Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2nd Dinner on the Farm, September 19

Our 2nd Dinner on the Farm was also a good follow up to the first. We had 6 guests, again from a variety of backgrounds. I was especially glad I didn't know beforehand that an apprentice chef was one of my guests. At the evening's conclusion he complimented me on the food presentation, quality and noted it was evident that I added "love" into what I had prepared.... what better compliment could anyone receive!!

Given some dietary considerations from this group, I needed to change the menu, so I started looking for honey/lemon/garlic chicken recipes.... one time I awoke at 2:30am and started looking for the recipes. This is weird, because I'm a vegetarian - almost complete. So in the early a.m. hours, I'm searching for a specific recipe that I think will be good, one that I won't ever taste and can't sleep until I find it.... I think there are doctors for this kind of thing!! =) Anyway, the menu consisted of:

Main Dishes: Honey Lemon Chicken, Vegetable Lasagna, Lentil Chili

Salad: Garbanzo Bean & Zucchini Salad

Side: Wild Rice Bake

Assorted yummy breads: Ciabota & Sourdough - donated from Panhandle Bakery - & the owner was also a guest

Desserts: Zucchini Chocolate Cake, Lemon Tart, Peach/blueberry Crumble

Also attending the dinner were the Zenners, who were our other farm host couple, plus my friends Kristi & Kris who are semi-professional photographers. After the last photo blunder from the first dinner, I really wanted pictures!

We were not able to have a good selection of equipment on hand as we are right in the middle of garbanzo harvest. The combines were in fields too far away to bring to the house, the semi's were in use, so the only piece of equipment for viewing was again our tractor with the seeding drill attached. The weather which had started out nice, deteriorated quickly and it was cool and windy... so we didn't linger out in the fields too long, but opted for the warm kitchen and drinks.

We had photo's of different things on the farm, and passed those around during dinner. In hindsight I realize that we should explained more in depth of what the photos were of and their importance. I'd equate looking at the photo's without an explanation as to looking at someone's pictures of their dog or vacation - not very interesting. All in all it was a fine evening. Only one more dinner to go.

Garbanzo Bean & Zucchini Salad

2 Tbl lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teas salt
¼ teas freshly ground black pepper

In small bowl, whisk together.

1 can garbanzo beans, drained
2 medium zucchini, diced into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup frozen, thawed corn
½ small red onions, thinly sliced
5 romaine lettuce leaves, cut crosswise into ½ inch strips
1 ounce Parmesan cheese

Add all of the ingredients into a salad bowl – except the parmesan cheese. Just before serving pour the vinaigrette over the salad, toss well, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

1st Dinner on the Farm, September 12

Our first Dinner on the Farm held 09.12.09 was a great event. I'm the one in the purple shirt, my husband, Joe is in the very back to the left of the welcome sign. We had 5 guests from a wide variety of back grounds, plus our other farm host couple, the Jensen's, and the conversation was amazing. The weather was perfect - no wind and a rare warm September evening - all in all what a great kick-off.

Everyone arrived within 5 minutes of each other and after getting drinks in hand, we walked out into the harvested wheat field where we had an assortment of equipment for viewing. There were 2 combines, 1 of our semi-trucks, and a tractor with the seeding drill attached. Dresses and all, everyone got a combine ride around the field and up and down the hills. I was visiting with guests when I remembered the need to take pictures, but by then it was too dark.... the pictures didn't turn out, so I'm bummed about that.

We snapped the group picture before heading into the house for dinner. The menu was carefully chosen to represent things that either we grow, or is grown in the region, plus fresh items from my small garden.

The menu was:

Main Dishes: Lasagna, made with whole wheat noodles, Spinach Roll-ups also made with whole wheat noodles, Lentil Chili

Salads: Garbanzo & zucchini salad, Broccoli with almonds, Fresh fruit salad

Desserts: Pumpkin chocolate cake, Walnut tart, Fresh peach/blueberry crumble

Did I say I like to bake and cook? You know when people like the food as I was asked for some of the recipes.

The evening concluded with farewells (plus as many leftovers as people would take) and an overall feeling that a good rapport had been established. Guests also left with a 2lb bag of lentils donated by Genesee Union, a magnet with recipes donated by the Pea & Lentil Commission and Lentil brownies, plus our business card. Looking forward to the next 2 dinner series!


1 lb hamburger
½ - 1 lb ground Italian sausage
(1) 6 oz (small) can of tomato paste
(1) 29 oz can of tomato sauce or tomato puree
2 teas Italian seasoning
¾ teas seasoned salt
16 oz container of ricotta cheese
16 oz cottage cheese works
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 lbs grated mozzarella cheese ( 8 cups of cheese)
1 box lasagna noodles

Cook noodles as per package instructions. Rinse noodles and set aside.

In a skillet or electric frying pan, brown the hamburger & sausage, drain well. Add tomato paste and 1 can of water, add tomato sauce (or puree), Italian seasoning and seasoning salt. Simmer 5 -10 min & then shut off the heat source.

Next in a bowl, combine the ricotta, cottage cheese with the parmesan cheese, blending by hand.

In a 9x13 rectangle cake pan, layer as follows: layer noodles so it covers the entire bottom of pan (divide up the noodles so you have enough for 3 layers), then layer 1/3 meat mixture, sprinkle 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the meat mixture, next sprinkle evenly about 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, repeat with 2 more layers. Bake uncovered @350 for 45-50min. If the cheese gets too brown after 30 min, cover loosely with foil. Let sit 5 min before cutting and serving. Enjoy!