There are few things better than spending a beautiful Spring day playing in the dirt, but added to the fun by teaming up with Concentric Restaurant Group to create a one-of-a-kind, gardener-meets-foodie experience. This Garden to Table Chef Event was held at all Atlanta-area Pike Nurseries and featured presentations by gardening associates from Pike Nurseries on vegetables and herbs and how to plant them. These instructional sessions were followed by cooking demonstrations by local chefs from Concentrics Restaurants like One Midtown Kitchen, The Spence, and Room at Twelve.
At the Toco Hills location of Pike Nurseries, Ian Winslade, Executive Chef of Murphy’s in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, made a quick fresh vegetable soup with handmade basil oil. His easy-going manner and charming British accent added to the allure as he casually chopped vegetables and explained how he makes his basil oil, “First I blanch the basil leaves, shocking them in ice water after a few minutes in the boiling water. Then I squeeze the leaves to remove as much water as I can and put them in a blender with olive oil and blend for 5 minutes until hot.” He is a huge proponent of “farm-to-table” cuisine as evidenced by his healthy and easy recipe for garden fresh vegetable soup.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Yukon Gold potato, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup white wine (heated and reduced by half)
Fresh beet leaves, Swiss chard, or kale, julienned
1 bouquet garni
Basil oil for drizzling
Carefully wash and peel vegetables. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and begin sweating the onions, carrots, and celery. Then add potatoes, bell pepper and squash and simmer until tender.
Season lightly with salt and then pour in stock and infuse with an herb bouquet (fresh herbs tied with kitchen twine and steeped in the soup like a tea bag).
Simmer for about 10 minutes and then remove the herbs and add the white wine reduction stirring to mix well. Remove pan from heat and add julienned greens. Serve into soup bowls and drizzle lightly with basil oil and serve immediately.
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