“Crop Circle Tabbouleh / Third Thursday”

“Crop Circle Tabbouleh”

Ingredients:

Gather the following: Fresh, Ripe, Local Peaches & Strawberries, Cilantro, Parsley, Mint, Spring Green Onions, Jalapeno & Sweet Red Bell Pepper, Wheat Berries Cooked, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Honey, Herbs de Provence, Sea Salt & Black Pepper (Amounts really don’t matter just use whatever amounts you want of each based on your own personal palate.)

1. Chop finely Spring Onions, Parsley, Cilantro & Mint. The onions I used came from the Downtown Farmer’s Market and the mint from my garden.

                                                       2. Carefully peel ripe peaches & cut into a large dice.  I used a combination of Alabama and Georgia peaches                                                              that started showing up at our local Farmer’s Markets last week.

  


                                     3. Let cooked Wheat Berries cool completely. Finely chop a bit of Jalapeno pepper & Red Bell Pepper for garnish.Wash                                                   &  trim Strawberries, let drain. The small sweet berries in this salad came from a farm in Ridgetop, TN.

4. Choose a large round serving dish and place cooked wheat berries in the middle a bit “domed” spreading out to the edges.  Add each prepped ingredient in a circle around the domed center, creating a “crop” circle!

Cover loosely with plastic wrap & refrigerate until ready to serve. 

5. Mix a simple Vinaigrette using the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, herbs de provence, sea salt & black pepper. I make quick vinaigrettes in small canning jars and shake to mix ingredients. Taste and adjust.

To Serve: Remove Crop Circle Tabbouleh from refrigerator anda drizzle Vinaigrette over all, add a large serving spoon.

The destination for my “Crop Circle Tabbouleh” ……………..

“Third Thursday May 2011 at Gigi’s Home”

Third Thursday’s Potluck was held this month at the home of Hat Maker and Gardener Extraordinaire Gigi Gaskins. Also hosted by Nancy Vienneau who invited some out-of-town guests who livened things up for us all.  Third Thursday’s are always much-anticipated by all of us who attend regularly and even more so as a bounty of  seasonal crops  are arriving daily, fresh from farmers all over our area here in Nashville.

Out-of-town guests, Kathi Speller and Lanette Mohr read about Third Thursdays in the current issue of Relish Magazine (check it out online at relish.com) & as they were both nearby on this particular Third Thursday they  joined our pot luck dinner party.

Image Gallery of the evening of food, conversation, laughter………..

                                                             

                 

                                                                                        

                                                                                  

Good food, new & familiar friends, a beautiful May evening.

Bon Apetit.

(My “Crop Circle Tabbouleh” was inspired by a recipe by Nigel Slater in his Tender, Vol II  cooking book. His recipe was for a Peach and Mint Tabbouleh.)

(The styling for”Crop Circle Tabbouleh” was inspired by an article I recently read on Crop Circles and by my good friend, Nancy Vienneau.)

A bit about Crop Circles from Wikipedia:

crop circle is a sizable pattern created by the flattening of a crop such as wheatbarleyryemaize, or rapeseed. Crop circles are also referred to as crop formations, because they are not always circular in shape. While the exact date crop circles began to appear is unknown, the documented cases have substantially increased from the 1970s to current times. 

Since the early 1990s the UK arts collective founded by artists Rod Dickinson and John Lundberg (and subsequently includes artists Wil Russell and Rob Irving), named the Circlemakers, have been creating some crop circles in the UK and around the world both as part of their art practice and for commercial clients.

Using local crops to make circles in food seemed a natural progression. Teresa B.

“Victoria Sponge & Strawberries”

“Old Fashioned Victoria Sponge Cake with Tennessee Strawberries”

This Saturday I bought a few pints of fresh picked Tennessee Strawberries at the Sylvan Park Farmer’s Market. This year’s crop is especially abundant and sweet. These small juicy  berries call out for a light sponge cake &  freshly whipped cream slightly seasoned with vanilla & sugar. I don’t often make desserts but as we were going to a dinner party and I was asked to bring dessert I wanted to make a special treat that would be a take off on the classic strawberry shortcake, but lighter. This dessert is easy to make from start to finish and is a stunner. It’s like eating air with a dash of sweetness.


To make a simple light sponge cake you will need the following:


2 sticks butter softened to room temp, use a little to grease cake pans (JD’s Dairy butter worked great for this cake.)

1 cup superfine sugar

4 eggs

(I used fresh local eggs from McDonalds that I purchased at the Sylvan Park Farmer’s Market as well)

1 3/4 cups self-rising flour & a pinch of salt (White Lily Flour is a good choice)

2 tbsp warm water

1 cup whipping cream + 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp vanilla

2 cups local, sweet strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting top of cake

To Make the Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease two 8 inch cake pans with butter & line bottom of each with a circle of wax paper.

3. Using a hand mixer cream together the butter & sugar until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Sift flour &  salt over the creamed mixture. Add warm water & beat together until well mixed. Batter is a thick, light & creamy texture.


5. Divide cake mixture evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until cakes are done in the centers. Remove from oven.  Turn cake layer out onto cooling racks until completely cool.

6. Using a serrated knife split each cake into two layers. Use three for this cake. Wrap &  store 4th layer for later in the week when you want to make strawberry shortcakes for two.

7. Whip cream with sugar & vanilla. Place one layer on cake stand or cake plate & cover with half the sweetened whip cream. Top with half of the strawberries.

8. Add 2nd cake layer and press down slightly. Spread remaining half of whipped cream over cake & top with remaining sliced berries.

9. Place 3rd cake layer on top of berries pressing down slightly. Dust top with confectioner’s sugar. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to serve. This cake is best assembled a couple of hours before serving. Serve cut into wedges with additional dusting of confectioner’s sugar if desired.


This type of cake was originally called a “Victoria Sponge Cake” named for Queen Victoria. It sounds fancy, looks fancy but is one of the easiest desserts to make to show off Spring Strawberries.

A bit about Victoria Sponge Cake & Self-Rising Flour from Wikipedia:

Victoria sponge

The Victoria sponge cake was named after Queen Victoria, who favoured a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea. It is often referred to simply as sponge cake, though it contains additional fat. A traditional Victoria sponge consists of raspberry jam and whipped double cream or vanilla cream, just jam is referred to as a ‘jam sponge’ and most certainly not a Victoria sponge. The jam and cream are sandwiched between two sponge cakes; the top of the cake is not iced or decorated.

Self-Rising Flour

Leavening agents are used with some flours, especially those with significant gluten content, to produce lighter and softer baked products by embedding small gas bubbles. Self-raising (or self-rising) flour is sold premixed with chemical leavening agents. The added ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the flour which aids a consistent and even rise in baked goods. This flour is generally used for preparing scones, biscuits, muffins, etc. This type of flour was invented by Henry Jones and patented in 1845. Plain flour can be used to make a type of self-rising flour although the flour will be more coarse. Self-raising flour is typically composed of the following ratio:

  • 1 cup flour;  1 teaspoon baking powder;  a pinch to ½ teaspoon salt
  • “Pick Your Own”

There are lots of farms in Middle Tennessee where you can pick-your-own berries for freezing, making jams & jellies or for creating your own desserts. Just go to the website listed below to find a farm near you.

http://www.pickyourown.org/TNmiddle.htm

eat more cake…….