Can you believe summer is more than half over?
Inside I'm crying just a bit. I've realized that abundant sunshine contributes tremendously to my overall mood. I'm already dreading the return of winter, especially if it resembles at all what we experienced last winter.
I've realized that I'm just a much happier person in the summer. This summer, I've really been enjoying biking, both on the shady Minuteman Trail as well as the beautiful Esplanade along the Charles River in Boston and Cambridge.
I've been loving it.
Before the summer ends, I wanted to tell you about a Farm to Table dinner series that's going on this year. I had the opportunity to attend a media preview tasting earlier in the summer, and I really enjoyed it!
This fun Farm to Table Dinner series is a collaboration between Tiger Lilly Events, Colby Farms, and No. 8 Kitchen & Spirits.
This summer, the trio will be hosting a series of outdoor (summer) and indoor (fall and winter) themed dinners. Tiger Lilly Events is in charge of organizing and running the event, Colby Farms provides the fresh local produce, and Chef Paul Callahan from No. 8 Kitchen will design and execute the menu.
I came with a group of other media folks to get a peek at what one of these Farm to Table dinners might be like.
We started with one of the best cornbreads I've had in a long time. Baked in a cast-iron skillet, this signature dish from No. 8 Kitchen reminded me a lot of the cornbread at the now defunct (insert sad face) Hungry Mother.
This cornbread is amazing . . . AND it's topped with a smoked maple pork fat butter.
And then came a huge slate topped with all sorts of house-made cured meats, including prosciutto, coppa, and speck. The spicy coppa was our favorite, with a solid kick and deep, rich meaty flavors.
We also sampled a refreshing Smoked Salmon Tortellini tossed in a lavender vinaigrette with golden cherry tomatoes, farm fresh greens, and fresh Vermont ricotta cheese.
This is Chef Paul Callahan (previously at L'Espalier, Sel de la Terre, The Butcher Shop). He is the executive chef at No. 8 Kitchen in Amesbury. Chef Callahan was thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Colby Farms and Tiger Lilly Events for this series. They said he was like a kid in a candy store at the farmstand while he shopped for our meal.
See how excited he looks while he talked to us about the dishes?
Our next course was a lovely skillet egg with fresh spring peas,charred greens, and a delicious truffled Scamorza (a mild, tangy cheese) from Wolf Meadow Farms. I really liked the cheese, which was gooey and stretchy, reminding me of mozzarella but with a deeper, saltier flavor.
It was really good!
Usually I enjoy appetizers more than main courses, which I often find less creative and less interesting. In this case however, it was the main entree, Chicken Ballotine with zucchini and rye gnocchi, that impressed me the most.
The chicken goes through a multi-hour process that involves first deboning thigh meat and then rolling, stuffing, chilling, and roasting the final "ballotine" of chicken. What results is a velvety soft and crazy tender chicken that blew us all away.
It was awesome.
Chef Callahan served the chicken over Swiss chard (one of his favorite vegetables) and zucchini. The dish was both elegant and satisfying.
Dessert was a simple Raw Milk Panna Cotta with a light berry sauce.
It was a lovely meal. Tiger Lilly Events did an amazing job designing the look and feel of the event. I loved the candles, flowers, and gorgeous wooden bowls. Chef Callahan went all out with designing and executing the menu, and the produce from Colby Farms (and some of the other farms) was excellent.
We had tons of fun.
I can only imagine how much more special a meal like this would be if it were under the stars in the summer!
Below are all the dinner events going on this summer and fall. You can see more details about all the dinners on Tiger Lilly's web site. Apologies in advance for the lateness of this posting - we've already missed the first dinner!
Midsummer Night's Feast
Friday, July 31, 2015
Saturday, August 1, 2015
7PM - 9PM
$65 per person includes all food and drink
Sunflower and Stars Dinner
Greenbelt Hiller Field (adjacent to Colby Farms, 50 Scotland Road, Newbury)
Thursday, September 10, 2015 - Greenbelt Member Night
Friday, September 11, 2015
Saturday, September 12, 2015
6:30 to 9PM
$85 per person, $150 per couple.
The Rum Roast
Colby Farms, 50 Scotland Road, Newbury
Friday, October 2, 2015
Saturday, October 3, 2015
7 to 9:30PM
The Great Pumpkin Challenge
Colby Farms, 50 Scotland Road, Newbury
Saturday, November 14, 2015. 6 to 9PM
Sunday, November 15, 2015. 3 to 6PM
$135 per person. $250 per couple.
Disclaimer - This was a media preview dinner and I did not pay to attend. All opinions are my own.