WBEZ | garden http://www.wbez.org/tags/garden Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Clever Apes: Flavor tripping http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-29/clever-apes-flavor-tripping-97704 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-28/WEB Moto_Vertical_Garden_4.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Vertical aeroponic garden at Moto restaurant (Courtesy of Mike Silberman, A Sust" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-28/WEB Moto_Vertical_Garden_4.png" style="width: 600px; height: 338px;" title="Vertical aeroponic garden at Moto restaurant (Courtesy of Mike Silberman, A Sustainable Reality Productions)"></p><p>We’ve seen and heard some pretty sweet stuff while producing Clever Apes, but in our latest excursion, we got to <em>taste</em> something very sweet. We recently visited the kitchen-laboratories of Chef Homaro Cantu.&nbsp; You may know him from his many appearances on <a href="http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/">television</a>, on the <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/homaro_cantu_ben_roche_cooking_as_alchemy.html">web</a>, or eaten at his restaurants <a href="http://www.motorestaurant.com/">Moto</a> and <a href="http://www.ingrestaurant.com/">iNG</a>.</p><p><img alt="Chef Homaru Cantu in his restaurant iNG (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-28/rsz_homaru_cantu.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 200px; height: 184px; " title="Chef Homaru Cantu in his restaurant iNG (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)">Our tour began in a recently converted former office in the basement of Moto. Cantu has transformed the space into an indoor aeroponic garden. The system works by spraying plant roots with nutrient enriched water. In this case, kitchen scraps are put in a worm composting bin. The nutritious byproduct is then mixed with water and sprayed on the plant roots from the inside of the spinning cylindrical garden.</p><p>Cantu’s restaurants are filled with hi-tech gadgets and other innovations, and he has big ideas about how some of this technology might mean revolutionary changes for the world beyond high end fine dining. The point of the aeroponic garden is not only to provide fresher veggies in the kitchen but to also cut down on the <a href="http://www.pbs.org/e2/teachers/teacher_309.html">“food miles”</a> associated with the food he serves.&nbsp; According to Cantu, his garden is a testing ground that will hopefully prove that this idea is cost-effective and scalable in a way that will get fresher, more eco-friendly food to anyone who wants it.</p><p><img alt="Miracle berry (Flickr/Ola Waagen)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-28/6920711891_6238ce481f_z.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 200px; height: 133px; " title="Miracle berry (Flickr/Ola Waagen)">Another idea Cantu is excited about and is perhaps best known for is the use of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/us/11cncberry.html?_r=1">miracle berries</a>.&nbsp; These small red berries have the “flavor tripping” property of turning sour tasting foods sweet. &nbsp;A glycoprotein called <a href="http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/09/26/how-the-miracle-fruit-changes-sour-into-sweet/">Miraculin</a> is the source of the berries’ superpowers and researchers have recently learned a bit more about how it <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/09/16/1016644108">binds to receptors on the tongue</a> to create that sweetness.</p><p>Cantu uses the berry in his iNG restaurant to create sweet treats without sugar or artificial sweeteners.&nbsp; As you’ll hear in our taste test, lemons taste like lemonade.&nbsp; What does a spoon full of fat free sour cream with lemon zest taste like?&nbsp; Listen to the full podcast to find out.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="This edible paper contains flavor tripping miracle berry (WBEZ/Michael De bonis)" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-28/WEB%20%5Dplat%20with%20sugar.jpg" title="This edible paper contains flavor tripping miracle berry (WBEZ/Michael De bonis)" height="400" width="600"></p></p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-29/clever-apes-flavor-tripping-97704 Aspiring urban gardener? Head to Toronto http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/aspiring-urban-gardener-head-toronto <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-November/2010-11-08/evergreen[2].jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="299" width="400" alt="Evergreen Toronto (photo by Steve Dolinsky)" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-07/evergreen.jpg" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">Some Chicago chefs and restaurateurs have been making steady progress in the effort to run more sustainable businesses.<span>&nbsp; </span>The term &ldquo;urban gardening&rdquo; has been creeping into the lexicon, as chefs like <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-garden/2009/06/rick-bayless-urban-edible-garden.html">Rick Bayless</a> go so far as to grow their own produce or herbs, either in their backyards, or on the roofs of their businesses.