From a little garden perched over a wash next to the resort's pool area, Raymundo Ocampo grows enough produce to feed two separate restaurants.
The landscape manager at Westward Look resort has maintained the chef's garden for over a decade now, priming it with massive leaves of collard greens, fat bulbs of turnips and Asian pear trees blooming delicate white flowers.
The fact that he can get so much utility out of a desert landscape doesn't seem to surprise Raymundo, a native of Oaxaca. With the help of specially-place stones that absorb the heat from the sun and radiate warmth in the evenings, it's actually very easy. On our latest visit, we spotted fava beans, broccoli, artichokes, several varieties of cabbage and even an avocado tree.
If you'd like to pick a little of his brain, the University of Arizona landscaping instructor also gives garden tours for the public. (To arrange a time, call the Westward Look's front desk at 520-297-1151.) Then after you're tired of all this eye candy, you can head over to GOLD and put some in your mouth!
Garden-fresh Asian coleslaw from GOLD chef Antonio Rodriguez
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons Mirin, or white wine
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
For the slaw:
- 1 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
- ½ cup thinly sliced green cabbage
- ¼ cup sliced red cabbage
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
- ½ cup green onions
- ½ cup julienned turnip
- Optional: ½ cup thinly sliced bok choy, ½ cup bean sprouts, ½ cup julienned snap peas
In a small saucepan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ginger and garlic. Lightly sauté until ingredients are lightly browned. Add brown sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Sauté for 5 minutes and remove from heat. When cool, whisk in remaining olive oil, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.
Mix all vegetables in a bowl and toss with dressing.