Summer Chef Series with Gertrude’s

Have you been to Gertrude’s at the Desert Botanical Gardens?  Sure the plants are spectacular, but equally matched is the quality of Executive Chef Matt Taylor’s cuisine.  Gertrude’s is worth a visit even if you’re not going to the garden.  One of the Valley’s most revered chefs, he slugged it out in the heat at this weekend’s market sharing several deliciously refreshing dishes.

Inspired from the menu at Citizen Public House, everyone was eager to taste his Grilled Peach and Romaine Salad with Chorizo Lardons, Mascarpone and Champagne Vinaigrette.  He showed us how simple it is to grill peaches.  When the heat caramelizes the flesh, it creates added sweetness and complexity to these already ultra-sweet and sunny peaches from TJ Farms.

First up, Chef Matt and his team, including a student from the C-CAP program, dished out colorful pickled vegetables including carrots, curried cauliflower, TJ Farms’ lipstick peppers, and cucumbers.  He did a simple demo of how to make pickles at home and proved that you can pickle just about anything. If it’s a veggie, good chances are Chef Matt has pickled it.

While marketeers munched on pickled peppers and hummus, Chef Matt prepared a garden gazpacho featuring Abby Lee Farms red, ripe tomatoes.  Their tomatoes are exceptionally beautiful and added a ruby red to the colorful mix of vegetables in this Spanish cold soup.

Traditionally, gazpacho has bread in it, but being that there is an incredible bounty of vegetables at the market, Chef Matt relied on their pulp to bring body to the soup.  TJ Farms fennel was an intriguing addition, adding a little anise to the final dish.  He also used Classico Italiano Olive Oil, adding it to the vegetables once they were in the blender, creating a creamy emulsion and silky texture with the blended vegetables.

For final presentation, the gazpacho was topped with Crow’s Dairy Peppercorn Chèvre and a drizzle of Sogno Toscano Olive Oil.  Marketeers enthusiastically snatched up samples, served on Artisan Cutting Boards.

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Yet again, we’re impressed with the creativity and skill of our local chefs to create delectable dishes from our market offerings.  Congrats to the raffle winners who walked away with gift cards to Gertrude’s.  The raffle is our small way to give our appreciation to the restaurants who volunteer their time to demo at our market.

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