design-inspired urban farming

Farmscape and Chef Ray Garcia of Fig Santa Monica

This weekend, we attended A Sustainable Kitchen cooking demo with Ray Garcia, head chef of Fig Restaurant in Santa Monica. He prepared two beautiful tomato dishes to take advantage of the fact that we are in full blown tomato time. Our buddies at Farmscape provided all the tomatoes for the event.

Tomato Madness
Photo Credit: Todd Seligman

There were several varieties of tomatoes used at the event including, Cherokee Purple, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Mr. Stripey, Sungold, and many other heirloom varieties.

At the Sow Swell Farm, we’ve been going out every day to harvest our tomatoes.  Which is why we are dying for some great new ways to show off our beauties.  If you have a tomato plant, your plant is probably full of rich fruit. You’ll get the most yield and best tasting tomatoes if you harvest often. So harvest your tomatoes today and make these two easy recipes for lunch or dinner. They are so incredibly bright, fresh and taste just
like summer.

During the demo, Chef Ray prepared two gorgeous recipes, a Summer Panzanella Salad and Heirloom Tomato Caprese with Hand stretched Mozarella and Pesto.  All recipes courtesy of Ray Garcia.

Summer Panzanella Salad
Photo Credit: Todd Seligman

Summer Panzanella Salad with Caper Berries and Arugula

Serves 6


1 Baguette

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

Heirloom Tomato Caprese with Hand Stretch Mozzarella and Pesto
Photo Credit: Todd Seligman

Serves 6


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)

Chef Ray transforming the mozzarella curds into mozzarella balls
Photo Credit: Todd Seligman

4 oz. Grated Parmesan Cheese

2-3 lbs Assorted heirloom Tomatoes

Salt & Pepper as needed

For Mozzarella:

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.

For Pesto:

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.

For this particular demonstration, Chef Ray rolled pesto into the mozzarella creating a savory jelly roll that was then sliced and plated.  Also a delicious and beautiful presentation option.

One comment on “Farmscape and Chef Ray Garcia of Fig Santa Monica

  1. Pingback: Making Fresh Ricotta « design-inspired urban farming

Sow, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 30, 2012 by in Cooking, Tomatoes and tagged , , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: