Food & Garden

Autumn Recipe Inspiration + Other Fun Stuff

October 27, 2017

I really wanted to share my Autumn Recipe index since I am sure it will be winter in about a week. Life’s been busy around here so I am a gal of few words this time. Sorry. #novembergoals

Autumn Recipe Inspiration

Pear and Potato Salad with Pickled Mustard Seeds and Sausage. This is a winner.

Hasselback Potatoes with Kale Pesto. I used this chimichurri sauce instead. I used a full bunch of cilantro and no parsley and I think I added an extra clove of garlic. I really like the addition of oregano here.

Buttery Celery Tortellini. I haven’t tried this one yet but the combo seems interesting.

Cheesy Baked Gnocchi with Kale. Just good ol’ comfort food here.

Sticky Sesame and Ginger Pork Meatballs with Soba Noodles. This recipe is absolutely delicious and surprisingly easy. I used half pork and half beef for the meatballs and Costco has been carrying a Ramen Noodle made with brown rice and millet that is an awesome noodle substitute.

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken French Bread. Try this for Sunday night football or for a World Series game. Your husband/boyfriend/family/friends will love you!

Caramel Affogato with Cinnamon Churros. OMG, what a decadent treat. This could be shared with friends next to a warm fire in minutes. Just pick up a couple churros from Costco the day of and the rest is easy peasy!

Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies. These have been on my to-make list for awhile now. You will get an insta report soon!

Cream Cheese Cake. I’ve tried a number of cheesecakes but still searching for ‘the one’. Guess this recipe is next in line with Thanksgiving around the corner.

Cocktail of the Month. Dogear this one for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Other Fun Stuff

C&H Jeans. I bought the Rocket High Rise. Seriously the best pair of jeans I’ve owned. Worth every dollar.

Metallic Lipstick. I’ve been wearing brick metal and bronzed burgundy. Perfect Fall colors and I also bought Flamingo Floss for our upcoming Mexico vacay! They are currently buy one get the second 50% off!

Mamacita Tee. All you mothers need to rock this tee! They have other styles too if the V isn’t your look.

Indy Brand. Snuggle up on the couch with one of their cute comfy sweatshirts.

The Flower Hat. Check out their shop on 10/30 and order Julio’s favorite bulbs.

End of Summer Recipe Inspiration + Other Fun Stuff

August 31, 2017

I hope you’ve been summering well. You know, checking off fun activities like camping, fishing, hiking, boating, traveling, or whatever it is you like to do in the heat. For me, its mostly morning and/or evening fires with a hot latte or glass of crisp rose, riveting conversation or reading material. I also like to spend time in the garden and take long evening walks when the air is still warm but not hot. For some odd reason that perfect temperature calls to memory some of my favorite years of summer fun. I just love it and it makes me feel forever youthful. We also managed to squeeze in the annual camp trip with the nephew and nieces, cast a couple lines, hike a mountain, clink a couple beer glasses in Ireland and cut loose at my little sister’s wedding celebration. So I’d chalk it up to another great summer. But I can’t help to notice that the days are getting shorter and the morning and evening temps are significantly dropping at sunset.  I hate to say it folks but we’re on the brink of Autumn. So I thought I would share a bunch of summer recipes with you before we move into a new season. Some I have been whipping up all summer and the others are on my list to try before the good summer produce vaniches. Let me know if you try any and which one was your favorite!

P.S. I also included a couple fun non-recipe links at the very end.

XO

Crepes with Vanilla Bean Roasted Rhubarb. I have been making these for Sunday breakfast all summer. Instead of roasted rhubarb though I have been making more of a rhubarb compote and topping with strawberries and then raspberries as the summer progressed.

Peggy’s Coffee Cake. This is as good as the article makes it out to be. I’ve made it for the construction and ranch crew a couple times this summer. I tried it in a bunt pan and 8×8 baking dish and I think it tastes better in the baking dish!

Cold Brew with Coconut Creamer. I haven’t tried this creamer yet but its on my list while I am still drinking cold brews.

Healthy(ish) Truffles. I have been making variations of this sweet treat all summer and storing them in my freezer for a 10 o’clock snack. I use almond butter and about half as much as the recipe calls for and I add a generous amount of raw cocoa. Never have dates on hand? I buy a big container of fresh dates from Costco and they keep in the fridge. I am surprised how long they store.

