It was with much excitement that we headed to Holbrook Farm on Sunday for a farm to table dinner presented by Chef Michael Bick of Some Thing's Fishy Catering. It was a fantastic, albeit steamy, summer evening of great food, friends and conversation.
Upon arrival guests were greeted with a choice of blueberry lemonade, basil lemonade or a white port spritzer (graciously provided by Spirits N' Such of Danbury). Yes, white port, the lesser known sibling of the port family. The spritzer was surprisingly delicate and refreshing. And, of course, you can't go wrong with lemonade on a hot summer day.
I could easily have made the three hors d'oeuvres into my dinner: tomato fritters stuffed with fresh goat cheese, grilled cheese bites with Camembert, bacon and fig jam, and watermelon gazpacho shots. I loved them all. The fritters were perfectly crunchy and then burst in your mouth to reveal the oozy cheese center. (Yeah, I have a thing for goat cheese.) The grilled cheese bites were a balancing act between earthy cheese, sweet jam and salty bacon. However, the real stand out for me was the watermelon gazpacho. Refreshing with a nice spicy finish.
Once the 90 or so guests were finally seated it was time for the plated first course: Fennel pollen dusted striped bass over a corn puree with fennel and arugula salad. The fish was mild and flaky. I especially enjoyed it with the corn puree.
The rest of the meal was family style: heirloom tomato salad with ricotta salata and basil; succotash with corn, zucchini, sugar peas and shiitake mushrooms; red rice with baby carrots, pine nuts and a cucumber vinaigrette; and a slow roasted boneless pork loin with a maple syrup-tamari drizzle and stone fruit slaw. It was all so good, but the stand out for me was the pork with the stone fruit slaw. Let's just say I immediately requested the recipe from Chef Bick!
You know the food must be good when a large crowd is pretty much silent once the meal is served. As guests dined, Farmer John Holbrook made his rounds to say hello, stealing a veggie or two as he walked by.
And what's a Sunday dinner without dessert? To round out the meal were mini cobblers: peach, blueberry and blackberry. I felt it was my duty to try them all. I don't think I can declare a clear flavor winner, more tasting is required.
Like I told Chef Bick, this dinner was even better than his last event on the farm in May. It was a true showcase of not only his skill, but also of what our local farmers and local food artisans have to offer us all.
Have your calendars ready for September. A fall farm to table dinner is already in the works for Chef Bick and the Holbrooks.
And you know I'll be sure to share all the details!