dinner at the farm

Remember my comments about the secrets behind the appeal of the books by Mayes, Mate and Mayle? One of them is to share the fun of food and fellowship. Well, here goes an attempt at that.

Last Saturday one of the daughter’s Y Princess tribe mates came up to the farm for a play date, spending the night.  The Mom and little sister (aka Tinker Bell) brought her up and stayed through dinner. Tinker Bell, who is rumored to be a bit of a headstrong terror at home, is a perfect angel at the farm, albeit, still headstrong. The Mom had bought her a fishing pole. I got her rigged up and the ladies went fishing in the pond close to the garden. There are a lot of wide mouth bass and blue gill and Tinker Bell hooked three of them. The daughter, who is somewhat of a fishing pro, was only too happy to help with the catch and release of the fish.

The Mom helped us plant the tomatoes that I mentioned in a previous post. My son, the Chef, had come up for the weekend. After we finished the chores in the garden, he and I headed in to knock out a nice dinner.

As I mentioned in a posting from Friday night about wine around the year, we had a killer batch of sangria chilled in the refrigerator.

I made a paella based loosely on a recipe from Paella!: Spectacular Rice Dishes From Spain. You basically prep the ingredients, stir fry them in the paella pan, add the rice and stir fry, then add a broth with saffron, cook till most of the liquid gone and then finish in an oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to finish for 20-30 minutes. The ingredients were fresh spring onions from the farmers market, three different kinds of mushrooms, pecans, greens from the garden, small sweet peppers.

BTW, an excellent place to get Spanish cooking supplies: ingredients, utensils, paella pans and cookbooks, is La Tienda. They are located close by in Virginia. I regularly get their catalogues and emails and spend time drooling over them.  It is a great place to get the famous sliced jamons from Spain for a tapas party. It is certainly a good idea to have a paella pan and spoon in your cooking tool chest. Paellas are one of my favorite dishes to make in the summer time, bringing fresh ingredients right from the garden into the pan.

The Chef focused a lot of energy on a salad. He very thinly sliced radishes from the farmer’s market and brussel sprouts which he marinated in red wine vinegar, dried herbs and sugar. Later he tossed these with fresh spinach from the garden.

For as long as we sons and grand children remember, Grand Dad has been very fervent in the statement of his dislike of brussel sprouts. Since the Chef and I have been cooking, it has been one of our quest to “trick” him into liking brussel sprouts. Here was another of the Chef’s attempts.

I made some oven roasted potates. This is a ridiculously easy dish. I slice new potatoes (preferably some form of heirloom variety) into wedges roughly 1/4″ on a side by 1.5-2″ long. I pour a healthy dose of olive oil into a baking tray, some salt and cracked pepper. I add the wedges to the oil and stir around with my hands to coat the potatoes with the oil mixture. I then bake in the oven at 425 for about 45 minutes. I pull the tray out about every 15 minutes and stir the potatoes around. The last time I pull the potatoes out, I will sprinkle fresh coarsely chopped rosemary on the potatoes and do the finally stirring. Then the potatoes are in for their last 10-15 minutes. When done, they have a nice golden browning on the sides. I spoon them into a serving bowl. If I can’t serve fairly soon, I will leave then in an oven at 200 to keep them warm.

The Chef had gotten three swordfish steaks when he was doing the shopping for his school, earlier in the week. He soaked them in milk for about an hour and then he sprinkled coarse sea salt on both sides, rubbing it into the steaks. They sat while the grill heated up. He cooked them on the grill, getting nice browning lines on the steaks.

While the Chef finished up the swordfish, I whipped up a shrimp dish. I took four fairly lean bacon strips and cut into about 1″ lengths. I browned up the bacon in a skillet. When it was close to done, I added in a chopped new garlic, white and greens parts, to the pan. Then I added 1/2 lbs of pealed large shrimps. Cooked the shrimps till pink and then pour all into a serving bowl.

We had some french loaf bread, sliced on the diagonal, some sliced aged cows cheese that we had gotten at the farmer’s market. It was time to pour the sangria and eat!

Mmm! At the end of the meal, the Chef and I were deeply in food coma, Grand Dad had been fooled once again into liking brussel sprouts. The Mom was quite happy she had stayed for dinner (she texted the Husband, who was off on a Y Guides camping trip with his son, about the wonderful wood… that he was missing). The kids were energized to go out and run around for a while before it was shower and bedtime.  The Mom and Tinker Bell headed home. A nice day at the farm!

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2 Responses to dinner at the farm

  1. Laurie Hager says:

    Hi, Tony!

    It was great to read this post. I love how the communal cooking of paella can bring together a whole family, encourage creative gastronomy and foster the exploration of hither-to forbidden foods (aka the dreaded brussel sprout). Many thanks and best wishes to you and family! Laurie and the team at La Tienda

  2. Kim mclellan says:

    A wonderful day indeed! Tinker Bell still talks about that fish, who, by the way, is up to about 3 feet long!

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