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Our 100-Yard Diet Dinner Party

27 Jun

Chef Connie

100 yard dinner, why go 100 miles when you can go 100 yards

This was a special dinner with wonderful friends. Dinner parties are made not only by the food but also those around the table, and this evening turned out to be the perfect mix of Food, Friends (and of course wine).

The goal was to create as much food grown within 100 yards of our house. Luckily we live rural, grow as much organic veg as we can as well as raise our own cattle and chickens.  However, if you don’t happen to have direct access to your own – I urge you to host a dinner where-in you create a ‘limited food miles’ theme. you’ll be amazed at what you can discover.

Here’s an overview of the menu I created for this very early spring dinner:

1st course Stinging Nettle soup 

You should have seen the faces when I told them about the first course… trepidation. Until they tasted it 🙂

The top 2 or 3 leaves and the tips are cut when the nettles are 6-12 inches tall.  Nettle is similar to spinach just a bit more earthy. It treats arthritis, gout, hay fever, urinary tract problems, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, dandruff, and increases testosterone.  Lately it has shown some promise to help with Alzheimer’s and can help with high blood pressure.

The top part of the stem is cut and in the kitchen, I picked off the top leaves and tips.   I sautéed onions and a potato then added homemade stock.  When cooked, 2 lbs of nettles were added and cooked down.  Salt and nutmeg were added. At the end it was all pureed in the vitamixer.  To finish, cream and homemade croutons were added.

 100 yard – The nettles were from the field just outside the window,  the onions were the very last of our last summer’s crop.  In the stock is bay leaf, that I grew and dried.

2nd course Homemade Ravioli

I went to NY for an Italian cooking Bootcamp in November and picked up some tips for making better fresh pasta.  Starting with 00 flour,  this is flour that is super sifted and I went to Bosa Foods and got 00 flour specifically for pasta (not 100 yards).  It comes down to the protein(gluten) content in the flour.  Ideally you would even make the pasta with only egg yolks to make it even softer, but I don’t believe in taking it this far.  Fresh pasta is made with flour and eggs and some oil and salt if you like.

The sauce is olive oil, butter, onions, garlic, chilis, tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, oregano, salt, vodka and cream

100 yard – eggs come from our chicken coop you can see from the dining room table,  Tomatoes were harvested from our garden and were frozen whole.  Bayleaf, basil and oregano from my herb garden and were dried last summer.

3rd course Rib eye steak, béarnaise with an arugula salad –

Ribeye is the cut that used to be the Prime Rib,  when cut into steak it is called rib eye.  Steaks were seasoned with Edmonton Steak Spice,  brought to room temp, then seared for 45 seconds per side,  then placed in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes, turned half way.

Bernaise is egg yolks, shallots, tarragon vinegar, white wine, dried tarragon and butter.

Salad is arugula… not ready yet in our garden but soon (first harvest in June)!   Added to the salad for feel and flavour were oranges, pine nuts, red onion, goat feta and dressing

100 yard – Beef is from our field, the eggs in the hollandaise were from our coop, shallots in the béarnaise were from our garden last year.

Egg yolk myth busting – There is very common misconception that egg yolks are bad.  Egg whites are only considered good for you because they are lower in fat.  When in fact the only real thing that is good about them is that they are attached to an egg yolk.  Yes that is correct.  The nutrients in a yolk outstrip that of a white, by about 10 fold.  The benefit of the nutrients in yolks is so much greater than whites that any fat reduction you may think is good for you is so lost because of what you have thrown away with the yolk.  There are more vitamins and nutrients in a yolk than in most multi vitamins.

Egg Yolks Would Resolve many North Americans’ Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies

4th Course Dessert

Homemade Meringues with blackberry rhubarb sauce.

100  yard – Blackberries were picked right outside the window here next to the fence.  The blackberries operate as a hedgerow – something that commercial farms rip out.  The also really help hold up the fence.  Hedgerows provide a habitat for birds that eat the bugs.  In the olden days, hedgerows also kept the top soil in place, acted as wind breaks and prevented run off between fields.  North America is in serious need of top soil… which is either being sunk into the ground with GIANT tractors, blown away due to lack of hedgerows or running off with rain because there is nothing in place to hold it there.  Traditionally cover crops would be planted in the winter and then tilled under in spring prior to planting.  Cover crops provide nutrients to the soil and prevent run off over the winter.

Rhubarb needs no explanation other than… its best in the Spring… so we are having it tonite to celebrate Spring.

Rhubarb originally came from Northern asia and was introduced to the west in the 18th century. Rhubarb is considered a rich source of dietary fiber and suitable for those suffering from stomach ailments especially indigestion and acidity. It is often prescribed as a laxative in herbal medicine both for constipation and diarrhea.  Also it increases white blood cell count, so ideally can help fight cancer, is high in calcium and helps menopause symptoms specifically hot flashes.

And last but not least… meringues – in case you just HAD to have your egg whites… they are here for you with a bunch of things added to make them palatable.

Let’s all celebrate real food & real friends.

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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Food

 

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