This month, Still Hungry? brings you two very talented Albuquerque chefs, who are intimately familiar with our local soils and all it yields—or doesn't—as their dishes are brought straight from the earth to the plate. Chef Carrie Eagle of Farm & Table tells us that this year, in this heat and drought, produce is struggling in the dry earth, but the onions are prolific. And snpired by the bounty, she's shared with us her Sol Harvest Farm French onion soup.
Since the sorrel is the star ingredient in Chef Carrie Eagle’s soup she wanted Farmer Ric Murphy of Sol Harvest Farm (which is on-site at Farm and Table) to join the conversation and let me know why they both have a crush on it. Just what is sorrel? Ric: “It’s a perennial herb; it has a heavy citrus flavor and looks like a tall piece of spinach.” Ric is able to grow it year-round at Sol Harvest, as it “can survive a mild winter.” Carrie says she “shied away from it initially,” but now embraces it. “It can brighten up any soup that has cream or fat in it. It lifts it and gives it a beautiful citrus, lemon flavor.” While a chef ’s herb garden is not uncommon among local restaurants, few of them have an entire farm in the backyard. “The farm informs most of the menu,” Carrie says. “It’s one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs.
Braised Duck Tamales
The name says it all. Farm and Table. Fresh local food brought right to your table. Sound perfect? Yep, that’s the idea. They source local ingredients (over 80 percent of the menu) and design their menu to highlight them. They believe in the community that grows our food and supports it. They compost and recycle. Think it’s a gimmick? Think again, they have their own farm. They employ a full-time farmer and even raise and sell their own cattle. You can’t get more genuine than that. One of the things I enjoy most about the menu at Farm and Table is that not only do they use local ingredients, they reinvent our beloved dishes. They are true to the heritage of New Mexico. The Braised Duck Tamales are a fascinating combination of delicately braised duck, apples, green chile, pomegranate, sage, butter and masa. It’s unlike any tamale I have ever eaten.
Chef Johnny Vee Wants to Know
May 30, 2014: Local Flavor
"With the arrival of warm weather and summer just around the corner, foodies are getting excited about the new produce at farmers markets around New Mexico and the crops they hope to reap from their own gardens. Restaurateurs, too, gear up for this bountiful season, particularly at one very special dining destination in Albuquerque’s North Valley. At Farm & Table, which opened in 2012, owner Cherie Austin and her team of chefs, staff and farmers are dedicated to what has become a national movement, the celebration of local, organic, sustainable food. To Cherie, the farm-to-table concept is not a trend but rather “how she rolls.” I spoke with Cherie about how she pulls it all together. My favorite quote: “I don’t work with pirates.”
Chef Johnny Vee: When you were planning the concept for your restaurant two years ago, did you feel you were following a trend or starting a new one? And how essential was the farm–to-table concept to your business plan?
Cherie Austin: Farm and Table’s philosophy and mission are entirely hinged upon local and sustainable ingredients. I don’t believe utilizing local ingredients to be a trend at all, despite its growing popularity. On the contrary, I believe working with local farmers and utilizing seasonal ingredients that are sustainable, and grown and raised to be that, is as back-to-the-basics as it gets. My family has been in the Alameda Valley for over seven generations. Like most here in New Mexico with deep histories, they grew up raising and farming their own food. I’m inspired by our elders to bring back good food—and to employ the most creative culinary professionals to take it to another level...."
Read the full Local Flavor Article here - http://www.localflavormagazine.com/chef-johnny-vee-wants-know-3/
Farm & Table's Rustic Quinoa Salad
March 7, 2014: Local Flavor
"Cherie Montoya Austin, owner of Farm and Table in Albuquerque, offers up “this delicious and healthy salad, [which] can be made using local ingredients almost all year round in New Mexico. It’s layered with hot and cold ingredients [and] topped with a golden fried panko-encrusted goat cheese croquette..."
Read the full Local Flavor Article here - http://www.localflavormagazine.com/farm-table-rustic-quinoa-salad/
the BUZZ by Kelly Koepke
December 2013 / January 2014: Local Flavor, page 10
See the full Local Flavor issue here - http://issuu.com/localflavormag/docs/webissue_dec2013reduced_5011479cceb584/11?e=6039535/5912311
Still Hungry by Melyssa Holik
August 2013: Local Flavor, page 45
You'll be keeping it cool with our collection of recipes designed to ward off the scorching desert temperatures.
See the full Local Flavor issue here - http://issuu.com/localflavormag/docs/august_issue_2013-web/1?e=6039535/4280863
Albuquerque Power Chefs Call Their Faves
December 2012: Local Flavor, page 38
Cherie Montoya Austin of Farm & Table - Moules Roquefort steals Cherie's heart
At Farm & Table, one of Albuquerque’s newest and most compelling restaurants to hit the scene, the real story is roots. As Cherie Montoya Austin likes to tell firsttime visitors, “My dad—there’s the founder of our feast!”
The sweet adobe building housing the restaurant and its modest farm abut the property’s nine-acre alfalfa field. Located in the heart of the North Valley, where rich soil is fed by the Rio Grande, this area has traditionally been home to sprawling, bucolic agricultural land with big spreading trees. About ten years ago, as commercial interests began to encroach, Cherie’s father bought what is now the family’s property to preserve it from being developed for housing. “He did it out of his love for this valley,” says Cherie, who, along with her sisters, grew up in the area.
Currently, there are five generations of the family who live within a two-mile radius. People in the Valley, including her grandparents, grew most of what they ate. Cherie herself was raised to appreciate food made from scratch using local ingredients, mostly homegrown. And she remembers that slower, more relaxed time when people knew their neighbors and the community thrived on its resilient web of interconnections.
With a background like that, Cherie is the perfect person to successfully execute a plan for a restaurant like Farm & Table. Along with her husband, Joseph Austin, she opened it a scant few months ago, and so far it’s been slammed every single night. With its focus on sophisticated and simple, elegant dishes crafted with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients (including those from the eatery’s farm out back), a democratically run kitchen in which everyone’s ideas are encouraged, genuine hospitality (“Come find your place at the table!” says their website), and the fervent desire to be a cornerstone of the community, Farm & Table offers diners a culinary concept they have obviously been hungering for.
story by GAIL SNYDER
photos by KATE RUSSELL
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There are whispers of a new local food restaurant waiting in the wings. Farm & Table is slated to open on North Fourth, and, as its name suggest, it promises food fresh from its own farm. The details on the budding eatery are sparse right now, but what I can glean from Farm & Table's Facebook page is this: There will be seasonal menus, beer and wine, art and music, and brunch. There will supposedly be breakfast, lunch and dinner service as well, but brunch is the most important one. We need more brunch spots in this town. Until I find more about this promising upstart, keep your eyes on the web. 8917 Fourth Street NW, www.facebook.com/farmandtable
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