52 Dinners - Week 25: Tall Men, Strong Women, and Smoked Ham

52 Dinners

Our friends Emily and Kit joined us for dinner last weekend, along with their partners Evan and Hap, and Emily and Evan’s baby Esmé.
The two women own Craftsbury General where I cooked and baked for the first year that we lived in Vermont. Emily is a pillar of our community, a badass philanthropic business savvy entrepreneur with an infectious laugh. Kit is a phenomenal chef, with a cool calmness about her, and is actually catering my sister’s wedding here on our farm in October. Evan is a smokejumper in Alaska and Hap is a rowing coach to aspiring Olympians. I’m 6’3” and both men tower over me. With kind sparkling eyes and big strong hands, either of them could easily pass as superheroes or Prince Charmings.
I could go on but it would be inappropriate.
Emily, Evan, and Esmé recently returned from a trip to mainland Portugal and the Azores, so we had fun swapping travel stories. Dinner wasn’t Portuguese themed, per se, but there were some influences sprinkled in.
We started with rhubarb old fashioneds, with rhubarb from Morey Hill Farm, nibbling on 1000 Stone Farm radishes with good butter and fancy salt, and some crostini with Slow Fire Bakery bread, a spicy yogurt sauce, Ardelia Farm smoked ham, topped with a fun pickled vegetable relish. In the dining room we enjoyed a nice arugula salad with asparagus (sauteed in duck fat), lemon, and shallot.
Then I served vinho verde braised chestnut mushrooms with garlic, piri piri chicken, and french fries with a spicy smoky ketchup.
For dessert we had arroz doce, Portuguese style rice pudding made with milk (instead of cream), vanilla, lemon, and cinnamon, served atop a layer of rum rhubarb compote. We finished the evening by sipping some nice porto. Bailey adorned the table with sweet peas, ranunculus, and narcissus.

As I approach the halfway point of this project, I’ve got to say that I’m feeling really good. I have been taking some time to think about my long term goals, and spoiler alert: I plan to reach for the stars.

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