Tag Archives: wedding

Wedding dinner recipes

Here are the recipes we used for our local food wedding dinner. We grew or raised most of the ingredients.

Appetizers

Hummus

Ingredients (for 10 cups): 

  • 4 cups dry chick peas
  • 16 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 2 cups water (saved from cooking chick peas)

Directions:

  • Cook chick peas until soft and tender, making sure they are well covered with water.
  • Drain chick peas, saving 2 cups water, rinse with fresh water and let drip.
  • Food process all ingredients until a smooth paste is formed, more water may be necessary to achieve desired consistency. 

Vegetable sticks, cheese, crackers, fruit

Caprese salad

  • Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella
  • Basil
  • Olive oil

Chips & homemade salsa

Homemade half sour kosher dill pickles

Dinner

Autumn gold squash soup

Ingredients (for 100):

  • 35 lb squash
  • 7 lb onions
  • 1.75 cups vegetable oil
  • 5.25 lb carrots
  • 21 cloves garlic
  • 28 bay leaves
  • 7 tsp thyme
  • 7 tsp cumin
  • 7 tsp cinnamon
  • 7 tsp coriander
  • 7 quarts vegetable stock
  • 3.5 quarts tomato juice
  • 3.5 quarts orange juice
  • ~7 tsp salt
  • ~7 tsp pepper

 Directions:

  • Halve, seed and bake squash, cut side down, on baking trays at 400 degrees for 1 hour or more (until soft).
  • Saute onions in oil for a few minutes.
  • Add the bay leaves, garlic and spices and continue sautéing until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the carrots and stock. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves.
  • In a blender, puree the squash, vegetables and juices in batches until smooth.
  • Mix back together and add salt and pepper to taste.

Swedish coleslaw

Ingredients (for 100): 

  • 12 lbs cabbage
  • 3 lbs onions
  • 18 carrots
  • 12 sweet peppers
  • 6 cups cider or red wine vinegar
  • 4.5 cups canola oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 T dry mustard

Directions:

  • Use slicer attachment to cut up cabbage, onions and sweet peppers. Use the grater attachment to cut up carrots. Mix in a large bowl.
  • Mix all sauce ingredients in a saucepan an bring to a boil. Immediately pour over vegetables. Do not stir. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator several hours before mixing.

 Maple kale salad

Ingredients (for 100): 

  • 12.5 lbs kale
  • 25 large hakurei turnips
  • 3 gallons water
  • 3 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 1/8 cup Braggs
  • 1.5 cups maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 50 cloves garlic, pressed

 Directions:

  • Cut up and cook kale in water for 7 minutes.
  • Immerse kale in cold water to cool. Add sliced hakurei turnips.
  • Toast sesame seeds in the oven on a baking sheet until light brown.
  • Mix sauce ingredients.
  • Add to kale just before serving.

 Garden salad

Rosemary roasted chicken and potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 21 chickens
  • Brine at a ratio of 1/4 cup salt:1 quart water:1 T dried rosemary ratio
  • 40 pounds potatoes (including up to 5 lb for vegan potatoes)
  • Salt, pepper, rosemary, olive oil for vegan potatoes

Directions:

  • At least 12 hours before cooking, immerse chicken in brine.
  • Wash potatoes. Cube potatoes, cutting out rotten spots but leaving the skins on.
  • Rinse chicken.
  • Arrange chicken parts and cubed potatoes on baking pans. Roast at 450 degrees until a thermometer stuck inside the breast reads 160 degrees.

Rosemary roasted vegan potatoes

Directions:

For one pan of potatoes (no more than 5 pounds), soak 10 minutes in hot tap water. Dry with a clean dishtowel. Mix in a bowl with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook them at 450 degrees without chicken. Flip the potatoes periodically until they are nicely browned on several sides.

