5 Things I Learned at Dinner
1.We should all be eating Turnip Pods.
Maybe you’re like me and don’t regularly have turnip pods on your dinner table. Actually, I didn’t even know turnip pods existed before dinner last night. I never planted turnips because they simply aren’t one of my favorite vegetables. However, after having these delicious little pods in a pasta dish last night I might reconsider. I found out that not only are the pods delicious, but that the entire plant of the root vegetable turnip is edible. In addition, the health benefits of turnip pods are a nutritional powerhouse due to the high levels of good fat contained within the pods. They even are suppose to be a great cancer fighter. But really, they just taste great. When’s the last time you discovered a new vegetable you loved? If you like cruciferous vegetables you’ll like these crunchy beauties.
- A Bower is a Germanic word meaning “a pleasant shady place under trees or climbing plants”.
You may not know the word, but you will find it a great place to relax outdoors! Edmund’s Oast in Charleston, SC (where we dined last night) has a fine example of a Bower. Beautiful and shady with the climate helped by ceiling fans or heaters depending on the season. It’s my new favorite alfresco spot in Charleston, SC. If you are planning an outdoor event in Charleston, this is easy to recommend. Really casual, yet LUX at the same time, it’s our kind of place. (On a related note- the definition of oast is a conical kiln used for drying hops for brewing beer) If you aren’t local to Charleston maybe you need to consider building your own Bower to relax in. Patios are so last year.
- Rhubarb is delicious raw in salad.
The late spring salad last night from LowCountry Street Grocery and Edmund’s Oast had soft eggs on top and country ham nestled below. The hearty green mix was perfectly accented by small pieces of chopped rhubarb. They gave the salad a subtle sweetness that you might usually use apples or beets to achieve. You also get the additional crunchy quality that you traditionally might have gotten from celery. What a colorful, unique element to add to your spring salad rhubarb proved to be. I bet you’ll love it as much as we all did last night.
4. Lamb Roast is Perfect with Pesto
Maybe I’m late to the party on this one, but this was my first time having slow roasted lamb sauced with herbaceous rich pesto. When the dish hit the table, the aroma alone was incredibly enticing. Like mint or rosemary the pesto married really nicely with the game flavors of this long roasted meat, yet the uncooked brightness of fresh basil also brightened the long cooked dish the way a gremolata might. The sliced leg of lamb was served on a bed of melted cabbage and new potatoes. We fought over that sauce which remained in the bowl. Licking my plate didn’t seem appropriate but I did think about it. I know what I’m serving next Easter.
- Egg Shells Make Great Seedling Pots.
Did you ever think to use old eggshells for planting your garden? The take away gifts for last nights guests were cute little heirloom seedlings nestled into cracked eggshells. The bottoms are to be cracked when ready to transplant into the garden. What a clever reuse of a common household item. Something we might compost or throwaway can be put to use so beautifully. (And back to next year’s Easter dinner, what a great centerpiece idea to use and then give away to guests to welcome spring. I love smart ideas that are so simple.)
Dinner alfresco with friends is usually one of my favorite ways to spend an evening, but not often does it provide such a plentitude of both ideas and inspiration. The 5 things I learned at dinner last night, proved it could be both. As guests of Charleston’s Edmund’s Oast restaurant for a dinner celebrating the successful Kickstarter campaign of Lowcountry Street Grocery, we came away inspired. And my biggest inspiration of the evening wasn’t on my top 5 list. The biggest inspiration of the night was the reinforcing of a simple truth. How we are all interconnected. How we should be caring for and supporting each other in real and tangible ways. That ideal was beautifully illustrated by both the people behind this dinner as well as the wonderful concept of crowd funding in general. The LSG team heads, Lindsey and Kate, saw a real need in our community. And they were willing to pour themselves into finding a way to help address it I n their free time.-like after they finished working their regular full time jobs. They believe that access to fresh, healthy foods shouldn’t be a luxury enjoyed by just the few. That eating healthy shouldn’t require a 2 hour bus ride to turn your paycheck or food stamps into something healthy to feed your kids for dinner. This LSG mobile “green market” on a bus is an idea brought to life by the support of a local caring community. It will take the normal profits from running a mobile local green market and pour them into serving the communities which are unfortunate enough to be located in “food deserts”. Brilliant. Simple. Inspired.
We here in South Carolina live in a land of plenty. We are surrounded by a bounty of fresh food. Yet, we have the 3rd highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation. (And the adults are not far behind.) Perhaps easy access to delicious, affordable, healthy foods will help transform that sad reality into a better one. We were inspired and happy to be a small part of helping get this idea launched. If you want to learn more about what Lindsey and Kate are up to, how to volunteer with them, or how to get the Lowcountry Street Grocery to visit your neighborhood, click here.
Here’s one final gift for my readers. One of the delicious things we enjoyed last night was Chef Andy Henderson’s Pickled Shrimp on Rye Toast. It was a revelation in pickled shrimp. Seriously good. Like in a friend that usually avoids all things shrimp, went back for seconds. I’m not telling how many I enjoyed. And I discovered that Chef Henderson has been kind enough to share his recipe. This recipe is available by clicking here and is courteous of Tasting Table.com.