As Prairie Grass Cafe features its plant-based subscription again this August, my friend and I had the opportunity to enjoy the Chef Sarah Stegner’s special weekly chef-crafted meals featuring delicious seasonal local foods from Three Sisters Garden, Adams Acres Organics, River Valley & Nichols Farm & Orchard . The menus are only available for takeout and must be picked up at the restaurant on Thursdays after 2 p.m.
When I picked up my bag, there was a charming note inside sharing the story of these dishes. The food this week was inspired by experiences Stegner had in Ireland and what she has learned from Alice Waters, al of this pertaining to hyperlocal food, those plants available in a small distinct community. Stegner says, “I love this process of using fresh local goods, initially championed by Alice Waters in the culinary scene.”
Stegner also references a restaurant close to Ballymaloe Cookery School where everything they served came from local farmers and even the plate. The items in my bag were from the height of the Midwest summer season and each dish was delicious.
In the bag, I found the August Plant-based Subscription
Week 2- Summer Greens
Three Sisters Garden Purslane & Lambs Quarters, Nichols Farm & Orchard Peppers, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Sauteed Mushrooms, River Valley Ranch Mushrooms, Shallots, House Spicy Ancho Mix, Roasted Vegetables, Three Sisters Garden Tomatoes, Farm Cipollini Onions and a baguette.
My friend, Mary Jo McMillin, spent time at Ballymaloe Cookery School and was especially interested this week’s food preparation. She shared her thoughts about the delicious food:
“I found more pleasure in enjoying the vegetable preparations one at a time rather than as three on one plate. Each had such a distinct character I wanted to savor.
Favorite were the Sautéed Mushrooms. King Oyster mushrooms with their steak-like texture and rich flavor made for a knife and fork vegetable. The complementing smaller mushrooms and the rich ancho scented oil lifted this blend to the center of the plate, complete in itself with plenty of rosy oil for dipping.
Tomatoes reach their height of sweetness when roasted and the combination of tomatoes, fennel and cipollini onions brought together a perfect Mediterranean blend. This succulent, dense combo was ideal for tucking into the crispy baguette and if one added a few dabs of creamy goat’s cheese, there’d be a sandwich sublime.
Summer greens, especially the foraged lambs quarters and purslane might be bland alone, but when combined with charred peppers, olive oil and a drop of lemon juice could make them any more tasty.
All of these carefully crafted cooked plant-based combos remind us of the joy of vegetables and the delight in fresh flavor for our tables. Thank you Prairie Grass for blazing this trail to lift our spirits, support local farms and to enhance our nutrition and delight.”
I enjoyed the delight of contrasting the three dishes which I placed on one plate with a lovely flower and the bread. This was a magnificent blend, delicious and a summer treat.
The meals are for takeout only and must be picked up. They are not available for in-restaurant dining.
- Pick up at Prairie Grass Cafe, 601 Skokie Blvd., in Northbrook is on Thursdays starting at 2 pm in August.
- The subscription for the month is $100*, available on the 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th. Remember, the menu is “chef’s choice.”
- Consumers can call to register for the subscription by calling the restaurant at 847-205-4433. The $100 cost does not include tax and tip.
Photos: B. Keer