A few years ago, I went to a meal where Melissa Kelly, the chef of Primo in Portland, ME presented and she talked about Farm To Table eating, about knowing where your food comes from, and about honoring the food and the people who bring it to you. This girl is legit: her whole restaurant, wait staff, chefs and all, show up one day to slaughter a pig every year and they use every part of the pig in their menu.
Chefs like Melissa inspire me so much. This time of year, when everything is at the height of harvesting, or have just been harvested and are sitting in piles on kitchen counters or farm stands, it is especially easy to be inspired by Farm To Table eating.
Like every mother on the planet, a return to school means something in my brain kicks into gear and shouts: So much depends upon an early, healthy dinner.
Because it does. Really. We have had the best summer with lots of fun but dinner always revolved around the fun, and often meant pizza or hot dogs or clam chowder. But with a return to the school schedule, the need for a nutritious dinner comes back into focus. This year we have football or soccer every night! Despite my best efforts at being a laid back mama and everyone only having 1 activity each during each season, well, four kids means…every night. So we are starting early and I will share my friends, I will share what meals were delicious and easy on The Humble Onion.
One thing that really makes it easy is that we live around the corner from this farm:
I love everything about the idea of Farm To Table eating, not because we are the pillars of health (see pizza and hot dog reference above) but because it is always delicious. Sourcing fresh, local/organic ingredients and preparing them simply is my favorite way to cook. So when I drive by and see that list of vegetables, my mind turns with what I could do with it all. I don’t belong to a CSA because I know I can stop in here and grab something growing that day.
So the night before school started, I took my two oldest kids with me for some bonding time and we picked blueberries:
and I checked what was growing to serve some side veggies to go with a flank steak from our grass fed cow we get from Farmer Bob (we have another meeting scheduled in November to get our next half-cow, so excited.) I grabbed some beautiful kale…
and watched the owner of Blueberry Bay Farm dig up fresh potatoes…
and headed home to make dinner. I turned the potatoes into french herbed potatoes, the kale was sautéed with a little olive oil and garlic, and the flank steak was cooked on the stove with the best sauce I can’t wait to share with you. The result was the most delicious dinner.
Everyone was quiet for the first few minutes eating, which I love. It is amazing how good fresh potatoes are – little pillows of heavenly soft fragrant clouds that exploded with the flavors of vinegar, garlic and herbs. And all the kids loved the steak with this sauce I whipped up and oh my gosh, so easy.
I felt very grateful after this meal – grateful to live near this farm, to make food for these people I love, and because my belly was so happily full and satisfied with such healthy food. I think that is what I love the most about Farm To Table. You can’t help but create gratitude when you know where your food comes from and who grew it. So thanks to Farmer Bob, Blueberry Bay Farm, and Melissa Kelly, who helped our family prepare, body, mind and soul for the new school year.
And for dessert? Blueberries and Cream, of course.
Flank Steak with Soy-Garlic Sauce (printer version here):
1 pound flank steak, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon sugar
Heat 1 T. oil in a grill pan over high heat. Sprinkle steak evenly with salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; grill for 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 3 minutes.
- Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add second tablespoon of oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, mustard, and sugar; cook 1 minute or until bubbly. Remove pan from heat. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve sauce over steak.
2 pounds small potatoes (you can use any kind, I used the small white ones Blueberry Bay Farm had, but fingerling or small potatoes are yummy too), scrubbed clean
4 tablespoons dry white wine or champagne vinegar
1/3 cup EVOO
2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons any variety of cut up herbs, chives, parsley, tarragon work well, or you can use 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Boil the potatoes for 14-16 minutes, depending on the size, until they are just tender throughout. Drain the potatoes and cut into quarters.
Mix together the white wine vinegar, oil, shallots, herbs, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss them gently. Sprinkle the potatoes with chopped fresh parsley.
Over medium heat, warm up 2 T. olive oil and 2 gloves of garlic, minced. Add kale (stems removed) and stir over medium heat until wilted, about 5-7 minutes.