Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day Feast: Vegan, Local, Organic!

Tonight we had a super fun dinner party in honor of Earth Day: a 100% local, vegan, and organic meal! There's been a lot of talk lately about the impact that a veg*n diet can have on the planet... and I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate. I was also inspired by Bazu's 100-mile menu challenge that she won last year!

So, I invited some of my most farm-y friends, and we had such a great time. ALL the produce was from the farmer's market. We even had local, organic olive oil (amazing!), vinegar, apple juice, and red wine. The *only* ingredients I cheated on were salt & pepper. How cool!

First, I started with some fava bean preparation. Good thing that there was some nice weekend programming on NPR - fava beans take so long! First, you take off the big green husks (not pictured), then boil the beans for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Drain them and let the cool a bit. Now, you've got to remove the skins. In the colander are the unshelled favas, in the blue bowl are the empty skins, and in the bottom bowl are the ready-to-eat favas! MMM!

The main entrees were these sweet little stuffed summer sqashes. I don't know the name of this squash variety, but it's basically a round little zucchini in the shape of a baseball. I scooped them out and baked them empty for a 1/2 hour or so - to soften them. Then I mixed up the filling. The filling had spring onions, green garlic, baby green beans, some of the fava beans, chopped up squash (from the scooped out innards), fresh tomatoes, walnuts, and a mountain of fresh herbs - tarragon, basil, parseley and chives. The seasonings were olive oil, a touch of the local red wine, and some homemade veggie broth. Once stuffed, I cooked these little babies again for about 30 min. Wow! They were super cute and super yummy!

Here is the whole table set for dinner. Even though there were 10 of us, we decided to cram around our little table - instead of eating on the sofa or whatever. It was so fun! You can see that everyone got a little stuffed squash on their plate.

There were lots of other things to eat too - this salad had lettuce, fresh basil, yellow-orange cherry tomatoes, red tomatoes, grated yellow beets, and carrots. I don't remember which one of you out there suggested using the peeler as a poor man's mandoline, but I did this for the carrots tonight & it was great! Thanks for the tip.

Jasmine and Bob also brought a salad - so beautiful!! Lettuce, carrots, strawberries, walnuts and rose petals. Mmmm.

I also made this lovely dish from Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Suppers" book. It's called "Asparagus and Leeks." It's meant to be served over toast, but of course the grains for bread aren't grown locally - so we were bread-free. It was not a problem! This was so nice - leeks, asparagus, green garlic, chard, favas, and a splash of wine & a splash of lemon juice.

We also had a big bowl of fresh sugar snap peas, and big dish of roasted butternut squash (from our own garden last fall!) - which I forgot to photograph. :)

Here's my plate, half way through the meal... it was so fun & tasty!

For dessert, we had a huge bowl of fresh strawberries - plain and unadorned and absolutely perfect! Here are a few of our wonderful friends & guests. Bob & Jasmine are on the left. Jasmine was a farmer near our house for many years & just this season stopped farming to work at Eco Farm. On the right are our friends JP, Jane & little Bella. Jane's a fellow yogini and yoga teacher, & she and JP are also organic farmers. I've mentioned their outrageously good dry-farmed tomatoes on this blog more than once.

This was a wonderful night with friends, and a delicious meal. It was also such an interesting challenge to stick to truly local and organic ingredients. So many things were eliminated - sugar, anything soy, grains, bread... amazing to reflect on how specialized our agricultural economy has become.

Hope you had a wonderful Earth Day!


  1. What a great way to celebrate Earth Day. And everything looks so delicious!

  2. Anonymous4:38 AM

    what a wonderful meal, that looks like so much fun!

  3. Amey, first off, thanks so much for linking me! Your meal is so beautiful and earth-friendly, and completely worthy of an Earth Day celebration. I have decided that the best way I can reduce my footprint on this planet from here on out is to buy local--the problem is that there is not a farmer's market in Athens, and our local co-op imports more produce than it gets from local farms! I have done my research about CSAs and farmer's markets and such in the area of Atlanta where I will be moving this summer, and the scene looks much more promising. I cannot wait to take the step of buying more local produce, supporting small farmers who use eco-friendly practices. But gosh... I wish I could have been at your meal last night! It's so special!

  4. Happy Earth Day to you, too! What a feast! Trying to cook and eat local is such a fascinating challenge. For thanksgiving, I realized cranberries were out of the question! Fortunately, I found some locally milled flours though.

    Until our farmer's market is up and running, I come to your blog for my gorgeous produce feast.

    And fava beans! I love fava beans! My uncle makes a great marinated fava bean salad with bitter orange juice and angelica that is to die for.

  5. That looks just great. Amazing!

  6. What a beautiful green feast, Amey, and an inspirational post!

  7. Lovely, every way you look at this. Food, family, friends... the Earth!! It's all good. Thanks for a colourful, enlightening post...

  8. What a beautiful Earth Day feast! This is my first visit to your blog and your food looks delicious.

    I'm so glad to see that you like the meatloaf recipe. I had a lot of fun developing those recipes for Vegetarian Times. That meatloaf is still one of my kid's favorites.


  9. Hi Amey: Happy Earth Day to you! What a wonderful way to celebrate -- local, organic, delicious, & with loved-ones. Very special indeed, & I'd love to eat one of those squashes. :o)

    One of your girlfriends moved to Boise?! You'll be here in July?! That's so exciting. Maybe we could meet up if your schedule permits!? You could come to my place (less than 5 min. from downtown) for some vegan eats & treats -- or we could meet for a meal @ Mai Thai -- or whatever works. I think our men have music in common & it'd be awsome to meet you! What d'ya think? :o)

  10. Wow, what a great post! Everything looks delicious, and I doubt anyone missed the grains or sugar or whatnot with all that beautiful local produce. I especially love the little stuffed squashes - so cute! This post was so inspirational to me - you did a wonderful job.


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