Remember August? It sure was pretty...
August 9, in fact, was the Outstanding in the Field farm dinner at Little Foot Farm in Afton, Minnesota. Little Foot raises heritage breed hogs so it's no surprise that this dinner was a celebration of pork, pork, and more pork.
Thanks to chef Mike Phillips of Three Sons Meat, Inc., it was spectacular indeed.
I had the privilege and pleasure of working at the event this year instead of just attending it. I pitched in to help host chefs Mike Phillips and Scott Pampuch make and serve about 50 million pounds of pickles and condiments to enjoy with all of those beautiful courses of pork.
While the guests gathered and enjoyed cocktails in Karen Weiss and Sally Doherty's picture-perfect farm yard...
...the hogs got frisky...
...and the crew set the signature Outstanding in the Field table.
Afternoon showers meant a bit of a rush to set the table...
...with pickles! Okra, beets, peppers, cukes, rhubarb, green beans, corn, chanterelles, on and on.
It takes a village to serve charcuterie to 150 people.
Kielbasa's on the grill. These beauties were plated with kimchi...
...as fast as pork-greased lightning by Scott and Mike.
The one vegetarian at the dinner ate very, very well. Kimchi and pickled corn with a poached egg? Yes, please!
That's Mike, slicing one of the three golden, crackling porchettas, plated and served with sauerkraut.
Huge thanks to my left and right hand ladies Emily Anderson...
...and Kathy Yerich for working their butts off AND being a total blast. Oh how I love those gals.
Stunning Laughing Loon Farm and Minnesota Peach Farm tomato salad with grilled kale was a welcome refresher after three courses of pork. Those bowls came back very empty!
As the sun set...
...little jars of roasted fruit topped with toasted oat crumble, whipped cream, and magical sugar-glazed grapes, prepared by pastry chef Kelsey McCreight, wrapped the meal.
Another dreamy farm dinner for the books. Huge thanks to Mike Phillips, Scott Pampuch, and the whole crew for letting me help out. The highlight of my summer, without a doubt, both the event itself and the preparation leading up to it.
See pics from:
Scouting Little Foot Farm with Mike and Scott
Pig butchering/charcuterie making in preparation for the meal
Outstanding in the Field dinner 2011 at River Bend Farm in Delano
When I got home, and unloaded the 50 million pickle jars from my car, I found...a gigantic tub of honey! Farm dinner spoils, nice. In honor of the buckets of delicious coffee that powered the dinner prep and clean-up, I made these coffee, honey, and cinnamon custards. I will not lie...they are divine.
Ode to OITF Coffee Custards with Honey & Cinnamon
Based on a Martha Stewart Living recipe
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Set out a 9x13 baking pan. Butter 4-6 oz. (or 6-4 oz.) ramekins and arrange them evenly in the 9x13 pan.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, milk, and espresso powder and heat until mixture almost simmers. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, egg, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. Whisk a bit of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, then whisk in all of the cream mixture until well combined. Ladle into the prepared ramekins. Set the 9x13 pan on rack in preheated oven, then pour hottest tap water into the pan until it comes 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are set and jiggly, about 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and water bath. Cool to room temperature and serve or chill to serve later. To serve, run a knife around the edges of the custard and then flip over onto a serving plate. Give the plate and ramekin together a bit of a shake to loosen and the custards will slide right out.