Tartines. Fun idea for a quick and healthy lunch. Get creative with your own combinations. My go-to is homemade hummus and avocado with lemon pepper and sea salt flakes (not so creative but that’s what I like)!

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad. If you aren’t at the farmer’s market buying a baker’s dozen of fresh corn……you are crazy!

Four Bean Salad. I make this every summer. So glad my mom’s friend shared her recipe.

Tomatoes and White Bread Salad with Mayonnaise Dressing. You also need to make the pickled tomatoes ahead of time but don’t worry it’s really quick and easy!

Edamame Quinoa Salad. Use your fresh tomatoes and corn right now.

Chicken Avocado Cilantro Lime Soup and Minestrone Verde. This happens every year right about now. I start craving Autumn soups and its too darn early. Usually I make a batch of my corn chowder since corn is what I am picking but this year I switched it up.

Rice and Beans with Steak and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa. If you didn’t grow tomatillos than use a fresh red salsa or any salsa you fancy for that matter! Quick and easy dinner that is delicious.

Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake. I tried this the other night, its super easy and who doesn’t like a pasta bake. I substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche, I added 2 c. of shredded zucchini to the pasta and roasted some sweet onion slices with the zucchini rounds.

Heirloom Tomato Cheddar Tart with Everything Spice. If this doesn’t make you drool than watch the video here. My tomatoes are ripening on the vine so I will be trying this out shortly! Puff pastry is the only ingredient you might have to run to the market for.

Potato Waffles. Okay, this is probably more of a Fall recipe but I don’t care it’s on my summer list.

Honey Mascarpone Tart with Figs and a Salty Graham Cracker Crust. I want/need to make this so badly but instead of figs I want to use ripe juicy peaches that you can find fresh right now. I read through the post and it seems like a simple tart with only 8 ingredients and shouldn’t take long since its a NO bake.

Whole Fruit Pineapple Peach Lemonade. Have not tried this but with fresh ripe peaches in season I think its a must try.

Honeydew Jalapeno Margaritas. Definitely need to try this recipe.

El Diablo Cocktail. I had know idea what sotol was. After a little research, I found that it’s tequila’s crazy little brother. Think I might like him!

Native Deodorant. Paraben Free, Aluminum Free and Non Toxic Ingredients plus its free shipping and retuns. The coconut vanilla smells like tropical heaven.

I’ve been thinking about these sandals for awhile now. I really should just treat myself for working so darn hard this summer! 🙂

Have you heard about Tocos? It is suppose to act like a creamer but its non-dairy. You can add it your oatmeal, coffee and smoothies to name a few. It’s suppose to do wonders for your skin so I decided I had to try it.

Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel. Bye bye baby oil hello self tanner.

I bought these sunglasses for my mother and they look awesome on her. So much I want to get the same pair but might do these instead.

I think I might finally break down and buy myself a Vitamix Blender. They are running a Labor Day sale. I really want to start making the Glowing Green Smoothie in the morning.

Read this fun little article 10 Things You Need in Your Kitchen According to a Parisian. I couldn’t agree more and also think it’s good entertainment advice. However, I have a wee problem with #9, a splash of full fat milk is a must!

Spring Gardening | Tomato Tips

May 17, 2016

Heirloom Tomato

I was flipping through a gardening magazine over the weekend and came across an advice column with the following tips for growing beautiful tomatoes. Thought you might be interested, ’cause who doesn’t love fresh summertime tomatoes.

I also wanted to share a song with you ‘Steady Heart‘ that I recently discovered through my yoga class playlist. One word. Repeat.

Here are 6 ways to maximize your tomato harvest!

Support your plants
Sturdy metal cages or wooden ladders keep plants upright, prevent broken stems and make harvesting easier.

Water deeply
Keep the entire root zone evenly moist by watering slowly and deeply – a soaker hose is ideal. Avoid daily sprinklers, which result in a shallow root system. This was a new concept to me but I tried this approach last summer and I think it made a huge difference.

Apply mulch
Once the soil warms up, a supply of 2″ or 3″ layer of organic mulch, such as straw, to conserve soil moisture. This helps minimize blossom end rot, which is caused in part by fluctuating moisture levels. I rake my weed free (okay kind of weed free) grass clippings and spread a layer around the tomatoes. It also helps keep the weeds under control.

Fertilize regularly
Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Fertilize plants monthly throughout the growing season to keep them strong and productive. I also plant my tomatoes with a couple Tums (two or three per plant).

