a farmhouse cocktail party celebrates spring!

thirsty thursday
notes from maggie's farm

We've been working up quite a sweat up here on the farm and it's time to sit back and reap the rewards.  We're having a little farmhouse cocktail party-- carving out a few hours this evening, after the animals are cared for, and before the sun sets, to enjoy the fruits, and the veggies, of our labor; peas planted and shelled, ricotta made from goats we've milked, caramelizing onions and seasoning with herbs, all from the spring harvest, finally, a sweet spring cocktail from liqueur we put by from this season's strawberries.  
And so the cycle is observed: Plant+Tend+Harvest+Celebrate+Rest
and then on to Summer's labors, and the cycle begins anew. But let us not get ahead of ourselves! Celebration is deserved, and celebration we'll have with the spoils of spring: 
sweet pea crostini with caramelized onion and herbed ricotta
strawberry basil sparkler.

Ingredients: 2 cups shelled peas, 1 cup tender pea shoots, 1T fresh dill, chopped, Zest of one whole lemon, Juice of 1/2 lemon, 3-4 stems young garlic, 1/4 cup grapeseed oil.
Acceptable substitutes:
For fresh peas: 2 cups frozen peas, thawed briefly under cool running water.
For pea shoots: 1 cup shredded cabbage
For young garlic: 1 medium garlic clove, plus 2 scallions
For grapeseed oil: olive oil, or other neutral-flavored oil


Blanch peas, pea shoots (or cabbage), and young garlic (or scallions) in boiling water, for five minutes.  Strain, and plunge into an ice bath (big bowl+ice+water) to retard cooking.  Remove pea shoots and young garlic (or substitutes) to a food processor bowl, and process, drizzling in oil, until a smooth paste is achieved.  Add peas, lemon zest, lemon juice and dill and process until just blended, (stopping well short of pureeing) yielding a well-blended coarse grind. Correct seasonings adding salt, and black pepper, optionally.

Well, there was such a kerfuffle in the food writing community a few weeks back about the time it took to caramelize onions that I was almost reluctant to add them to our crostini.  But they'd be sorely missed.  So, I took out my stopwatch and carefully recorded times.  And this is what we've got:  
Slice 3 small onions (for 6 crostini) in paper-thin rounds.  Add to a non-stick skillet, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes at medium heat.  Reduce heat to medium low, drizzle about 2t-1T olive oil over, and heat until golden, stirring often, about 20 minutes for lightly caramelized, as above, or longer, if darker caramelization is desired. 

 For crostini, slice baguette diagonally, in slices about 1/2 inch thick.  On a baking sheet or pan, lay slices flat, and drizzle lightly with olive oil, about 1/2t per slice.  In a preheated 400 degree oven, toast until golden brown.  Remove and rub toasted surfaces and edges with a peeled clove of garlic (see above).  Spread crostini with *homemade herbed ricotta (we shared in an earlier post here).  Mound a liberal spoonful of sweet pea pesto, and scatter caramelized onions atop.
*No time for homemade?  Season store-bought ricotta with your choice of herbs and seasonings.  We've used dill, salt, and lemon zest for ours.

And last, but certainly not least, 

That strawberry basil liqueur we began here is ready!  We're going to enjoy our first batch this evening in a sparkling cocktail perfect for a spring evening.  

To equal parts chilled strawberry basil liqueur and chilled champagne, or other sparkling wine, add a dash of homemade sours and a splash of seltzer.  Sit back, give yourself a big pat on the back for the work you've done, give thanks for the harvest, and say ahhhhh.

Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.  Thomas Alva Edison


  1. Yes Yes Yes to ALL of that-It's not lunch time but oh how this has my tummy a growling.

  2. Nothing more rewarding than enjoying food from your own labor! Can I come over? :-)

  3. Wow...That all looks so delicious and refreshing! Sure wish you were closer. I know I have mentioned this before, but your eye for photography is amazing too... I feel like I can just dig in!

    1. Thank you, Winnie! I had a lot of fun taking these pictures. Thank you for your encouragement!

  4. Oh yummy! Have you ever thought of getting your recipes on FoodGawker?

    1. I'm so flattered that you asked. I'm not sure my pics are professional enough for FoodGawker, but it's sure something to aim for. Thank you!


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