What a combination! Yes, we have indulged in beer & cheese before but on Sunday afternoon we were thrilled to have two of our favorite artisanal local producers, The Ship Inn and Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse, together for a Beer and Cheese Tasting. They are great partners in sharing the same philosophy of quality ingredients and culinary craftsmanship but it is rare to have them in the same place at the same time to showcase their specialties.
When you investigate learning opportunities for making your own cheese or baking bread you will find the “go to” experts at Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse who have been making grass fed cheese since 2003. Assisted by a partnership with Hunterdon Land Trust, Jonathan and Nina White moved their environmentally sustainable dairy farm to The Stamets Farm in Milford, NJ. We are lucky to have them as local neighbors for their farming philosophy and full flavor cheese and bread! The Ship Inn’s 2nd Generation, Tim Hall is happy to be at the helm providing quality locally sourced and ecologically responsible ingredients on their menu. New Jersey’s First Brew Pub makes hand-crafted ales in 7 barrel batches using freshly milled whole grain. The Ship’s brewer, Lea Rumbolo is a trained chef and her refined palate shines through with each barrel’s distinctive flavor.
We had a packed house and enjoyed listening to each of their roles in bringing out the flavors in their specialties. With an interesting group of guests and unique palattes, we could not quite agree on the specific pairings but were happy to find the right combinations for all 7 brews and 5 cheeses. They reserved the unveiling of special brews just for us and Lea was kind enough to offer tours behind the scenes. We certainly all left very hoppy!
A great pair from The Ship and Bobolink
My favorite celebrities do not star in a reality tv show, tackle each other on a green field on Monday nights nor reinvigorate their career with a dance off competition. Yes, I certainly indulge in some couch time periodically but my favorite stars are doing things that I love – gardening, cooking and traveling! I wish I could spend time with them regularly as they create new flavors, grow beautiful food and explore new territories with great passion and perspective.
I was so glad to meet one of my favorite “celebrities” last summer when I was lucky enough to be working at a Food Bloggers Summer Potluck Workshop. After a summer of preserving fruit and herbs in crazy combinations to make unique jams and syrups, you can imagine how thrilled I was to meet Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars. I was even more happy when she was available to offer an Autumn Canning Class for The Kitchen Potager!
I was not alone in the excitement. Last Sunday, we had a sold out class of experienced canners and eager learners. Rather than chalk filled rooms with few windows and distractions from note passing with friends, we gathered in Linden Hill Gardens‘ sunny greenhouse while enjoying homemade treats and tea. Marisa who has offered canning information through cyberspace with devotion and passion, did not cease to amaze us. She reinforced and refined our techniques by demonstrating and explaining the science behind the directions with ease and humor. We enjoyed the afternoon and were inspired by our culinary super star to create gifts and concoctions for friends and family during the holidays – a much more rewarding activity at the kitchen counter vs the couch!
Please save the date April 14th 2012 for a Sweet & Savory Springtime Canning Class when Marisa returns to The Kitchen Potager!
Canning with Food in Jars in the Greenhouse Classroom
Relishing in the Cranberries
When planning Farm to Table Dinners the most important ingredients are the seasonal produce, chefs, and the guests. One item that is the most reliable element of surprise and can never be planned for is the weather! This season, that was reinforced with our guests Irene, Lee and all Hollow’s Eve winter storm. I have to commend our fantastic chefs for “weathering” through all elements and delivering delicious memorable meals in rain, wind, heat, and hurricanes!
Luckily, we shifted Drew’s dinner from Hurricane Lee’s visit to mid October for a rustic fall evening when we did not worry about having soggy shoes (or wet basements at home). Drew gave us a meal to remember with his specialties including Metropolitan Seafood’s trout with swiss chard. We began with pizzas around the garden oven and finale’d with figs for dessert. Stay tuned for a winter cooking class with Drew in the new year including traditional recipes inspired from some of his favorite chefs. Judging from the friends around the table, we would all enjoy learning new techniques from one of our favorite local chefs!
Matt Ridgway, of PorcSalt, always surprises us with his flavor combinations. As guests swapped between the hot and cold hors d’oeuvres stations, they read the menu card wondering “chicken liver mimosa mousse – yum?”, “I’ve never seen a foie gras with curds carving station”, “what’s carrots vaudavan?” “which one is this?”. Surprised and satisfied with social tasting time, they were even more enchanted as they dined inside the Barn at the table. We were all impressed with the Asian flair incorporated into the Tuscan Bean Salad by using young ginger from Gravity Hill Farm, pumpkin kimchee and toasted hazlenut as condiments. As we indulged in the dessert, oohs and ahs were heard around the table as the flavors sparkled – literally. Once again, it was a meal to remember! Check out Matt’s recent article at Phillyburbs.com to learn more about his approach to curing and other specialties.
Lea Rumbolo of The Red Spoon Gourmet Cooking and brewer at The Ship Inn, offered her techniques to us on a beautiful day. We loved every minute of learning while we were chopping in the garden, chatting and charring red peppers at the grill and heating up – very quickly I might add – in the pizza garden oven. The beautiful part about these classes are that guests arrive as strangers and leave as friends following a day of cooking and sharing a meal. Lea will be wearing her “brewer’s hat” The Kitchen Potager’s Beer and Cheese Tasting with The Ship Inn and Bobolink Dairy. We will be cozy inside on Sunday, November 20th at The Ship Inn, please join us and reserve a seat at the table!
Yafa Faro always impresses us with her dramatic entrances at the market – in a sporty car or turquoise truck. Not to mention, her sesame treats took us by surprise and became a fast addiction and Bucks County favorite. Little did we know that Yafa was instrumental in Tribeca’s food culture and that we were lucky to have a city transplant enjoying our favorite area of the world. Yafa pulled out all the stops and created 7 courses with over 16 of her favorite vegetarian delights. The carnivores in the crowd were thrilled by the flavors and the vegetarians pleased to have a meal devoted to their tastes. If you are craving more of her treats, please join us for The Kitchen Potager’s Small Business Saturday Open House and I will have sesame treats for you to buy for the festive season.
Braving the elements was an under statement for the Ella’s American Bistro chefs Matt Schuler and Peter Hess. While hurricanes are no surprise to South Carolina Johnson & Wales alumni, Irene could have been a little gentler on this dynamic team. Armed with a beautiful menu and mobile kitchen, they did not miss a beat as they delivered delicious courses with a sense of humor. Perhaps on a clearer evening we will venture to their new restaurant in Wayne, PA. Please email me to let me know if you would like to be a part of the plan.
A special thanks to Matt Schuler of Ella’s American Bistro, Lea Rumbolo Red Spoon Gourmet Cooking Classes, Yafa Faro of Yafa’s Joy Sesame Treats, Matt Ridgway, PorcSalt and Drew Abbate of Vine & Fig Tree Bistro for all of their efforts in bringing their specialties to the Barn at Linden Hill Gardens.
Cheers from the chicken coop
PorcSalt Sparkling Service
Drew's Specialities - Figs and Friends