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.

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.

lemon + lavender scones

One afternoon I casually mentioned to J that I wanted to make some lavender lemonade. True to his thoughtful nature he promptly returned home from work with a massive bag full of the delectable dried culinary buds. I love him. After I finished squealing and swooning over the très French aroma I decided to make scones for the first time of my life, which is scary (to others) considering it’s a running family joke that I “burn water”. After surfing pinterest for the easiest perfect recipe, I found this gem over on Food Plus Words. It’s very simple and perfect for sharing with neighbors, coworkers, visitors from England, etc. What my first-born scones lacked in presentation, they made up for in bursting flavor and a house that smelled like a bakery for days. If you give it a go let me know how it turns out!

 

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| ingredients |

for the scones

zest of two lemons
1 tablespoon culinary lavender, finely ground (i used a coffee grinder, but a mortar & pestle would do)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 large egg
1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white for brushing the tops of the scones before baking)
1 cup heavy cream

for the glaze

4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice (use the two lemons you zested above!)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
finely ground culinary lavender, for sprinkling atop scones

| directions |

preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

in the bowl of a food processor, combine sugar, lemon zest, and lavender. pulse a few times to combine and allow the zest to release its essential oils. **a mortar and pestle works fine as well**

add flour, baking powder, salt and butter to the food processor, and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. **FUN FACT: if you do not have a processor large enough to accommodate this quantity and are mixing the ingredients in a bowl, i’ve found that if you freeze the butter and grate into the dough mixture it using a large holed cheese grater it yields identical results**

in a separate bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk and cream.

add egg mixture to flour mixture, and pulse until just combined.

turn dough onto a well-floured surface. using a rolling pin, roll dough to approximately one inch thickness.

you can use biscuit or cookie cutters to cut out scones, or simply cut them into squares.

you can also separate your dough into two balls, and roll each one into a circle. then, using a knife or bench knife, cut the circle so you have eight pieces, much like you would a pizza.

arrange scones onto baking sheet, about two inches apart.

brush tops of scones with reserved egg white, and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

bake for 14-16 minutes, or until pale golden.

if glazing, allow to cool completely. then drizzle glaze liberally atop cooled scones, topping with reserved ground lavender.

enjoy scones with freshly whipped cream, butter, jam, creme fraiche, or clotted cream.

you can wrap the unglazed scones individually with plastic wrap and foil, and place them in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze them for a week or two, and simply heat them in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes to warm them up. then glaze and serve!

the glazed scones will keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for three to four days.

recipe adapted from food plus words