Summer Entertaining with Ten Thousand Villages

This post is sponsored by Ten Thousand Villages- all opinions my own. I'm honored to work with the oldest and most well-established fair trade business in the world and grateful for TTV's support of Life+Style+Justice! 

Most of us in the conscious consumer world have heard of Ten Thousand Villages (If you haven’t, get yourself to the nearest store!). In addition to pioneering the concept of fair trade, Ten Thousand Villages is one of the only brick-and-mortar stores that offers exclusively fair trade items in multiple locations around the US.

When I use the word “pioneered”, I really mean it: The beginnings of both Ten Thousand Villages and the global fair trade movement can be traced back to 1946, when Edna Ruth Byler sought to create economic development though the sales of artisan goods to combat the poverty and lack of opportunity that she witnessed during a trip to Puerto Rico.

Since its humble beginnings (which consisted of selling artisan items out of the trunk of a car, a situation which I know many of my social enterprise/startup friends can appreciate!) Ten Thousand Villages has grown to employ thousands of artisans in 38 countries while still maintaining high standards for fair wages and ethical treatment of artisans.

Ten Thousand Villages offers a lovely assortment of jewelry, home goods, and accessories- in recent years I’ve picked up many fresh, stylish pieces from Ten Thousand villages like the gorgeous woven hamper in my bedroom or the marble pieces in this post that look like they could have been picked up at West Elm or CB2 (but with much better ethics)!

The artisan partners that make each marble cutting board and serving tray work in Karachi, Pakistan. The stone arts company, Dominion Trading, that employs these artisans has been partnering with Ten Thousand Villages since 1983! In addition to upholding non-discriminatory hiring practices and fair wage principles, Dominion Trading offers its employees profit-sharing, pension plans and medical benefits.

Pakistan is known for stonework and sculpture, and the country’s marble and granite reserves have been creating sustainable livelihoods for ages. Well-paying partnerships with overseas buyers create greater stability during tumultuous times when the local economy is under stress.

I’m excited to use my own marble pieces from Ten Thousand Villages for summer entertaining! Marble has a high thermal mass, which allows it to hold its temperature- making it perfect for summer picnics. I put my marble cutting board in the refrigerator before packing it, and then use it to serve cheese. The cool marble keeps the cheese from becoming oily and warm as quickly under the sun!

I’m a big fan of dishes that don’t take a lot of prep time, and I also love using ingredients that are growing in season (I have a CSA share from an urban garden down the road). Right now I’ve been using lots of rhubarb, cilantro, parsley, garlic chives and I thought I’d share a few simple recipes for summer appetizers that incorporate these in-season ingredients!

Mini tostadas with chimichurri
(makes 15-18)
10 corn tortillas
1 avocado
1 ear of sweet corn
1 cup black beans, rinsed
½ tomato
¼ cup chimichurri sauce (I use this recipe
Fresh cilantro for garnish

Cut small circles from tortillas and toast lightly in the oven (alternately, you can make your own mini crunchy tostadas with masa harina flour). Reserve tortilla scraps to add to a salad or soup! Remove corn kernals and roast in a hot cast iron pan. Add beans, chopped avocado and tomato, and chimichurri sauce. Mix well and spoon onto tostadas, garnishing with a sprig of fresh cilantro!

Goat cheese with stewed rhubarb
4 stalks of rhubarb
¼ cup honey
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger

Chop rhubarb. Add to a pan with honey and simmer until soft. Stir in spices and serve over a soft, mild goat cheese with crackers or a fresh baguette! If the sauce doesn’t thicken enough naturally, add a pinch of corn starch or arrowroot.

If you love the Marble cutting board pictured in these photos as much as I do, you’re in luck! We’re giving one away on Instagram: simply follow @tenthousandvillages and tag a friend on the photo marked “Life+Style+Justice and Ten Thousand Villages Givaway”!  The giveaway will run from though Sunday night the 19th, and the winner will be announced on the my Instagram account as well as Ten Thousand Villages- good luck!