It’s a sure sign that summer is winding down when I realize that there are only two more evening concerts in the park here in Fergus Falls. Most every Thursday evening we’ve hauled our fold-up chairs the few blocks to Roosevelt Park where we have been serenaded with everything from Blues, Bluegrass, Country, Rock, Jazz, Folk and even Fiddle and Tap. This week it was Gospel – the Haining Family – and while that would not necessarily be my genre of choice, they were darn good musicians and made a new, strong case for the art of yodeling and that was most definitely a hard sell for my personal taste. We were even treated to a version of “Jesus Put a Yodel in my Soul” which was a good follow-up to the excellent folk singer, Mark Fogelson, a few weeks ago who sang – “What if Jesus was Norwegian”. Can you picture Cowboy-Swiss-Norski with sandals and a beard? Uff Da – these Minnesotans.
Each week the food is provided by a local café or organization and it was definitely a testament to the popularity of the Underwood Elks who must have barbecued hundreds, maybe thousands of pork chops. All I know is the food line extended far into the trees and never diminished for one solid hour.
The concert also provides a venue for a mini farmer’s market and we have become regular customers of Pat of Boyum Farms.
He and his wife, Gretchen moved back to her four generations family farm and have converted it to what’s known as sustainable agriculture, which means “farming in a manner that nourishes the land, using natural, renewable resources and seasonal production methods”. Right up my alley – I say hurrah for that. We have even been able to purchase “pastured” no-antibiotic chickens and first class eggs on occasion, but Pat always has tempting vegetables of outstanding quality.
His beets, in fact, led to a modification of a recipe which, I admit, comes originally from The Silver Palate and I will share because we thought it was so, so good. Ordinarily I like beets roasted in the oven, which intensely caramelizes the flavor. This dish is prepared in the microwave and having now lived through a Minnesota summer, I would appreciate it just for that alone if it wasn’t so yummy. So prepare: 4 beets, trimmed, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick pieces; 2 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces; ¾ cup homemade (preferably) chicken stock; 1 small head of escarole greens, cut into lengths; 1 cup onions – halved the long way, and cut into strips; 2 teasp. flour. In a 2 quart microwave safe baking dish, cook the bacon, covered at full power for approximately 3 minutes. Stir the beets and broth into casserole, cover and cook 4 minutes. Stir, cook 2 more minutes. Stir in the escarole, onions and flour, cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove and stir in all the following: 2 T. butter, 2 T. chopped fresh dill, 1 T. snipped fresh chives, 2 tsp. Balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. Grated lemon zest, ¾ tsp. Salt, ½ tsp. Sugar, freshly grated black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
I think this was originally a French recipe, but no matter – I’m in Minnesota now and I’ll say – Tak fur maten!