Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Field Trip - Dinner in the Heritage Gardens

I know, I know. Friday is our normal day for field trips but I believe in mixing it up and besides, last Friday we were talking about foodie stuff.

Do you remember our recent field trip to the Heritage Gardens in Belvidere, Illinois? Well, we've been invited back for dinner! Yes, dinner in the garden area. This is the first year for the event and the planners decided to plan a menu around the ethnic gardens; German, Norwegian, Potawatomie, Yankee and Scottish. I thought it was a great concept. They enlisted the help of local chefs to prepare the different dishes. What a great chance to showcase their skills.

The dinner in being held in the log sided pavilion off the pathway to the gardens and cabins.



People start arriving. There will be around 50 guests.



Immediately the guests are commenting on the fact that the picnic tables are covered with white tablecloths. Isn't it lovely with the lush greenery in the background?



Here's the Farmer. Doesn't he look like little boy lost? He's just had a hard day at a golf outing and decides to stake a claim on a table for us. I hope it will fit all of us.



The tables are decorated with beautiful, natural looking bouquets in blue Mason jars. I love this. It's perfectly midwestern.



Here's my sister Pam and her husband Mike, tending to last minute details in the utility building that is serving as the command center for the dinner.



When you are responsible for setting up a dinner of this nature it's a good idea to bring mom along. She can help whip things into shape.



It's incredible how much planning and work goes into such an event. There was lemonade, iced tea and punch but this was my favorite. What a great idea.



You can make you own flavored soda. They've provided two types of fruit syrup, blueberry and raspberry. Put a small amount in the bottom and fill the glass with sparkling water! Isn't that clever?

Dinner is served. Everyone line up.



Take a plate and dig in. It's all you care to eat. Come back for seconds.

See that small wicker picnic basket on the table? It hold the utensils, wrapped in linen napkins with a piece of decorative paper holding it together. People noticed the attention to detail.



There's fresh bread and REAL butter.



The Potawatomie Indian garden is represented with this offering from Hungry i Catering. This is a feast for the eyes. A salad with potatoes, corn, cherry tomatoes and green beans. It's tossed with some herbs and perhaps a little oil. Nothing heavy to overpower these beautiful vegetables.



There's a salad of mixed greens with several types of tomatoes. The salad dressings are in beautiful crystal bottles nestled in a wire holder.



Did I mention the beautiful flowers?



The Brick Cafe brought a family recipe, leek soup, representing the German Garden.



It's a delicious mixture of leeks, potatoes, pork and other ingredients.

The Farmer makes short work of his portion.



A woman representing the Sons of Norway Valhall Lodge made a fruit soup. It was served hot and is something I've never had before. Traditionally it's made from dried fruit but this was made from fresh strawberries and rhubarb. Simply delicious. It was the Norwegian course..... of course!!



ABC Catering represented the Yankee garden with........(be still my heart), homemade chicken pot pie.



I don't think this picture looks like much but trust me, this was awesome! This was the awesomest chicken pot pie I've ever eaten. Beautiful rich sauce, nice vegetables, chunks of chicken and the crust was to die for!

Look! At the end of the evening there's very little left. I wanted to lick the pan.



Look at this colorful and fresh meal.



Did you save room for dessert? I hope so, because there's a sundae bar where you can build your own sundae. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, berry sauce and butterscotch.



Who's left? The Scottish, of course. Thankfully for us the Heritage Gardens have been lucky enough to partner with Walkers Shortbread to sponsor the Scottish cabin. They have provided packages of the shortbread cookies.



Lucky for us too, because if they didn't have the shortbread to serve we might be eating haggis! BLECCCHHHH.

I want to thank you for coming along on this lovely evening dinner. I hope you enjoyed yourselves!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

There's always a giveaway in conjunction with the field trips. This week I'm giving away a nice set of notecards featuring artwork of the cabins and scenes from the Garden's yearly festival. Please leave a message and I'll put your name in the hat.

I want to thank each and every one of you for taking time out of your busy day to visit here .... At Home. I apologize that lately I haven't had much time to acknowledge your comments. The sewing room beckons.











57 comments:

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

I'm number one today... woo hoo... only because a stuffy nose and sneezes woke me waaay early today.

The food all looks great... especially the ice cream!

Put me in for the notecards. Gotta have em'!

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Thanks for inviting us to the dinner! Looked like lots of fun (and work!). C

Becky K. said...

That looked so great! Lots of hard work went into it, you could tell.

The salad with corn, beans and potatoes looked scrumptious. I also liked the make your own soda idea for something different.

