Good Eats from the Garden

On Saturday, we hosted Alex and Sonja for dinner (as part of our alternating-month culinary adventures) and cooked up a feast inspired by a) our garden and b) Alex and Sonja's preference to eat vegetarian and local. Each dish was completely veg-friendly and contained key ingredients from our garden. It has been such a joy having a bountiful garden this summer, as well as sharing it with our friends!

For a little amuse-bouche to start the evening, we proudly presented Eliza. She may not be edible, but she is from our garden and is quite amusing! Alex and Sonja enjoyed it!
Our real first course was a delicious cold gazpacho that featured jalapenos, yellow bell pepper, basil, cilantro, parsley, and garlic from our garden. It would have featured tomatoes too, but something ate all of ours when we were on vacation. Instead we got some great orange tomatoes from the farmers' market.

The next course featured okra. We have grown so much okra in the garden this year (it's so easy!) that we had to work it into the meal. We also wanted to do something different than our standard sauteed okra or fried okra. Instead, we sauteed okra, tomato, corn, and onion and served it over toasted bread. Kind of like a bruschetta in that way, it was very good, and the flavors of okra, corn, and tomatoes go together well.
For the main course, we tried something new. After making a delicious lamb loaf the other week, we decided to try our hand at a meatless meatloaf. We found this great recipe online, and I must admit I was skeptical at first. A loaf containing nuts, cheese, mushrooms, and brown rice didn't sound bad, but it also didn't make my mouth water. Well, I was quite wrong! This dish was spectacular, and I would eat it again anytime. The garden items featured were parsley, thyme, marjoram, sage, and garlic. These definitely weren't the main ingredients, but the herbs really packed a lot of punch! I wish I had grown my own shiitakes to include, since they are quite tasty (and I certainly enjoyed sauteing up the leftovers for a snack). We also served the loaf with Swiss chard, which we have growing abundantly in our garden, too.
We learned from Alex and Sonja that some culinarians (yep, made up a new word!) serve a cheese course before dessert, so we did as well. Really, it was just an excuse to share an amazing cheese we found at the farmers' market. The cheese, from local goat cheese creamery Capriole Farm, was called Mount St. Francis. Of course, if you're really hip, you can make your own cheese like Alex and Sonja!
For dessert, I toiled over the limitless options. Having not used my ice cream maker as much as I should have this summer, I decided to try my hand at a new sort of ice cream...gelato and frozen custard. So I found this recipe and though it is more frozen custard than gelato (it's go eggs), it was simple and delicious. Since our garden doesn't contain cows or sugar cane, I worked in our harvest by garnishing the custard with a couple raspberries from the backyard (our one bush almost died, had a transplant, and then eventually produced a little bit of fruit in its first year).

Overall, this was our most balanced meal we've prepared in a while, and definitely the most "under control." This means a lot since it was our first meal made for Alex and Sonja with Eliza distracting us :). It also helped that the gazpacho and frozen custard could be made earlier in the morning.

1 comment:

Sonja said...

Great summary of an amazing meal! Thank you so much for making it for us :) It's always such a pleasure to get together...I'm so glad it's now become something of an institution! (Maybe we need to come up with a title for it...?)