<span>&nbsp; </span>Edgewater&rsquo;s Uncommon Ground has been <a href="http://www.uncommonground.com/pages/organic_roof_top_farm_page/124.php">nurturing a rooftop garden</a>, complete with solar panels for extra eco-efficiency within its building.<span>&nbsp; </span>A closer look at Kevin Hickey&rsquo;s menu at the Four Seasons reveals the fact he uses the occasional &ldquo;rooftop&rdquo; herb.<span>&nbsp;</span></p><!--StartFragment--><p class="MsoNormal">Then there are the beekeepers.<span>&nbsp; </span>The Marriot on Michigan Avenue is <a href="http://www.examiner.com/beer-in-national/marriott-hotel-rooftop-bee-hives-provide-chicago-honey-for-wheat-beer">getting into the honey business</a>, monitoring its own apiary; they&rsquo;ve also got a Rooftop Honey Wheat beer being made for them by local brewery Half Acre.<span>&nbsp; </span>Certainly, chefs there have seen that it is, indeed, possible to produce and sell delicious bee nectar, thanks to the fact the Chicago Honey Co-Op has shown success with urban honey production from an abandoned, weed-choked lot on the city&rsquo;s West Side the last few years.</p><p class="MsoNormal">In Toronto recently, I was shown some of the urban gardening operations that seem to be working, but the ones that really caught my attention were more a result of public-private cooperation, than just a single chef&rsquo;s vision for providing a less expensive way to keep mint and basil easily accessible.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><img height="299" width="400" alt="Evergreen Toronto (photo by Steve Dolinsky)" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-07/evergreen2.jpg" /></p><p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.evergreen.ca/en/about/who-we-are.sn">Evergreen</a> is a multi-faceted urban gardening, food service and education facility, with an emphasis on the arts.<span>&nbsp; </span>It&rsquo;s housed in a former brick manufacturing facility, located about 15 minutes from the center of the city.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>They&rsquo;re in the midst of final construction, so we got to see the space fairly raw.<span>&nbsp; </span>Yet their ambition is impressive.<span>&nbsp; </span>The site houses one of the largest weekly farmer&rsquo;s markets in Toronto, and the classrooms, greening projects and other urban gardening endeavors make it a must-stop for anyone with an interest in reclaiming industrial space and turning it into a gem that is accessible to the masses.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.thestop.org/">The Stop </a>is another community center of sorts, except they focus more on food than greening.<span>&nbsp; </span>However, they do maintain an impressive greenhouse, which is used for after-school classes and other volunteer efforts.<span>&nbsp; </span>But the fact you can use their wood-burning oven on-site, or even attend a dinner that contains local products sourced from within 50 miles, makes it a unique destination; not exactly a place tourists would come, but still, the local food community seems to have really embraced it, and the fact they are growing, composting and cooking everything on-site is impressive.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><img height="536" width="400" alt="Fairmont Royal York (photo by Steve Dolinsky)" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-07/fAIRMONT.jpg" /></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;">I also got to see the roof of the <a href="http://www.fairmont.com/royalyork/GuestServices/Restaurants">Fairmont Royal York</a> downtown.<span>&nbsp; </span>Like the Marriot in Chicago, they&rsquo;re raising bees and producing their own honey (excellent on some scones with clotted cream, by the way).<span>&nbsp; </span>But they&rsquo;ve also built quite a few raised beds on roof, and while we were there, they were harvesting away, before the first frost.<span>&nbsp; </span>I shot some video, which you can see here:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><object height="338" width="600"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=16601185&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=c40215&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed height="338" width="600" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=16601185&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=c40215&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed></object><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><img height="299" width="400" alt="Drake BBQ (photo by Steve Dolinsky)" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-07/Drake BBQ.jpg" /></p><p class="MsoNormal">Incidentally, while I was in town, I went to <a href="http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/BBQ">Drake BBQ</a>, connected to the super-cool, hip, Drake Hotel (kind of the antithesis of what we Chicagoans think of when we hear &quot;Drake Hotel&quot;). &nbsp;Think Melrose Avenue meets Lousiville's 21c Museum/Hotel. &nbsp;The food was spectacular, and they only focus on two things: smoked pork shoulder and smoked brisket. Honestly, never thought I'd say this, but BBQ in Toronto really rocks.</p><!--EndFragment--><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 08 Nov 2010 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/aspiring-urban-gardener-head-toronto