Last March, I sent this email to about 20 friends:
okay, folks, I know that summer seems like it's still a long way off, but I wanted to get out this email sooner rather than later -- and I know that a lot of my gardening friends are planning their crops now.
I have a proposal to make -- a weekly potluck meal that involves local ingredients.
right now, I'm calling the concept "our summer of magical eating" -- hopefully Joan Didion doesn't decide to sue me!
here's the scoop: we each make a dish using a locally grown item as the star ingredient. it could be something you've grown, picked, received as part of a CSA, or bought at a local farmers market or produce stand. make enough for every member of your family, x 4 (i.e., if you're a couple, you'd probably just double your recipe). find a recipe in a book or a magazine, or create your own. it could be something as simple as mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil, or as complex as a cocktail using local fruit.
bring your dish over to my house, along with a serving utensil and the beverage you'll be drinking, every wednesday at 7 p.m., and we'll have a potluck dinner.
I plan to serve dinner in my backyard every wednesday, from may through august (or elsewhere if anyone wants to take a turn hosting it). no RSVPs, no need to divvy up courses. kids are welcome. maybe some weeks, 20 folks will show up; maybe just 4 diners another week. there are vegetarians among us, but since we're talking summer bounty, I figure much of the fare will be vegetarian friendly. I also have a charcoal grill if anyone wants to do some cooking over here (hello, Neola beef eaters!).
a huge component of this will be a blog I'm setting up so that everyone who participates in the potluck series can post their recipes, discuss their gardens, swap crops, etc.
if you have any ideas, let me know. I'd like this to be a fairly organic, low-key production that sates our appetites, our social lives, and our budgets.