Homemade salad dressing

Homemade bread

 Dessert

John’s ice cream from Liberty, Maine

Pies made by our moms and Andy

  • Pumpkin pie
  • Walnut pie
  • Apple fig pie
  • Shoo-fly pie
  • Blueberry pie
  • German cheese pie
  • Apple pie
  • Apple raisin pie

Our local food dinner

We did it! We cooked and served a meal made mostly from ingredients we grew, raised or made from scratch ourselves. We made way too much food, but no one seemed to mind taking leftovers home the next day. It was such an incredible weekend! The weather was perfect, the people wonderful and fun, my husband amazing…

Andy & I during our wedding ceremony

It’s weird to be on the other side of a weekend that we have spent many months preparing for. We’re back home and back to work for a week before heading out on our honeymoon in southern Utah. Then we’ll have to find a new project to take on – maybe getting our new land ready to build and farm on!

Andy asked me several times throughout the weekend, “Was it worth it?” Were all the hours of preparation worth it for one meal? I always said yes, absolutely.

We cooked our wedding dinner with friends and family in a summer camp kitchen

The meal provided more than just pleasure and sustenance for our guests, it was a learning experience for us as well. We gained confidence in our growing skills, since this was by far the biggest garden either of us had tended on our own. It gave us hope that anything is possible.

It was also a test of our relationship. There was stress and there were decisions to make together. We realized that the way we approach projects is quite different. I like to think things through before starting and have a plan for exactly what will happen. When we have to stray from the plan, it stresses me out. Andy, however, likes to figure things out as he goes along, and he is more flexible when something doesn’t go as planned.

Butternut squash destined for soup

“We’ll figure it out,” he said numerous times this summer. “But I want to figure it out now,” I would reply. We struggled at times and got grumpy with each other, but we’ve developed some new techniques for dealing with stress and for combining our different styles of approaching tasks. Once we let go of needing to be right, we realized that it’s better for us to be different. When you combine us, we think ahead and we’re flexible.

Kim roasted endless trays of chicken and potatoes

It’s hard to describe the weekend because for me it all went by so quickly. On Friday we gathered in the kitchen of the summer camp we rented out for the weekend. Friends and family washed, chopped, mixed, baked and boiled. We filled the walk-in cooler with trays of roast chicken and potatoes, salads, squash soup, veggie sticks, hummus, chopped watermelon and cantaloupe and more.

I can’t do Saturday justice by explaining the sequence of events. It was an emotional and incredibly wonderful day. And the food was delicious and abundant.

Max designed the image we had printed on aprons we gave away to our cooks as gifts

To be honest, I find it remarkable that we pulled this off. Neither of us have ever done any catering before, but we decided to make a meal for 90, and it worked out. I’ve been thinking lately about how neither of us are scared to take on projects, even if we don’t know how we’re going to accomplish them. I’m so grateful for this trait, which I can probably thank my parents for. Through their words and actions, they have infused me with a feeling that anything is possible with hard work and determination.

I guess this blog is done, now that our local food wedding is finished. However, I plan to start a new blog that Andy has named, Living From Scratch. We do so much from scratch – cut our own firewood, make tomato sauce and pickles and ketchup, boil maple sap into syrup, bake bread, smoke bacon, make cheese, brew beer…. We enjoy providing for ourselves, and we’re able to live a lifestyle less tied to our income. We still need money, of course, but since we have a low consumer footprint, we are able to put away money even on very modest salaries. Check back for a link to the new blog.

If you want all the recipes we used for our wedding dinner, I plan to post them sometime soon.

Harvest day

Yesterday was our big harvest day, and we’re happy to say we provided all the vegetables, meat and cheese for our wedding except for some donated goat cheese, greens, broccoli, a couple of pounds of onions and some garlic!


Andy's Brazilian brother Lauro and his girlfriend Daniele helped us harvest

Gabbie loyally guarded our piles of vegetables

Daniele helped pick peppers

We were doubting our slow-growing cabbages, but they pulled through and provided us with more than we need

Tomatoes, peppers and edamame

Squash soup

Digging yukon gold potatoes

Harvesting is so much fun, and it is so gratifying to see the results of all our work. I love having a refrigerator full of melons and pickles and a living room full of squash, pumpkins and potatoes. Now it’s time to start obsessively checking the forecast for frost warnings and hurricanes (ironically, Hurricane Julia is off the coast of Africa heading for United States). We’re still testing recipes and making last minute arrangements, but we’re feeling ready and excited for the wedding.

A trunk full of butternut squash

We’re so excited to create this meal, to spend time with people we love, and most of all to get married!

