Not long after Grocery Gardening hit bookstores in February 2010, I received a congratulatory call from some good friends in California. They wanted to celebrate by hosting a potluck dinner featuring recipes from the book. And since they know I'm a big fan of local foods, they wanted to buy many of the ingredients from their local Farmer's Market.
The world's first Grocery Gardening Party (or GG Party) was born.
I knew this GG party would rock, because: One, these folks are not just supportive friends, they are excellent cooks. Two, they know how to throw a good party. And three, for better or worse, most national trends do tend to start in California.
Being thousands of miles away myself, I lived vicariously through real-time Tweets and emailed reports, but you can see for yourselves how much fun they had.
Here's their menu, as well as mouthwatering pictures photographed by Kurt Triffet. There is even a recipe below for you to try. Cheers!
The World's First GG Party - Menu
Chive Dip and Vegetables (shown above)
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart
Baby Spinach Salad with Blueberries and Pecans
Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Risotto
Blue Cheese Baked Apples (recipe included)
Mascarpone Crostata with Strawberries and Apples
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tarts (pages 150-151) offered a way to enjoy all the asparagus available at spring markets. This vegetarian dish provides a healthy dose of this low calorie, nutritious vegetable.
Baby Spinach Salad with Blueberries and Pecans (page 197) combines tender spinach with berries, nuts and feta cheese to provide a new twist on an old favorite.
Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Risotto (page 181) is the ultimate comfort food, featuring aromatic sage and fennel seeds.
Blue Cheese Baked Apples (page 92) were a big hit at the GG party. So, I'm sharing the recipe for you to try yourself...
Blue Cheese Baked Apples (from Grocery Gardening)
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup dried cranberries
4 large baked apples (such as Courtland, Pippin, Braeburn or Gravenstein),
well-washed and cored (don't pierce the bottoms of the apples)
1/4 to 1/2 cup cubed and crumbled blue cheese (such as Roquefort, Stilton or Cambozola)
1 cup boiling water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the pecans, currants and cranberries in a small bowl; mix well. Fill the apple cavities with the pecan-fruit mixture. Top with a cube or spoonful of the blue cheese.
Place the stuffed apples in a small baking dish and add the boiling water to the pan. Bake 20 minutes, until the apples are softened but not falling apart.
Mascarpone Crostata with Strawberries and Apples (page 140) provided a decadent way to end the meal. This Italian fruit pie/tart concoction is easy to make too.
Plus, there were even leftovers. What could be better than that?
Some of the brains, cooks and planners behind the world's first GG Party take a break to pose for a picture. Special thanks to all who made this happen... Lori, Claudia, Cathi, Jim, Kathy, Carrie, Kurt, Rhonda, Ti, Isabel and Lee.
Learn More about Grocery Gardening.