Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wine + Food + Good Company + Rain = Great Night Out!

It might have rained little, OK- A LOT! But that didn't stop the 9th Annual Clyde's Farm Dinner in Ashburn, VA.
We have gone the last three years and it never disappoints.  Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm opens the barn door and garden gate to welcome Slow Food members and friends to a tour of their raised-bed garden—where all their veggies grow—and a five-course farm dinner.   The food and wine are both locally source and always delicious.  

Cocktail Time - this year's was a refreshing Peach & Blackberry Sangria. 

We each took a drink and headed on over to the garden.  

Did you get any ideas for your own garden?  We did!

Before sitting there were pass hors d'oeuvres of Corn Pudding Tarts and Egg Salad Crostini Topped with Crab.

The first course was a plate of freshly picked Willow Creek Farm veggies simply prepared.  Some were roasted, some sauteed, or steamed.  It depended on what brought out the best in the individual veggie.  Simple, but satisfying.     

And the the rains came... did I mention we were eating outside?

Knowing it was supposed to rain and we would be outside, we scoped out a table that looked like it would stay dry and we picked correctly!  

We should stop here to praise the wait staff - real superstars!  The rain never slowed them down, they rushed around make sure people were out the weather, moving tables and handing out umbrellas.  Those tables that were wet, they dried and reset with great speed and those guests who wanted to eat inside they settled them with alacrity as well.  Running in and out of the rain serving can't be an easy job, but they were great!

After the rain delay the second course came out - Chesapeake Bay Soft-Shell Clams with herb and Cheese Ravioli and Blue Ridge Dairy Butter.  There's no picture to share as I was too excited to dig in and forgot all about the camera... just trust me it was good!

Next was the most worrisome and surprising part of the meal:  Roast Boarder Spring Farm Lamb.  A trio of lamb (leg, rack, and house-made sausage) with a side of Swiss chard.

I have to be honest and say this was the part of the meal I was least looking forward to, I'm not a huge fan of lamb.   How wrong was I!?!  The lamb was incredible - moist and tasty.  The photo is not so pretty as I was so taken with the food I forgot about the camera again.   

To finish up the evening we were served Roasted Peach Semifreddo with Willow Creek Farm honey popcorn.  Refreshing and light, a great way to end a slightly damp but wonderful evening. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cocktail Success!

So, as we have been doing these little dinners there are a few things that seem to continue to challenged us.  For some it is rice, for me it's a decent cocktail.  The only part of the dinner I have come to dread... The Big Scary Cocktail!  

I am proud to say the I (with maybe a bit of help from Martha) have conquered the liquor, slayed the spirits, quenched the thirst!  

It was midweek and we were getting closer to that Saturday Supper.  My panic over a potential potion to present was growing with each passing day.  To clam myself I started to leaf through my monthly Martha Stewart Living, then as I turned a page the heavens opens up and the sun began to shine, the angels sang... there it was, the perfect summer drink.  I am calling it a Blueberry Gin Fizzy (I can't remember what Martha called it) and it is good.  

I was able to add a bit of Lemon Mint from the garden, too.

So the night was off to an excellent start!  The Amuse was a seared baby scollop on a puree of white beans.  A little something the hubs came up with himself, quite tasty.

Another favorite of the night was the Terrine of Summer Squash topped with Rosemary Infused Honey, made of course with our fav goat cheese purveyor: Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Co.  The tang of the goat cheese mixed with the sweet of the local honey with the mellow roasted veggies was incredible (carrots were also garden grown - extra points).  It was paired with a sweet roasted cippolini onion.  Oh and the honey: you may be tempted to skip the rosemary infusing step - don't!  It adds another layer to an already outstanding dish, don't cheat yourself out of a full tasty experience.     

 A bright and super fresh salad was next.  The Pea Shoot Salad w/ Hummus Vinaigrette was relativity easy, extremely tasty, and a refreshing, and a refreshing interlude between more robust courses.

For the main course we had Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Compote, yum.   As the first of the cherries were coming into season we decide to highlight them in the main meal.  It is a few steps to make this meat, but it is worth it, trust me.  We have made this dish three more  times since this meal.  While the original recipe called for cheery preserves, why do that to yourself when you can get fresh?  I wouldn't do it any other way.  The good news is you can make the compote in advance and let it rest and thicken or even make a day ahead.

