this weekend was the solstice and i decided to celebrate. make dinner, invite friends over, enjoy the outdoors. starting friday i wanted nothing more than to play in the kitchen and play in the yard.
—a fact made evident by my opulent (and local! and seasonal!) menu.
mizuna and baby greens salad with radishes and sauteed peas topped with pumpkin seeds and borage flowers; flatbreads topped with hummus/carrots/beets/chevre/dill and carmelized onions/asparagus/parmesan/rosemary; and sausage.
i made some french dressing for the salad and some onion relish for the sausages.
some recipe insight
flatbread: the flatbread was a great success, thanks to Laura at not-so Urban Hennery pointing me in the direction of the Smitten Kitchen blog. i'll let you find the recipe there but the notes i have are:
1. over-kneading will cause the dough to become tough and difficult to roll out. if this happens you can try leaving it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes before trying again.
2. mine developed large air bubbles. i combated this by pricking the dough with a fork before putting it in the oven, and checking it once.
otherwise—delightful! definitely one of my new basics!
i carmelized the onions the night before, using the martha stewart method and walla walla sweet onions. i was out of butter so i used 2 tbsp of olive oil, cook for 15 minutes, at a pinch of salt and a tbsp of sugar and cooked for another 20-30. the beets i boiled for 15-20 minutes, plunged them into cold water, removed the skins and sliced up. all other ingredients were sliced and added fresh before the warming/melting of the flatbread just before serving.
onion relish: (loosely based off a real simple recipe) thinly sliced red onion, 1/4 cup of vinegar, 2 tbsp of honey, pinch of something spicy (they said to use cayenne but i was out. used something red from my chili making days.) stir, let sit, enjoy.
now...for the cocktails—pims cups, strawberry rhubarb sangria and lavender honey lemonade.
truth be told, the rhubarb sangria is not the best i have ever made. but it did call for champagne and i chose to use a large bottle of cheap white wine instead. what can i say? i was on a budget.
the highlight of the cocktails were definitely the infused simple syrups i made the night before. infused simple syrup—so easy! sugar+water+boil. add herbs or fruit and steep 20-30 minutes—with one exception, for the rhubarb syrup i ended up boiling down the rhubarb and then straining the syrup out of it.
in the end, everything was absolutely delicious.
and i'll confess to a bit of ego stroking from friends asking me if i was a chef. playing in the kitchen, eating outside, it really did turn out just the way i wanted it. i've always had good luck with the solstice, perhaps that is why i enjoy celebrating it so much.