autumnal feast: lake forest farms | part two

Here are some more images of the beautiful dinner put on by Lake Forest Farm. Still reeling from the beauty of the evening, and the delicious treats that were served by Chef Joey Dawkins of Wodafood.

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Q: While we were talking, you mentioned that this was the first Farm to Table dinner you have been a part of. As a chef, what does it mean to you have this kind of “fresh + local” movement in our area?

JD: Right now local is coming on strong in many cities across America. People are tired of being fed food that is shipped across the nation just to save a penny. They’re quickly realizing that the same produce in the store is actually being grown down the street from them. Educating people about this fact and showing them where to find it is priceless. People actually being able to eat the food from the farm they just took a tour of helps connect them with the land and the farm who grew. It means the world to me to be able to be the chef that helped bring it all together.

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Q: What was the reasoning behind the dishes you chose to showcase for the dinner?

JD: I chose classical French cuisine because everything was being served with French wine. I was also classically trained in French culinary as well.  I think the main reason though was because French cuisine was made to warm the bones in the fall and winter.

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Q: What is your absolute favorite fall dish to make?

JD: I would say my all time favorite fall dish would actually be a very simple one. Tomato basil soup with heavy cream and a three cheese grilled cheese. I make it every year for my family when the leaves begin to change. It’s actually a tradition in our family now.

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 You can learn more about Chef Joey Dawkins and Wodafood here.

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autumnal feast: lake forest farm | part one

There are few things I love more than good food and wine coupled with good conversation. This past Saturday I was fortunate enough to be a part of the fall edition of Lake Forest Farm’s local + organically sourced dinner. Hours upon hours of careful planning and coordination went into this evening; which you’d never be able to tell upon seeing the smiling faces of all the contributors. The ‘fresh and local’ mindset is slowly but surely coming to DFW with community-focused farms popping up all over the map. It’s a great time to be living in NDFW, folks.

Hosting Farm: Lake Forest Farm

Chef: Joey Dawkins

Contributing Farms (Produce):  Sky View Farm, Sunny Side Up Farms & Stonebranch MicroFarm

Contributing Farm (Beef): Truth Hill Farm

Bread: Village Baking Co. 

Wine: La Cave Warehouse

Music: Wesley + Cristina Ballard

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I’m so thankful for these new friendships and the amazing opportunity to work alongside them.

Here’s to many, many more.

the kinfolk table: thoughts on family, food, and the importance of gathering

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It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the quarterly publication Kinfolk. My love for seasonal eating and food photography has flourished in part because of their beautifully curated pages. Each issue is developed with such care and I treasure my volumes because I can feel that care with every turned page and recipe shared.

This past Sunday (and almost every Sunday) J and I gather at his parents home to enjoy a big meal together. Everyone who’s in town joins us. Bottles of wine are passed around, a game of spades is usually being played, and our local radio station blasts everything from Muse to David Bowie to Lord Huron and it is magical. Warm and familiar feelings creep into my heart and I’m instantly transported back to my childhood. Until our sport schedule took over, we were able to dine together as a family almost every night.  I wish I appreciated the togetherness more as a child (I wasn’t exactly a fan of setting the table), but today I know the lasting impact of what happens at the dinner table.

Food is community, it’s togetherness. It’s meant to nourish our bodies, but I believe it nourishes our heart and relationships more than anything. The tantalizing aroma of my dads homemade spaghetti sauce brings back memories of cold dry winter days, the time we got our new (beautiful) nude couches, and the excitement my sisters felt when “daddy was making his daddy  sauce”. My mom made an organic chicken noodle soup once with spinach and tortellini and if I close my eyes I can imagine how tasty it was when I was home sick with pneumonia. I’ll never forget how she cared for me that day, and how incredible the soup was. The first time J glazed a thick Chilean sea bass with tart miso paste I felt my heart melt and got weak in the knees when he proudly pulled it off the grill. I like to think he secured my heart that evening.

I fear the generation where the value of a family made meal, whether it’s once a day or month, is forgotten entirely. The Kinfolk Table shows that there are many who still hold those values dear, and I’m so thankful for that.

I’ll definitely be sharing some family inspired dishes in the future. In the meantime, you can purchase The Kinfolk Table here.

mushroom + rosemary baked brie

The moment we step into September I get in the mood for autumn. All year long I crave cable-knit sweaters, apple cider, barren trees, and delicious warm breads + vegetables that I would never attempt to make in the sweltering Dallas summer. In the fall I suddenly pick up old books that I’ve cherished for years, flipping through their musty pages giggling at my notes and highlights and scrawled definitions from years past- proof that I can even over analyze things that I enjoy tremendously. Memories of starting school again, the excitement of a new fall  wardrobe, a new year to prove yourself and move ahead. Fall symbolizes comfort for me, where summer fades and I become more of who I am. I think that’s why I’ve daydreamed of living in the Pacific Northwest, or Vermont and Maine the majority of my life. I’m drawn to foggy mornings and the scent of treats baking in the oven.

When I finally got the chance to visit the dreamy PNW, I made an abundance of unexpected friends. One being a down to earth political figure in Clallam County, Washington named Mark. Every visit he would take us on guided fishing trips through the Dungeness, Hoh, and Sol Duc rivers where I learned to fish and caught my first big fighting fish, a Steelhead. After long cold mornings littered with fish blood and granola bars we’d make the trek to his sleek modern cabin in the hills where he’d combine some of the most unique flavors in well plated dished while he “educated” us on good music: The Talking Heads, Jorane, Muse, and Crash Test Dummies. We’d sip exceptional wine, dance across the bare wooden floors in our socks, admiring the art he collected and his eloquent way of speaking.

Most of my favorite recipes have been learned from people just like Mark. Although I haven’t been to the PNW or visited him for quite some time, the memories of his open heart, home, and kitchen bring a smile to my face in the dusty-hued months. I’m thankful to have learned this simple appetizer from someone who sparked my love for cooking + baking. This is one of the first food “shoots” I did, last year in my home after spending a full day at the McKinney Farmer’s Market and the Local Yocal where I discovered Texas Olive Ranch olive oil.

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| ingredients |
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
8 ounces mushrooms (cleaned and quartered)
1 teaspoon rosemary (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup white wine (or madeira or broth or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)
1 (8 ounce) wheel of brie
1 baguette (sliced)
| directions |
heat the oil in a pan.
add the onion and cook until it starts to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes.
add the mushrooms and saute until they start to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes.
add the garlic and rosemary and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
season with salt and pepper.
add the wine, deglaze the pan and cook until it has evaporated.
slice the brie in half, and place the brie on an oven proof serving platter, top with the mushrooms and bake in a preheated 350F oven until the cheese melts, about 8-10 minutes.
serves 4
recipe adapted from closet cooking