Spring has officially been here for twelve days now, but the Dark Days Challenge didn’t culminate until yesterday. It seems as if Michigan wanted to end the Dark Days Challenge with an exclamation point rather than a period. Seventy degrees and sunny the last day of March? This isn’t spring, it’s summer but I’m not complaining.
I wanted my Dark Days to go out with a bang too. The grill had its inaugural run Tuesday but it seemed fitting on such a lovely day to stay mostly out of the kitchen. This menu screams, “summer” and practically wrote itself: Buffalo, corn on the cob, redskin potatoes, tossed salad, grilled bread and strawberry shortcake with homemade ice cream.
The buffalo steak came from Oleson’s farm and grocery. Corn on the cob came from the Farmers’ Market. I froze a bushel of it last summer for days like these. My potato supply is dwindling, sprouting and starting to get mushy but I picked through the redskins, cut off the roots sprouting from the eyes, and sliced them into an aluminum pan with some olive oil, garlic from last year’s CSA share, salt and rosemary. I have never successfully wintered a rosemary plant. I always manage to keep it until February or March before it dies but mine is thriving and enjoying a day out in the sunshine. My tossed salad greens and “easter egg” radishes came from my brand new 9 Bean Rows share. I made a new dressing. I know, what a shock, right? Instead of the usual feta-garlic-yogurt dressing I tried a “Greek” vinaigrette. I didn’t actually measure anything, but here’s the ingredient list:
rice wine and Balsamic vinegar (because I didn’t have any red wine vinegar)
fresh minced oregano (several sprigs)
2 cloves chopped garlic
about an ounce of crumbled homemade feta
Shake well (Keep the lid on if you don’t want it exploded all over the counter like I did.)
The vinegar and oil weren’t local, but everything else was.
The grilled bread is something I make almost every day all summer long. Dylan wanted me to make it Tuesday but it is a leavened bread and couldn’t be made on short notice. The original recipe comes from “The Barbecue! Bible” but I modified it.
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
5 T. honey
1 C. warm water
1 egg, beaten (fresh from the coop if you’re lucky :) )
3 T. milk
2 tsp. salt
5 ish cups spelt flour
1 T. olive oil
Combine yeast, 1 T. honey and 1/4 C. warm water in mixing bowl. Let stand ten minutes until foamy. Stir in the remaining honey, remaining water, the egg, milk and salt. Add 4 cups of flour and mix until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead in the mixer 4-5 minutes adding flour as necessary.
Use half the oil to grease a large bowl. Put dough in greased bowl, drizzle with remaining oil and cover with a damp cloth.
Let rise in a warm place until double. Punch down the dough and pinch off two-inch pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and place on a floured sheet or plate. Recover with a damp towel and let rise until puffy: about 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill on high. Use a rolling-pin to roll each ball on a floured board. I oil and salt the rolled balls before placing them directly on the grill. Flip them when they start to bubble. They are done when browned on both sides.
These flatbreads go great with everything. They also make excellent crusts for grilled pizzas, or platforms for sandwiches (I love grilled veggies and cheese. Homemade feta or raclette are lovely.)
Dessert was a true tribute to summer. Spelt shortcake with berries from the freezer and homemade vanilla ice cream with Shetler’s milk and cream. Yum!
It was so yummy that I let the kids eat leftover shortcake and berries for breakfast today. Sans ice cream of course.