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Archive for the ‘chef’ Category

Hani Khouri tosses a fresh batch of tabouleh.

Saturday, Nov 10, 2012
11:00 am – 2:00 pm

You’ve seen him in his Panama hat frying up falafel at GrowFest and other events, or perhaps bought his goat cheese. But did you know that Hani Khouri is also a masterful chef who specializes in Mediterranean cuisine?

Here’s a rare chance to take a cooking class with Hani and learn how to make three tasty dishes — falafel, tabouleh, and a goat cheese dessert. The event includes a buffet lunch, and all attendees will get a recipe book.

Hani’s Mediterranean Organics sells organic hummus and baba ganoush, goat cheeses, and tropical fruit goat milk ice cream made with milk from his herd of free-range Nubian goats. His delicacies are available at the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market and through the Redland Organics CSA as an add-on share.

Cost for the lunch/cooking class is $75 per person, or $60 per person for groups of four or more. Register and pay online at the Youth L.E.A.D. web site.

All class proceeds go to benefit Youth L.E.A.D.’s food justice programming, which provides training and employment for low-income youth at farmers markets and community gardens.

Location:
Coral Gables Congregational Church
3010 DeSoto Blvd. (across from Biltmore Hotel)
Coral Gables FL

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It’s that time again to make your reservations for this season’s Dinner in Paradise. The series of gourmet dinners at Paradise Farms sells out fairly quickly, and for good reason. Each event features the finest chefs in Miami preparing a delicious five course meal made with local organic products (most grown at Paradise Farms) and paired with fine wines. The magic and charm of the lush edible landscape creates a uniquely intimate dining experience under the stars.

“Each year, we donate proceeds to a local charity or organization philosophically in line with our vision of sustainable, healing, and healthy organic food,” said owner/farmer Gabriele Marewski. “This year we are sponsoring Urban Greenworks, and Slow Food Miami.”

Arrive at 5:00 pm for a cocktail reception and farm tour, followed by dinner at 6:00 pm. After March 10th, the cocktail reception starts at 6:00pm and dinner at 7:00 pm. Dress is upscale casual.

Each dinner is $165.00 per person + tax and processing.

Reservations are required, and can be made and paid for online. The cutoff is noon on the Friday before the dinner, as the farm crew harvests accordingly. Please inform the farm of any allergies at least 48 hours prior to the event so that the chefs can accommodate you.

Paradise Farms Organic is only open to the public during these special events.

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(Part 2 of 2)

Two Sundays ago, the second day of GrowFest!, I took a break from selling seedlings at the Bee Heaven Farm tent to stroll around and visit some of the vendors. It wasn’t all plants at GrowFest!. There was plenty to try and buy, much like a farmers market.

Melissa’s new book is available for pre-sale.

The first tent I saw when I entered the park belonged to Urban Oasis Project, one of the event sponsors. Had a chance to chat with Melissa Contreras, founder of the local non-profit. She is extremely knowledgeable about growing food, and spent the last year writing her new book, Organic Gardening in South Florida, and Marty Mesh wrote the foreword. It will be published by the University of Florida Press in February 2013, and is available for pre-order for the reduced price of $25 at the Urban Oasis web site.

Organic farmer Gabriele Marewski (left) at the Paradise Farms tent with some of her flax crackers and organic herbal teas.

Since I have limited space for growing plants on my Balcony Farm and didn’t want to get too many, I was more interested tasting local food and drink. And there was plenty of it on hand, almost all made using locally sourced ingredients. Paradise Farms Organic had an assortment of flax seed crackers called “jump food,” (a play on “junk food”) but their dried oyster mushroom snacks were very popular and sold out before I could nibble on a crumb. Farmer Gabriele Marewski also offered a line of herbal teas made from dried herbs and flowers grown on her certified organic farm.

Grower Sal Santelli with samples of his candy-sweet organic mamey. Bet you can’t eat just one bite!

Got to savor the sweetest mamey grown by Sal Santelli of Health and Happiness Farm. Hope he didn’t notice that I sampled more than one piece from the tray he had set out. Sal was quick to point out that he’s the only commercial grower of certified organic mamey in South Florida. He also had avocados, sunflower sprouts, pea shoots and arugula for sale. (Bee Heaven Farm CSA members have gotten his sprouts in their shares the past season.)

Salt farmer Midge Jolly with samples of salts, spices and sponges.

Nearby was the Florida Keys Sea Salt tent, where salt farmers Midge and Tom offered tastes of different kinds of salt harvested from seawater gathered from a flowing channel between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Midge told me that they’re the only artisan sea salt farmer south of Charleston. Each package of salt is labeled with the date and celestial event/holiday when it was harvested. Midge explained that the season and weather have a great deal of influence on how the seawater evaporates, and what kinds of flavor nuances and texture the salt develops. She also brought buttonwood smoked salt (my favorite), gomasio, and seaweed-flax crackers. Brought home a packet of her newest product, an incredibly aromatic spice blend called Kopan Masala that is sure to liven up anything I’ll cook. You can find their salts at various shops in the Keys, several farmers markets, or order online. (Florida Keys Sea Salt is also available as a Bee Heaven Farm CSA share add-on.)

