Garden Party

Well, friends, it takes a little longer to wrap things up in the summertime. So much time taken up at the Farmer’s Market. We had a chance to chat with Jerry Adams (far left, above), West Michigan FarmLink co-founder, at our last get together. Thank you, Jerry! Please take some time to learn what FarmLink does and how it efficiently brings organizations, restaurants, chefs and others together with farmers, allowing farmers to spend more time in the field. We are so fortunate to live in this agriculturally rich area.

Next special guest will be Angela Topp of Tree Huggers, a plant-based grocery store that is package-free and zero waste. Customers bring reusable containers for purchasing from the bulk bins, such as Ball canning jars. Tree Huggers also recycles many items the city is not able to take. This seems like a great time to gratefully acknowledge the gift of ‘Every day ware’ from Suzie and Johnny MacKeigan’s 1969 wedding set. It is called ‘Market’ and was made in Norway. We love every bit of it, including the chips and cracks earned after years of loving service.

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FarmLink and Tree Huggers really symbolize the wonderful work we like to see here in west Michigan. Thank you two for all you do. In the meantime, we continue to be responsible consumers. So here’s how we make use of the wonderful food and the re-usable containers.

But first, my caveat. I wasn’t feeling that well, so I sat back and didn’t collect as much info or photos as I usually do. I am deeply grateful for all who helped out that evening. Wow. MVP award goes to Shandy Longcore who supervised clean-up and Tillie the sometimes wandering German shepherd. More thanks go to Nancy McQuate and Morgan Doane for taking photos. (So basically if I don’t talk enthusiastically about your dish it’s because I didn’t keep the card!)

Here’s Shandy, balancing it all with aplomb!

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Okay, let’s start with dessert. Morgan Doane kindly re-baked her blueberry cake after the first one fell to the bottom of the oven. And newbie Erin Brennan wowed everyone with the beet brownies with beet icing. I know the dish in-between was delicious, too.

Geoff Fields has been waiting try out his paella pan with the veganistas in mind. Home run, as usual.


Beets were popular! Catherine Frerichs kindly contributed her beet salad recipe when asked (scroll to end of post).


There was lovely sangria.


Wonderful salads and dips


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and Shandy made a beautiful vegan lasagna.


I tried my hand at jackfruit carnitas with avocado cream


The garden is so lush this time of year and Roger does such a nice job setting it up for guests, but look how empty it is without people to enjoy it.

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Which is why you should all come on the third Wednesday of August (August 21st to be exact) and bring a nice friend.

Beet/Quinoa Salad: (adapted from an NYT recipe for a beet and bulghur salad)
6 servings
1/2 lb. beets
1/3 c. plus 1 T. olive oil
1/4 t. salt, more as needed
black pepper as needed
1 c. quinoa
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/3 c. canola oil
3 T. fresh chopped tarragon or dill
3 T. fresh chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place beets in a baking pan and drizzle with 1 T. olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of water, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover beets with foil and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes for medium-sized beets. Let beets cool, then peel and dice.
2. Cook quinoa–put 1 cup in two cups of water and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Place quinoa in large bowl. In a medium pot, combine 2 c. water with diced beets. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain beets, reserving liquid.
Measure out 1 and 1/4 c. liquid and season with 1/4 t. salt. Pour over quinoa. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit until liquid is absorbed, about 1 hr. (Pour off any excess liquid.)
4. Transfer beets to a blender. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and large pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in remaining 1/3 c. olive oil and the canola oil. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Pour dressing over beets and pulse until mixture forms a coarse puree. Add half to 3/4 of beet vinaigrette to quinoa and toss well. Toss in parsley and dill or tarragon and more salt and pepper if needed. (The remaining vinaigrette is wonderful on another salad.)
Serve at once or refrigerate up to two days.

No Responses to “Garden Party”

  1. RBJuly 30, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    This salad looks wonderful! Getting beets at the farmer’s market to make this weekend. Thanks for sharing. I’m inching closer …

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