Tag Archives: seasonal eating

Planning the menu

We can’t wait to put plants and seeds in the ground, and we have started a few seedlings in Beth’s greenhouse at Dandelion Spring Farm, where we worked last summer. In the meantime, we’ve been planning the menu and trying to figure out how many pounds of each ingredient we will need. My brother gave me the “Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd” cookbook for my birthday 11 years ago, and I’ve been carting it around with me as I move, hoping to use it someday. Finally, I’m cooking for more than 25 people! I’ve always liked Moosewood recipes, as they tend to be both simple and tasty. Our favorite cookbook, however, is “The New Best Recipe.” It was put out by the people at America’s Test Kitchen, who try out many permutations of each dish to find the best recipe.

Our tentative menu (we’ll test and refine all these recipes this summer):

Appetizers:

  • Veggie sticks (carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, green peppers, etc.)
  • Hummus (we make a killer hummus)
  • Fruit (cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, etc.)
  • Bread (from a local bakery)
  • Cheese
  • Pesto (homemade)

Dinner:

  • Roast chicken (raised ourselves, more on that later)
  • Autumn gold squash soup (Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd)
  • Oven fries (The New Best Recipe)
  • Cubed hubbard squash with kale (this is a dish we made up and came to love last fall)
  • Green salad
  • Caprese salad (tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and olive oil – yum!)
  • Asian cabbage slaw (Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd)
  • Pickles (we’ll follow my great-grandmother’s recipe for amazing half sour kosher dill pickles)
  • Bread (from a local bakery)

Dessert:

  • Pie (we’re calling it “battle of the moms,” since we each brag about our mom’s pies)
  • Ice cream (from John’s ice cream in Liberty, Maine – best ice cream in the state)

Taking into account that the wedding will be in the end of September, our menu centers around seasonally available ingredients. We’re hoping that this year’s frost will come late so we can have freshly picked tomatoes and basil from our own garden.

We estimated amounts of each ingredient needed for 100 guests to help us map out our garden. With 100 guests, we figure we’ll need 27 pounds of butternut squash, 40 pounds of potatoes, 12 pounds of cabbage, 15 pounds of carrots and various smaller amounts of other ingredients. Given the yields from the seed catalogs, we’ve taken an additional step to estimate how many row feet of each crop we’ll need. Farming is unpredictable, so we’ll plant way more than we think we’ll need to make sure we have enough.

Advertisements