Miguel Bode has a wide assortment of local and Florida honey.

Two beekeepers, Miguel Bode and Rigo De La Portilla aka the Tattooed Beekeeper, were selling their honey. Miguel Bode keeps hives at Bee Heaven Farm and Paradise Farms, among other local spots. His wildflower honey (which I have been buying for years) is available to Bee Heaven Farm CSA members either as part of their share or as an add-on.

Rigo De La Portilla, The Tattooed Beekeeper, and his wife Eliza with honey, lip balm and other handcrafted bee products.

Rigo gave several demos on backyard beekeeping on both days, and brought sample hives. Over at his tent, along with different size bottles of wildflower honey, I found candles and balms and other beeswax products which his wife Eliza makes. I smoothed on a rich, honey-scented lip balm with propolis that immediately soothed my lips, and sniffed the delicate scent of honey and goat’s milk soap. Eliza aka The Tattoooed Beekeeper’s Wife has a wide assortment of bee products that can be ordered online at her Etsy shop.

In the Battle of the Sliders, the reigning champs: grass-fed beef sliders prepared by Chef Adri Garcia.

Several people were selling juices and water, but the best drink of all was a lightly sweetened, aromatic allspice tea at the Urban Oasis Project tent. The refreshing tea with the spicy, addictive flavor was brewed from leaves of a plant grown by Melissa. “I grew the allspice myself from a seedling purchased from the UM Gifford Arboretum about eight to10 years ago,” she said. “The tea is a popular item at our potlucks. I have also made it into a homemade soda — tropical root beer!”

In the Battle of the Sliders, the contender: grilled crab cake prepared by Jason Mira of Native Conch.

My eating and drinking tour concluded at the “food court” of several prepared food vendors and picnic tables. Over at the lime green and pink Native Conch trailer, Jason, George Mira’s son, made me a grilled crab cake made from lump crab meat mixed with panko crumbs. It was tasty but I still love their conch salad. The line for falafel wraps and jackfruit curry (which sold out quickly) at Hani Khouri’s tent was a mile long, but I was too hungry and impatient to wait.

Took my growling stomach to Chef Adri Garcia’s tent to get some Florida raised grass-fed beef sliders seasoned just so. They were topped with sauteed onion and peppers, and served with a local mixed greens salad from Paradise Farms, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Not bad for festival food! For dessert there was Roc Kat Ice Cream, a recent addition to the local food scene. I had hoped for a scoop of pineapple brown sugar ice cream, but it had sold out. Roc Kat sells handcrafted ice cream all around town, so look at their site to track them down.

Farmer Margie with the last serving of jackfruit curry. But I got a taste and it was good…

What’s a festival without music? Around the corner from the food court the music tent was set up. On Saturday, kids from the Robert Morgan Education Center String Chamber Ensemble played. The talented teens were really quite good! On Sunday, local singer-songwriter Grant Livingston sang his original playful and witty songs about life in Florida, including my favorites “Homestead” and “Armadillo.” Oh-ee-oh-ee-oh!

Robert Morgan Education Center String Chamber Ensemble

Singer-songwriter Grant Livingston

(Additional vendors and exhibitors not listed earlier in the vendors post, or mentioned above, were Edible South Florida and Tropical Fruit & Vegetable Society.)

Cuckita “Cookie” Bellande and her husband. Their Rochelois Jams are made from locally grown tropical fruit, and the flavors are worthy of a happy dance. Try monstera, jakfruit, and calamondin.

If you missed GrowFest! this year, it will be back at the Fruit and Spice Park again next year. “Yes, we’ll do it again,” Margie said. “This will be the ‘go to’ place to gather what you need to grow and garden. Next year, we can plan on even more types of seedlings (or seeds) and plants, fertilizer, garden tools, pots, etc.” If you missed out on getting tomato and vegetable seedlings from Bee Heaven Farm, “we’ll have some starts when we return to Pinecrest in December,” Margie added.

To see more pictures, check out the GrowFest 2012 album on my Facebook page, and the Bee Heaven Farm’s Facebook page.

At the Bee Heaven Farm tent.

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May 13th, 2012
11:00 am – Farm tour
12:00 pm – Lunch

This is the last Brunch in Paradise for the season! It’s is an ideal outing to celebrate Mother’s Day. Begin with a light tour of the farm by owner Gabriele Marewski. Then enjoy a delicious upscale family style meal made with local organic products, sourced as much as possible directly from the farm. Each brunch features fresh eggs, homemade yogurt, fresh seasonal fruit, and mimosas prepared with South Florida flair by Chef Kira Volz.

Tickets:
$53.00 for adults, $15 for children under 12 + tax and processing fee. Free for children under 2. Online reservations are required. 

For information email Info@paradisefarms.net or call 305.248.4181

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About 50 people registered for the Slow Food Miami Farm Bike Tour last week. It was a pretty good day for a bike ride, and even better for munching your way around the neighborhood.

The Miami Herald sent a reporter/photographer, who took pictures at Bee Heaven Farm and Paradise Farms. Some pictures are published in the Homestead/South Dade print edition of Neighbors today. Or, look online to see a slideshow of the event.

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