Garden to Kitchen: Early Season Entertaining Menu

Last night I went to a great networking event for women entrepreneurs, hosted by my friend Judy.  Judy is one of the most fantastic hostesses I’ve ever known, and even the best hostesses appreciate a hand now and then, so I offered to bring some food for the occasion.  She graciously accepted my offer, and I was happy to bring some fresh produce from our Sprout garden.

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Because we’re into our first harvest of the early season crops, I built the menu around the herbs and veggies that are currently in season.  I chose broccoli, spinach, strawberries, garlic, basil and cilantro as the primary ingredients for my dishes.  (I supplemented with a few crops from the market that are growing in our garden but aren’t ripe yet — e.g., tomatoes & onions).  Leafy greens are also in season now, so we could have added a nice green salad to this menu.  But I opted for some simple appetizers, since I knew people would have small plates and would be eating standing up, likely with a drink in one hand.

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These plates would have come in handy last night.  Whoever invented this is genius. 

Anyhoo, back to the menu.  You could easily pick any one of the dishes from this menu and make it as a side for one of your meals, or bring it to a picnic or party.  The recipes are very simple and don’t require any special cooking skills or unique ingredients.   Just focus on what’s fresh in the garden (or at the farmer’s market), and work around that.  Here’s the menu I created:

Early Season Entertaining Menu

Strawberry Cilantro Salsa

Pesto Duo:  1) Lemon and 2) Sundried Tomato

Cool Spinach Dip

Broccoli & Pecan Salad

I’ll post the full recipes over the next few days, but for now, here are some highlights:

Strawberry Cilantro Salsa:

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Strawberry Cilantro Salsa before…

 

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… and after.

 

Pesto Duo:

 

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Pesto before…

 

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… and after.  (Lemon Pesto & Sundried Tomato Pesto)

 

Cool Spinach Dip:

 

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Spinach Dip before…

 

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… and after.

 

Broccoli Pecan Salad:

 

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Broccoli Pecan Salad before…

 

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… and after.

 

One of the most rewarding aspects of growing your own produce is sharing it with family and friends.  And when those friends enjoy it and ask where you got your Spinach Dip or Strawberry Salsa, you can tell them, “I grew it.”   Seeing your good and steady efforts come to fruition in the form of fresh, nourishing and delicious food is worth every ounce of sweat.

 

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*****

If you’re a woman and an entrepreneur, check out Women Entrepreneurs Know Women Entrepreneurs Can (WE Know WE Can) — a great networking organization for female business owners in the DC area. 

 

Here are the full recipes:

Strawberry Cilantro Salsa

Lemon Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Cool Spinach Dip

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