The last few months I've find myself making many changes to simpify our routine and surroundings and I have lots of pictures stacked up to show it. I've been busy getting ready to not be busy. So, first things first: the vegetables.
We're making lots of changes to our diet, with many tips from Marianne. We've cut out pasta and even Vitamin Water (crystalline fructose), found multiple delicious uses for quinoa-the-wonder-grain (Lissa, I haven't forgotten about sending you the recipes), and we've joined a CSA. Shortly after we found out about this CSA we were called by the Cafe that organizes it to cater a very special dinner in the new barn at St. Brigid's Farm, one of the farms that supplies the meat for the CSA.
The dinner at $150 a head supported Heifer International, an organization which, after hearing about that night, I pretty much want to dedicate my life to. Zeb told me to settle for dedicating my evening. The menu was simply incredible. The meat for the Veal Orloff was raised right there, 20 feet away from the table in a beautiful clean pen with a huge cow sized motorized back scratcher. Never thought I'd be jealous of a cow but I really want one of those.
Every part of the meal, from the wine to the butter pats, was grown, raised or made within 50 miles of St. Brigid's.
Field to Fork Dinner Menu
Fresh Butternut Squash Soup
(Crispen Farm, Annapolis, MD)
Served with Sunflower Bread
Farmer's Market Greens Salad with Squash Blossoms
With Dragonfly Farm Black Currant Vinaigrette
(Davon Crest II, Trappe, MD - Dragonfly Farm, Mount Airy, MD)
Veal Orloff with Wild Chanterelle Mushrooms and Nutmeg Whipped Cream
(St. Brigid's Farm - The Woods of Maryland)
Roasted Mountain Rose Potatoes with Fresh Rosemary
Glazed Baby Carrots and Turnips
(Davon Crest II)
Served with Sundried Tomato Bread and Farm Fresh Butter
Cave Aged Cheddar, Sundried Tomato and Basil, and Chappelle Cheeses (Chapel Country Creamery, Easton, MD)
Served with Fresh Fall Apple
Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream with Fresh Honey Figs
(Rebecca's Garden, Columbia, MD)
One of the things that struck me the most about the evening was the people who were there. I overhear quite a few conversations at the restaurant where I work and they are often awkward, revolve around yachts and when directed at me they are not infrequently rude or condescending. I don't mind at all, it kind of comes with the territory when you're a server at a fancy pants place. But it knocked my socks off when the folks at this dinner, who from all apearances come from the same circles as the guests at my restaurant provided some of the most down to earth and conscientious conversations I'd ever had the pleasure of eavesdropping upon. I was positively beaming just listening to them. They talked, these people who had just met each other that night, all about things like getting the permits to raise bison on their estates and about which farm's CSA's they subscribed to. There were so many common goals and ideals meeting in the food and conversation in that barn that I don't know that we could have been more encouraged or had more fun if we had been eating rather than serving the dinner. We left very ready to dive into this world of local, organically grown food.
This last weekend was the first installment of our weekly vegetable bag. It was a double dose of excitement for me that day as I was also going to the new Anthropologie store that opened this week here in Annapolis. Believe it or not, though, I was way more giddy about the vegetables. I exclaimed over every one as I took it out of the bag and interrupted Zeb's Southpark marathon to make him examine and touch each one as well. And I took lots of pictures.