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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gluten Free Spring Brunch and Seed Party...

(All recipes are at end of post...)

I love to grow things. If you read my blog, you know this. The excitement of coming home each day from work to see what has pushed up through the earth and is emerging and growing is exhilarating.
Every spring, I host a Seed Party to get my garden planned and prepped and get all my fellow gardeners excited about this year’s seed sowing. Now, we are not master gardeners, some have plots of ground, others just pots. Some veggie gardens, other English gardens, but whether pots or plots, it works for all!

The recipe is simple:
• A handful of seasoned gardeners
• Usually 1 or so new gardening recruits
• A delicious brunch
• Stir in some lively plant discussion
• Sprinkle with tips and tricks, and you have it!

Here is how I host mine, scale yours back if you want to. No matter what, its fun!

Menu: (Recipes at the end)
• Strawberry-chocolate smoothies
• Garden salad (truly, everything was from the garden!) with fresh pear vinaigrette
Herbed potato strata
• “Dirt-clods & mud” for dessert
Strawberry water to drink

1. Everyone gets a bag to tote their seeds home in.
2. Everyone gets a garden layout to plan their garden or pots (this helps you to see what you have room for, and what to plant where).

3. Then, share, exchange, and organize your seeds!
4. Have guests bring seeds to share and exchange.

If you love this idea, but just need a smaller scale production, do a Flower Pot Party (think cookie exchange, but with flowers).

  1. Have each guest bring a 6-pack of any flower from the local nursery, and their own pot.
  2. You provide the potting soil.
  3. Then each guest pots a beautiful pot full of a variety of the flowers each guest brought.
  4. Have a simple dessert and refreshing drink to go along with it, and that is a fantastic spring party!
Everyone goes home with a beautiful mixed-flower pot full of flowers.

So the scene looks like this: children dig joyfully in big pots of soil, the gardeners chatter and laugh and share their gardening successes and disasters, the dog steals someone's napkin and runs off, the bees buzz the flowers on the table...

So, pick a warm day, some good friends, and just enjoy a few hours on a saturday of dirty hands and doing something that makes you feel good and alive–like growing something.

RECIPES FOR THE BRUNCH | This brunch is nearly allergen free, and is all gluten free.

Strawberry-chocolate Smoothies | Makes 8 6-ounce servings.
Creamy and yummy!

  • 2 pints of strawberries, stemmed removed
  • 1.5 cups (or more) coconut milk (this can be any soy, milk, or almond)
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • Agave nectar (to sweeten to taste if needed)
  • 3 tbs cocoa powder
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend well till smooth. Adjust the milk to make it thinner, add ice if you like it thicker.

Garden Salad with Fresh Pear Vinaigrette | Makes about two cups
Salads don't just have to be lettuce; add whole bunches of parsley, dill and basil in like lettuce leaves. I added raisins and peaches too.

  • 1 fresh pear, halved and cored (no need to peel)
  • 1 tbs pomegranate molasses (or use honey)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup white wine (or apple juice)
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I used dill, thyme, basil, scallion, curry herb, sage)
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
 Put all this into a blender and let it whirl! You need to taste it and adjust. If too tangy, add more fruit or honey, of too oily, add more wine or juice.

Our truffles and chocoalte sorbet made up our 'dirt-clods' & mud.
No one can do chocolate sorbet better than Ina, so this is her recipe. Use any truffle recipe you find, they are all the same basically.

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