Monday, January 9, 2012

O'o Farm

My post today is a bit different.  This is kind of like the travel edition of Navy Blue Kitchen.  As I mentioned in my most recent post, I was on vacation in Maui last week and I have to tell you about O’o Farm.  Also, I am back in Boston now and missing warmth so this is my way of continuing to live in fantasy vacation world (also an excellent diversion from the piles of reading I have ALREADY been assigned). 

The owner of Pacific’O and I’O (two gourmet restaurants in Lahaina) started O’o Farm in 2000 in an effort to increase the restaurants’ supply of local produce.  A few years ago, the farm started hosting tours of their eco-friendly, organic, and sustainable setting.  This intrigued me- and when I found out the whole excursion culminated in a farm fresh lunch prepared by a gourmet chef I was completely sold. 

The tour was fascinating and the lunch was incredible.  The chef served roasted root vegetables with seared tofu, Mahi Mahi with sweet Maui onions and spinach, and a mixed greens salad (picked by us!).  Oh and the most amazing part of the meal was her sea salt and rosemary focaccia bread- especially delicious for sopping up olive oil.  Dessert was biscotti and French press coffee (from the farm’s freshly roasted beans!). 

I befriended the chef and she gave me an overview of how she prepared everything.  The recipe below is my best attempt (with a few changes).  I didn’t make the focaccia this time but I promise to take on the endeavor this summer!  The root vegetables are generously seasoned with rosemary and thyme- a truly delicious combo.  I have actually been avoiding rosemary recently because it can be so overpowering, but now it has won me back over.  The other big surprise for me was rutabaga!  It adds a mild sweetness that balances out the earthiness of the beets.  

A portable chicken coop that naturally fertalizes the land.  Just like Polyface Farm in Omnivore's Dilemma!
Now for the most exciting part- I am going back to Maui in March (best part of law school = spring break) and the chef said that I can come shadow her while she prepares lunch for a tour group!  I’m so excited!! Maybe I will stay on permanently as her assistant…I think Maui is a better fit for me than Boston.

Click here to print this recipe

3 beets, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
2 sweet carrots (preferably multi-colored), peeled and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
1 rutabaga , peeled and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 bunch rainbow chard, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the beets, carrots, and rutabaga with about a tablespoon of olive oil, sea salt, and half of the thyme and rosemary.  Spread on a large baking sheet and roast for about an hour, tossing every fifteen minutes or so. 

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and stir.  Add the greens and toss until they wilt.  The greens will need to braise for about a half hour- check on it occasionally and water (about a ½ cup at a time) to keep it from burning.  When they soften, add the lemon zest and a quick squeeze of lemon juice. 

Remove the root vegetables from the oven and toss with the greens and the remaining tablespoons of thyme and rosemary.  Season generously with sea salt- don’t skimp. 

Freshly picked salad

Click here to print this recipe

4 filets of Mahi Mahi (or other white fish)
1 lb spinach
2 sweet onions
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup basil, cut in chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the spinach in the bottom of the pan with onions, toss with olive oil, lemon zest, and sea salt.  Place the filets on top of the vegetables and bake for approximately 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with lemon juice and basil.

Coffee Beans

Coffee Bean Roaster
Adorable turtle (this was not at the farm, but he is just so cute I had to include it)

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