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Simple and Satisfying, A Local Food 50th

My pal Ruth has an affinity for birds, although I can’t seem to connect.  And so her 50th birthday, a friendly potluck affair, counted a green parakeet, Boodle, and 25 hens as guests. Actually we looked over the porch at the hens, penned in what reminded my husband, Tommy, of a Hollywood prisoner of war camp  — fencing, a yard for exercise, a hot box for torturing upstart patriots and small wooden quarters.

It’s all in your point of view. I saw two hen houses, one that looked like a Hamptons beach house in miniature. And the fluffy new hens, adolescents really, white and black with red beaks, are quite pretty, even if Ruth isn’t sure if some of them will turn into roosters when they grow up. While peering under one to determine its gender, it laid an egg. Good eggs those eggs.

A the party, about a dozen of us mingled on the porch under the slightly threatening sky. Beyond, the woods smoked in the distance where Ruth’s beaux, Peter, grilled meat from Leahey’s farm — spicy lamb chorizo and burger.

It was simple satisfying menu. The same earthy potatoes I remember from last year, cubed and tossed in herbs. Fat late summer beans, meaty in their tangy dressing. Tomatoes galore in red, yellow and green, some on slabs of toasted sourdough bread smeared with pesto.

I took the lazy route and brought a salad mix from the farmers market, tossed with arugula and lots of chives and tarragon leaves from my garden. Two more salads: Grandma’s cucumber-dill and a bulgur, both refreshingly cool. Pesto pasta, of course, with the last of the basil, as we may get a frost this week. And ground cherries, a new discovery, which look like tiny tomatillos and taste sweet under their papery husks.

As a  concession to out of town food, Peter’s daughter made two stunning cakes, one chocolate, one vanilla, both buttery and not too sweet. Thanks Ruth, thanks Peter, our gracious hosts.

2 comments to Simple and Satisfying, A Local Food 50th

  • NaomiAlson

    We talked about the ground cherries being similar to gooseberries. Turns out that there are two berries both called gooseberry, one is in the currant family,( it looks like a striped grape), and the other is in the nightshade family along with the ground cherries and huckleberries. You can get seeds at Horizon Herbs and grow them like a tomato, seems like they self sow if they are happy, even further north than the Berkshires, and there are several types, some sweeter than others. Originally this plant comes from the Americas, some say the Andes. I’m definitely trying them next year!! They were almost tropical in flavor. They need to be harvested as they drop from the plant as the green, under ripe fruit is slightly poisonous, like a green potato.

  • Amy Cotler

    Interesting. Yes, tropical is the word. Amazing to try something with that hot weather flavor here in the Northeast. Thanks.