The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,571 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,327 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Farm Kitchen Know Your Food Intermediate Level Merit Badge, Part 2, I soldiered on with my all-homegrown/local/organic dinner at my friend’s home. As I mentioned before, these friends, while near and dear, were not exactly farmgirls, and nary an organic ANYTHING had passed their lips.
They had enjoyed their first heirloom tomato though, and that’s when I got cocky.
The homemade wheatgrass, maple syrup, kale, and green-apple smoothie was not a hit.
The looks of horror on their faces though … priceless.
I had to start smaller. And quick, before they ordered a High Fructose Corn Syrup and Preservative Pizza and locked me outta their house.
Hastily, I assembled the ingredients for my next course:
Chicken and Bacon Panini Sandwiches with Homemade Roasted Garlic Aioli and Sweet Potato Fries
- Homemade or locally made and organic, good-quality bread. I used white, as we were easing into this territory with my friends and had learned my lesson with the kale smoothie. I wasn’t sure they were ready for my Fifteen Grain Whole Wheat and Sprouted Barley Dark Rye Bread …
- Organic butter from happy cows
- Organic chicken breasts, pounded thin and grilled in organic extra virgin olive oil
- Nitrate-free bacon slices (sprinkle with a little brown sugar or honey for some extra sweetness)
- Heirloom tomato slices (unless your guests already ate them)
- Baby lettuce/spinach/sprouts, whatever floats your green boat
- Red onion
Butter bread. Assemble sandwiches and grill in a Panini press, or in a pan with a very heavy pot placed atop your sandwich. You can add the lettuce after grilling if you like, but I don’t mind a nice charred Romaine, myself.
Homemade Roasted Garlic Aioli
- 3/4 cup organic olive oil
- The juice and zest of one lemon
- Several cloves of roasted garlic (homegrown if you have it). How many depends on your taste; I recommend at least three! Extra delish, and keeps the vampires away, to boot.
- 2 egg yolks from happy, free-range, organically-fed chickens
- Salt and pepper to taste
Use a blender or food processor to combine everything except the olive oil. Drizzle oil in in a steady, but thin, stream as you blend.
Sweet Potato Fries
- Sweet potatoes or yams from your garden. I like to figure two potatoes per foodie.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Slice potatoes the way you like ‘em: shoestring style or steak-house style. Drop them in a large pot of boiling and salted water. Leave ‘em there in their bath for 15 minutes or so.
Line up on a baking sheet that’s been wiped with olive oil (or organic oil of your choosing). Drizzle a little more oil on top. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake at 400ºF for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway.
My “come to you” dinner party was a rousing success. Not only were the sandwiches a huge hit, but my skeptical eaters devoured the fries. They said they were even better than McCarl’s Burger Dairy Jr. and the Roasted Garlic Aioli was much tastier than Miracle Whip.
I swallowed my horror and pride and took it as a compliment.