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My dad and his wife have been visiting us for a couple of weeks now, and on Saturday we celebrated his 80th birthday. He’s a bit of a foodie, and loves Bay Area cuisine, so in honor of his birthday – and also as a nod to Chez Panisse’s 40 years of inspiration – Dave and I decided to create a dinner using as much as possible from our garden. Not every single ingredient came from our yard – we didn’t raise the chickens or the sardines, to name a couple – but the ones that didn’t came from our local farmers’ market or, in the case of the chickens, Whole Foods.

It turned out to be a wonderful dinner, and a great experiment! Four courses for fourteen people, I’ve discovered, is a bit of an undertaking even without trying to time the ripening of fruits and veggies, but it was amazing to realize how much we could create from our garden and the fruit trees growing in the yard. Here’s the menu:

And some photos of the preparations:

peach pit kernels, used to infuse white peach jam
making white peach jam
finished jams
making lemon verbena ice cream
a visitor helped himself through the open kitchen door to observe ice cream prep
preserved lemons for the gremolata served with sardines
slicing apples for pie
dad’s favorite dessert
garden vegetables for the ratatouille
we have sungold tomatoes coming out of ear ears…
making ratatouille
getting ready to set the table
guest of honor
strawberry, cucumber and nasturtium salad
white peach, heirloom tomato and basil salad
setting the table


grapes from our yard
“bella fresher”
lemon verbena martini (fresh pears from our tree in the background)


sardines and prosciutto-wrapped figs, waiting for the grill



3 Responses to “papa’s locavore harvest birthday dinner”

  1. Incredible. Stunning. Delicious. Wow!

  2. Emma Thomsen says:

    Your Dad looks fabulous for 80! Goes to show how eating fabulous food is so good for you. Your food was a feast for the eyes… lucky tummies!

  3. Things dreams are made of…

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