Saturday, January 5, 2013

SECRET GARDEN Party Potlucks


Notes on Secret Garden: 

What is it? In 2012, we dug up the empty lot next to my house and farmed it. Previous entries have produce grown by us notated as 'S.G.' for 'Secret Garden.' The story of the garden is told in photographs on the tumblr linked above.

What's up with it now? The owners of the lot sold it to developers and it is currently being turned into condominiums. The garlic we planted for next year which was patiently waiting to grow was dug up and traded in for concrete and soulless "growth."

What will you do? We will farm elsewhere. Likely across the street, collaborating with neighbors- and we'll grow greens/herbs in the space left us.


When I was a teenager, I would often daydream about what my life as a 20something would be. Potlucks with my friends in the summertime were a distinct part of these daydreams. 

An extremely influential experience for the whole Secret Restaurant project, for me, was 3 years of cooking dinners for large groups living in the single cooperative house located off campus from Bennington College. 14 people lived in the house, and every night except Sunday (house meeting night) we invited between 5 and 10 guests for dinner. 

So for years I was used to cooking for and dining with 15-25 people sitting around a living room or back yard balancing brimming plates on their knees. Since establishing my life in Portland, I've brought together similar groups of people to share food – but it has nearly always been in the semiformal mode of Secret Restaurant. 

Once we embarked on the Secret Garden project, I knew that I wanted to host informal, outdoor, biweekly potlucks. I (or Lucas, or Aria, or whoever) would serve up a dish or dishes from the bounty we were currently experiencing. Guests would bring additional food and drinks. Soundtracked by stuff like the Carter Family, we'd share food and laughter, then replace the waning daylight with firelight, and encourage the good times to roll on. 

The food: Each potluck featured numerous breads & spreads, drinks, and of course many other homemade dishes, often made by guests from produce in their lovely gardens--- but here is… 


Potluck One: July 25th

• Big leafy green salad- all our lettuces, chard, kale, purslane, sorrel. 
• Golden beet slaw
• Pesto Genovese
• Zucchini Latkes
• Blackberry tartlets

Potluck Two: August 8th

• Golden Beet/Yellow Crookneck Zucchini Carpaccio
• Green Mist Cauliflower Chilled Soup
• Pesto Genovese
• Blackberry Sorbet

Potluck Three: August 22nd

• Smoked salmon spread
• Pesto Genovese
• White bean/garlic spread
• Green bean Salad w/shaved almonds and parmesan 
• Big bowl of blackberries

Potluck Four: September 5th

Green bean/tomato/garlic/anchovy salad
• Carrot/tempeh hippy slam salad

Potluck Five: September 19th

• Garlicky kale quesadillas
• Fresh salsa made entirely from garden: tomatoes, cippolini onion, chard stalks, parsley. 
• Grilled cheese sandwiches with raclette and garden tomatoes
• Chocholatey zucchini cake

Potluck Six: October 3rd

• A massive all-garden (6 or 7 vegetables) curry slam served with wild rices.
                       "Graduate level curry."- Alex Rosenblatt
• Garlicky kale salad- people brought fruits & breads. 

Potluck Seven: October 17th

Indoors. An Advrb/Jason Anderson candle/twinkle-lights house-show. 
• Carrot Ginger (ok so we didn't grow the ginger) soup
• Potato Leek soup
• 4 loaves of house-baked rustic country bread

We will resume garden potlucks later in 2013.