On an acre of green at the 24th Street Elementary School, The Garden School Foundation runs their own Garden Classroom, a permanent learning place for their programs designed to teach kids in L.A. more about cooking, nutrition, health and community. Complete with orchards, veggie beds and a garden shed, GSF’s Garden Classroom made a storybook-setting for their recent start-of-fall gathering featuring our culinary obsession, Heirloom LA.

Guests arrived to fresh peach mocktails and garden-fresh bites by Chef Matt Poley and were later sat at gorgeously dressed tables with Casa de Perrin settings and wooden bowls over-flowing with Moon Canyon‘s florals and fruit.

We can’t think of a more perfect match than this foundation that teaches kids about all things garden and this team of catering wonder-workers who pull straight from their own garden and work with the best farmers in the region. Guests left the evening with gift bags made by the children with little thank you notes and seed packets, but not before being treated to a few courses of Chef Poley’s drool-worthy creations, including this special cauliflower risotto. Below, Heirloom LA owner, Tara Maxey, shares the recipe…

Koda Rice is really special and can be found at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Wednesday mornings. It is a local rice that is so creamy that it tastes like it was cooked with butter. Any rice for risotto can be substituted, but the Koda Rice will make it over the top. Also arugula with a lot more lemon can be substituted for the purslane, but purslane grows like a weed and is pretty enough to use as garnish, so plant some in a pot! We love to use multi-colored cauliflower here, but white, while less dramatic, can certainly be substituted in. Enjoy!

Heirloom’s Koda Rice & Cauliflower Risotto
Serves 6-8


For the rice:
1 qt (32 oz) cooked Koda rice (brown or white)
1 head purple cauliflower
1 head gold cauliflower
1 head green cauliflower/cauliflower Romanesco

For the cauliflower bisque:
2 sprigs lemon verbena
1 lemon, halved, deseeded
1 white onion, diced
1 cup sliced garlic
1 cup white wine
1 potato, peeled and diced
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
cauliflower scraps and stems from rice ingredients
1 qt (32 oz) vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper, to taste

For the purslane salad:
2 cups sorrel, cleaned and sliced
2 cups purslane leaves, cleaned
1 cup lemon basil or sweet basil
1 lemon
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste


For the rice:
Over a large mixing bowl, use the largest holes on a box cheese grater to remove the cauliflower exteriors until you reach the white stems. Do this for all three cauliflowers. With the stems, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside to make the bisque, discarding the lower stem where the cauliflower is cut from the ground. Reserve rice and grated cauliflower until ready to serve.

For the cauliflower bisque:
In a large sauce pot, combine extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon verbena, garlic and onions and sweat over medium heat until translucent. Add cauliflower and potato pieces, season again with salt and pepper, and cook an additional 5-7 minutes or until cauliflower becomes coated and begins to caramelize the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with white wine, bring to a simmer and add stock.

Squeeze lemon into the pot and toss in the rind. Simmer 25-30 minutes. Remove lemon verbena and lemon rind and discard. With an immersion or standard blender, blend the cooked cauliflower, stock and all remaining items in pot until smooth.

For the pursulane salad:
Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and season to taste. Reserve for garnish.

To serve:
Bring cauliflower bisque to a simmer, add grated cauliflower and rice and stir with wooden spoon to coat. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until it begins to bubble. You may need to add additional stock or hot water. You can also finish with a little lemon juice to taste. Serve risotto with sorrel and purslane salad on top and a little drizzle of olive oil and flaky sea salt.

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