Throw Your Own Farm Dinner

photo (72)Summer is in full swing! That means the garden is at its peak, the farmers markets are bursting with a rainbow of colors and fresh produce, the sun is setting later leaving a blanket of stars and warm nights filled with the flickering fireflies. What better way to celebrate the summer than to grab your closest friends and throw your own farm dinner! You don’t have to have an extravagant six course meal with wine pairings! You can have a good ole Eastern Shore shin dig right in your back yard using local produce from your local farms and wineries.

Things You’ll Need:

  • A fun guest list, a time, and a place.
  • Large table and enough chairs for people to sit
  • Table cloth, plates, silverware, cups and wine glasses
  • A menu and recipes for dinner
  • Food, wine or spirits
  • Lanterns, candles, flowers, music

Plan your menu ahead so you know what you’ll want to have for each course and also be prepared. Focus on what’s in season during the time you hold your farm dinner. Summer has the best selection for fresh produce, tomatoes, squash, peppers, melons, and berries are at their peak. If you have your own garden, choose one recipe that you could use your own harvest or visit your weekly farmers market or closest produce stand to purchase your fruits and vegetables. Find a local brewery or winery in your area to use for spirits. Make your own porch iced tea that has been brewed in the sun all day. We’re in prime fish and seafood season during our summer months. Buy from local crabbers, seafood distributors, or fisherman, (If you’re lucky enough to know someone in the trade, invite them to your dinner maybe they’ll bring something to help with the main dish!)

Chose 3 or 4 dishes, when you’re planning your menu so you don’t spend so much time in the kitchen and more time with your guests. Summer is perfect for cold dishes so pick one or two you can prepare ahead of time. Appetizers and desserts are perfect for preparing earlier before your guests arrive. Need some ideas? How about Caprese Salad, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella smothered in olive oils, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and fresh basil. What about raw Strawberry Cobbler or grilled peaches with homemade whipped cream for dessert? Make your own salad dressing, marinades, or sauces for your main course. Chose fish, chicken, or crab for your main course, they take less time to cook and tend to have easier recipes.

Set your table. Have fun with it! The more mismatched your plates, silverware, and glassware the more rustic and fun it will be. Find a great place in your yard, driveway, porch, or even inside to hold the dinner. Decorate your table with a tablecloth, flowers, or candles. Place flat ware, silverware, glassware and desired places for each guest. Make sure you have a chair for each person coming also. Need a little light and ambience? Use lanterns or tiki torches. You can even put place cards out or let people sit wherever they’re comfortable.

Have your guests arrive 30 minutes before dinner. Let them mingle and enjoy a cocktail while you put the finishing touches on the first course. Have everyone sit down when you’re ready, give a toast, share some great stories and lots of laughter, eat slowly, enjoy your company, and indulge in all the incredible sights, smells, and tastes of summer!

 Back Porch Lavender-Peach Sun Tea

  •  5-6 green tea bags
  •  3-4 fresh peaches
  •  2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
  •  2 tablespoons honey
  •  1 lemon- sliced
  •  2 tablespoons chocolate mint (more sprigs for garnish)
  •  Ice

Bring water to a boil. In a pitcher add tea bags, pour boiling water into pitcher and let steep for 15-20 minutes. In a separate container using a tea strainer, add lavender and mint, then steep for 8-10 minutes. Compost used lavender and mint leaves. Add lavender and mint infusion to pitcher with tea bags. Add lemon slices and honey. Stir well. Let tea sit in the sun for an hour or more too cool and absorb all the flavors. In a mason jar, add ice and pour tea. Garnish with mint sprigs.

 

 

 

 

Summer Slaw

slawSummer is perfect for all those summer veggies! Sometimes there’s so many from the garden it’s hard to actually be able to use them all before they start to go bad. So, those are usually the days I’m searching through the fridge and scouring the counter for things I need to start using, which always opens the door to new recipes and trying different things. Loving all the summer produce, it’s the perfect time to eat lighter, go raw, and put healthy spins on our favorite recipes. This slaw recipe is perfect for the beach, bbqs, or just for your everyday lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 3 carrots-shredded
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • fresh cilantro- roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Chop cabbage, zucchini, red onion, a bell pepper. Shred carrots. Add everything to a large bowl. In a glass jar add vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake well. Pour on top and mix well. Top with fresh cilantro. Plate, serve and enjoy.

Point Reyes Bleu Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms

www.farmfoodieandfitness.comI can hardly wait each summer for the squash and zucchini to start growing just so I can pick the blossoms off to grill, roast, or saute them. Add creamy goat cheese or one of the best bleu cheeses I’ve ever eaten! This recipe for Point Reyes Bleu Cheese stuffed  Squash Blossoms will knock your socks off! Change up your cheeses or add a topping sauce if you wish!

