Summer Chef Series with Tarbell’s

Our Summer Chef Series has been an incredibly rewarding experience for us here at the market.  For eight weeks we have witnessed, first-hand, the strength of our local community and the uniting force of food.  From the farmers and vendors to the restaurant chef demos to the enthusiastic market shoppers, none would exist without the others.  We appreciate all of you for being a part of this mission and keeping us inspired.

This week’s featured restaurant in our Summer Chef Series was Tarbell’s.  Owner Chef Mark Tarbell is a nationally recognized chef who has been doing farm-to-table cooking since before it had a name.  He has always understood that good food comes from outstanding, market-fresh ingredients treated with expert technique.  This is exactly what you can find at his Phoenix restaurant, a staple of our local dining scene for twenty-one years and that’s what his team did at the market today.

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.

Chef Matt Fenton, Director of Food & Beverage at Tarbell’s, showed our enthusiastic marketeers how to create ricotta from scratch.  The most surprising part about making ricotta?  It’s incredibly simple!  All it requires is whole milk, salt and lemon juice.  Chef Matt explained that the lemon impacts the PH in the milk, causing the proteins to separate and create ricotta, leaving behind the whey.  The only special tool that is required is cheesecloth, which you can find at any restaurant supply or speciality kitchen store.

Next, the Tarbell’s team used the fresh ricotta to make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with fresh Oregon huckleberries.  The ricotta gave the pancakes a light, fluffy texture and a sweet creaminess, a perfect contrast to the tangy, bright huckleberries.  Never tried a huckleberry?  They are similar to blueberries, but with an extra bite.  Tarbell’s expert beverage team is known to use huckleberries regularly in cocktails at the restaurant.

This team didn’t just stop at one dish, though.  They went all out, serving three other bites and hand-shaken lemonade.  One of the crowd favorites were the petite caprese bites featuring McClendon’s Select campari tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and house-made basil pesto.  I was personally a big fan of the handmade caramel corn by Sweet Keek’s, a company owned by Chef Matt’s wife Carrie.  Other folks raved about the creamy eggplant hummus on flatbread.  With this over-the-top bounty of treats, the team won over the crowd, two of whom won $50 gift certificates to Tarbell’s and two to The Tavern.  Our weekly raffles are our contribution to say ‘thank-you’ to the restaurants for donating their time and talents.

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We’re sorry if you missed this week’s demo as it was obviously extra special, but we’ll be at it again very soon at our weekly home at North Phoenix Baptist Church.  Get all of the details about upcoming events and demos by subscribing to our weekly e-mail list and follow us on social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram).Stay in the know by subscribing to our weekly e-mail list and follow us on social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram).