Creating meals with ingredients straight from your garden

PHOENIX - Executive Chef Ken Arneson and Executive Sous Chef Nate Brown specialize in making dishes with the herbs and vegetables they grow in the garden at Rico's American Grill in Phoenix.

Chef Ken regularly hosts luncheons at the restaurant located at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort to teach people about the benefits of growing organic and using fresh garden ingredients in the dishes you make at home.

He says gardening can be done year-round in Phoenix, but this is the prime season.

Chef Ken says this is a good time to plant fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, and basil. Also, leafy greens like butter lettuce and spinach along with carrots and radishes tend to do well this time of year.

Keeping your soil alive is key to having a good garden. Chef Ken says you can use composting to help start your garden.

He also says to consider planting things like rosemary and lavender because they act as insecticides and help protect the other plants in your garden.

Sous Chef Nate Brown says creating dishes with ingredients you grow in your garden can be convenient, healthy, and tasty.

Here's a recipe that Chef Nate shared that you can try at home:

Shrimp Rolls

4 each Mustard Green Leaves

6oz Raw/Peeled/Deveined Shrimp 21/25 size or smaller

1C Quick Grits

2C Chicken Stock or Broth

.5C Fresh Corn cut off cob

1 T Chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Season a large pot of boiling water with salt, then blanch mustard greens for 30 seconds.  Remove from boiling water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process

Drain leaves and spread them out in between paper towels to dry.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, sauté shrimp with 1T  oil

Add corn, grits, and ½ the stock

Let the grits cook and absorb the stock, stirring about every 30 seconds.  Add more stock when needed.  The grits should take 5-10 minutes to cook.

Add parsley and season

Beet Salad

4oz Golden Beets, small diced, either boiled or roasted

4oz Red Beets, small diced, either boiled or roasted

2oz Fresh Goat Cheese

2 spears Asparagus, cut to 2", either grilled or blanched

Toss beets and goat cheese together until well combined


Mound Beet salad in corner of plate

Cross asparagus over the beets

Roll up the grits inside 2 of the mustard green leaves and lay the rolls on top of each other in opposite corner of the plate

Drizzle plate with an herb or olive oil and balsamic vinegar

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