavor, this dressing complements a spinach salad that incorporates fruits and nuts like apples or orange segments, pecans or walnuts. Recipe: Maria Anselmo

¼     cup fresh raspberries
½     tablespoon raw honey
1     teaspoon minced shallots
2     tablespoons raspberry-infused vinegar
⅛     teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
⅛     teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅓     cup grapeseed oil

Press raspberries through a fine mesh sieve with a large spoon to puree. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together puree, honey and shallots. Add vinegar, salt and pepper and continue whisking until mixture is incorporated. Slowly add oil into raspberry mixture, whisking vigorously until dressing is emulsified.… Read More

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