Prune suckers
Pinch off suckers (the shoots that form where side branches meet the stem), especially those that grow below the first flower cluster. Allows more energy for producing delicious fruit!

Troubleshoot
Examine plants daily looking for signs of trouble – chewed leaves, for example, or spots on foliage or stems. Get to know the insect pests and diseases common in your region so you’ll recognize them early, when control is easiest. I just cross my fingers on this one. No, I am trying to learn more and more with each season. It takes time, like anything.

Cooper Hereford Ranch

Crab Apple Blossoms

Thanksgiving Leftovers & Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

November 27, 2015

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

floral

Happy Thanksgiving! I know it’s been a little quiet over here for a couple of weeks. Sorry about that. But I’m back and just in time for the holidays. Phew, because this is my favorite time of the year to be in the kitchen. So many sweet treats to bake. My sister and I actually already baked 8 dozen sugar cookies. I am feeling inspired this year if you haven’t noticed from my holiday board. However, I am pretty sure the creators behind these cookies or should I say ‘edible art’ have to be professionals!

So what did everyone make for Thanksgiving this year? Did you host and have the honor of cooking the turkey?

We ate the tried and true standbys; turkey and homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing and mashed potatoes, broccoli quinoa casserole, and pumpkin and apple pie. I created a new salad with kale, Brussels sprouts and candied hazelnuts. Nat recently visited Spain and Portugal so she was feeling inspired by the Spanish and made a sangria. Mom tried a recipe for chocolate chess pie. Yes, it sounds like we had a lot of pie and we did. Four to be exact. Just what I needed right before I squeeze into my bathing suit for a week. Oh well.

The best part of the day was that I didn’t have to host or cook the turkey. I volunteered my sister and her husband for both. Thanks Kels and Dave. The smoked turkey was delicious. You may be smoking turkey from here on out!

So now you have an entire fridge of leftovers. The real reason behind the feast; so we can eat pie for a week. No seriously, there is usually a lot of leftovers and I can only eat so many turkey and cranberry sandwiches. So I have two ideas for you this year; Shepherd’s pie and these pumpkin cranberry muffins.  Shepherd’s pie is a great way to use up leftover turkey, gravy, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. And these muffins aren’t too sweet, which I like. And let’s not forget the cranberry tucked away in the middle of the muffin. I mean who doesn’t love a little surprise!

Happy Holidays!

Thanksgiving leftovers

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins / makes 8 large muffins

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. spelt flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt, dried orange peel and nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 c. leftover pumpkin puree (8 oz.)
Leftover cranberry sauce
Demerara sugar and pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add wet ingredients minus the cranberry sauce and fold everything together until just blended; do not over mix. Spoon the batter into a greased muffin pan, filling each cup halfway. Add a generous teaspoon of cranberry sauce and fill cup with batter to three-quarters full. Sprinkle with sugar and rough chopped pecans.

Bake for 20 to 3o minutes until golden brown. If you insert a toothpick into the center of one muffin it should pull out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter of coarse!

Happy Holidays! And remember, there’s always something to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Montana Picnic | BLT with Blue Cheese & Pimiento Spread

September 22, 2015

Montana Picnic

BLT

This is the time of year when I start to panic. I obsess over weather reports; constantly checking updates to verify clear sunny skies. I believe I still have a good month before the snow flies so September is usually the month I try to cram a summer’s list of to-dos into four weeks. When I realize I have only one month of decent semi predictable weather. So I spend every possible minute of my day absorbing the remnants of summer. So what better way to honor the ‘savor summer’ mantra than a perfectly packed picnic. Pick a place whether it be mountain scapes, alfalfa fields, the park down the road, your backyard or on the tailgate aside a country road. Just get outside with some small bites and sweet treats and enjoy the 80 degree weather.

Garden Veggies

I wanted to take the effort out of packing so below is what you would find at my picnic. I would love to hear some of your favorite items too!

Essentials.

Basket or Backpack – If you’re road tripping pack the super cute basket, if you are hitting the mountain trails go backpack. This handwoven basket is a classic and I have been eyeing this handmade salmon colored backpack for quite some time now.

Napkins – I am a bit obsessed with cloth napkins. My mother showed me how to sew my own and now I turn every piece of fabric I own into a napkin. Mostly because I collect fabric and it’s the only thing I can sew. Well that and the occasional baby blanket. But seriously, bring cloths napkins as I also use it as a face cloth to wick away sweat and dirt.

