by Phoenix Trent
The satisfying crunch of garden-fresh and seasonal asparagus. The sweetly tart bite of a bursting ripe cherry. The newly floral air blowing through the endless fields. These are the wonders that come along with spring time in our valley. Family and friends from all around come to enjoy the sweet nectar of dining within your joyfully alive home garden. The table is set with bouquets of fresh cut local flowers, the fresh cherry lemonade is being sipped upon by your loved ones, and a seasonally delicious and wholesome meal is on the way.
The world has become green and vibrant again—and with the wonderful weather it’s time to throw a garden party to remember.
Cherry Lemon Refresher
For a refreshing drink that’ll be sure to keep your guests cooled off and asking for more, mix up some fresh cherry lemonade. Cherries are at their peak ripeness and now is the time to take advantage of their juicy goodness and vitamin C kick.
Tossed Mesclun Salad with Ripe Cherry and Fresh Chevre
Entice your taste buds with a sprightly and light tossed mesclun salad with cherry vinaigrette. Visit your local farm stand or market to pick up the greens, cherries and cheese.
Begin by combining vinegar, mustard, rosemary, pepper and salt, oil, and cherries in bowl and mix briskly until the oil and vinegar have been well combined. After making sure the greens are cleaned and dried, toss mesclun greens with dressing until the leaves are properly coated. Toss in the goat cheese and serve fresh with a crack of pepper and thinly sliced and toasted sourdough bread for a nice crunch.
Grilled Steak and Veggie Kabob
For the protein, take advantage of the fresh meat available in our valley and decorate your table with vibrant and wonderfully tender grilled beef shish kabobs. Brykill Farm has a great selection of local free range beef that will be sure to please. For those who prefer a beef alternative, try a firm textured fish or substitute with zucchini and cherry tomatoes from the farm stand if you’d like.
Start the marinade by briskly whisking the oil, fresh lemon juice, soy sauce, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, pepper, and salt together in a deep mixing bowl. Add the beef and mushrooms and coat with the marinade, being sure to mix thoroughly. Seal with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least eight hours. Preheat an outdoor grill on high, and lightly oil the grate to prevent sticking. Remove the beef and mushrooms from the marinade and shake off any excess liquid. Carefully pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Next reduce the heat to medium/low, and gently simmer for 10 minutes; set aside for basting. Stack pieces of green pepper, beef, red pepper, mushroom, and onion onto skewers until all ingredients are skewered and accounted for. Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently and brushing with the flavor-packed marinade reduction until the kabobs are nicely browned on all sides and the meat is only slightly pink in the center (about 10-15 minutes).
Spring is the time when asparagus comes shooting through the soil for an early season nutritional burst.
To prepare the asparagus, break away the tough lower stem and thoroughly wash each stalk. Boil for three minutes and shock in ice bath to maintain the vibrant green color. Strain and begin to heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Before the oil reaches its smoke point (test by placing a small piece of garlic in the oil. If the oil sizzles then it’s at the perfect temperature), sauté the garlic until lightly golden brown. Add chopped plum tomatoes and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add asparagus and simmer on medium/low for 5-10 minutes. Include chopped parsley two minutes before completion and serve with kabobs. Don’t forget a fresh hunk of locally baked artisan bread (Bread Alone, Alternative Baker) and you’ll be on your way to a roller coaster of deliciousness.
For a simple and delicious dessert clean and halve a few bunches of fresh cherries. Add a few tablespoons of lemon and a dash of sugar to intensify the delicious cherry goodness. Serve with a sprig of fresh garden mint and a dollop of fresh-made and honey-sweetened whipped cream. Fresh fruit cleans the palate and provides for a perfect finale to a wonderful meal.
Eating with family and friends is something to look forward to. So make a few calls and transform your home and garden into a food paradise.
Try these local spots for your ingredients:
3853 Main St, Stone Ridge Towne Centre, Route 209
Mother Earth's Storehouse
Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Saugerties
Adam’s Fairacre Farms
1560 Ulster Avenue, Lake Katrine
and all of our great local