The Entertaining Farmgirls take on Spring

The password to get into the dinner party was “Strawberry Wine” and the guests did hope that there would be a glass waiting.  We did not disappoint!  The guests at Wildflower and Fawn’s popup dinner party were greeted with cold glasses of strawberry rhubarb wine from a vineyard in the Palisades.

Shyanne had the idea of writing the menu on the glass pane of the old door in the dining area with chalkboard pens.  It looked whimsical and illustrated the evening’s fare.  Lots of herbs would be showcased in our late spring supper.

Shyanne and I had a vision for this supper club that would incorporate local, organic produce, preferably from my garden.  Fresh, seasonal food prepared in a unique fashion to give party goers something different, something exciting, and a treat to the senses.

The first course was a cool, refreshing strawberry soup to go with the wine.  In a good blender combine a package of frozen strawberries, or other fruit, with a few cups of milk of choice (we used the last of our local goat’s milk), and a 1/2 cup of sugar.  Process than place in fridge until ready to serve.  Pulse one more time before pouring out frothy, creamy soup.

The second course was an easy salad with fresh greens, pickled eggs and beets (click for recipe), and drizzled with the malt vinegar the eggs were in, toasted pecans, and walnut oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  I had a loaf of homemade bread on the table too.  This course was enjoyed with housemade strawberry kombucha.

The next course was a duck egg frittata, eggs compliments of my good friend, Alli (who taught me how to make kombucha!).  The frittata was filled with eggs and fresh herbs from my garden, and grape tomatoes.  Eight eggs, 1/2 cup of milk of choice, 3 Tablespoons of herbs (we used thyme, lemon thyme, oregano, chives, chive flowers, clover flowers, cilantro, rosemary, and sage), and 1/2 cup of tomatoes.  Whisk together, pour into heated oiled pan and cook over medium heat until sides and top are almost set, without disturbing, then place under broiler for five minutes.  This was served with couscous and dried cherries with preserved chokecherry sauce.

This course was served with my homemade chokecherry wine.  How to Make Chokecherry Wine was my number one post last year so those of you who made it may want to know that after sitting on its side for twenty months, oh my gosh, it is sooo good.  Semi-sweet, dry, really good wine.

And lastly, the course we were all waiting for was Shyanne’s cake.  Shyanne took a recipe from the vegan cookbook I wrote some years ago (which is coming back into print) and added minced herbs and lemon.  She deftly minced lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemon thyme.  There was a pile of herbs on the counter for garnish.  I asked her if she had put them in the cake.  She replied that she had put a little in.  “It’s mint, right?”

“Catnip.”

“What?!” she said in horror.  With her yummy lemon frosting and a cup of cardamom coffee, it made for a delightful dessert.

We so enjoy having various folks over to treat them.  Our next supper club is in August and will preview many fresh ideas from our garden.  Sign up early so you can be at the next supper club!  We’d love to entertain you.

Weed Farmer (and Eater)

dandelion field

Beneath the mounds of snow lay sweet foods of nature, that didn’t even need to be planted by human hands.  The once glistening cool snow in all its glittery wonder, bringing us comfort and thoughts of outdoor play is now muddy, mussed snow, with patches of melting ice.  Not as pretty of a sight, but sign that Spring will be upon us any day now.

In the summer we dine on fresh vegetables, directly off the stalk, or chosen carefully off of a farmer’s table at market.  A dash of salt is all that is needed, a leaf of fresh basil finishes sliced, juicy tomatoes.  It does not take much to elevate summer fare.  Brushed with sweet butter and lime on a grill accompanied by a cold beer and surrounded by friends, corn is at its very best.  We eat fresh, we play hard, summer is great for food.

Autumn brings us the harvest.  Warming dishes of soups and heartier fare sneaks onto the table once again as we reenter the kitchen, less sweat and happy to be home.  Winter brings heavier fare as nature would intend.  Even if it is not terribly cold outdoors, our bodies instinctively know to eat up and get through the winter.  Pastas, canned foods, frozen foods, cheese, cream laden soups…..bloat.

lamb's quarters (Lamb’s Quarters)

And then Spring beckons, bringing her own fare.  Dandelions bob their cheery heads, dancing in the still cool breeze.  Lamb’s quarters make a break and attempt their control of the garden.  Their sweet leaves begging for dressing.  Very small sunflower leaves, furry and nutty.  Wild onions, wild garlic, mallow leaves….Spring brings her own picnic basket.

Often folks are so busy clearing all these out to make room for plants that barely survive the climate.  Grass is not as tasty, I assure you.  It is easier, you know, to just go pick the weeds and bring them into the kitchen!

mallow (Mallow)

The greens are tonic, meaning they help the body detoxify and clear out all the heavy foods we put into the body and the excess weight to keep warm.  Greens cleanse the blood stream, help fight free radicals, balance the thyroid, improve digestion, heal up ulcers, and give bursts of energy.  And that is just home grown greens!  Wild greens, like dandelions, have ten times more nutrition than garden greens.  Calcium, magnesium, iron….and great, refreshing taste.

I grow baby greens in pots in the house, so I simply take a handful of lettuce, baby chard, baby kale, and small dandelion leaves, lamb’s quarter leaves, mallow leaves, etc and throw them in a big cereal bowl with pumpkin seeds, and drizzles of sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  Or perhaps I will go with a really great infused olive oil and fresh sea salt.  Just a touch of sugar.  Just a few pine nuts.  The combinations are endless.

dandelion leaf (Dandelion Leaf)

Soon, I will look out the window and shades of sweet green will be crossing the yard, sneaking a stretch to grab some sunlight, and then jumping into my salad bowl.