The intention of our farm dinners is to make the distance between where our food is grown and where it is consumed as short as possible. These dinners also serve to offer a glimpse into our life on the farm, which often includes adjusting to the weather. On Saturday, the threat of rain never fully let up, so we welcomed a group of our friends to eat in our green barn, a place where we often find shelter from a rainstorm. The barn has been used for years by the farmers who take care of the cherries, but with a change in manager it is now available for us to use. Suddenly we have access to a great structure so close to our garden. It serves as an employee break room, tool storage, market goods storage and sometimes-dinner venue.
Food From Garden
Carrots, Beets, Potatoes!, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Green Beans, Kale (baby too), Swiss Chard (baby too), Salad Mix, Dandelion Greens, Peppers, Scallions, Kohlrabi, Radishes, Leeks, Fava Beans, Herbs: Mint, Anise Hyssop, Parsley, Tarragon, Lemon Thyme, Sage, Basil (purple, sweet and lemon), Garlic (uncured and scapes), and Edible Flowers (nasturtium, violas, calendula)
From the Pantry
Bourbon Cherries, Pickled Beets, Jams, Roasted Tomatoes, Pickles
From the Freezer
Kid Goat from Idyll Farm, Pork (Chops, Sausage, Bacon), Chicken from Haymaker Poultry, Tongue of Fire Beans, Roasted Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers
Hopi Blue Corn Flour—Loma Farm (Birch Point Road), Bread—9 Bean Rows (about to open a new place in Suttons Bay!!), Cherries (the best sweets I’ve ever tasted) -- from Gene Garthe
And that became this menu...
Fava Bean and Chickpea Spread with Toast and Radishes
Cold Potato Soup with Beet and Basil
Tomatoes in Garlic-y Cream with Kale and Grilled Bread
White Wine Poached Vegetables with Herb Dumplings and Baby Chard
Braised Kid Goat with Blue Polenta, Blueberry Relish, Herbs and Scallion
Buttery Bundt Cake with Roasted Cherries, Sherry and Sour Cream
Cold Potato Soup with Beet Chips, Beet Oil and Purple Basil
I used our uncured garlic to round out this soup. Uncured garlic is the young garlic that hasn’t yet formed its papery skin. It is the same product as what you find in the store, just younger. I find that this garlic gets super-duper mellow when heated, so I added ½ the amount with the potatoes while they cooked to get that gentle cooked garlic flavor and added the rest raw during blending to get the kick.
I also leave lots of things whole in the recipe (the thyme, the garlic cloves, unpeeled potatoes) because this time of year every minute counts. I wanted to adapt a more labor intensive soup that I would happily hover over in colder months to make it tasty and quick. The only thing that I don’t skimp on when it comes to time is letting the soup sit for a day or two to meld and get better. Plus, since it is cold, you can make it a couple of days before your party and not think about it again until you are ladling it into your guest’s bowl.
½ C olive oil
1 qt new potatoes (substitute Yukon Golds later in the season)
1 onion, sliced into thin petals
½ C white wine (I use Fishtown White from Good Harbor, so that I can enjoy a glass while cooking)
4 cloves uncured garlic, peeled and smashed
3 qt water (or enough to cover the potatoes by 2”)
½ C cream
- Clean the potatoes, but I don’t generally bother peeling because the soup will be strained in the end. Cut them as much as you’d like. The smaller the cut, the quicker the soup will cook. I cut the new potatoes into ¼’s
- Heat the olive oil until just shy of smoking
- Add the thyme (as whole sprigs) and remove from heat, tossing the herbs until it is fried and crispy. With a tongs, remove the whole sprigs and add the onion with a good, hearty pinch of salt
- Return the pot to medium low heat and sweat until translucent
- Add the wine and potatoes and toss. Allow the wine to fully evaporate before adding the water
- Bring the pot to a boil and cook until the potatoes break easily when pushed with the back of a spoon
- Blend the soup in a blender, just until the potatoes are smooth (the longer you blend and agitate the potatoes the more likely it will have a gluey texture, so a light hand is advised)
- Pass the blended soup through a fine mesh sieve
- Add the cream and taste adding salt and pepper as desired. Remember that because the soup is going to be served cold it will take more salt to taste good as cold dulls flavor. You can always add more salt on the day of serving too but the longer it has the salt the better.
