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Garden Fresh with Phoebe Cole-Smith

A beautiful Weston garden and recipe for lemon-herb aioli

Photographs: Stacy Bass

Weston gardener, Phoebe Cole-Smith, is featured in the Mar/Apr issue of Westport magazine. When photographer, Stacy Bass, showed up at Dirt Road Farm for the shoot last summer, Phoebe had arranged a beautiful spread of fresh food and drinks—and she made it look easy. So, we just had to ask her, how did you do that and what's there? Looking at her answers, it's clear she calls on her close-by foodie friends.

The one table included an assortment of Dirt Road Farm baby Carnival carrots, Sono Baking Company's Kalamata Olive Sourdough bread, Arethusa Farm Dairy Camembert cheese, Cato Corner Farm Womanchego cheese, Red Bee Wildflower honey (in the jar) and Alaska Nasturtiums and Blue African Purple Basil from Phoebe's garden.

On the Frances Palmer handmade terra cotta platter, Phoebe arranged her "BLT" salad of baby Dirt Road Farm lettuces and multicolored heirloom tomatoes, and The Hickories bacon dressed with a simple champagne vinaigrette and lemon-chive aioli (recipe below). The indigo-dyed Baran napkins are the product of another local artisan: Rug and Fabric designer, Elizabeth Eakins. The Purple Basil Lemonade is made by muddled, then strained out (leaving the lavender-pink color and fragrant flavor behind), African Blue Basil leaves with homemade lemonade (fresh lemon juice, organic cane sugar syrup, and spring water), garnished with fresh sprigs of the basil and lemon slices.  

See Phoebe's prepping bell peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables from her garden. (Above)

Lemon-Herb Aioli

"I often use some variation of this delicious condiment on sandwiches, in salads, as a component of dressings. The deep orange yolk of the egg makes the aioli a gorgeous golden color." - Phoebe Cole-Smith  

  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves (remove the germ if there is one)
  • Maldon salt, or another sea salt
  • 1 farm egg yolk
  • about ½ tsp. water
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 teaspoons minced chives, chervil, parsley

Peel and slice the garlic. Put it in a mortar along with a pinch of salt and pound into a smooth paste.

In a medium bowl, whisk together about half the garlic, the egg yolk, and about ½ tsp. water. Slowly drizzle the oil into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and lightens in color. Keep drizzling in theoil until all of it has been absorbed. If it is too thick, thin it with a few drops of water.  

Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and the herbs. Taste for seasoning. Use within a day, as the garlic will turn if the aioli is kept for longer.

Food on garden table

Food and beverages on garden table