Next, Local and Yummy
While the Burghs were visiting us here in TN, they brought their own organic home grown Zebra Striped heirloom tomatoes, and we had our own organic locally grown and raised foods. With a fridge overflowing, we joined forces and built a meal for ourselves. We also served our 2004 Merlot, which I did not photograph. In non-formal settings, I must admit, we have gotten a bit lazy about labeling our wines. It has come down to blue painters tape with a sharpie marker label on each bottle to let us know what varietal and vintage. But really, the question is, is it the label or is it the contents of the bottle? So, anyway, on to the "pick up meal". It was like a pick up basketball game at the park. We all were in the kitchen bringing out our own ingredients, and we just tossed together this 5 dish meal.
In my mind, my perfect kitchen would be like this all the time. No matter who came over, they would feel comfortable to look in the pantry and fridge, and start cooking with what ever pots and pans we have. I like it when it is a group dinner prep thing. I really dislike it when there are people just sitting in the living room waiting for dinner to be served. Now the question is, how do I get the Burghs to move to Nashville, and have them live on my street so we can have potluck dinners every night? Anyone? Any suggestions to make that happen?
So it was great, the Burghs brought their tomatoes. One of the Burghs saw that I had a withering basil plant out back so he went ahead and took the all the basil leaves to sprinkle on top of the sliced tomatoes. I had some cheap shredded parm and excellent olive oil to drizzle on top, and the Burghs made a great opening dish for our meal. I appreciate the Burghs so much for scanning thee food landscape, and finding my potted herbs on the back porch. It was so wonderful for me to have one dish down, and not lift a finger to get it done.
Of the 3 side dishes, we made the turnips greens and smoked summer veggies, and the Burghs made the mashed red potatoes. The greens were from the tops of the local turnips that I cooked later. I made the greens with traditional southern flavors by first cooking a couple strips of Scott's Bacon, a great local country bacon and ham maker about 80 miles north of me, then adding the greens and a couple grinds of pepper, and then letting the greens cook down to a manageable volume. I started with a sink full of greens, and as you can see from the photo, I only got one bowl full. The mixed smoked veggies were green and yellow zukes, broccoli, purple and green sweet peppers, and other herbs from my back yard like oregano and thyme. All of the diced veggies went into a grill safe pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I particularly like this dish a lot because I prep the ingredients, and someone else cooks the ingredients on the grill, and I like the smoky flavor. This variety of smoked veggies were cooked over hickory wood. Again, the smoked veggies are a hit, and people love them. This has been a fool proof way of getting everyone from teenagers to adults to eat their veggies.
The last side dish was the potatoes made by the Burghs. This was completely done in the microwave! This is the 1st microwave I have had, only because it was built into the house. I never wanted a microwave before because I believed in the more traditional ways of cooking and re-heating with the stove top and oven. I was blown away with what they did with the potatoes. They nuked the potatoes until they were done, then set them aside. They then warmed up some of my Hatcher Dairy milk and cream, butter and other pixie dust stuff in a microwave safe cup in the microwave. Then they put the potatoes and warm milk mix in a pot, and potato mashed them together to make the perfect rustic mashed potato dish that never got stiff or soupy. I guess I am now truly converted to using a microwave now.
The last dish I made was using ground lamb I got from DW Farms. DW supplies meats to a couple of restaurants in town, and usually when I want a cut of meat, they tell me that Jeremy just took the last piece. They always say that I need to call or email them in advance they will hold back a cut for me. Well, I am not that organized, and most meals are on made on the fly with ingredients that I see that day. So as it goes with DW Farms, what I could get was ground lamb. I made a version of kubideh for my guests. I took the lamb, and mixed it with a dash of baking soda, salt, pepper, onions, garlic and fresh oregano from my garden. I massaged all these tasty bits together, and then Matt put these little kubidehs on the grill to cook them. They were tasty. I think that I need to get some dried sumach to sprinkle on the kubideh to make it taste better.
So as it was that evening, all 4 of us participated in making the meal in some way shape or form. This is my ultimate home kitchen experience. I would love to have this way of cooking and dining again. Burghs, don't be strangers, come back soon.
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