Farmhaus, a review

On Thursday night, after a week of wrangling middle schoolers on bicycles in increasingly hot temperatures, I mustered the will to hop back on the bike for a dinner date.  We were torn between Stellina Pasta Cafe (an old favorite) or Farmhaus (something new).  I’d read a couple of good reviews about Farmhaus, so it was on my list of places to try.

Matthew voted for Stellina, and I was too tired to care much one way or the other, so we biked there, only to find a thirty minute wait (not outrageous, but it was already 7:30pm and we were HUNGRY).  Fortunately, Farmhaus was only a few blocks away, so we decided to try our luck there.

We walked in the door and were immediately hit by the strong fishy smell (the seafood is the main component of their menu that is NOT local).  We exchanged a look.  Ultimately, they had a table and a menu with some nice vegetarian options, so we stayed.

We choose between three or four salads that all sounded fabulous, settling on the marinated vegetable salad (not sure that’s the exact name).

It arrived in a canning jar — fun! For ease of eating we dumped it out on the plate.  A flavorful and fresh start to our meal, the corn melted in my mouth, buttery and sweet, a nice compliment to the other veggies.

By this point, after the initial wall of odor and adjustment period,  our olfactory systems became desensitized to the fishy smell.

Next up, sweet potato nachos.  These were only so-so.  To be fair, we made some changes to this dish.  We ordered it without bacon and subbed goat cheese for the blue cheese because someone doesn’t like blue cheese.  They came with some kind of a house-made catsup.  Our homemade catsup beats Farmhaus’, no contest.

We discovered a new wine, a “sweet” shiraz (Jam Jar, S. Africa) that was basically a perfect red wine for us.  Not really “sweet” in our book, but definitely not dry — a perfect dinner accompaniment.

For our entree, we shared the vegetarian succotash, tomatillos, grilled okra, corn, and peppers, served over spoon bread.  Mmm, spoon bread — my first, but definitely not my last, encounter with this food.  We ate this and were very sad that we couldn’t lick up the last bits in the bowl 😦  In some cultures, that’s considered very polite.

I don’t have a dessert pic, but we ordered a peach and ricotta pastry.  The pastry was light and flaky, with a generous amount of fresh, local peaches, served hot out of the oven with peach sorbet on top to cool things off.

We chatted with our waiter about local biking options and headed home after a delicious dinner adventure, both glad we ended up at Farmhaus.

Twisted Caprese

When Matthew suggested adding peaches to our Caprese salad last week, I reacted with a bit of skepticism.  However, having recently read Emily’s post on combining tomatoes and peaches, I was willing to give it a try.

Chopped tomatoes and peaches with fresh basil, balsamic, olive oil, mozzarella cubes, and s&p.  The verdict?  A refreshing and fun twist on a Caprese salad — we’ll still eat the traditional, non-peach, version most of the time, but we enjoyed the change.

I made a lentil and millet pilaf to round out the meal, with whatever fresh veggies struck my fancy (carrots, garlic chives, yellow squash, orange bell pepper), dressed with some garlic olive oil*, a bit of red wine vinegar, and some s&p.  I stirred in some Dijon mustard at the end, one of my new favorite ingredients.  Plus some avocado (so NOT local) for added deliciousness!

* To make garlic olive oil, simply pour some olive oil in a jar and add a couple of cloves of minced garlic (a garlic press comes in handy here, but you can also just chop it up very small).  For maximum flavor, let sit a couple of days before using.  Keep refrigerated.  A little bit goes a long way, and at a fraction of the price of buying the Garlic Gold Oil that I’ve read about on KathEats.
Entry to Nupur’s Blog Bites 6: Potluck Edition.

While I was at work . . .

. . . (on a Saturday), someone worked hard in the garden.

Take that, weeds!

Matthew lined our garden paths with the coffee bean sacks that I painstakingly procured on my “day off” last week (the coffee bean sack saga merits another post).  Among other tasks, there was harvesting to be done.  We finally have tomatoes!

The harvest!

We made Caprese salad sandwiches with the cream of the tomato crop.  We also made gazpacho and a big batch of sauteed yellow squash with onion, garlic, tomato, okra (from the farmers’ market),  and fresh thyme & dill — lunch for the week ahead!

Her Green Soup

A couple of weeks ago, we put some beautiful Swiss chard on the stove to steam.  The other part of our dinner was ready first, and when we sat down to eat, we forgot all about the poor Swiss chard.  The too overcooked to just enjoy as-is greens became the inspiration for Her Green Soup.

I don’t really have a recipe, but here’s what went into the soup: aforementioned over-steamed Swiss chard, baby tatsoi, and garbanzo beans (pureed in broth or water); carrots, onions, yellow squash, and garlic (sauteed in olive oil); salt and pepper.  Serve warm or chilled.

We served Her Green Soup with sides of fresh corn on the cob and our beet salad and enjoyed the leftovers throughout the week.

Caprese salad sandwiches

The moniker “basil, tomato, mozzarella sandwich” always felt a bit cumbersome.  Over the weekend, I realized that “Caprese salad sandwich” works much better.

Caprese salad sandwiches

  • Sliced tomatoes (must be in season and locally grown)
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced (or substitute avocado for a vegan version)
  • Basil leaves
  • Bread
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar (use something good — our favorite is Bistro Blends’ Heirloom Balsamic Vinegar)

Lightly salt tomatoes, if desired.  Spread some olive oil on a piece of bread, then layer tomatoes, mozzarella/avocado, and basil.  Drizzle balsamic over the top and/or pour a shot glass of balsamic to sip with sandwich bites (you know it’s a good balsamic if you’re inclined to sip it).

I made open-faced sandwiches on our homemade 100% whole wheat bread last night, but they’re good with one slice of bread or two.