Plates, Glasses & Utensils – If you are taking a drive or close walk with the picnic basket, I pack the whole works. I have a set of silverware that I use solely for camping and picnicking and have wicker plate holders for paper plates. I found them at a thrift store and absolutely love them. They make eating off a paper plate so much easier and fancier. I also like to pack glasses and wrap them in the cloth napkins.

Blanket – Don’t forget an over-sized blanket. It’s not a picnic if you aren’t lounging on a blanket. I like these linen blankets.

Hat – whether it be a ball cap or handmade straw hat. I don’t care I just want to keep the sun off my face. I pack a good sunscreen too. Mostly because my husband is Irish! And why not throw in some bug repellent and sunglasses. Still swooning over hats by Janessa Leone.

Frisbee – Yes, it’s easy to pack and something to do when I run out of words.

Small Bites and Treats.

Peruvian Peppers – If you haven’t tried them they can usually be found in the olive bar. They’re delicious.

Assortment of Olives – My favorite being the Castelvetrano olive. They’re bright green.

One or two Spreads – Always a pesto and usually a hummus.

Meat – For me it’s usually the old and reliable; hard salami, ham and prosciutto.

Cheese – Usually one or two cheeses. A soft spreadable cheese and usually a hard salty cheese.

Fruit – The list is endless. Something seasonal.

Baguette – Easy to pack and eat. If I have time beforehand I will toast slices.

Roasted garlic – Again, only if I have the time beforehand to roast.

Drinks – Sparkling water, ice tea, lemonade, kombucha, beer, wine; you get the picture.

Something sweet – It can be as simple and healthy as cocoa nibs to homemade hand pies to a candy bar. Just something to satisfy the after lunch craving.

If I want something more substantial and have the time beforehand it’s basically the same list above but using some of the ingredients to make a sandwich (try my BLT with a blue cheese and pimento spread below). I would most likely toss a salad together too. Not a green salad, something that keeps well like this four bean salad. And since you can’t eat a sandwich without chips, I usually throw in my favorite, salt and vinegar.

When it comes to packing the food, it really just depends on where I am picnicking. If I am hiking or driving or taking a short walk and well of coarse if its spontaneous or planned. So make it as little or as much effort as you would like. Hope this helps!

Picnic

BLT (Bacon, red romaine and heirloom tomato) with a Blue Cheese and Pimiento Spread / makes 4 sandwiches

8 slices of bread, toasted
Blue cheese and pimiento spread, see recipe below
10 to 12 slices of bacon, cooked
Fresh greens, I used red romaine from my garden
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced

Blue Cheese and Pimiento Spread

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 oz. blue cheese crumbles, room temperature
2 oz. jar sliced pimientos, drained and diced
½ jalapeno, diced
1 Tbs. dried chives
Pinch of celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste

Incorporate all ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread on bread and you know the rest!

Cheers to 80 degree weather in September! Get outside and picnic.Cheers

Picnicking photographs taken by local photographer Trisha Jones.

Summer Recall | Fall Favorites

September 7, 2015

Fields of Grain Cooper Hereford Ranch

Garden Veggies and Sunflowers

There’s a chill in the air that can’t be mistaken for Fall. A new season has arrived and it’s bitter sweet. I absolutely love the transition from Summer to Winter; when sweatshirts and coats are added to the wardrobe, when soups slowly start to replace salads and the garden’s bounty collides with the preparation of Winter. Apple season is only a couple weeks away, which means canning quarts and quarts of applesauce, sipping cloudy ciders and eating my fair share of apple pie. I tell ya, it’s just the best time of the year. But I find myself fighting a war with the inevitable change to another season. It seems I absolutely dread Winter. I was trying to be positive and receptive towards Winter the other day but honestly the only good vibe I was receiving was the thought of planning Winter vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching delicate snowflakes while snuggled up next to a wood burning stove but the reality is, I am outside fighting the cutting wind with frozen fingers and toes and covered in hay dust. Not quite so romantic. So I keep dreaming of this life when my husband and I get to enjoy Montana from March to December and flit away somewhere exotic where I pick tropical fruits in my swimsuit during January and February.

So before its over, I wanted to share some of my favorite summer moments with you.

