Finally time for lunch. I had grown quite thirsty on our Moss Mountain Farm tour. I was starting to get a little hungry, too.

Our tour group was led into the barn for lunch.

barn

Each reserved table was set with lovely white roses.

white roses table arrangement

We sat with some nice folks from Little Rock, Conway and Fort Smith, AR as well as Atlanta, GA.

The barn holds some of Allen’s paintings from his Squash series.

squash paintings

It felt pretty fancy for a barn! If only I could get our shed cleaned out, I’d have a place just like this. HA! Okay, maybe not JUST like it.

barn lighting

I love how  antique farm tools were used as decoration.

antique farm tools

Lunch was a bed of fresh, mixed greens topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, and grilled chicken.

salad with grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers

I have a confession to make. I don’t like tomatoes. Tomato sauce, salsa, tomatoes cooked in soups I’m okay with all that. Well, as long as they are chopped up really small. I think it is a textural thing. When the plate showed up with all those beautiful tomatoes I got a lump in my throat knowing I was going to have to eat them. I tried not to turn my nose up too noticeably. Here I was, a food blogger, at a fancy farm! I’m supposed to love all vegetables, right? Sorry.

I decided to be a big girl and try my first grape tomatoes. Guess what–I kinda liked them! There was not as much slimy surface as on a slicer. I found them to be a little on the sweet side. Believe it or not, I ate almost all of them! I must say, I was proud of myself.

grilled chicken

I also felt like I HAD to eat my salad before I dug into my dessert!

pie

Buttermilk Pecan Pie with fresh whipped cream!

Here’s a closer look. Try not to drool on your screen, please.

buttermilk pecan pie

YUM!

As we finished our dessert, Laura, our guide, answered questions from the crowd while we waited for Allen to arrive from Little Rock.

We stepped out on the drive for our meet and greet time. Allen is such an expressive person, it is hard to grab a good picture of him.

chattiing with P. Allen Smith

I looks like he is telling us a fish tale here. More than likely he is telling us about his chickens and their “poultry palace”.

P. Allen Smith

Next, it was time for photos and autographs in the gift shop.

Mom and I still had to see the chickens, roses, and vegetables in a matter of about 30 minutes! We made a dash to be first in line. Fortunately, Mom had made her cookbook purchases when we first arrived at the farm.

Moss Mountain Farm gift shop

Mom with P. Allen Smith

We zoomed down to the end-of-the-earth to see the chickens.

They were chickens.

Poultry Palace at Moss Mountain Farm

It was interesting to see all the different varieties. It was dark, so that made it difficult to photograph.

rooster

red, white, and black

poultry in black and white

farm baby

I liked the chickens. I just was anxious to see the Rose Garden before our time was up.

We trudged back up the hill toward the rose garden. Allen was finished with autographs, so we stopped for one more picture. Earlier, I had only taken pictures of Mom. I decided I wanted one too.

Looks like navy gingham was a good choice!

with P. Allen Smith

 

On to the roses!

Back in January I came across a fabulous looking Spinach Strawberry Salad on the Internet.  Thinking I might eat healthy food sometime, I decided to check it out.

I am so glad I did! Monica’s website, The Yummy Life, has so many great sounding recipes!

Although I was initially attracted to the beautiful salad, it was the salad dressing that grabbed my attention–Raspberry Poppy Seed Dressing.

As if a fancy salad and pink polka-dotted dressing was not enough, one of the ingredients in the dressing was Raspberry Vinegar! Oh, my! So pretty!

I knew I would have to try this for myself!

First the vinegar…

This was incredibly easy!

Monica’s recipe calls for 2 cups of white wine vinegar and 1 cup raspberries.

The vinegar I bought only had 12 ounces in it. So, I ended up using  3/4 cup berries and 1 1/2 cups vinegar.

Be sure the berries are clean and don’t have any nastiness on them.

Put the berries, fresh or frozen, in a canning jar with the vinegar. Screw the lid on tight. Hide it in a dark place for a couple of weeks. You don’t have to do anything to it during that time.

Here is what they look like after they have soaked.

You can eat the pickled berries, if you like that kind of thing. Most of the color has gone out of them by this time, so they look a little weird.

Warning! Necessary Specialty Item!

Yes, you NEED to use the cheesecloth, unless you know of a suitable substitute. It took a bit of searching for me to find the cheesecloth at the store.

Get out a bowl. Put a strainer on it. Put the cheesecloth in the strainer. Strain the vinegar off of the berries.

You are left with your beautiful raspberry vinegar!

Isn’t it pretty?! Now you want to go make some too, don’t you! This would make a lovely Christmas gift!

Here is Monica’s recipe for the Raspberry Poppy Seed Dressing…

Raspberry Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 1/4 cup grated/minced onion (half of a small onion)
  • 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar (for recipe, go to http://www.TheYummyLife.com/recipes/142); may substitute white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Directions

3 EASY WAYS TO MIX THE DRESSING:
–In a blender or food processor. Mince the onion. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard, & salt to the blender or food processor and mix until combined. With the blender/food processor running, add the oils in a thin stream through the hole in the top. Blend until well mixed. Add poppy seeds and pulse just until mixed.
–In a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, minced onion, and poppy seeds until well combined. Continue whisking while adding the oils in a thin stream. Keep whisking until well combined.
–In a jar. Add everything except the 2 oils to the jar. Cover and shake to combine. Add 2 oils and shake vigorously until well combined.

If too thick, may be thinned by whisking in water a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Dressing will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

I went with the jar method because, well, it meant fewer dishes to wash!

I did use a big grater to grate the onions. I was tempted to just chop them up really small. Grating them is definitely the way to go.

Using the jar method also meant it was easier to recruit helpers!

Well, my salad didn’t look quite as fancy, but it sure was yummy!

No comments from the Critics. They are not big salad eaters. I’m working on them though.