Last month our culinary team hosted a Farm Dinner here in the Barnyard Café at Farm to You Market. We’ve had dinners like this in the past, always with a guest chef at the helm, but this time was different. This was the first one of these elaborate, four-course, meals that I’ve had the privilege of planning and executing myself.
Featuring Todd Geisert Pork in every course, the menu is something that I put my own unique and creative touch on. Each recipe was crafted from scratch, tested here in our kitchen and sampled by our team. Each course was thoughtfully paired with drinks that ranged from sangria and wine to beer and mead.
We started the night with passed appetizers and a wine spritzer featuring Crown Valley sangria. Guests enjoyed meeting each other and shopping in the market. At 7pm everyone took their seats. As you can see in the photos, this is a unique dinner experience. Strangers become friends at this long, family-style table!
The first course was Cassoulet prepared with Todd Geisert Kielbasa and Moonshine Valley Duck. It cooked all day real low and slow to really marry the flavors of the fresh jowl we used instead of bacon, the rich beef stock we made using American-style Kobe beef bones, and the confit duck we prepared just to add to this stew. Topped with fresh, local radish greens and home-made cornbread croutons. This was paired with Noboleis Vineyard’s Baril De Blanc.
Our second course was a fennel citrus salad featuring Todd Geisert Pork Belly. It was paired with Martin Brothers Wildflower Traditional Mead. The salad had thinly shaved fennel, arugula for its pepperiness, radicchio for a little bitterness, dressed with a vinaigrette we made using the dry mead we served with it to help the blood orange cut through the butteriness of the delicious pork belly. We cooked the pork belly sous vide, then pressed it over night in the fridge under weight, before searing it hard for around half an hour to get that crust you see. The process ensured we were able to make each bite of the pork belly give crunch like a chicharrón, a condensed version of the fat that pork belly is known for, and also delicious melt-in-your-mouth meat with no additional flavorings needed because Geisert pork is so good!
Next up was the main course, Chorizo-Cornbread stuffed Todd Geisert Pork Chops which paired perfectly with an Urban Chestnut Zwickel Lager. The chops were hand-cut from pork loin, before being stuffed with a spicy chorizo, cornbread and parsley stuffing. It was served with sauteed local spinach and sweet potato puree. A zippy drizzle of a dijon vinaigrette complimented both the meat and the spinach. French fried onions sat on top for a crunch and delicious bite.
For dessert, and the perfect end to a perfect night, Becca made an amazing dish she was proud to plate up herself. She made Maple Bacon Smores with house-made graham crackers, candied Todd Geisert Bacon marshmallows that she toasted and chocolate designs. This paired with an after-dinner coffee with Backwoods Coffee Mocha Cream Rum.
We had a great turnout and, I’m glad to say, rave reviews of the food. Enjoy a look at some photos from the night—my team knocked it out of the park!
We will be hosting another Farm Dinner on February 18th at 6:30pm, conveniently timed for you to treat your Valentine to a romantic night out. Click here to see the event online and for additional information. Please come out and join us. The menu I’m designing this month features local beef from our friends at Boeckmann Farm, Quiet Oaks Farm and Neuner Farm at Westphalia Vineyards. I think you’ll love it. Make your reservations now – space is limited! Hope to see you there.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you were at the January dinner – tell us what you thought and come again! We can’t wait to see you.
All the best, Chef Bailey Kirkland
PS – here is the menu for our next dinner. Sneak peek. Thank you!