Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Potluck Weekend

I hate to admit it, but I don't usually like potlucks. I have too many memories of church basements, school cafeterias and suburban split levels, where the best offering was Devilled eggs and the worst involved Durkee's fried onions.


So, I'm happy to report that the two "potlucks" I attended this weekend were swimming successes. It did help that the first was on a farm, one of the most sustainable family farms in the Midwest, Green Acres, and was attended by some of the best chefs in the city. Smoked leg of venison overseen by Roger Herring of Socca, eggplant, kimchee and cucumber salad by Bill Kim of Urban Belly and a variety of of other treats were to be had on a soggy, grey Sunday afternoon in North Judson, Indiana.


Good company and music was abundant. A little amusement as my son, Thor, directed the band in a nice version of Baba O'Riley.

Thor at Green Acres
Unfortunately, I was having too good a time at the second potluck to record it with pictures. We hosted a Slow Food Eat-In with 4 families from Thor's school. Inspired by Slow Food's roots, we organized an Italian farmhouse meal. In lieu of photos, I'll share our menu:

White Peach Bellinis

Shoestring Zucchini Fries with Red Pepper Sauce
Black Olive & Eggplant Crostini

Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread
Verbena & Vinegar Chicken
Thinly Sliced, Grilled Sirloin Steaks with Arugula Pesto
Heirloom Caprese Salad
Pasta Salad
Grilled Corn

Fresh Peach Ice Cream
Cantaloupe Ice
Apple Crisp

My favorite new recipe is the Verbena and Vinegar Chicken, which is almost entirely a locavore recipe.

Verbena and Vinegar Chicken
4-6 Servings

1 chicken cut into 8 pieces
6 garlic cloves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
the leaves from 1 long sprig of lemon verbena
freshly ground pepper

Mix the garlic, oil, vinegar, verbena and pepper in a shallow container suitable for marinating. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Remove from the cold and let the chicken come to room temperature. Remove from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Salt with kosher salt and grill until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

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