Photo by Rachael Brugger
The land-trust movement is thriving in Wisconsin with numerous land trusts at work in various regions. This spring, the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, with support from the Gathering Waters Conservancy, spearheaded the annual Land Legacy Gathering, an event held at Malcolm Stack Foundation in Ridgeway, Wis. The delicious food prepared by Enos Farms matched the spectacular view we took in as we hiked through ancient pine forests during a break from our fieldwork. It helped grow the community of people protecting the places that make Wisconsin special—and the reception after the hike offered a true taste of place.
The Land Legacy Gathering took us on a delightful spring hike to learn more about prairie, oak savanna and an impressive stand of pine relics; gave us the opportunity to meet others in the land stewardship movement; and allowed us to sample hyper-local, mostly organic hors d’oeuvres prepared by farmstead chef and farmer Jeremy Lynch and his partner and fiancée, Erin Crooks, both at the helm of Enos Farms.
Somehow, when not out in the growing fields or preparing meals with locally and organically sourced ingredients, this dynamic couple offer their services as event planners for weddings or corporate activities. To get a flavor for their culinary talents—and perhaps to help you plan a early summer feast—here’s a peek at the menu Jeremy and Erin put together for the reception:
- Cheese platter featuring Cedar Grove’s wildflower cheddar and butterkäse and Crave Brothers’ petit frère
- Madison Sourdough crostini with Dreamfarm chèvre, Gentle Breeze honey and cracked black pepper
- Jordandal Farms’ pulled pork on Enos Farms’ house-made roll (using Lonesome Stone wheat and locally pressed sunflower oil), along with Fizzeology Foods’ sauerkraut
- Spinach taquitos made with 100-percent corn tortillas, Organic Valley spinach and Cedar Grove’s butterkäse (Get the recipe below!)
- Potato leek tartlettes in house-made pastry shell, garnished with Enos Farms’ chervil
- Desserts included lemon-meringue bites with lemon curd and garnished with lavender, and a mouth-watering French silk cake—a recipe we’ll share next week.
There’s no doubt that great food savored with friends builds community. By adding a hike on a warm spring day and an opportunity to watch the sun drop behind an ancient stand of trees, it made the hard work of caring for the land and growing our crops worthwhile—calluses, blisters and all.
Recipe: Spinach Taquitos
Yield: 30 taquitos
- 1/8 cup canola oil (for sautéing)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 to 2 serano/jalepeño peppers, minced and seeds removed
- 2 pounds spinach
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 pound butterkäse, shredded
- 30 6-inch corn tortillas
Over medium heat, sauté onion and peppers in canola oil until brown. Add spinach and sauté until most of the water is removed. Add salt and pepper. Turn off heat, and fold in butterkäse.
Warm tortilla shells. Roll heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture in each tortilla. Fry rolled tortillas with seam down until crispy and brown. Turn and crisp other side.
Serve immediately with hot sauce for dipping.
Recipe: Enos Farms Hot Sauce
- 2 fresh paprika peppers
- 2 jalepeño peppers
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 large tomatoes with their juice, diced
- 2 T. cider vinegar
- 1/2 T. black pepper
- 1/2 T. cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
Roast and peel peppers, remove seeds and dice.
In skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and peppers until brown and translucent. When they start sticking to the pan, add tomatoes and juice. Simmer until the bubbles start to snap (or 3/4 of liquid is reduced).
Purée veggies with cider vinegar, pepper and cumin until smooth. Add cayenne powder for more heat, according to taste. Add water until hot sauce reaches desired consistency (thicker than Tabasco sauce). Add salt and pepper.
Savoring the good life,