Here’s one of my favorite recipes we’ve tested recently. Since you are probably not cooking for 100, you can always shrink the amounts. Dividing by seven gives you around 15 servings and nice even amounts.

Autumn Gold Squash Soup

Ingredients (for 100):

  • 35 lb squash
  • 7 lb onions
  • 1.75 cups vegetable oil
  • 5.25 lb carrots
  • 21 cloves garlic
  • 28 bay leaves
  • 7 tsp thyme
  • 7 tsp cumin
  • 7 tsp cinnamon
  • 7 tsp coriander
  • 7 quarts vegetable stock
  • 3.5 quarts tomato juice
  • 3.5 quarts orange juice
  • ~7 tsp salt
  • ~7 tsp pepper

Directions:

Halve, seed and bake squash, cut side down, on baking trays at 400 degrees for 1 hour or more (until soft).

Saute onions in oil for a few minutes.

Add the bay leaves, garlic and spices and continue sautéing until the onions are translucent.

Add the carrots and stock. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves.

In a blender, puree the squash, vegetables and juices in batches until smooth.

Mix back together and add salt and pepper to taste. Warm slowly.

The cabbages are coming along nicely

My parents came to help in the garden

Slow down melons! Speed up cabbage!

We’ve switched from trying to figure out what’s eating our crops to trying to determine when we can eat them. This is not as easy as it might seem.

It’s easy to know when to pick and eat tomatoes and cucumbers and kale, but melons and potatoes are a challenge. Andy has been researching how to tell when melons are ripe. He found a whole list of signs to look for, including raised ridges running from end to end, dead tendrils opposite the fruit, yellow coloring underneath and a tough rind. I simply knock on them, but they all sound hollow to me. We picked and ate one watermelon, but it was definitely not ready. This is good news. We’d rather everything waits until the end of September to ripen.

The potatoes are a challenge because our Yukon Gold plants have completely died off and the Russets aren’t far behind. Right now we’re leaving the potatoes in the ground because we don’t have a dark, 40-degree space where we can store them (we so look forward to having a root cellar some day). We’ll keep checking on the potatoes to see if they are doing okay in the ground.

We planted our short season crops recently – lettuce, peas and hakurei salad turnips – which we hope will be ready just in time for the wedding. Since it’s been dry, we’ve been watering these new seedlings every few days.

Our wedding website has a countdown on it. Every time I look at it, I’m surprised by how soon we’re getting married. I am so incredibly thrilled to marry Andy. We’re writing our own vows, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to say. I often sit back and realize that I’m more in love with him than ever before, and each time I don’t think it possible to fall even deeper in love.

With the excitement, though, comes stress. It’s a lot of work to plan a wedding. We’ve spread out the planning over time, and we’ve delegated some tasks, but I still feel overwhelmed sometimes. Andy’s good at convincing me that everything will work out fine in the end. Also, I’m very aware of the fact that the point is to enjoy the wedding, including the planning (as much as possible). I try not to stress out too much.

Planning the wedding has been a process of discarding preconceptions of what a wedding “should” be like. In the beginning I thought we needed to hire a caterer. I thought we needed to rent nice dishes. I thought we should send out paper invitations and give everyone a wedding favor.

As we’ve planned the wedding, though, we’ve discarded traditions that we don’t see a purpose for. We decided that, with our friends and family, we can cook the wedding dinner. We don’t have to follow fancy recipes that take hours to complete. Fresh ingredients speak for themselves.

Each step of the way we’ve assessed what’s really important. Making a budget helped us prioritize and throw away the idea of renting dishes and sending invitations. Instead, we’ll use the plastic summer camp dishes and we emailed an invitation I made in Publisher.

We’ve focused in on what’s really important to us, which is spending time with people we care about and being intimately involved in our wedding dinner, from seed to plate.

P.S. Sorry I haven’t posted photos lately. My camera died after falling in the Saco River during my bachelorette party. But Sarah Moore is being kind enough to take photos of us and the garden a couple of times this summer, so maybe I’ll post some of her photos.

pH matters

It’s the time of summer when there aren’t enough hours in the day. In addition to gardening and swimming and planning a wedding, my job for the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association is also much more time consuming and busy in the summer. I haven’t had much time to write, though it doesn’t mean nothing is happening in the garden.

