Ramble On

Monday, August 19, 2013

The 2013 Farm-to-Table Dinner

(Note:  I scheduled this post for Monday morning, and the one about the wine and farmers at the dinner was supposed to go up on Tuesday.  Unfortunately I fat-fingered the scheduling thingee and gotten the cart before the horse.  Maybe it's better to close out with this one after all - that dinner was great, as you'll read below!)

I’ll close out the posts about the 2013 Page County Grown Farm Tour with a couple of posts about the farm dinner that was held at the Mimslyn Inn on Saturday night, August 10, 2013.  Chef Harris surprises us with his creations every time – this one being the third annual, and all of the featured ingredients in each course come from the local farms. 

So today’s post will cover the menu and courses, and tomorrow’s will make a note about the farms that grew the ingredients and the featured wines, which were all Wisteria selections. 

The occasion began with cocktails in the hotel lobby, but as soon as 7:00 rolled around everyone made their way into the party room – a new venue this year – for the feast.  We began with a little welcome from Page County Grown, and then a speech by Chef Harris.  As each course appeared, Moussa from Wisteria introduced the wine selection, and that was how the evening rolled out.

The first course was gorgonzola-sweet corn polenta, garnished with a mixed pepper ratatouille.  A mixed green salad accompanied the dish.  The dish set the playing field for the evening, and afterwards, there were a few people who told me this was their favorite course.

The second course was introduced on the menu as “eggplant parmesan salad,” but I’ve shortcut that every time I talked about the dinner, just calling it eggplant parmesan.  The eggplant was panko encrusted and grilled, and plated with slices of mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes.

My table mates especially enjoyed the third course, mixed vegetable ravioli.  One of them even said, “That’s the first time I could taste and identify everything that was in the dish.”  Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, caramelized onion and fresh basil were all part of the filling.

We had a palate cleanser at this stage of the game – cantaloupe sorbet.  It was matched with Pinot Gris, which you can see in the photo.

In 2011, the first year, the meat course was beef brisket, and in 2012 it was short ribs.  Since the beef comes from my friends at Skyline Premium Meats I always look forward to it (and I often purchase these same cuts at the market to grill at home).  

Before dinner, Jared told me that he had brought over sirloin steaks for this evening’s dinner – and when the beef wellington came out, everyone was once again surprised and delighted at the unusual dish.  It was paired with potatoes au gratin – these were locally grown, too – as was the Japanese eggplant, although I don’t know which farms provided them.

Needless to say, everybody was having a good time and enjoying the delicious meal, but these things always come to an end.  The desert was a surprise:  a terrine of watermelon sherbet and vanilla custard.  Look up "terrine" sometime, and you’ll understand the bit of whimsy that made this a fun conclusion to the evening.

So:  six courses, and every one of them unexpected and delicious.  Our chef at the Mimslyn has really hit his stride.  They are serving farm dinners every Saturday during the season this year – it’s well worth the stop; I think Mary and I will have to get by there again before the season is over!

No comments: