Sunday, December 25, 2011

Solstmas Feast

We celebrated Winter Solstice and Christmas by feasting with  a dear friends, a bunch of folks we have celebrated many holidays with over the years, no, decades.  In keeping with the goals of the Dark Days of Winter Eating Local Foods challenge,  this was a SOLE meal: made from sustainable, organic, local and ethical ingredients.

The star ingredient of the meal might have been the greens, harvested from our high tunnel just moments before this photo was taken.  When we built and planted the unheated high tunnel last September, I was hoping we might still have greens for Thanksgiving.  But, because of the crazy warm weather, we are still harvesting chard, kale, spinach, carrots, pansies, beet greens, scallions, parsley and radishes in late December! I did not realize how incredibly sweet and delicious these veggies would be; the cold-weather growing spurs them to produce sugars which serve as antifreeze in the leaves and help them grow even tastier in the cold!
We planned a simple feast, featuring lasagna,  both vegetarian and carnivorous made with ground beef from our own steers and  a bit of local hot Italian sausage from  Misty Meadows Farm. We intended to make the mozzarella from milk from our cow LaFonda, but time ran out, simplicity won out, and we used organic mozzarella, cottage cheese and parmesan from the co-op, made from dairies in SE Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Some of the greens were layered in the lasagnas.
The sauce was made from roasted tomatoes we had frozen from our garden last summer, as well as garden onions and garlic. We also grew some of the herbs.

Our daughter Sara is home and probably could have been persuaded to make the pasta--she and her friend are pasta entrepreneurs in Chapel Hill, NC (their operation is called Porcino) but since she is on a well-deserved vacation, I tried no-boil lasagna noodles from Trader Joe's (which were remarkably good!)
The finished meat lasagna, ready to serve.  Both lasagnas included mushrooms grown by Forest Mushrooms in St. Joseph, MN. The veggie lasagna also had organic garbanzo beans sprinkled  among the layers.

Accompanying the lasagna (but not photographed, alas!) were six loaves of whole wheat sourdough bread, made from our own 4-year-old sourdough starter and locally milled flour from Great River Organic Milling (leftover loaves went home with guests as Solstmas gifts),  a humongous salad made from our greens (and non-local organic pomegranate seeds, clementine sections, and toasted pumpkin seeds), a fabulous squash casserole contributed by Vera  and Earl (from a River Falls Farmers Market squash), and a few bottles of Jon's incredible homemade wine, made substantially from raspberries, elderberries, and currants his family had picked on their land.
You can't get much better than feasting on SOLE food with  the family and friends who feed your soul!
From the left: Our sweet friend Barb, wonderful Vera and Earl from River Falls,  Anne and Jon (best buddies from Dakota, where we raised our  children and celebrated many a Christmas together), my awesome husband/partner-in-farming Rog, Ian (Anne and Jon's eldest), our intrepid summer interns Brendan and Bethany, Camille (Anne and Jon's  youngest), Cadence (our younger daughter) and  our older daughter Sara - darn, I only caught the edge of Sara's lovely face in this photo.
Here is Sara.
The dinner was followed by decadent vanilla ice cream made by Sara from organic cream, raw sugar and vanilla, (in her other entrepreneurial venture, Sara makes gourmet ice cream sandwiches, delivered by bicycle: Bikescream.)  The ice cream was served with homemade hot fudge sauce --with exotic chocolate, pistachios and pomegranate seeds.  Bethany and Brendan brought homemade holiday cookies and Barb treated us to her famous Christmas cordial -- a top secret recipe, but I am pretty sure it must contains creme de cacao and  Benedictine.

Oh, yum! What a great way to celebrate the shortest day of the year and the  return of sunnier days.


Susan Delattre said...

At last I have visited your blog which is so WONDERFUL! How fine to see all that luscious food and you, Rog, Sara and Cadence. Wish I could have been there. I'm coming out to MN in February - let's see if I can get down to see you then.
Susan Delattre

Lynda said...

Wow! Yummy pasta dishes. Making pasta and cheese are favorites of mine.

CallieK said...

Looks fantastic! My mouth is watering from here.