We wont discuss the side dish.  Perhaps another challenge for another meal...

Dessert was superb.  A super light and decadent lemon chiffon cake with fresh fruit and an infused whipped cream.  If I get the recipe I might share;)

And of course the Cheese Plate!  Cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery with an late addition from the Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Co.  with the crowd favorite and always a winner:  the Monocacy Ash!  A very welcome and delicious surprise!

Here is the selection of wines from the evening, not a bad one in the bunch.

And the happy, satisfied, and stuffed foodies. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bluberry Gin Fizzies or: Best. Cocktail. Ever.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 6 drinks

1 C Gin
1/2 cup Blueberrys
Fizzy Lemonade
frozen berries

Pour gin and blueberries into a jar and let sit at room temp for 3 days. 

After 3 days drain away blueberries and refrigerated gin until cold.

To mix - pour 1 oz of gin in martini glass and then fill with the fizzy lemonade.

Add ice.

Garnish with frozen berries (we used blueberries and raspberries) and fresh lemon mint out of your garden. 

Tip for freezing berrys - lay out in one layer on a baking sheet, place in freezer until frozen.  Do not put into cup and shove into freezer, won't work.

Terrine of Summer Squash topped with Rosemary Infused Honey

For Terrine:
2-3 summer squash
2 garlic scapes
2 T olive oil
1 t freshly cracked pepper
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 cup goat chevre
1/4 cup ricotta
1 T fresh basil

Summer squash cut to approximately 1/4 inch rounds, toss with Olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Roast at 425 for 20-25 min, adding garlic scapes for the last 10 min

Meanwhile finely chop basil and mix with fresh ricotta - let sit at room temp

In food processor process the garlic scapes and add chevre

Layer squash with chevre and top with a dollop of ricotta, drizzle with honey serve at room temperature

For Rosemary Infused Honey:
1/2 Cup Honey
1 sprig Rosemary

bruise roesmary with the back of knife put in honey and let sit for a day.

This could also be a great side dish (or main) if made with squash sliced lengthwise and layered in a pan (similar to lasagna)

Pea Shoot Salad w/ Hummus Vinaigrette

Fresh pea shoots
Fresh peas shelled

1/4 Cup lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/8 t pepper freshly cracked
1/8 t salt (or to taste)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 T Hummus

mix all ingredients for dressing except hummus, add hummus just before serving dress salads and add fresh cracked pepper (don't forget the hummus or the salad will be SUPER boring!)

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Compote

Adapted from

1/2 cup oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 lbs.) trimmed

Cherry Compote
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 small red onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 cup beef broth
1 cup or more of fresh cherries, pitted
1 1/2 teaspoons  thyme
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces

Whisk oil, garlic, mustard, thyme, rosemary, pepper and salt in shallow dish until well blended. Add pork. Cover; marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Make Cherry Compote ahead. Cook after adding preserves and thyme. Refrigerate. Reheat; stir in butter just before serving.

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook and stir until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add beef broth. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until liquid is reduced by about half.

Reduce heat. Add preserves and thyme. Simmer sauce, continuing cooking until thick.

Heat grill.

Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Grill tenderloin until medium done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing diagonally into 1⁄4-inch pieces.

While meat is standing, remove sauce from heat. Whisk in butter, one piece at a time. Serve warm over pork.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Seasonal for June

It's a Copper Pot Supper tomorrow!  Not sure what we are going to make as we need to see what's at the Farm Market tomorrow.  That's one of the great things about dinner during this time of year, you go into Saturday with some ideas about what you want to make, but it could completely change depending what is at the market or in your own garden.

Here are some items that should be in season now:

April 25-June 15    asparagus
May 15-June 20    strawberries
June 1-July 1          peas (green)
June 1-Sept. 15      cabbage
June 10-July 10      cherries (sweet)
June 10-Sept. 15    beans (snap)

And then there are the nice surprises that you might find too if you farmer hot hoops their veggies!

Happy Marketing!