Entertaining

Farmer’s Market Booty

IMG_0564
The waterfowl of Farm Pond had been our alarm clock for over two weeks. We’d been renting a home, built in 1900, with an unobstructed view of Farm Pond and the Nantucket Sound beyond. Early mornings had found us on the wraparound front porch, steaming cup of coffee in hand, dogs snoozing by our side, while we sit quietly and watch the pond’s feathered friends perform for us. It’s how we’d like to begin everyday of our lives, but alas, we had to leave Martha’s Vineyard. 
My goal this trip had been to hit as many of the island farms as possible, and I’m happy to report that I made a sizable dent. The only down side to having so many beautiful/quaint farms at your disposal is that one (being me) tends to over buy. Every piece of produce looks so gorgeous that I have a hard time walking away. A few days ago I picked up way too many ears of fresh corn (they were just picked, so who could blame me?) and I spent days trying to use up all those beautiful kernels. I’d put them in salads, on crostinis, in salsas, inside of omelets, you name it, and I’d put corn in or on it.
Every islander knows about the fantastic West Tisbury Farmer’s Market held in The Grange Hall, on State Rd, every Wednesday and Saturday from June until October (Wednesdays are from June until late August). I’d made several trips during our two weeks and loaded up on a menagerie of artisanal items. You can find blended teas, products made with lavender, soaps, salves, sea salt, herbs, orchids, pies, locally farmed meat, eggs, island made cheeses, and the list goes on and on. Who knew there were so many talented individuals living on one small island?
It being summer on the Vineyard, we had a house full of people the entire time we were on the island, so spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen. I love to feed people, so I’m not complaining, but the name of the game those days was fast and fresh.
After perusing the market last Saturday, I came home with some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, just picked peaches, fromage frais (a soft creamy cheese, and my latest obsession), freshly laid eggs, basil, bread, sweet Italian sausage, herbs, and some lunch ideas to feed a hungry crowd.
IMG_0568

IMG_0583 

If you’re looking for a fast, nutritious, juicy, wake up your mouth kind of thing, this crostini is right up your alley. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare 10 to 12 crostinis –
1 loaf of fresh bread
1 large heirloom tomato
2 ripe peaches
1 jar of fromage frais (subsitite with fromage blanc or softened goat cheese)
Sea salt
Fresh basil to garnish
Slice your bread thick enough (how much bread depends on how many hungry mouths you’ll be feeding) that it can hold a spoonful of delicious topping without giving way. Lightly toast and let cool.
Dice your heirloom tomato and peaches and place in a bowl. If you have any leftover deliciousness (doubtful) when you’re done feeding your peeps, pop it into the fridge for those late night feeding frenzies. Or you could use it later as a salad. Add a little burrata or goat cheese? Maybe some greens?
IMG_0585
Spread fromage frais on the toasted bread, then spoon a bit of the tomato and peach mixture on top, sprinkle on some sea salt, and garnish with a chiffonade (fancy word for julienne) of fresh basil. So easy and tasty.
Alongside the crostinis I served a frittata and some sweet Italian sausage patties. Here’s the recipe for the frittata –
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
10 farm fresh eggs
2 baby leeks (white and light green parts only), washed and minced
Fresh goat cheese
2 small waxy potatoes (I used red), diced very small
1 ½ tsp. fresh minced oregano
1 ½ tsp. sea salt (sprinkle on some finishing salt at the end of cooking)
1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Pour EVOO into a large non-stick skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes and ½ tsp. of salt. Sauté on medium heat until almost cooked through. Add the baby leeks and cook until soft and fragrant.
Whisk your eggs vigorously in a large bowl until they’re almost frothy. Add the minced oregano and 1 tsp. of salt. Slowly pour the eggs into the skillet with the potatoes and leeks. Dot the top with some goat cheese (the amount is up to you). Cook on medium heat until you see the edges begin to set. Pop the pan into the oven until the frittata is fully set through to the middle. If you’re unsure if it’s done, push lightly on the middle of the frittata. It should be soft, but not liquid-y.
IMG_0586
Every ingredient in the photo above came from the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market. How cool is that?
We are also blessed with a fabulous Farmer’s Market in Laguna Beach and every Saturday as I stroll through the isles, I thank my lucky stars!
Eat well,
April

“We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough.” – Wendell Berry

July 4th Playlist and Flowers

IMG_5441

Sunflowers signify summer for me. They instantly remind me of warm days, barbecues, friends, and laughter. For this reason I frequently have them on our table when hosting outdoor parties.

I had sunflower centerpieces at the twin’s graduation party last week- in wide-mouthed Mason jars – and I planned on purchasing fresh sunflowers to replace them for our annual 4th of July party. While out shopping for BBQ supplies (I’m going to try my hand at sausage making. I’ll let you know how it turns out!) I came across a similar sunflower arrangement for sale at Bristol Farms, but with the addition of purple flowers; they were priced at $13.99 each. I decided to mimic the arrangements for less money and took a ride over to Browne’s flower stand on PCH to see what they had in stock.

IMG_5430

At Browne’s I was able to purchase an ample bouquet of sunflowers for $10.99 and two purple statice at $1.25 each. After dumping last week’s wilted flowers, I got to work and was able to make two full arrangements for the price of one at Bristol Farms. Deeply satisfying.

What you’ll need for two arrangements:

2 wide-mouthed Ball jars

1 packet of flower food

1 bouquet of eight large sunflowers (I chose green centers)

2 purple statice

Enough raffia for tying two bows

Insert image 5437

Remove the lid but keep the silver ban on your jar. Add the flower flood.

IMG_5437

Cut the sunflowers so that the leaves and flowers clear the top of the jar by 1½ inches. Place four sunflowers in each jar so that they face outwards 360-degrees. Cut the statice short enough so that it pokes out just above the sunflowers. Insert a few into the center of the arrangement and on the sides. Fill your jars with water and tie a raffia bow just below the silver ban.

Joy in a jar!

Joy in a jar!

On another note, if you haven’t already put together a themed playlist to accompany your fireworks show, here are some great suggestions –

America – Neil Diamond

American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Pink Houses – John Mellencamp

America the Beautiful – Ray Charles

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

The Star Spangled Banner – Whitney Houston

Dirty Water – The Standells (being from Boston this is a must for me!)

Young Americans – David Bowie

Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor

Rocky Mountain High – John Denver

Stars and Stripes Forever – John Philip Souza

Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen

Don’t Fence Me In – Willie Nelson

Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver

4th of July Asbury Park – Bruce Springsteen

Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen

National Anthem – Whitney Houston

This Land is Your Land (Live) – Bruce Springsteen

Wishing you a safe and festive 4th!

April

“One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one Nation evermore!”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.