Garden on July 5th

Some crops seem to grow overnight. The pumpkins and potatoes are huge. The tomatoes and cucumbers and brassicas look great. But the onions and corn leave much to be desired. We’ve been trying to figure out why the onions have done so little even though they were the first seedlings we put in the ground. My father suggested the problem could be pH.

Many crops do best in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7. Soil pH affects the chemical forms of nutrients like phosphorus and iron. When soil pH is too acidic or too alkaline, some nutrients convert to a form that cannot be absorbed by plants. Even in nutrient-rich soil, off-balance pH may cause plants to suffer nutrient deficiencies

In Maine, soil is often too acidic for optimum plant growth. Luckily, soil pH can be easily raised by spreading and mixing in ground limestone. When we got our soil tested in the spring, we found out that the pH was 5.6. We spread 350 pounds of lime and 65 pounds of wood ash (about half the recommended amount) and tilled it in. However, we expect that the lime hasn’t had time to completely do its work.

Potatoes are one crop that does grow well in more acidic soils, preferring a pH of 5.5. We didn’t spread any lime in our potato area, and the potato plants are enormous. The onions, however, prefer a pH of 6-7.

To see if we could solve the low pH in our onion patch, we dumped some wood ash around the plants. Wood ash raises pH and is more water soluble than limestone. We only had enough ash for part of the onion row. Today, after the rain had a chance to wash the ash into the soil, the part of the onion row we treated seems to be greener and larger. Before we spread ash on the rest of the onions, we’ll take a picture so we can assess the results more concretely.

We’ve decided to do an experiment with our tomatoes. Some people prune their tomatoes to improve their yield. Tomato plants sprout suckers where new leaves leave the main stem. When pruning, you cut these suckers off. I’ve always wondered whether pruning tomatoes really makes a difference. This summer we intend to find out. We pruned one side of the row and left the other half untouched. We’ll weigh the fruit we get from each side.

First batch of cucumbers and dill

Our first crop is ripening: cucumbers. We were very excited to make our first jar of pickles!

I’ve been adding lots of pictures to the Photos page of chicks, plants and more. Check them out!

In case you’re interested, I found this list of pH preferences for different crops:

  • Beans            6.0-7.0
  • Beets             6.5-8.0
  • Broccoli        6.0-7.0
  • Cabbage       6.0-7.5
  • Cantaloupe  6.0-7.5
  • Carrots         5.5-7.0
  • Corn             5.5-7.5
  • Cucumbers 5.5-7.0
  • Lettuce        6.0-7.0
  • Onions         6.0-7.0
  • Peas             6.0-7.5
  • Peppers       5.5-7.0
  • Potatoes      4.8-6.5
  • Squash        6.0-7.0
  • Tomatoes   5.5-7.5

Welcome baby chickens!

The call came at 7:30 this morning. “This is the post office calling. We’ve got some chicks for you.” We immediately drove the mile to the post office and picked them up. On the box the packing slip read, 51 chicks hatched the day of the postmark. They were mailed two days ago.

Once we got them home, we dipped each chick’s beak in water, which we had prepared ahead of time with a vitamin powder. We arranged plates of food and water containers in the cardboard circle we had prepared inside the chicken tractor, which is inside the garage. Their bedding is a layer of shavings with paper towels on top so they don’t eat the shavings. All the details of how to prepare for them we learned from my parents, who have been raising chickens for years. My mom writes a blog about raising chickens.

Baby chickens, just arrived in the mail from Pennsylvania

The chicks almost immediately began eating and drinking. Their instincts are strong.

These chicks are meant for dinner. We won’t keep them long enough to get eggs out of them. They are a variety called Freedom Rangers, which are supposed to forage well and produce delicious meat. They don’t grow as fast as the Cornish Cross broilers. It makes me a little sad to know that we’re raising them only to kill them. But I hope they’ll live a happy and safe 11 weeks, with fresh grass and bugs once they get a little older.

We plan to keep them in the garage for three to four weeks under a heat lamp (they like to be at 90 degrees in the beginning). Then we’ll move them out to pasture. We’ll move their cages every couple of days so they have fresh pasture.

We will roast the chickens whole for our wedding dinner, then carve them and serve. Yum! I can’t wait.