Updated: Jul 31
We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful summer evening. Bodhi Farms shone with the golden early evening sun. As our guests poured in and gathered around the three-tented Nordic structure, I wondered if there'd be enough food for all present.
I didn't count, but someone in the buffet line mentioned at least 155 lentil fans.
Our largest gathering ever.
We are more than grateful to our hosts, Tanya and Rainer Smith, for hosting our community dinner again.
We also couldn't be more grateful to Root Cellar Food for donating our meal's beautiful produce and Timeless Food for their continuous lentil, chickpea, and ancient grains donations.
Our special guests were Kristina Allison and Paola Torres from World Language Initiative and BELLA. We learned of the many opportunities for families and children to learn a second language, whether Spanish, Arabic, English or more.
Tina Cusker, the owner of Bozeman's La Cuisine, told us about her cooking classes, community involvement, and state-of-the-art kitchen supply store.
Weston Merrill from the Montana Department of Agriculture and Hola Montana introduced us to 15 guests from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Chile who visited our fields and explored business possibilities between our producers and their importing and distributing companies in South America.
We proudly served
Pan de Yuca and Pumpkin Arepas- Colombian inspired Cantaloupe, Cucumber, and Arugula Salad
Cuban Pork with Mojo and Grapefruit Salsa
Cauliflower Lentil Ceviche
Rice, Timeless Food De Puy Lentils, and Apricot Salad with Garden Herbs
Pan de Yuca- This delicious bread is typical of Colombia. We love it any time of the day. Because it uses tapioca flour, it is GF. We love using queso fresco instead of the impossible-to-find queso Campesino.
Makes 20-25 rolls
2 1/2 cups yuca starch or tapioca starch/flour
4 cups queso fresco or shredded mozzarella
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
One stick of butter, room temp, cut into eight pieces
Two large eggs at room temperature
1-2 tsp of cold water, if needed
1. Turn the oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the yuca flour, cheese, baking powder, and salt in a food processor, and blend.
3. Add eggs slowly while the motor is running.
4. Remove the mixture from the food processor. If it feels too dry, add a teaspoon of cold water.
5. Shape into 20-25 golf-size balls and place them on a cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Check often as ovens differ in temperatures.
7. Remove from heat and enjoy. You may want to drizzle some honey over them for an added sweet, healthy kick.
Cantaloupe- Cucumber, Arugula Salad with Chickpea Crisp
We love summer Dixon cantaloupes. You can buy them directly at any of the farmer's markets, or you can get them through Root Cellar Foods and Town and Country, but if it isn't in season, or if you don't live in Montana, a regular sweet and ripe cantaloupe will work just fine.
1/2 lb. arugula, spinach, or salad greens
2 cups cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup cucumber, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch pieces 3 TBSP of fresh basil, chiffonaded
4 ounces goat cheese
Chickpea Topper ( see recipe below)
Lime-Maple Syrup Vinaigrette ( see recipe below)
Place arugula in a large bowl.
Add cantaloupe, basil, cucumbers, and goat cheese.
Pour 2-3 ounces of vinaigrette and toss.
Top with chickpea topper.
For the Chickpea Topper
This topper goes excellent in soups, over-made hummus, and salads.
1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Preheat the oven to 400.
Dry chickpeas with paper towels until very dry.
Add spices, oil, and salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Add the chickpeas and coat.
Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Turn the sheet halfway through the cooking to ensure an even roast.
Allow to cool off before using as a topping.
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of fresh lime juice
2 TBSP maple syrup
1 TBSP fresh dill
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a glass container with a lid.
Shake it up, or better yet, mix it in a blender.
Pour 2-3 ounces, making sure not to over-pour as it will drown the salad.
Enjoy in good company.
Caulifower-Lentil Ceviche- This ceviche makes an excellent starter or side dish. We add a bit of catchup to sweeten up the acidity from the lime juice and the hot sauce.
Serves 6 full cups
1 LB. cauliflower florets, steamed
1 LB. cherry or pear tomatoes, quartered
2 TBSP jalapenos, chopped, leave seeds if you want it spicy
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 cup dry lentils, cook as per package instructions
2 TBSP ketchup
2 teaspoons hot sauce, like Cholula
Juice of 1-2 limes, depending on how juicy they are
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Cook lentils as per package instructions. Allow to cool off.
Steam cauliflower until al dente, about 5-8 minutes, and allow to cool off.
When the lentils and cauliflower cool off, combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Allow ceviche to "cook" in the lime sauce for at least one hour.
Serve and enjoy. If you are not serving the ceviche until the following day, leave the tomatoes separate and only combine an hour before serving. They will water and make the ceviche soggy if you do it in advance.
Basmati Rice- DePuy Lentils and Apricot Salad with Garden Herbs
If it is summer, a cold rice salad over warm rice will keep your body temperature nice and cool. Feel free to add any nut of your liking. We like pistachios or toasted almonds for this dish.
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup lentils
1 TBS Olive oil
One carrot, chopped
One celery stick, chopped
1/2 cup of sweet yellow onion
Two garlic cloves, mashed
1 TBSP Madras yellow curry powder
1 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup of Kalamata olives, chopped
3/4 cups shelled pistachios or toasted almonds
1/2 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chiffonaded basil
Cook rice as per package instructions. Remove from the heat and place in a large bowl. Allow to cool off.
To make the lentils, add oil to a 2-quart pot. Saute carrots, onions, and celery for about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder. Stir to coat.
Add lentils and 1.5 cups of water.
Cook for about 15 minutes or until al dente. Do not overcook as we want it al dente, so it mixes nicely with the rice.
When the lentils are done, please place them in a separate bowl and allow them to cool off.
When rice and lentils are excellent, please place them in a large bowl and combine.
Add the apricots, olives, and herbs.
Place in a large serving bowl and top with pistachios.
Photo Credit: Maggie Richardson