The garden of coarse, it’s a lot of work but I am thankful for my Sister, Aunt and Mother who all contribute. It was a good year. We had an abundance of zucchini (as usual), cucumber, corn and tomatoes. I didn’t plant enough bush beans and I planted too many radishes and beets (again) and I had terrible luck with the lacinto kale. I tried planting three different times and nada. I think it must have been a bad batch of seeds. Oh and I got a couple different pepper varieties to grow but I have come to the conclusion that I need a green house (um hum Luke).

My niece, Sadie, stayed with me a lot this Summer. She’s a dancer, musician, food lover, playwright, wicked smart and a bit of a klutz. She was pure entertainment and a great help in the kitchen and garden and loved learning how to style and photograph food.

Margaritas are pretty synonymous with Summer for Luke and I. And this Summer Luke discovered a new tequila, Espolon. It was love at first site. I mean this label, come one. I will honestly say I would continue buying this tequila based solely on the label, but fortunately, it tastes good too! My margarita recipe is classic; tequila, triple sec, agave, and lemon and/or lime. Sometimes I like to spice things up with a little jalapeno or be sweet with muddled fruit.

And the best part, ranch life. Friends will sometimes ask if we have any fun trips or events planned for the summer. As usual, I reply no; we rarely leave the Ranch let alone Montana. Summer it such a busy time of year for both my husband and I. Plus why would we leave. Summers in Montana are epic. All we really want to do is be outside walking the fields and pastures and capturing colorful sunsets around the fire pit. My husband might add golf to the list but really, that’s what we do and we’re perfectly happy and content. It’s Winter we’re trying to escape!

Borage and Beets

Stormy Skies Cooper Hereford Ranch

Tequila

Some things to roll you into Fall.

Pretty sure I need this pocket knife. Like 100% sure!
And every September during corn season, this soup recipe.
This cookbook has been an inspiration to me lately.
Hanging onto Summer with these floral ties for the Mr. Especially this one and this one.
Thinking about these earrings.
I am always light years behind when it comes to music but recently found this artist.
Recently purchased this kettle. It’s going to get a lot of use during the next couple of months.
Have been swooning over these sheets for some time now.
Need a refill here.
Enjoying this read snuggled up with a blanket.

Hope every one of you enjoyed the nice long weekend!

Harvest

Cooper Hereford Ranch

Serviceberry Ice Cream

August 17, 2015

Serviceberry Ice Cream

Katie Cooper

Funny Story.

Let me just preface this story by telling you how much I love ice cream; the type of love that requires me to eat the entire carton in one sitting. So awhile back, before I was married and while I lived in Sacramento, I use to keep my ice cream in Luke’s freezer.  Why? Because I thought the effort to travel across town would most definitely trump my craving. Usually a true statement, until this one weekend when Luke left town. It was early in the ‘I think we should take a break stage’ and it was probably 100 plus degrees and nothing sounded better than ice cream. I was weak and broke down; got on my bike and rode across town to open up the freezer to see that Luke had duck taped the ice cream carton.  In so many ways that it would be quite impossible to enter without breaking. Plus he had attached a little note; I know you want it but you can’t have it.

Lets just say that was last time ice cream got the best of me. I am not saying I have developed self control. Basically I just try to avoid ice cream now. So buying an ice cream maker this summer was a big step. I have been making homemade ice creams all summer and it’s so delicious. So I basically try to make it for gatherings to ensure no leftovers. That way I can button my jeans come Fall!

Ice Cream Cones

The dog days of summer are here and berry season is popping so I decided to make another flavor with foraged serviceberries. Have you tried them before? They have a dry grainy texture and a mild sweet flavor. They could actually be mistaken for a blueberry. Who knew? Not me. Until recently when Mariah, the super hip chica with Everything Golden, asked me if I wanted to join her for berry picking. Up until that point, I thought I was foraging for a berry more closely related to the raspberry. Which has me wondering; what was I snacking on last summer when hiking with my brother-in-law!

MUST HAVES

Vintage silk skirt and straw hat here.
Naturally dyed silk blouse and woven wrap belt here.
Berry Bowl, Dipping Dish and of course my favorite Textured Ceramic Plate.
The Ice Cream Maker I use.

Photos taken of me by the lovely Mariah, Owner of Everything Golden.

Serviceberry_

Forage

Serviceberry Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 quarts or 6 one cup servings)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

3/4 c. dark chocolate chunks or chips
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted
1 3/4 c. to 2 c. service berries
2 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 whole vanilla bean
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

HOW TO MAKE IT

Heat a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add milk, cream, half of sugar (1/4 cup), salt, scraped vanilla bean and pod. Whisk ingredients and bring mixture just to a boil.

