Farm To Table Dinners, Sleeping Canines & Vegan Meetups, Not In That Order

Posted: 08/06/2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you haven’t heard of farm-to-table dinners yet, start looking around & go to a bunch.  Or start your own, it isn’t too difficult or stressful once you get the hang of it, and the rewards of seeing people enjoying some food fresh from local farms or gardens are tough to beat.

I’ve been involved in catering or cooking for years & years, but this last farm-to-table dinner that I cooked for work was the second one that I’ve headed up.  Both of them were for eighteen people & I did all of the cooking & prep work on this last one(if I can do it, you definitely can do it).

First, establish relationships with local produce vendors & work with them to figure out what exactly you are going to serve.  Get the remaining ingredients from a store if you need to(I can’t stress the point of shopping from local stores here enough too).  Prep, cook, plate & serve.  That’s it!

(Don’t forget to invite guests or distribute flyers for people to RSVP, people are mighty important here too.)

Here are some pictures from this last farm-to-table:

I like aprons.  I like knives.  I like smiling.  Nothing weird about that, right?

I like aprons. I like knives. I like smiling. Nothing weird about that, right?

 

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Easy mousse made with chocolate chips, silken tofu, a little maple syrup & vanilla.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it's acids.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it’s acids.

A kale salad massaged with avocado & then I added some diced bell peppers, green onion, a little red onion, walnuts, lime juice and just a splash of pineapple juice.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

In just starting with gluten-free baking not too long ago, I was somewhat stumped on how to make awesome bread in that fashion.  I’m great with regular baking & bread, but just had to jump into this all the way.  I can’t tell you the recipe, though.  I’d have to kill you.  With kindness.  & puppy kisses.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

I didn’t take a picture of the northern white bean basil hummus I made, but putting it in three different bowls & then topping it with different spices is a really great way to get a diverse flavor going for it.

In the picture above, I had made some cultured cashew cheddar cheese(yes, vegan;  yes, AWESOME.), threw some grapes on plates & cut up some apples for a nice appetizer.

One of these things is not like the other....well, actually three of the plates.

One of these things is not like the other….well, actually three of the plates.

I slow cooked some quinoa for a few hours, adding bell peppers, ginger, garlic, & sweet potatoes along the way.  I did add a bit of paprika, but the quinoa itself was nice & sweet, so I didn’t want to mess around with how awesome that would be stuffed inside of the pepper & covered with a little lemon-dill white bean sauce I made last minute.  You saw the kale salad before & the bread for the bruschetta.  I just made some topping for that by chopping up some grape tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon juice, & a bit of salt.  Easy stuff, right?!

Upon closer inspection--AWESOME.

Upon closer inspection–AWESOME.

Dessert.  I could have done this for an appetizer though.  And an entree.  Just the whole meal.

Dessert. I could have done this for an appetizer though. And an entrée. Just the whole meal.

I made some chilled drop oatmeal quinoa chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and threw them in a bowl with some of that awesome mousse you saw in the picture way back.  This was awesome & adding a little coconut bacon to the mix was not a bad idea in the least either.

You knew I had to do a close up, right?  RIGHT??!!

You knew I had to do a close up, right? RIGHT??!!

Are you hungry yet?

Are you hungry yet?

I wore the apron the entire time.  Also, the cheesy smile.

I wore the apron the entire time. Also, the cheesy smile.

So, the dinner was a huge success.  I’d love to do this more often; on days off with friends or maybe even galavant around a grill in a park, there’s so many options here.  If you need some help with dinner(lunch, breakfast, snacks, late-night meals, brunch, desserts, picnics, etc.), I can be of assistance(pay no attention to the first picture, forget you even saw it.  There you go.).  I think, for the most part, all of the dishes were really easy to put together, but if you want to know how to make something specifically, let me know!

Other stuff:

There’s a new meetup in town.

No, really, there is.  LITERALLY.

It’s the Jacksonville Vegan Meetup, and it is going to be a fun one.  The inaugural event is titled “Local, Vegan Mob All Day Long!” & tours many of the local Jacksonville places that offer veg-friendly options.  It starts off with an awesome vegan bakery called Sweet Theory(if you haven’t heard of it yet, stop reading, go to Riverside, and buy everything.  They are that good.) & winds through town, visiting a grocery, pizza place(best in town), & a bookstore/deli before shooting off to the beaches for some farmer’s market fun, coffee, and a bar to finish it all off.  If you have July 12th off and are in the Northeast Florida area, come out & have a great time with us!!

Sometimes I think my canine companions have narcolepsy.  Not really.  They’re just like me-wound so tight sometimes that they burst with energy at every waking moment like a chipmunk on a coffee high.  When we lay down though, we are out.  Until, at least, we hear food in the distance.  Here’s some obligatory pictures.

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping.  (get the pun??  He's a BALL.)

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping. (get the pun?? He’s a BALL.)

He's going to hate this picture when he's older.

He’s going to hate this picture when he’s older.

So is Cinder.

So is Cinder.

Wait a second.  That's not a sleeping dog.  That's a wading duck.

Wait a second. That’s not a sleeping dog. That’s a wading duck.

He's walking now.  *sniffle, sniffle*  They just grow up so fast.

He’s walking now. *sniffle, sniffle* They just grow up so fast.

That’s it from me for this time, have a great time, enjoy some outdoors, and have you hugged your dog today?

Seeya!

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Comments
  1. bretbret8 says:

    Everything good in life is right here in one place! You are the man.

  2. bretbret8 says:

    Also, I’d like to get a framed picture of that mousse to go over the fireplace.

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