Memorial day weekend

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We started our Memorial Day weekend with an early trip to the farmers market. While we were there, we snagged some of the rare fava beans and heirloom lettuces from the nice lady at Downing Hollow Farm. We also bought up the entire stock of zephyr squash from Peter at The Gracious Garden. Zephyr squash is a lovely yellow squash that suddenly switches to a zucchini pattern. It’s such an unusual looking vegetable. Of course we have given it our own name, squish. Peter also provided us with mesclun greens and arugula. We got young garlic and young red onions from Peter’s neighbor at the market and in Holly Springs, Van of Bluebird Farm.

We spent most of the weekend working in the garden and preparing our outdoor dining space. We now have a dining table under a gazebo. The gazebo has such an elaborate and thorough system of insect netting that we are essentially hermetically sealed away from nature. Still, we have a lovely view of our garden and of the robins stealing our earthworms.

Cooking for the family was much easier than all the digging and weeding. Mama roasted new potatoes with butter and rosemary. When the potatoes were cool, she combined them with finely chopped baby garlic and baby red onion, blue cheese crumbles, and homemade mayonnaise. I sliced the zephyr squash, tossed the slices with olive oil, and grilled them. All we added was a light sprinkling of sea salt once they came off the grill.

We combined the mesclun, the heirloom lettuces, and a bit of the arugula to make a salad. The absolute best dressing comes from a jar of Bonnie Blue marinated goat feta. We pour the contents of the entire jar, cheese cubes, olive oil, and herbs, over the salad. Then a little dash of balsamic vinegar completes the dressing. Since we had a very large salad this time, we added a bit more olive oil to supplement what was in the jar.

Granddaddy Squirrel put in the hard work for the meal. He spent over 11 hours smoking a pork shoulder from the local packing house. He used dry rub from Get Your Rub On to impart a little extra flavor. The rub is a nice addition, but honestly, it’s the long slow smoke that makes the real magic. Mama Squirrel and Nana Squirrel did their own bit of magic, making a fair amount of the pork disappear as they pulled it.

Lunch wrapped up with strawberries and whipped cream. The strawberries were from Windmere Farm, the only certified organic farm at the farmers market. Most of the other farms are organic as well, but they haven’t gone through the expensive certification process. But back to dessert. Mama macerated the strawberries with raw sugar and a little Citronage orange liqueur. Freshly whipped cream with a splash of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and we were in summery heaven.

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