Farm Dinner 9/6-7

Tomato Season at its Finest

Tomato Season at its Finest

Our Traverse City Market

Our Traverse City Market

Carrots of all Colors

Carrots of all Colors

The point of our farm dinners is to take the best of our market stall and create a delicious 5-course meal to be eaten within steps of where that food is grown. 

Right now my favorite food coming out of the garden are tomatoes and carrots. Every year market goers ask for tomatoes all summer long, and then when the tomatoes are at their finest, inevitably after Labor Day, people are looking toward the squash and potatoes of fall. While this phenomenon is a bummer, it is also a blessing in disguise because then we get to roast and preserve our tomatoes for winter eating. 

Similarly, carrots are my favorite summer to fall transition vegetable. They take a lighter summer touch and, as the days cool, find their way into heartier roasts and braises to fend off the evening chill.

These two vegetables were my favorite two courses from our last round of farm dinners. And now that it is after Labor Day, we can all take a nap and not feel so guilty about it!


From the Garden

Beets, Carrots, Potatoes, Kale, Chard, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Sweet Onions, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Summer Squash, Bell Peppers Hot Peppers, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Cucumbers and Herbs.

 From the Pantry

Blueberry Chutney, Strawberry Jam, Plumberry Jam, Pickled Carrots, Pickled Green Beans, Tomato Sauce, Rhubarb Honey Jam and Pickled Tomatoes.

From the Freezer

Spicy Sausage, Ground Pork, Ham, Venison Loins, Rabbit Loins, Tongue of Fire Beans, Roasted Peppers and Roasted Tomatoes.

From our Neighbors

  • Carlson’s of Leland: Smoked Lake Trout
  • Idyll Farms: Goat Cheese
  • Shetlers: Yogurt and Cream
  • Betty Popp: Blueberries and Blackberries
  • Basil Stowe: Apricots and Peaches
  • Black Star Farms: Late Harvest Reisling

And that became this menu...

To Start

 Idyll Farm Crottin with Blueberry Chutney

For Dinner

Smoked Lake Trout Brandade with Kohlrabi, Cucumbers and Rye Crackers

Roasted Tomato Gazpacho with Yogurt and Mint Oil

 Grilled Carrots with Beet Ricotta, Almonds, Apricots and Basil

 Sausage Ratatouille with Kale and Cornbread

 For Dessert

 Peaches, Blueberries and Blackberries with Riesling Sabayon and Gingersnaps


This dinner was also extra special because it epitomized the community around us that helps me create these dinners. I rent commercial kitchen space from Jim and Toni Beaton of TLC Tomatoes. I share that space with Heather from Third Coast Bakery, who makes delicious gluten free and vegan baked goods. Jim and Toni were able to come at sit and eat what their space is integral in producing. And through their space I found some of the best Gingersnaps in the world made by Third Coast featured on this dessert!

Roasted Tomato Gazpacho with Mint Oil and Yogurt

 This recipe is based off from the gazpacho that I learned from Sandra Holl at Floriole Bakery. Before tasting Sandra’s gazpacho I always thought that it was like eating watery salsa and who wants that. Floriole blends their gazpacho and in the final blending emulsify some olive oil to give this vegan soup a rich, creamy mouthfeel to balance the acidic edge of the tomatoes. Floriole always used fresh, very ripe tomatoes that have the extra water squeezed out. I like to remove the water by roasting the tomatoes first and this is a great way to use the tomatoes we freeze in the fall.

Ballymaloe, where I went to cooking school, always paired tomatoes and mint together and I have never lost the affection for that flavor combination. And I turn the bread into croutons with a good amount of olive oil to add the toasty flavors and some fat to the soup.

2 qt roasted tomatoes

1 onion

1 bell pepper

2 cucumbers

3 cloves garlic

salt and pepper

½ C olive oil

3 slices good white bread


For mint oil

1 bu mint

½ C olive oil

  • Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and toss liberally with olive oil and toast until golden brown
  • Slice all the vegetables into smallish pieces and combine into one bowl.
  • The vegetables don’t have to be super small because everything will be blended until it is smooth, but the smaller they are the less work the blender will have to do and generally the smoother the soup will be.
  • In the blender (I use a vitamix and love it) blend the mint and olive oil until smooth
  • Transfer the mint oil to a squeezy bottle or container
  • In the same blender combine the vegetables, croutons and tomatoes and blend in batches until smooth
  • In the final batch, drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify
  • Cool and then taste adjusting the salt as desired

 To Serve

  • Ladle the soup into a bowl and drizzle with the mint oil and yogurt


Grilled Carrots with Beet Ricotta, Apricots, Almonds and Basil

This dish came about because I really love pink food. I think it is both beautiful and hilarious to make food reminiscent of pepto bismol. And building from that I wanted more purples (basil and carrots) and oranges (apricots and carrots) and then apricots and almonds just go so well together. Voila a dish is born!

1 bu carrots, various colors

1 beet, roasted

8oz ricotta

6 apricots, cut into 1/4’s

1 bu basil, purple is the most dramatic

¼ C almonds, toasted

  • In a food processor, blend the cooked beet and ricotta until smooth. The more beet added the darker the color will be
  • Cut the carrots into large but uniformly sized pieces
  • Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill till charred on the outside and mostly tender
  • While they are on the grill combine the apricots, torn basil, toasted almonds with olive oil salt and pepper
  • Taste and if it tastes flat, add a drop or two of sherry vinegar or lemon juice
  • On a large white plate, shmear the magenta ricotta
  • Pile the carrots slightly offset from the cheese
  • Scatter the apricot salad and then drizzle the whole thing with the best olive oil you can find