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 atÂ Malcolm Stack Foundation in Ridgeway, Wis. The delicious food prepared byÂ 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 specialâ€”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 dâ€™oeuvres prepared by farmstead chef and farmer Jeremy Lynch and his partner and fiancĂ©e, 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 talentsâ€”and perhaps to help you plan a early summer feastâ€”hereâ€™s a peek at the menu Jeremy and Erin put together for the reception:
- Cheese platter featuring Cedar Grove’s wildflower cheddar and butterkĂ¤se andÂ Crave Brothersâ€™ petit frĂ¨re
- Madison Sourdough crostini with Dreamfarm chĂ¨vre, Gentle Breeze honey and cracked black pepper
- Jordandal Farms’ pulled pork on Enos Farmsâ€™ 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 butterkĂ¤se (Get the recipe below!)
- Potato leek tartlettes in house-made pastry shell, garnished with Enos Farmsâ€™ chervil
- Desserts included lemon-meringue bites withÂ lemon curd and garnished with lavender, and a mouth-watering French silk cakeâ€”a recipe weâ€™ll share next week.
Thereâ€™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 worthwhileâ€”calluses, blisters and all.
Recipe: Spinach Taquitos
Yield: 30 taquitos
- 1/8 cup canola oil (for sautĂ©ing)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 to 2 serano/jalepeĂ±o peppers, minced and seeds removed
- 2 pounds spinach
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 pound butterkĂ¤se, shredded
- 30 6-inch corn tortillas
Over medium heat, sautĂ© onion and peppers in canola oil until brown. Add spinach and sautĂ© until most of the water is removed. Add salt and pepper. Turn off heat, and fold in butterkĂ¤se.
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 jalepeĂ±o peppers
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 largeÂ 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, sautĂ© 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).
PurĂ©e veggies with cider vinegar, pepper and cumin until smooth.Â 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,