While the milk/cream mixture is heating, in a medium glass mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 c. of sugar. Whisk until mixture is pale and thick.

Once the milk/cream mixture has come just to a boil, whisk about a third of the mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Whisk another third of the hot mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Pour egg yolk/sugar mixture into remaining hot milk/cream mixture and stir constantly over low heat using a wooden spoon. Mixture is done when it’s thickened and coats the back of the wooden spoon. A good way to know is if you swipe the back of the wooden spoon with your pinky finger, it should keep its form. This step should only take a minute or two. The mixture must NOT boil or the yolks will cook. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer (discard the vanilla bean pod and any bits of egg). Stir in vanilla extract. Bring to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Ice cream maker bowl should be frozen. Pour mixture into frozen bowl and turn on. Churn for about 20 minutes. The ice cream will be similar consistency to soft serve. Pour into a large glass mixing bowl and swirl in chocolate chunks, walnuts and serviceberries. Freeze for about 2 hours prior to serving but depends if yon the consistency you prefer; soft serve or hard ice cream!

Note: For this recipe, at least a 1.5 quart ice cream maker is needed.

Serviceberries

Farm to Table Field Dinner | Cooper Hereford Ranch

August 5, 2015

Vino

A week ago I hosted our annual Farm to Table inspired Field Dinners at the family ranch – the Cooper Hereford Ranch. Last year I hosted one event and had so much interest that I failed to accommodate everyone. So I decided to add one extra evening plus one new chef to this summer’s lineup. Wednesday night’s dinner was prepared by Chef Eric with Free Range Kitchen. All courses were individually plated and beautifully presented. We kept an intimate group with about 30 guests and had a wonderful evening meeting new folks and savoring bites. Sunday night’s dinner was prepared by returning Chef Melissa Harrison with Seasonal MT. Farm to Table is her bread and butter so let’s just say this wasn’t her first rodeo. The dinner was served family style with a variety plates to choose from; my favorite being the Beet Hummus with Heirloom Slicer Tomatoes. Of coarse, not stating the obvious Cooper Hereford Beef main plate (wink wink)! I have to say that both dinners were a huge success. I am thankful for all the local farms and wine shops that participate and for all the hard work Chef Eric and Melissa muster through to make these events happen. I also want to thank all the amazing people that made the drive to Willow Creek for a night under the willows and to support our local community food system. I decided to post each chef’s menus below so those of  you that did not make it know exactly what you missed and why you must join us next summer!

Farm to Table

Chef Eric’s Menu | Free Range Kitchen

A P P E T I Z E R S
Pulled Pork Tacos & Wild Coho Salmon Cakes
 1 S T   P L A T E
Farro Risotto with Slicer Tomato and Cooper Hereford Meatball
2 N D   P L A T E
Bibb Salad with Local Beets, Heirloom Carrots and a Fresh Herb Buttermilk Dressing
M A I N   P L A T E
Slow Roasted Cooper Hereford Sirloin
Chanterelle Broth
Twice Baked Potato
D E S S E R T
Flathead Cherry Buckle

Chef Melissa’s Menu | Seasonal MT

A P P E T I Z E R 
Smoked Brook Trout Dip
Crackers & Pickled Peppers
Rainier Cherries
F A M I L Y   S T Y LE   P L A T E S
Zucchini Squash Muffins
Grilled Squash Tapenade
Cucumber, Red Onion, Baby Fennel Salad over Slicer Tomato
Roasted Golden Beets & Chioggia Beet Salad
Red Beet “Hummus”, Basil Pesto
Red Beet Hummus, Basil Pesto & Heirloom Slicer Tomatoes
Snow Pea & Apple Mint Salad
M A I N   P LA T E 
Cooper Hereford Beef Tacos
Local Wild Mushrooms
Charred Tomatillo Verde
Cilantro, Kale & Red Scallion
D E S S E R T 
Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread
Blueberries & Blueberry Yogurt

Farm to Table Dinner

Wondering what to make with the bounty of red beets rising in the garden and markets? Well Chef Melissa with Seasonal MT was kind of enough to share her Beet Hummus recipe. I’m a huge fan. In fact, I just made another batch today. It’s incredibly vibrant, sure to catch the eye. Layer some heirloom tomatoes on top with a dollop or two of pesto and you have a gourmet healthy lunch in minutes.