Have a great day!

Becky K.

Nancy said...

It is only 7:15AM and I would to eat everything you have pictured! Pop Tarts just do not seem too appetizing anymore.

I hope I win the noecaards!

Amber said...

Cereal just did not do it for me while I was reading this and looking at your photos! Food looks beautiful and delicious. I loved the flower arrangements too. Put me in for the cards please!

Heidi said...

OH does that look goooooooooooooood...... Fruit soup is fun to make - father in law is 100% Norske and I have made it for him. I have a recipe for traditional fruit soup and there are TONS of differant fruits...esepcially prunes raisins etc...probably cuz they dry the easiest! :) Miss you!

Annette said...

Notecards! Please.
annette

Captain J said...

I absolutely love your blog! You show some of the neatest places. I hope I can travel to your area, and check them out.

chocolatechic said...

How perfectly wonderful.

I love the idea of making your own drink.

How goes your sewing? Etsy doing well? I sure hope so.

Kitty said...

Lovely setting for a wonderful looking dinner! How nice to support and be a part of activities in your local area.

I was away for a couple of days while out of town. Sorry I missed yesterday's cupcakes and discussion. Don't let that "average" comment sway you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion--even if it isn't a good one! Your work is lovely and creative.

Throw my name in the hat for the drawing. Pick me! Pick me!

Ang. said...

I can't believe you've never had fruit soup! Swedes eat it poured over the top of rice pudding. OMW! It is too die for! You must go to Rockford and have a proper Swedish meal at the Stockholm Inn.

Piecefulafternoon said...

That was the loveliest road trip - and now I MUST make some chicken pot pie. I'd invite you over - but mine might fall short of the best chicken pot pie in the world - though it IS going to be good.

artofelegantwriting.com said...

I have just stumbled upon you blog and absolutely love it. Thank you so much for all your creativity! Count me in for the notecards!

Leslie T. said...

It all looks so lovely. And the food! Ooooooh, it all looks and sounds so good!

Colste Stables said...

Yummm.....That definitely made me hungry! Hurry up lunch!

Jody Blue said...

You sew girl!
That was a great event!
Thanks for sharing!

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Save the giveaway for somebody more deserving.....but we sure would love to get ahold of the recipe for the chicken pot pie! Yum!
I have a coffee cake recipe to share if you are interested...

Lisa said...

How fun! Heritage Gardens' crew did a great job putting this event together. Everything was beautiful...including the flowers! The hot fruit soup and make-your-own soda sounds delicious.

Clayvessel said...

All those lovely homemade and fresh offerings but...does no one make homemade bread and rolls anymore?

I'm sorry, I'm a food snob of the highest order..

It's just that when so many work so hard to offer their best, I hate to see those spongy packaged rolls next to them. I'll be glad to pass on my recipe for delicious and easy cracked wheat rolls.

Sarah - Kala said...

I'm so salivating and it's just breakfast time! I would be tempted to lick that pot pie pan myself! Those soups, the fun sodas!!!

I'd love to win those cards.

jeanne said...

Hi Suzanne, I enjoyed your post today so much. The dinner was a very elegant picnic to be sure the beautiful flowers in the mason jars were the prettiest center pieces. A lovly day to share a meaningful meal.

Hugs, Jeanne

Susan said...

I would have loved this. Sorry I missed it.

BellaDella said...

How wonderful! I am going to ask the in-laws about the fruit soup. Never heard of that one.

LydaBabes Going Ons!!!! said...

Add me to the list.....The food looked awesome.....All that fresh food. Recipes. Please. Loved the potatoe one......Can't wait to win ....hahah...like when pigs fly......Loved it....

Liz in PA said...

SUZANNE~ WOW..that was some meal!!

Makes me hungary, cause I forgot eat to lunch today.......and now I'd best get my menu going for supper!

Wish I could have been a mouse in your pocket...just to scarf up the crumbs..Yum Yum!

Hope I am the lucky winner, I love notecards...and I do write to a few very special people!
Gotta remember to buy stamps to keep the Postal People in $$$, or they'll stop delivery any day they choose!

Stephanie-Oh said...

Everything looks so tasty, esp. the corn, potato, and green bean salad. There was an aweful lot of work put into organizing that meal.Thank you for inviting me along.

Steph said...

Yummy!

Anonymous said...

Can you send me 2 of the recipes? The chicken pot pie and the potato-vegetable salad?
Thanks, Brenda
brendak@ucsd.edu

Dan said...

The bread and salads look divine!
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