farm party and the perfect potluck salad

11 Oct

We are experiencing some pretty awesome weather here in Minnesota. This past week has been warm and sunny with a backdrop of the most gorgeous leaves ever. It’s breathtaking every where you go.

This weather created a spectacular day for a day at the farm. We were invited to a farm party on Saturday and it could not have been a nicer day. The purposes of the party was to celebrate the season and Meghan’s birthday. You might remember we went sugar bushing on this same farm.  It is just gorgeous there and this year’s party was an absolute blast.


The birthday girl, Meghan, and Willa (sleeveless in October!)

_MG_7622Matt telling Robyn she should really go on a hayride. There were really hayrides. This farm party was serious.

_MG_7618That would be a Jameson and Sprite in a water bottle.

Anything goes on the farm.

Where this is a party, there is food and this was no exception. I only wish I had taken more pictures! The corn was a huge hit.




A shucking injury! Just like a paper cut. She was a trooper and powered through.


Pickled eggs anyone? These were of the super stanky variety. I did not indulge in these. Hard boiled eggs are already tough for me to swallow, much less a spicy pickled version.



We brought a few different delectables to the farm including black and blue bean burgers and our go to orzo veggie salad. We also made what may now be one of my favorite desserts which I will need to dedicate an entire post to. It will mean I have to make them again and take photos, but I’ll suffer through. That’s how much I care about you getting this recipe. I’ll just say  it involves pumpkin and cream cheese and it’s really fun to say and eat. You’ll love it. I promise.

Back to the orzo salad. This is  one of our favorite salads to take to potlucks. Brette could eat this every week and be one happy man. It is very versatile and there are lot of ways to make it.  It’s perfect for a potluck because it can sit out for quite some time without the risk of making someone ill.

The Perfect Potluck Orzo Veggie Salad

Note: There are lots of room for substitutions with this one. For the veggies, you can mix and match what types you use and how many. The key is to get an good balance of veggies to orzo.  We’ve used zucchini, peppers, eggplant, red onion and tomatoes with success. If you don’t want to grill your veggies, you could also roast or sauté them.  If you want to up the protein in the dish, add a can of chickpeas – it’s delish.


1 1/2 cups orzo pasta

3-4 bell peppers in a variety of colors, quartered

2 small eggplant, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

1 red onion, sliced into rounds (this is optional, but I like it better with it)

olive oil

salt and pepper

1/2 – 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

red wine vinaigrette, to taste (recipe follows)


Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

For veggies, preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Brush veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for about 3-5 minutes on each side until grill marks appear and some char is present (the onion might take a bit longer). Remove from grill, cut into bite size pieces and add to pasta.

Toss with red wine vinaigrette (start with half of the recipe and add from there) and check for seasonings; adjust as necessary. Add the feta and toss to combine.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Shake in a container with a tightly fitted lid. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a week. You’ll need to shake it before each use.

Here are a few more shots of our time at the farm.





This seems to be an appropriate place to end. I hope those of you in MN are enjoying this Indian Summer while you can. I shudder to think about what’s coming….

A big Happy Birthday to my “sister” Meghan!


5 Responses to “farm party and the perfect potluck salad”

  1. Megsp October 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    LOVE IT! And that Orzo salad is hands down THE BEST BBQ side ever. As is the desert you will be blogging about. Love ya sis and LOVE this post!

  2. emily (a nutritionist eats) October 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    What perfect weather for a day at the farm!!
    Love the sounds of the orzo salad.

  3. Liz October 12, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    My dad is in Winona visiting our fam and sent beautiful pictures of the fall colors in the trees from over the weekend. It sounds like perfect weather out there! That orzo salad looks amazing.
    p.s. Definitely keep me posted once you have a date for trinona 2011. I really want to do it! (plus recruit some family members to join me).

    • jen October 12, 2010 at 10:27 am #

      Liz – I will definitely let you know as soon as I know! It should be announced soon. It would be so fun to have you participate!


  1. pumpkin whoopie pies « She said. She said. - November 5, 2010

    […] few weeks back, when we were invited to the farm party, I started thinking about what to bake. One of the purposes of the farm party is to celebrate my […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: