We hosted our annual tree decorating party recently. Friends come and help decorate our tree, and in exchange get lots of free food. It’s always a fun event, and this year seemed especially lively. And, the tree looks terrific! I love a tree that looks pretty even with the lights off. And take a moment to note that there is ACTUAL sunshine coming through the window. That’s been a rare occurrence in November and December!
As I cleared up after the party, all the jars emptied during the cooking preparations accumulated on the counter. I put them in a basket to move them into the garage pantry: nineteen jars that once held green beans, diced tomatoes, tomato juice, pickled beets, marinated cipollini, pickled peppers, sweet red cherry peppers, sweet pickles, French cornichons, and sweet garbage relish and dried cannellini beans!
In addition, potatoes, garlic, onions, shallots, and butternut squash came from the storage area of the garage and bags of frozen broccoli, diced bell peppers, homemade mincemeat, and basil came from the freezer.
The kitchen pantry provided a jar of parsley, the first herb jar to be emptied for the season, but fortunately there are two more. Other herb jars provided generous pinches of oregano, dried basil, bay leaves which were added as required to the three soups concocted (Broccoli-cheese, potato-leek, and Italian vegetable) and rosemary for the marinated brussel sprouts.
And best of all, carrots, leeks, celery, spinach and kale were harvested directly from the potager! I don’t think I’ve ever been able to harvest anything directly from a garden for our Christmas Tree party before.
Of course, since I no longer have dairy goats or chickens, the eggs, milk, butter and cheeses had to be purchased, as well as grapes, olives, nuts, sugar, flour, chocolate, yeast, coconut, a can of baby shrimp for dip, and olive oil. But, the bulk of the meal came from the potager’s bounty, and that made me very, very happy. Just think of all the money saved! And homegrown, homemade food just always tastes better. I wish I’d thought to take photos of the appetizer buffet in the living room, the dessert buffet in the dining room, and the soups and homemade bread in the kitchen before the guests arrived, but I didn’t.
I’m already starting to plan next year’s menu, with a view toward utilizing even more of the potager’s produce…a spongecake jelly roll made with sparkling strawberry jam, and maybe a pound cake drizzled with elderflower liqueur, tiny meatballs cooked in garlic or lavender jelly, pickled green beans and tiny pickled green cherry tomatoes to add to the relish tray. Maybe stuffed baby potatoes as a warm appetizer. The possibilities are endless! Wheee!