Farm Dinner 8/2

The Room

The Room

Sweet Cherries are Here!

Sweet Cherries are Here!

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

August is a time warp month for me—it flies by with lightning speed but when looking back on the year, seemed to have lasted forever. It is when all of the summer vegetables and fruits are available and when I remember the summer I feel like those foods were available for such a long time but really, they are only available for a blink of the eye.

This was the first time I’ve really used mulberries. My friend Julia Brabenac has the most beautiful mulberries growing in her yard. But even the best mulberries are so mild that I find them difficult to pair with other foods. A former chef of mine once told me, “Our jobs as cooks is to take food and help it out by turning the volume up.” I decided to add a very mild pickle to the mulberries to lift their flavor and make them stand up to two of the best things coming out of the garden right now—radicchio and beets.

We are also at the height of fruit harvest season around here. I was craving a simple dessert that would show off the blueberries and cherries that are just coming in. Additionally, we have more and more people who are eating gluten free these days. A pavlova is a great way to show off great fruit and is naturally gluten free, meaning that no one is missing out despite their dietary restrictions!

So here’s to dinner in early August.

From the Garden

Beets, Carrots, New Potatoes, Kale, Chard, Salad Greens, Radicchio, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Purplette Onions, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Summer Squash, a few Bell Peppers and a few Hot Peppers.

From the Pantry

Onion Jam, Pickled Green Beans, Pickled Carrots, Peach Jam, Strawberry Jam, Ginger Plum Relish, Rhubarb Honey Jam, Blueberry Aigre Doux, Pickled Tomatoes, Pickled Apples, Eggplant Relish and Pickled Eggplant

From the Freezer

Pork, Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers, Pureed Eggplant, Tongue of Fire Beans, Lardo, Autumn Olive

From Our Neighbors

Goat Cheese, Fromage Blanc, Blueberries, Raspberries, Cherries, Cornmeal, Honey, Cream and Butter

And that became this menu…

To Start…

Camembert with Eggplant Relish and Swedish Cracker

For Dinner…

Green Beans with Garham Masala Yogurt and Crispy Chickpeas 

Beets with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette, Pickled Mulberries and Radicchio

Grilled Walleye with Summer Squash, Herbs and Rye Bread Salad

 Sausage, Bean, Tomato and Pepper Ragu with Broccoli and Polenta

 For Dessert…

Pavlova with Blueberries, Cherries and Peach Fool 

Beets with Radicchio, Goat Cheese Vinaigrette and Pickled Mulberries

1 bu beets, roasted until tender

1 head radicchio


4oz fresh goat cheese

1 purplette onion (or shallot)

1/3 C redwine vinegar

4oz olive oil


1qt mulberries

1 C water

½ C sugar

1 T salt

½ C sherry vinegar

½ C redwine vinegar

To make vinaigrette

  • Mince shallot, add a pinch of salt and red wine vinegar and let sit for 10 min
  • Whisk in goat cheese and then olive oil
  • Taste and adjust as desired. The vinaigrette should be acidic from the vinegar but not too puckery. Add more olive oil and salt as needed.

 To pickle mulberries

  • In a small saucepan combine water, sugar and salt.
  • Heat to dissolve
  • Add vinegars and pour over mulberries
  • Let sit overnight before serving
  • Mulberries will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge
  • (The leftover liquid makes a great base for a dressing or can be combined with soda water for a refreshing beverage.)

 To plate

  • Cut the beets into wedges
  • Cut the radicchio into quarters and remove the core then cut each quarter into thirds
  • Lay the radicchio petals on the plate
  • Lay the beets next to the radicchio, resting the beets just on the radicchio for added height
  • Sprinkle the beets and radicchio with a pinch of salt and turn of pepper
  • Drizzle with the goat cheese vinaigrette—remember that this is the dressing for the whole lot, so don’t be too skimpy
  • Dot the plate with the pickled mulberries

Pavlova with Cherries, Blueberries and Peach Sour Cream

When recipes call for egg yolks only, it feels like a true shame to pitch the whites, and so I save them no matter what. But that shameless frugality can lead to jars and jars of egg whites in the back of the fridge. Meringues are a perfect way to use up those stray egg whites. Pavlova is the classic meringue dessert of Australia often paired with tropical fruits and always has a creamy center. I use sour cream instead of the traditional whipped cream to help cut the sweet of the meringue. This time of year when the blueberries and cherries still have a bit of tartness to them, I love pairing the sweetness of the meringue against the fruit and the creaminess of the sour cream.

This recipe is based on the Cook’s Illustrated Pavlova recipe. On average, one egg’s white is 1oz and so don’t worry about the count of egg whites in your long lost jars, just measure it out in ounces.

As for vanilla, I like the Massey Vanilla Paste. It is a combo of vanilla seeds and extract. It has delicious flavor and I love the dark vanilla seeds dotting the meringue. You can use any sort of vanilla extract to replace the paste, but when there are so few ingredients, it is worth it to use the best you can find.

4oz egg whites, room temperature

¾ tsp vanilla paste

¼ tsp cream of tarter

1 C sugar


1pt blueberries

1 C cherries (I like the balaton half sweet, half tart variety but sweets will work too)

1 sprig of mint, torn into little pieces (if you can’t find mint simply omit or substitute another herb you like—basil, lemon balm, thyme)

1 C sour cream

1 C peach jam

  • Preheat oven to 225F
  • Whisk egg whites, vanilla paste and cream of tarter until foamy
  • Increase speed to medium high and, while whisking, add sugar in a steady stream
  • Let mix until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks
  • Spoon a blob of the meringue on to a parchment lined sheet tray
  • Repeat until out of meringue (usually makes about 8 good sized blobs, but make as many as you are serving)
  • Dip a spoon in water and make a divet in the center of the meringue
  • Bake until meringues are dry to the touch and have a few cracks along the service (about an hour and a half or so)
  • Turn the oven off and let meringues dry out. I left them in the oven for an additional 2 hrs
  • Gently lift from the parchment paper and store in an airtight container. Meringues, if stored this way, will keep for at least a week.

 To plate

  • Whisk sour cream and peach jam until well-combined
  • Toss the blueberries, cherries and torn mint
  • Place meringue on center of plate
  • Spoon peach sour cream onto center of meringue
  • Top with a handful of the berries and serve


Thanks again to all who came to the dinner and shared our farm with us. Thanks too to Andrea Diebler and Annie Comperchio for helping out. And Annie again for taking photos along the way.