A Summer Solstice Potluck at Sheridan Green

I could not think of a better way to pay homage to the summer solstice than with an Eastern Wood-Pewee melody, yoga and a friendly potluck dinner.

On June 21st at sunrise, the Eastern Wood-Pewee welcomed the longest day of the year—the summer solstice—with it's plaintive beautiful melody of sliding notes, "pee-a-weeeee, pee-a-weeeee". This long-distant small tyrant flycatcher migrates from its wintering range in Central and South America and arrives in the eastern United States during the Springtime to breed. These olive-brown feathered friends have chosen our property at Sheridan Green as their place of frolic and forage within the canopies of our pine trees; I never tire of their daily welcome, especially on the longest day of the year.

A morning ritual of French pressed coffee jump-started my Bikram Yoga practice in the Sheridan Green yoga studio that sits where the Eastern Wood-Pewee sings. In between Bikram Choudhury's dialogue, “Would you rather suffer 90 minutes or 90 years?”, I would hear this bird's melody and am reminded that life is but a wonderful journey and my 90 minute yoga practice in 105 degree sweltering temperatures is far from the feat this little bird had travelled.

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After feeling rejuvenated from yoga and the song of a birds melody, I began cooking for a summer solstice potluck for friends, who more often than not, eat vegetarian with some gluten intolerance thrown in there. Potlucks tell a story about each person, the season, a recipe and is a nice way to taste a variety of dishes over great conversation. Soon Sheridan Green will be hosting more formal Potlucks called the Out East Feast. In the meantime, close friends and family have come to enjoy the setting, while I observe the ebb and flow of the new house and continue with the completion (or close enough for an Out East Feast) of the the courtyard, living spaces and the roof top edible garden. I cannot thank you all enough who have dined and or stayed at our new home and broke bread with us; your presence brings the house alive and fills my soul with much gratitude—life is good.

Here are some of the dishes we feasted on:

I prepared a vegetable polenta terrine with Sang Lee Farms asparagus, an egg salad made with Browder’s Birds eggs topped with Amagansett Sea Salt Montauk blend, baked feta with homegrown tomatoes and parsley, a basmati rice with seared sea scallops from Cor-J Seafood, and my husband Chris grilled (he is the grill master) local eggplant, fennel, endive, and radicchio for a vegetable platter.

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Mark and Lynn who are from San Francisco, made a savory salad of peaches, blueberries, red onion, homegrown mint and basil with a dressing of Arlotta balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Mark and Lynn are creators of steel and stone fabrication, inquisitive observers and a fountain of energy. This salad reflected in every which way their exuberance and grace to embrace the savory, sweet and twists of life that come their way .

Jennifer and Louis made a salad of local strawberries, figs, pecans and avocado in a creamy avocado cilantro dressing. This couple has watched the construction of Sheridan Green be built from the ground up and are the most frequent diners at our home. Their home is being renovated by my husband Chris of Christopher Jeffrey Architects and soon they will be gleefully hosting many friendly gatherings. Jennifer is a seeker of health. From making people look beautiful on the outside in the fashion business she switched gears to focus on healing folks from the inside out. She recently got her masters in clinical nutrition with an emphasis in culinary nutrition and functional medicine. Jennifer is my gluten intolerant friend who inspired me to create dishes that are gluten-free. Gluten-Intelligence is a story I wrote for my What's in Season column for Edible East End and was influenced by her. If you are looking for a gluten-free sweet treat to create this summer and love strawberry shortcake, you can get the recipe here.

Mary McGuire-Wien, the author of "The 7 Day Total Cleanse" from McGraw-Hill and the owner of American Yogini Juice Cleanse Retreat and the Hohm Juice Cleanse Delivered and Charles Wildbank, a celebrated artist on the North Fork of Long Island made a raw zucchini "pasta" with a raw romesco sauce of pine nuts, red peppers, lemon, honey, tomatoes, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and a dash of hot sauce. Mary used a spiralizer to make a long raw pasta—how clever. This raw dish had a beautiful toothsome crunch, that was bright, healthy and raw-licious.  I see a spiralizer in my future—watch out zucchini. 

While we shared in ample discussion and filled our bellies, the Easter Wood-Pewee sang until the sun set at 8:30pm; a melody that praised the longest day—the summer solstice— for all its shining glory.

Recipe: Raw Zucchini Pasta with a Raw Romesco Sauce, by Mary McGuire-Wien

Ingredients

Raw Romesco Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small lemon, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Favorite hot sauce or cayenne to taste

Raw Zucchini Pasta

  • 3 large zucchini

For Assembly

  • Extra pine nuts
  • Fresh basil in a chiffonade chop
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Directions

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until a paste forms. Adjust seasoning to taste

To serve

Place zucchini spirals on plate and top with sauce. Sprinkle liberally with fresh chiffonade of basil (chopped basil). Add fresh sea salt and ground pepper to a taste.

Optional: add shaved or grated parmesan

Spring Greens Soup with a Poached Farm Egg

Spring is all about green shoots and new growth. The quintessential gastronomic sign of an early spring is young fresh green garlic and green shallots that are harvested before the cloves have begun to mature. The season for these mild flavored alliums is short, so sauntering to your local farmers market to snatch up these mild but distinct flavored beauties is not recommended. 

Spring Greens Soup with a Poached Farm Egg Recipe

ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of young green garlic, outer layer peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 pound of young green shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup of parsley
  • 2 cups of watercress
  • 2 cups of radish greens
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled
  • 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • chives, snipped for garnish

    poached egg

  • Fresh farm eggs (1 for each bowl)
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • directions

    1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a medium stockpot set over medium-low heat. Add the young green shallots and garlic, watercress, radish greens, onion and potato.
    2. Stir occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Then add the parsley and thyme.
    3. Add 8 cups of stock and bring to a boil.
    4. Add the sour cream and with a hand held immersion blender puree in the stockpot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

      poached egg

    5. Half-fill a wide pan about 4 inches deep, with unsalted water. Add 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and bring to a boil.
    6. Break an egg into a small bowl. Stir the water clockwise so it is moving and then gently tip the egg into the pan. The circular movement helps the egg white to gather into a ball.
    7. Poach egg for 1 1/2 minutes.
      (if you like your poached egg to be firmer, cook for 2 minutes.
    8. With a slotted spoon lift the egg out of the pot and rest the bottom of the spoon on a paper towel to absorb some of the liquid.
    9. Place the poached egg in the center of a shallow soup bowl.
    10. Ladle the hot soup around the poached egg, carefully not to cover or pierce it. Garnish with snipped chives.
    note: Do not poach more than 4 eggs at a time, to prevent over crowding and breakage.