Bid on a farm-fresh dinner in the field
September 3, 2004
Last month, I helped out some very special people with two very different kinds of functions. One was a luncheon for my good friends Carol and Brenda Smith, who hosted an annual meeting of their flower growers association. The other was a celebration of life for Adele Abowd. I will share some of my thoughts about that wonderful family and her recipes in my next column.
Carol and Brenda are mother-and-daughter farmers. Their farm is truly a family affair, and although they only have five acres, you would be amazed what they produce and how many families they feed on a weekly basis. So, when they asked me to help them prepare lunch for their flower growers meeting, I jumped at the chance to hang out in Carol’s kitchen.
Her kitchen looks like it is right out of a Midwest farmhouse, with a 1929 Magic Chef antique stove that has no temperature gauge. It reminded me of my old woodstove, a little temperamental, but once you get accustomed to them, the food just seems to cook itself (yeah, right). But it does seem to taste better.
The Smiths wanted to serve food they had grown themselves. For lunch, we served farmed-raised and -butchered organic barbecued chicken, corn on the cob picked and shucked that morning, a salad of their fresh lettuce, tomatoes, grilled assorted summer squash, purple onions and fresh mozzarella with a balsamic vinaigrette and homemade buttermilk rolls. For dessert, we served chocolate strawberry shortcake with hot fudge sauce.
We wanted to do a luncheon in the garden right next to the flower beds because that seems to be the latest craze. People are paying big bucks for dinner in the garden, vineyard or on the farm in the field. Our thought was that if it went well for this event, we would offer it as an auction item for the Boys & Girls Club Barbecue Saturday at the Pony Express Pavilion.
So with a little brainstorming among friends, this is what we came up with. A dinner in the field on the farm hosted by the Smiths, with Charlie Abowd from Adele’s cooking and pairing the wine for the different courses. The food will be farm-raised. Chef Michelle Palmer and I will assist Charlie. Craig Fletcher and Teri will provide the music; they play at Adele’s every Thursday night.
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This event will take place on a Sunday in August 2005, giving you plenty of time to get your guest list together. So if you have a very special celebration next year, or just want to invite some of your best friends or relatives for a one-of-a-kind affair, you can help out the Boys & Girls Club and host a great gathering without lifting a finger. We will even send the invitations once you provide us with the addresses.
We are thinking that this supper will go for some big bucks. Last year, Charlie’s gourmet wine dinner for four at Adele’s went for $4,000, and my champagne brunch for eight went for $2,000. This dinner will be for up to 20. If you don’t have 20 really close friends, go in with someone else and split the cost and the guest list.
If you want to bid on this event in advance, call Jennifer Russell at the Pinion Plaza, 885-9000, ext. 1014. All pre-auction bids must be held by a credit card.
The bidding for this event will start at $3,000. A similar dinner in Napa for eight people went for $35,000. We have high hopes, but not that high; just give us your best offer, and we’ll put your name in the hat.
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Well, it’s September, and you know want that means – lots of zucchini! If you don’t have an abundance, the Farmers Market is now in Telegraph Square from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, and I’m sure they will have plenty. This next recipe is a good way to use up those larger zukes.
BAKED ZUCCHINI WITH PARMESAN CHEESE
11Ú2 pounds. zucchini squash (or a mixture of whatever you have)
1Ú4 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 t. dried oregano
1Ú4 cup olive or vegetable oil
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup sour cream
1Ú2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a baking dish (8- or 9-inch-square). Wash zukes, trim off stem ends, and cut into 1Ú2-inch slices. Mix flour, 1 teaspoon oregano and salt and pepper in bowl. Add zucchini slices and toss to coat with the seasoned flour mixture. Place oil in frying pan over medium-high heat and sauté zucchini slices until lightly browned on both sides. As slices get done, remove and drain on paper towel.
Arrange slices in the baking dish; top with tomato slices. Blend sour cream with the other teaspoon of oregano and salt and pepper and spread this over the zucchini and tomatoes. Spread with the grated cheese and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Makes 6 servings. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on how many zucchini or guests you have.
This next recipe says, “Try me, I’m easy!”
3 cups grated zucchini
1 c. Bisquick
1Ú2 cup shredded cheese (your choice)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients and drop from spoon into frying pan of hot oil. Flatten slightly and fry on both sides till golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Linda Marrone has lived in Carson City since 1973, and with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone’s Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin’s Cookin’ Catering.