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 3-5 Squash Blossoms
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Point Reyes Bleu Cheese
  • pinch of sea salt

Rinse squash blossoms in cool water. Open the blossoms slightly and stuff with bleu cheese. In a saute pan add olive oil and saute on medium heat until the cheese melts. Add pinch of salt, plate, and serve!www.farmfoodieandfitness.com

Grilled Peaches and Balsamic Glaze with Homemade Cinnamon Whipped Cream

www.farmfoodieandfitness.comThis recipe is a must have for the summer, especially now as peaches are coming into their full season! Simple, fast, and one for the books you can impress your friends with this one! ;)

Peaches:

  • 4-5 fresh peaches
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar

Half and pit peaches. Place on grill on medium to high heat. Flip once as they start to caramelize. For balsamic vinegar, boil on stove, then immediately lower to a simmer for 25 minutes until it becomes thick and syrupy. Place grilled peaches on a plate. Pour glaze over peaches. Top with whipped cream

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 3 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg

In a metal bowl, whip almond milk, Greek yogurt, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg with electric beater or by hand. (By hand will take a lot longer) Beat on medium until it thickens.

Garden Tomatoes with Green Goddess Dressing

www.farmfoodieandfitness.comHere come the tomatoes finally! After the winter the Mid-Atlantic had we’ve had to wait a little longer for our gardens to catch up. But these perfect sweet things are popping up by the dozens and eagerly ripening. I seriously eat tomatoes like candy. I can just slice a couple of Beefsteaks, add a pinch of salt and pepper and that will be my lunch! Here is a little twist on some dressing that’s healthy, garden fresh, stocked with herbs, and perfect if you’re looking for a little different taste here and there. Use “Green Goddess” for dipping your veggies, marinade chicken or pork, or just top salads with this yummy goodness!

Salad

  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 2 red Beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Pear tomatoes
  • 1 cup Red Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 black or purple Krim tomatoes
  • 2 orange Golden Girl tomatoes

Grab every color of tomatoes you can. I just gave a few examples of names of the ones I grow in my garden. The more colors, shapes, and sizes the more beautiful this dish turns out! Slice, quarter, and even leave the little tomatoes whole, it makes no difference. Place them on a plate and smother with green goddess dressing.

 Green Goddess Dressing

  • 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup fresh chives
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper

Place garlic in blender and blend well. Add one cup yogurt, basil, chives, parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne and blend. Add last cup of yogurt and blend again until smooth. Store remaining dressing in refrigerator up to a week.

 

 

 

Mixed Berry BBQ Sauce

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This BBQ sauce is perfect for everything from grilled chicken to wings and pork to burgers. Switch up your fruit as the seasons change and change it up all year long! Try figs, peaches, or even apples! Just playing in the kitchen with different flavors and ideas can make the best dishes! Hope you love this one!

 

 

 

BBQ Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh blackberries
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves-minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 dried bay leaf

Pulse blueberries and blackberries, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, and salt in a food processor until pureed. Make sure to scrap down the sides. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat, add garlic for 30 seconds then add berry puree. Whisk in cup of water and add bay leave. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt, discard bay leaf. Spoon into a jar and refrigerate.

 

Watermelon-Mint-Cucumber Fizz

Perfect for a hot summer day, this isn’t your typical plain-ole tap water! Put a spin on your water intake with this Watermelon-Mint-Cucumber Fizz! You’re bound to fall in love!

Makes 2-3 Servings

  •  ½ cup pureed watermelon
  •  ¼ cup  fresh peppermint
  •  ¼ cup chopped, peeled cucumber
  •  1 cup sparkling water
  •  2 sprigs of mint for garnish
  • Ice

In a blender puree watermelon, cucumber, and mint. Pour sparking water into a pitcher. Add ice and watermelon, cucumber mixture. Stir. Pour into ball jars and garnish with sprigs of mint.

Celebrate Summer like a “Marylander”

www.farmfoodieandfitness.com“Marylanders” celebrate summer big! We wait all year for our little blue friends to come back into season and late June and early July kicks off the best 5 months of the year… Crab Pickin’ Season! Born and raised as a “Shore Billy,” (that’s what they call us in the surronding cities) we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by water on all three sides of us. The Atlantic ocean and Chesapeake Bay cut into the land and give us the peninsula we live on and the closest big city is a 3 hour radius all the way around. So, from my house, in 5 minutes I can be on the beach one way and go 5 miles inland I am surrounded by farmland and corn fields. So I guess you can say I have the best of both worlds!

