As I leaned against the counter slipping dark skins off of silky blood red beets, it suddenly hit me that not everyone loves to cook four course dinners for three strangers. Sure, it benefited the farm, but there are certainly less time consuming ways to support a neighborhood farm.
About a month ago, I had the privilege of planning a four course dinner, sourcing all of the vegetables from Whitelock Community Farm, and cooking the meal, which Justin served to three diners at the farm. They earned this dinner by donating the highest amount for a fundraising campaign we ran last year, and their prize was this dinner.
A four course dinner would have been daunting during another weekend, but this came after a restful night away while my in-laws stayed with Evelyn. They also played with her all day and kept her company so that I could spend the day cooking and preparing the meal. It was actually relaxing, and I was so well prepared that, before our diners arrived, I laid on the couch waiting to get started. I don’t think I have ever been so well prepared to serve a fancy dinner.
It was fun but a little challenging to plan the menu. I wanted each course to feature farm produce, but in mid-May, there is not a lot of produce to choose from. I did not want to use produce from the grocery store or from other farms, because I love the idea of dining at a farm where the meal is sourced. Here is the menu I came up with, if you’d like to see:
This was a lovely salad to make by slicing the radishes very thinly on a mandolin and using young radish greens. People have mixed feelings about radishes, but these were colorful without too much bite. The olive oil and white balsamic paired well with the fresh greens, and Celtic sea salt added a salty crunch here and there.
One of our diners was gluten free, so I made the entire meal gluten free. Polenta is a hearty alternative to wheat. I used this recipe for the polenta, but I didn’t use the full amount of chicken stock because I didn’t have it. I also used slightly less liquid so that the polenta would firm up easily. The arugula was delicious, and prosciutto is always amazing. I would have preferred fresh figs instead of dried if they were in season. The dried figs were a little too sweet.