Mix a bucolic setting, summery libations and good food with good friends and you have the makings of a perfect, peaceful Sunday evening. Well, that's exactly what we had at the Farm To Table dinner at Holbrook Farm in Bethel by Chef Michael Bick of Some Thing's Fishy Catering. It was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend.
Before we get to the food, let me just say it was great to see so many people come out on a Sunday to celebrate delicious local, seasonal food. With 50 or so guests I believe it was a sold out event.
All right, now on to the eats.
As people arrived there were two refreshing non-alcoholic beverage choices: Lemonade and Peach Nectar with Tarragon. With a subtle hint of tarragon the peach nectar was sweet and, for lack of a better description, tasted like summer. On a side note, the dinner was BYOB and thanks to the change in Connecticut Blue Laws we made a last minute stop by the local liquor store for a growler of Berkshire Brewing Lost Sailor India Pale Ale, which made for a nice accompaniment to the meal.
Once all the guests were seated at the long green gingham covered tables, they brought out bite-sized hors d’oeuvres: risotto cakes topped with wilted pea greens and smoked mozzarella, sherry wine braised oxtail with chickpea puree and cilantro drizzle in a sun dried tomato tartlet, and Hawaiian sea salt dusted diver scallop with green tomato relish on a radish crisp. Unfortunately, not all the hors d’oeuvres made it around the table, so I missed out on the scallop. I enjoyed the risotto cakes (how can you not like starchy rice goodness), but for me, the oxtail tartlets stole the show. The cilantro drizzle was a fresh pop to the earthy meat and buttery, crisp tartlet shell. Yum.
Next came the plated first course: Pan seared red fish with apricot-chili butter, on a bed of organic hot house micro greens with two artichoke fritters. I am pretty picky when it comes to fish, but this fish was fresh, light and flaky. The apricot chili butter made it extra melt-in-your-mouth good and was a great contrast to the crisp greens. It was fantastic to see Farmer John Holbrook chatting with guests during the salad course. I think he was just making sure everyone was eating their greens!
The rest of the meal was served family style: Roast chicken with chervil, mint, tarragon, and garlic chive pesto; Spring vegetable melange with roasted beets, fava beans, asparagus, turnips and carrots; and, speckled quinoa with dill and sweet peas. It was the perfect Sunday dinner combination. Comfort food kicked up a notch. The herb pesto on the chicken was out of sight! Oh, did I mention the rolls? The house made honey butter rolls were fantastic! I easily could have eaten the entire basket.
For dessert there were three bite-sized options: cappuccino brownies, green tea cupcakes with cream cheese butter cream and rosemary kalamata olive cupcakes with vanilla butter cream. The rosemary olive cupcake was sweet, savory and all delicious. Hands down it was the standout of the desserts. I had to exert some self-control because I could have devoured more than my fair share. To round out the meal, the owner of Spirits N' Such generously shared some wonderful port wine with the crowd. A perfect ending to a perfect meal.
A special shout-out to Dan & Kristien, otherwise known as OmNomCT, for coming up to our neck of the woods. Dinner is better when you can share it with friends. And, it was wonderful to meet another area food blogger, Fairfield County Foodie.
So, my only question is ... Chef Bick: When can we do this again?