Over the winter, we “Marylanders” tend to go a little haywire without our fish, clams, oysters, and of course our crabs. Once summer comes we go in to full swing of corn boiling, beer drinking, and crab pickin’. We’ll pay any amount of money to get them or you can even find most of us on a weekend afternoon, dropping hand lines of chicken necks into the shallow waters, hoping to scoop one big enough up into the net and throw into the pot. Even if’s it’s just for a little taste!

So, now that summer is finally here and the corn is quickly growing and local breweries are buzzing. You can celebrate like a Marylander this summer. shuckin’ corn, pickin’ “jimmies,” and sipping on your favorite brew. You can even slice up some warm garden fresh tomatoes, add a pinch of salt and pepper at you’ve got the perfect summer dinner!ff80f2314b521a264c9af65c2a72b616

Crab steaming recipe:

  1. Get a dozen of heavy, meat filled crabs. Add to a large crab pot, 2 cups of water and a can of your favorite beer. Put in the separator, then add crabs, cover and bring to a steam.
  2. Once the crabs have turned a dark red color they’re good to go. Cover their shells in “Old Bay.”
  3. Set the table with old newspapers, crab mallets, melted butter or apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, fresh steamed corn, and a beer. Dump the crabs in the middle of the table and enjoy the summer evening with your company and pretend you’re from Maryland if you aren’t! :)  Happy Summer!

Solstice Greens & Cannellini Crostini

Wow! Summer Solstice is here anwww.farmfoodieandfitness.comd gone already! Summer is in full swing! Now, if we could only slow it down! My family and I decided to celebrate summer solstice this year a little different. It was a cloudy day at the beach so we headed to mini golf,(Luckily everyone still has their teeth having a 2 year old with a golf club!)Then we grabbed all the ingredients for this healthy dish, made homemade ice cream sundaes, and we finished the night off running up and down the streets in our pajamas chasing and catching fireflies. I know the kids were having a blast, but I think I actually had more fun!!! I didn’t really want to cook or spend a ton of time in the kitchen, but wanted something hearty and filling, so I threw together this little recipe, it’s really all we needed to feel full and satisfied…well the sundaes helped with that too! ;)

This recipe is perfect for a quick and healthy summer dish when you’re strapped on time, not in the mood to cook, or just want something lite in the heat of the summer!

Ingredients:

  • French Baguette
  • Fresh curly organic kale- washed and de-stemmed
  • 1/2 can Cannellini beans
  • 1 clove garlic-minced
  • small chunk of Italian Pecornio cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Slice baguette into crostini size bites. In a hot skillet add olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and stir together. Place bread onto infused oil in pan until bread becomes crusty. About 3-5 minutes. Make sure to do both sides! Set aside
  2. In the same pan add a little more olive oil and add Kale. Saute kale till is starts to wilt, add in cannellini beans. Mash beans a little to absorb the oils. Just cook until they begin to warm.
  3. On a plate stack, bread, kale and bean mixture. Top with chunks of Pecorino, season with salt and pepper. And serve.

Quick, easy, filling, healthy, and perfect for a summer night of chasing fireflies!!

 

 

 

Winemakers Dinner at Oberod Estate-MidAtlantic Food and Wine Festival

www.farmfoodieandfitness.comA few weeks ago, I was asked if I would like to attend the Mid-Atlantic Food and Wine Festival’s, Winemakers Dinner at Oberod Estate in Centreville, Delaware. Ironically, weeks before I was desperately trying to find tickets to go to one of the 46 events the food and festival would be holding. Events included everything from farm dinners, beer tastings, pop-up dinners, black tie events, and even the Winemakers Dinner in the beautiful Oberod Estate. Little did I know that I would get an invite over Twitter to attend this amazing Winemakers dinner with over 10 traveling chefs and award winning winemakers.

This five course meal serving 27 anticipating guests included everything from Crispy Fried Sweetbreads to Butter Poached Maine Lobster to Duck Confit and Gluten-Free Flourless Chocolate cake. Chefs and Sous Chef traveled from all over to prepare and serve our incredible dishes. And there’s no way you could possibly forget the wine pairings to go along with these divine morsels! Three boutique winemakers from all over the world including the Champagne and Organic Wines from South Africa. www.farmfoodieandfitness.com

We traveled through the winding hills in the heart of Delaware’s Chateau Country, once we reached the top of the hill, there stood the breath taking Oberod Estate. I was so excited I could barely wait to get out of the car! This gorgeous home was surrounded with even more stunning views of the countryside. The gardens were covered in lush, green grass, a beautiful sunset cascading behind the hillside, along with a warm spring night, made this dinner completely unforgettable!

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