Beet Hummus // makes approx. 2 servings

1/2 lb. beets (scrubbed clean, cooked, peeled and cubed)
2 Tbs. sesame seed paste (Tahini)
5 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Clove garlic (chopped)
1 Tbs. Ground cumin
1 Tbs. lemon zest (zest from approx. 2 lemons)
1 Pinch sea salt (or kosher salt)
Ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Depending on the beets, you might need to add a little local honey to taste.

Don’t forget – S U P P O R T    L O C A L ! !

Cobb Salad with Grilled Romaine

July 29, 2015

Romaine
Grilled Romaine Salad

During June, July and August in Montana there are no excuses: Dinner should be prepared on the grill. Cooking and dining during the warmer months is best enjoyed outdoors because summer always seems in an awfully big hurry to get somewhere.

Meals should be quick and easy because who wants to labor over a stove all day? Salads, with the abundance of local, ripe berries and leafy greens, are also synonymous with summer. So here’s a recipe for a delicious salad prepared on the grill.

This tasty Cobb salad uses romaine lettuce and comes together in minutes. The romaine and bacon are grilled to create a lightly charred flavor that melds perfectly with creamy ranch dressing. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, this salad is incredibly filling. However, if you’re craving more protein throw a steak on the grill too!

Plates pictured above can be purchased on the Mercantile here.

Salad

Cobb Salad with Grilled Romaine // Serves 2

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Two heads of romaine lettuce
1/2 an avocado
1/2 cup raspberries or one apple
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Six slices of bacon
Jalapeno ranch dressing

HOW TO MAKE IT

Lightly grease the grill and heat to medium or medium-high. Place the romaine heads and bacon on the grill. Grill the romaine for 2 minutes, 30 seconds on each side or until slightly charred but not overly wilted, and grill the bacon until crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to help absorb any excess grease while plating the salad.

For presentation, place one head of romaine on each plate, cut into four chunks leaving the stem intact, and arrange in a half circle following the plate rim. Dress with ranch and garnish with whole or fanned avocado, fruit, walnuts, Gorgonzola and crumbled bacon. Serve warm.

If you don’t have raspberries or an apple, use other seasonal fruits; it will taste just as good! Also, if you don’t want to make homemade dressing, I like Litehouse Jalapeno Ranch found in the grocery store’s refrigerated section. It’s gluten free, and has no MSG, preservatives, or high-fructose corn syrup.

Cobb Salad with Grilled Romaine

From My Garden | DIY Edible Flower Crown

July 22, 2015

P&P Flower Crown

DIY Flower Crown

My best friend is getting married in August! It’s about time; I think they have been dating for almost six years! Well, I guess I am not one to talk since it took me seven years of dating before I would tie the knot! Ha. Anyways, the theme of the wedding is a midsummer’s night dream. It will be very woodsy and whimsical with lots of native flora y fauna. So my best friend, with all her wedding preparation, inspired me to create an edible flower crown from foraged bits and pieces found from or around my garden.

Also, another gorgeous dress from Everything Golden. The most thoughtful tailoring and details on this dress created the most flattering fit. Which is why, I am sure, the scoop neck on this dress is surely the reason it sold so fast. Lots of other beauties available like this vintage denim dress and this vintage plum paisley dress plus lots and lots more on the Mercantile including my favorite textured ceramic plates by Shady Grove Pottery.

Flower Crown

Everything Golden

DIY Edible Flower Crown

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Stem Wire
Green Floral Tape and Wire
Spinach Leaves
Asparagus Fronds
Garlic Scapes
Rhubarb Strips
Marigold Flowers
Lemon Peel

HOW TO MAKE IT

Collect a bouquet of edible flowers, greenery and/or vegetables from your garden or scraps from your recent farmers market trip. I collected a variety of greens and used marigolds and lemon peel for accents of orange and yellow.

Measure a piece of stem wire around the crown of your head. I used two pieces of stem wire and wrapped the ends around each other to form a circle.

Cut edible flowers and greens leaving 2 or 3 inches of stem. Lay clippings around the crown to get a feel for the design. Group clippings together using floral tape and secure to stem wire (crown) using the green wire. I like to arrange the filler greens and smaller flowers first, leaving the statement pieces for last. Place statement flowers (in this case, marigolds) by threading a 4 inch or so piece of green wire through the center from the back, forming a hook to anchor it, then pulling back and wrapping the flower on the crown.

Whala!

Edible Flower Crown

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