Our Slow Food convivium is starting a regular potluck night on the last Sunday of every month, and last night was the first one. If you have never been to a Slow Food potluck, hoo boy, is that some good eating! There is always an assortment of people with all kinds of interests, so when one group is watching the game in one room (it IS March in North Carolina), some are swapping toddler stories, a couple of others are discussing mushroom cultivation and another group is talking about raw food.

On the table, the feast included roast venison, deviled eggs, turnip greens with ham and homemade hot vinegar sauce, salad with soba noodles and tofu, and orange cranberry sweet potatoes. The only requirement was that the dish contain at least one local ingredient.

Sandy and I both attended, so I took two dishes with the main ingredients fresh from my garden. The first one is proof that vegetarian food is not diet food. I tossed sliced leeks and fennel bulbs with butter from the farmers’ market and braised (simmered) them in water and lots of butter for a long, long time until the water had simmered away and the leeks and fennel turned into silky melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Then I ground some fresh black pepper and grated a little Pecorino Romano cheese on top. This is a typical Tuscan style of cooking vegetables, except the Tuscans probably wouldn’t combine the two.

The other dish I took from a wonderful, well-known food blog, 101 Cookbooks. I have had a sealed plastic bag of farro from Spannocchia since October 2006 when I bought it there (in Italy). When I looked it up in Italian cookbooks, I was instructed to soak it a day ahead of time and I just couldn’t remember to do it, and eventually forgot about it. I saw a link to this recipe and remembered the farro and decided to try it. Turns out that you don’t need to soak it at all, and it also turns out that I liked the flavor a lot! You can order farro, an ancient variety of wheat grain, from Anson Mills in South Carolina. I used lettuce, beet greens, and claytonia from the Back Forty, garlic chives from the Back Forty instead of a shallot, honey wine vinegar from Quaker Acres Apiary, the rest of my olive oil from Spannocchia, and goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy. This recipe was a winner and very easy:
Citrus Parmesan Farro Salad.

Yum – I was so stuffed – I guess I didn’t mention the Swedish cake and the chocolate/Guinness stout pie.