What a marvelous summer it has been! My garden has produced a glut of heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, Russian kale, black and white eggplants, and herbs galore. I now have so many beets I have run out of ways to cook them.
I recently hosted a 6 course dinner for 6 at our place. I decided to make it a “farm to table” affair using as much produce from my garden as I could. I wanted the dinner to reflect the abundance of my New Jersey garden. It was a wonderful dinner that lasted for hours. We enjoyed the gracious bounty of the earth, the beauty of life, good conversation and good wine, and the fortune of good friends.
Garden Dinner of the Garden State
Italian Gin & Tonic
Guacamole and Chips
Grilled Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
Grape, Cucumber, and Basil Gazpacho
Basil and Fried Sage
Ricotta Gnocchi in Brown Butter
Seared Cod with Capers & Preserved Lemon
Crispy Duck Breast with Orange Gastric & Oranges
Pickled Beets & Carrots
Grilled Kale Salad
House Pear Butter
Chocolate Bouchon & Chantilly
Lime Posset & Blueberry Juice
Tomato Raspberry Ice Cream
Here are two recipes from this amazing dinner: Grilled Tomato Gazpacho and Lime Posset
Grilled Tomato Gazpacho
Yield: 6 - 1 Cup servings
This traditional Spanish dish is typically made with raw vegetables. I find that grilling the tomatoes elevates the flavors of this soup. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
5 Very ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and quartered
1/2 Large Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks
1 Clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 Cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 TBSP Fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
1. On a hot grill heated to medium heat, place the tomato quarters. Sear them until black marks appear. Remove from heat.
2. In a blender, pour tomato chunks and purée for about 30 seconds. Once smooth, add onion, cucumber, garlic, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Purée mixture until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
2. Add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper as needed to taste. If the gazpacho is too thick, gradually add water until it is a drinkable consistency.
3. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours. Place 2 ice cubes in each of 6 tall glasses. Fill the glasses with gazpacho, and serve.
Yield: 6 – 3 oz. servings
A posset historically refers to a drink made with hot milk and subsequently curdled with alcohol. This posset is a custard-like dessert that can be flavored with citrus or berries. I like how the freshness of the lime lightens the decadence of the cream.
2 Cups (470 mL) Heavy cream
2/3 Cup (130 gm) Granulated sugar
1 TBSP Lime zest
3 oz. Lime juice (Approximately the juice from 3 Limes)
Fresh blueberries or raspberries for garnish, or jam
1. In a medium saucepan off the heat, whisk together the cream, sugar and lime zest. Place saucepan on stove and turn heat on medium. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar. Keep an eye on the cream so it doesn't overflow.
2. Once the mixture reaches a simmer, lower heat and reduce it for 10 to 12 minutes.
3. After the cream has reduced, remove saucepan from the heat and stir in lime juice. Let cool for 20 to 25 minutes. A thin skin will form on top.
4. Place a strainer over a medium sized bowl. Once the mixture is cooled, pour it through the strainer and discard zest. Using a ladle, divide mixture evenly among 6 individual ramekins or serving glasses.
5. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Once chilled, possets can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
6. Serve cold and garnish with berries or jam.