Fun and food with family

For the middle leg of our journey, we met mom and my sister’s family for a picnic lunch at Seed Savers in Decorah, IA.    Apparently, this has become an annual pilgrimage for us.  (See post from May 30, 2010.)   My sister and mom packed a great picnic for us and we all filled our tummies before some of us set out to hike the property, some of us went fly fishing, and some of us shopped for plants.  (Obviously,  you can shop for great seeds and plants here,  but they will also allow you to hike the property and fish.)

New raised beds.

More raised beds at Seed Savers.

Neat and clean rows.

Heirloom apple orchard.

Even though this is a LONG drive for us, I hope we make the third annual trip to Seed Savers next summer.   We had a great time and bought enough seeds to start our fall tomatoes.  (Which I have GOT to start tomorrow.)

I promised recipes, though.

Mom made homemade sandwich rolls that were absolutely out of this world for our picnic.  My sister dressed our turkey and ham sandwiches with a “special sauce”  that she had leftover from an Asian burger recipe the family had tried earlier in the week.    They were kind enough to share their recipes with me.

Rosemary Focaccia Buns
3 c. bread flour
2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 pkg. instant yeast
1 1/3 warm water
3 T. veg. oil  (divided)
2 T. Parmesan  cheese
2 T. Rosemary leaves  

Mix flour,  salt,  sugar,  yeast,  water and 2 T. of oil.   Mix dough until pliable.   Knead dough on floured surface until smooth.  Place dough in oiled bowl,  cover,  let rise until doubled—45 min.   Coat baking sheet with oil and gently press the dough out to about 1/2 inch.    Brush remaining oil over the top of the dough.   Make dimples on the dough.  Sprinkle with Rosemary and cheese.   Let rise until doubled—20min.   Bake for 25 minutes at 375degrees.
Thanks, Mom!  You have always been the master bread maker!

Special Sauce

1 c. mayonnaise (not low fat)  (She also made it with Greek yogurt and decreased some of the lime juice.)
1/2 tight-packed cup fresh mint leaves, divided
1 t. sugar, or to taste
2 to 3 T. fresh lime juice
2 t. sriracha

Make the sauce by pureeing in a food processor the mayonnaise, two-thirds of the mint leaves (the rest will top the finished burgers), sugar, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, and the sriracha. Taste for a pleasing balance and adjust, adding more lime juice and/or sriracha to taste. Chill the sauce until you’re ready to use it (up to 4 days).

She got this recipe from The Splendid Table’s Weeknight Kitchen emails.  Thanks, Sis!  (You also got us absolutely hooked on sriracha!)

The nephews found some great woodland garden magical beings as we hiked through the Seed Savers’ property:

A mayrose.

Funky fungi.

Gnarly Mr. Ogre Tree.

Loved our visit in Iowa, loved our quality time with the nephews and loved the food and family fun.

2 comments to Fun and food with family

  • Liz

    Oh, how fun! Wonderful recipes from your family…I love to cook with my sisters…we’re all so into food 🙂 Did I ever mention that I grew up in Iowa? In fact, I dated a guy briefly in college from Decorah…haven’t thought about him in years!

    • Eliot

      And, these two recipes were only the tip of the iceberg. We ate and ate and ate—strawberry rhubarb pie, coconut cream pie (ala mom), smoked pork butt, pasta salad, homemade bread, etc. (Again, we are on a diet!!!)