Frenchie à la ferme !
Une partie de campagne in August with 100 strangers for a “celebration of community, cuisine and culture”.
The Underwood Family Farm in Lawndale, NC was the stage.
We were the willing actors participating in this end-of-summer Sunday supper.
A gently paced 6-course supper with Serbian and southern influences.
And of course, a French twist as well – a trou normand in the middle of the event with a plum brandy.
It is the kind of event where everything is perfect.
The light, colors, people, animals, details and flowers.
And of course the food.
A kind of event that truly marks the celebration of all things festive.
An artfully crafted sendoff to summer.
A time of year when a light soft sweater is needed at the end of the day as the air feels cool.
Cool air but warm faces as we ate with the setting sun in our eyes.
The people responsible for this gathering and appreciation of meeting friends around the dinner table are Relish Carolina.
They’ve been able to create their own food family and followers like me come to celebrate with them the art of bringing people together around dishes and stories.
And it was only fitting that the first course of this dinner à la campagne was a chilled cucumber soup with goat cheese panna cotta, chive oil and mint.
Cold cucumber soup has been on the menu almost every week at my house this summer.
A recipe to share here to celebrate this Relish Carolina event.
We all experienced great dinners before.
When everything seems to flow so well and guests are no longer guests but family.
When the food keeps appearing on the table – coming from nowhere and everywhere.
When laughing out loud while getting a second serving of hickory roasted pork shoulder is perfectly fine.
The Underwood family dinner was that kind of moment.
With magic words and food combinations that sound something like olive honey ginger vinegar.
Smoked tomato purée.
Sorghum molasses-peach BBQ sauce.
Kabocha squash sherbet with candied bacon.
And homemade blueberry pie.
A big merci to the hosts and organizers…
… until next year and next season!
Chilled Cucumber Summer Soup with Honeydew
1 lb (500 g) of cucumber – peeled, seeded and diced
16 oz (450 g) of honeydew – diced
5 scallions – chopped
2 garlic cloves – minced
3/4 cup (about 20 g) of mint – chopped
2-3 Tbsp of lemon juice
2 Tbsp of olive oil
2 Tbsp of coconut cream
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
11 oz (300 g) of fromage blanc – replace with Greek yogurt if needed
sea salt and pepper
In a food processor, add and combine all ingredients and purée finely.
Taste for salt and pepper.
Place in the fridge and serve chilled with thin slices of cucumber on top and a sprinkle of paprika.