1 large beet
1 C olive oil
1 tsp salt
- Wash the beet to remove the dirt
- Place onto a large sheet of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil and salt
- Wrap up and place into the oven at whatever temperature your oven is already at. (I like to roast a bunch of beets when I already have the oven on so as to be the most energy efficient—both in terms of the gas used in the oven and my own energy levels)
- Cook until the beet is very tender when pierced with a pairing knife
- Rub off the skins with a paper towel
- Mash the beet and place into a blender with the oil and salt and blend until smooth
3 beets, tops removed and dirt washed away
- Preheat oven to 450F (400F if using convection which will help crisp the chips)
- Slice the clean beets incredibly thinly (a mandolin is the most useful tool)
- Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
- Spread out onto a sheet tray lined with tinfoil or parchment being sure that the beet rounds don’t over lap (if they overlap, they will steam and not crisp)
- Bake until the rounds are wrinkly and crisp to the touch. They will continue to crisp after they come out of the oven, but the danger is in being under cooked not so much in over-cooking. Approximately 15 minutes
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely
- Taste and sprinkle with more salt as desired
- Store on clean, dry paper towel in an air-tight container (a humid day will foil the best chip making intentions)
- If you are fancy and have a counter-top fryer (or a friendly restaurant that will let you use theirs) you can skip all of these steps and simply deep fry the chips at 350F.
To Serve the Soup
Ladle the cold, tasty soup into a bowl, drizzle with beet oil and top with a few beet chips and torn purple basil.
I added a turn of fresh black pepper too because the soup called for it, and I liked how it looked.
White Wine Poached Summer Vegetables with Baby Chard
This recipe is based off of Vegetables a la Greque, which I first made at Vie restaurant under the tutelage of Paul Virant. He is particular (and rightly so) that the veg be cooked medium—so that they have their raw edges removed but still a healthy crunch. Any mush should be discarded (or turned into staff meal as the case may be).
I’ve listed the vegetables we used for the dinner, but you can use any veg that you have around. The most important thing is to cut the veg so they are the same size and cook equally, and then cook each type of vegetable separately because they will cook at different rates. It sounds persnickety but is really important. To organize yourself, clean and cut each type of veg and keep it together. Then all you have to do is poach one, remove it and then cook the next. It goes fast, just requires preparation and a bit of organization.
I served this warm, but chilled it is an incredibly satisfying summer lunch. You could even toss in some cooked faro or chickpeas or French lentils for added protein and stomach filler.
1 qt green beand, ends snapped
1 qt zucchini, cut into 2” wedges
3 bunches carrots, washed and cut into 2” pieces
2 C water
2 C white wine
¾ C lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
a bay leaf or two and some thyme sprigs, tied together to make a packet
2 bags baby chard, cleaned and cut into ribbons
- Clean and cut all your veg and keep each separate
- Bring all other ingredients to a boil
- Add the veg types one by one and cook until not raw but still have a good bit of crunch. (The carrots will take the longest, then the zukes then the beans. The beans will go slightly dark green, counter to cookbook photography, that’s ok.)
- In a large bowl lay the cooked vegetables over the chard and then dress with as much of the poaching liquid that you like. (I like it a bit soupy because it feels more satisfying, but that’s just me.)
- Allow the chard to wilt a bit (about 3 minutes but not too particular, it can’t overcook) and then toss all together with your hands or tongs
- Taste and adjust the seasoning
To serve guests, I garnished with a garlic scape aioli, poached herb dumplings and lovely edible flowers. To serve myself, I would just eat out of the big bowl.
Thanks to everyone who came to try-out our second farm dinner of the season. Special thanks to Erik Hall for the photos and attention you've given to our website; Will and Gaia for coming and sharing the goat that you lovingly tend day in and day out; Danielle for your help setting up, serving and breaking down; Jess for growing our farm and making it possible for me to focus on these dinners.