Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Are You Oregon Farmers Market Style Party Ready ?
The weekends mean farmers markets to me. Every Saturday morning I look forward to going to the Portland Farmers Market stocking up on whatever is new and exciting in agriculture for the week. Just this past weekend, my local neighborhood farmers market - The Lents Interational Farmers Market - opened up. I hit up both, and threw an impromptu dinner party with a few friends to cook up all the fresh goodies I collected.
When friends come over for dinner they usually bring wine because we all like wine and because I drive a human powered vehicle. So this time I suggested Oregon wines so I could pair their selections with fresh Oregon food.
Meanwhile...earlier at the farmers market, I stocked up. I scored some just out produce as seen below.
I invited my friends over on a Sunday afternoon - we all had stuff going on, but everyone needed to eat and do something fun. It was actually a sunny day in Portland for once so I quickly wiped off the table on the deck, divided a pretty purple bouquet of flowers I got at the market in to some large beer steins and placed some potted plants on the deck fence to create a backyard garden ambiance.
The majority of my friends showed up an hour early so I sent them to the she-cave while I got everything ready. I picked up some duck and morel pate from a local vendor who suggested I pair it with pickles and mustard and grainy mustard. I used hot and spicy pickled asparagus and honey mustard instead. Did this in 1 minute.
I paired this starter with a crisp and refreshing pinot gris my friend @CamilleBeGreen brought over.
I also laid out an assortment of local goodies: wild smoked salmon bought from a local native American, roasted hazelnuts, cheese and blanched, fresh asparagus to nibble on.
I always pick up herbs at the market so for the next course I made a Mexican tabbouleh with bulgur, lime zest, lime juice, avocado oil, garlic, fresh parsley, cilantro, oregano and basil topped with pepitas. I know this is not super Oregonian, but I had all these ingredients plus a huge batch of bulgur I'd made the night before so I thought this might be fun to eat - plus it paired well with the pinot gris and I had some cute little ramekins I wanted to use.
Another friend bought over a pinot gris "from the cellar." I was excited because I had the perfect salad to go with this wine.
I put together local lettuce and peppery arugula, nectarines, roasted hazelnuts and busted out a tub of goat chevre to assemble this salad. I then dressed it with fresh pressed hazelnut oil and some honey vinegar. Salads like these, only require a few ingredients and do not require a recipe - just using fresh high quality greens and what is on hand - fruit, cheese, good oil, and lettuce almost always results in something delicious.
I picked up some German butterball potatoes which are tiny, roast in a flash and are super flavorful - perfect for a last minute party. I had some frozen hazelnut nettle pesto I made last week so I thawed it out while the potatoes were roasting in the oven. The small potato balls were fun and easy to serve. I would definitely use these again for a dinner party - using whatever sauces on hand to dress them up. Even a nice olive oil and salt would be great.
Another friend brought a Willamette Valley pinot noir - which pair well with most foods so I played the leafy dark greens card.
Being a kale lover, I picked up some Dinosaur kale and Red Russian kale which I sauted up with leek tips, green garlic, chili flakes and olive oil. I topped it the greens with chia seeds because they are delicious. I know greens aren't super sexy or typical for a party but my friends seemed to like the idea of eating dinosaur kale, any way, they wouldn't be my friends if they didn't like kale.
I bought some kielbasa from another farmers market meat vendor. The smoked pork sausage paired well with the kale and the wine. This was the hearty version of the dinner party. Everyone loves sausage at a party - something salty, meaty and juicy to pop in your pie hole. It took just a few minutes to sear this sausage in cast iron skillet then slice it up into bites.
For dessert, I busted out the vintage tiered serving tray I scored at an estate sale earlier in the morning. I put some fresh strawberries and pre-wrapped silver chocolates on the tray - serving it with some bubbly my boyfriend brought over.
It was a fun impromptu dinner party thanks to the generous party animals of Kelly Rippa, Electrolux and Foodbuzz via the Are You Party Ready campaign.
I was born ready to party.
And so were my friends: