Slow Food dinner recap

Last week’s Slow Food dinner was a great success from our point of view. Our 16 guests showed up right on time, and we started with an hour-long tour of the farm, focusing on the sources of all the food being served later that evening. Folks were able to visit the goats & chickens, and see all the beds where every ingredient was grown.

By 7:15 we were in the house, with folks seated and food starting to come out. Basically everything in the entire meal came from the farm, except for oil, vinegar, salt, butter, and a couple spices, as well as Missouri fruit, nuts, honey & sorghum. Here’s the final menu we served:

Tasting platter
Black Cherry tomato, Sheepnose pimento, Costata Romanesco squash, Burmese okra, Fin de Bagnol green bean, Poona Kheera cucumber, Lina Sisco’s Bird Egg & Hutterite soup beans, farm-fresh cheeses.

Hoppin’ John
White Acre cowpeas, onions, garlic, hot peppers, tomatoes, mixed greens, fresh cheese, and more. Paired with the same dish prepared with commercial black-eyed peas, for comparison.

Mess of greens
Mix of collards, mustard, & kale, sautéed with garlic and vinegar.

Fresh-ground cornmeal, farm yogurt, farm eggs, butter, leaveners, and salt. Served with Missouri honey or sorghum. Three batches, each with a different variety of corn: White Hickory King, Mandan Bride, and Arikara White.

Fried green tomatoes and okra
Fresh green tomatoes and mixed okra breaded with fresh-ground cornmeal and lightly pan-fried in cast-iron.

Green salad
Fresh greens topped with tomatoes, peppers, squash, and more.

Iced tea
Green tea steeped with mint: Spearmint, Orange mint, & “Best” mint.

Apple-pecan cake with farm eggs and yogurt, plus Missouri-produced apples, pecans, honey, and wheat flour.
Custard using farm eggs & milk, with fruit topping (Missouri cherries, farm-grown rhubarb, wild gooseberries).

We spent the next few hours preparing and serving these dishes in a round-robin fashion, and finished up around nine. We were able to make some time to circulate and talk, and I think we were able to chat with everyone at least a bit. As far as we know, everyone had a great time, and here are some of the comments we received:

Wow–what a fantastic evening! Thanks for the tour, the dinner and your enthusiasm for growing and marketing “righteous” food.

LOVED the experience last night. No complaints. Beans, cornbread & greens is one of my comfort food meals. Couldn’t have picked anything better for me. And the fact that you GREW everything!!!!!!!
Our many thanks to you for creating such a memorable evening and bringing a whole new depth of understanding to what we’ve read and seen on your wonderful blog. You are at the cutting edge of the new realities we are facing in growing food more locally and it’s a pleasure to lend our support as you share your experiences with wider audiences.

Thank you both. It was wonderful; have heard nothing but compliments on
the superb food and tour and hospitality!

We certainly intend to repeat this event next year, and also got some good feedback for improvements next year. The biggest and best change would be to get some help in the kitchen, so we can spend more time with guests. We did kind of have to leave people to their own devices at times. Right now our goal is to do a different cuisine each year; the top choices so far are German, Italian, and Filipino.

So in summary, we’re really thrilled with the event and are very glad we did it. Well worth the effort, and we really enjoyed the intelligent and interesting guests and conversation. We’re now members of Slow Food, and the local group was kind enough to make an additional donation to us to help cover costs of ingredients and time. Thanks to Slow Food Katy Trail for all their support and help in making this happen; we hope it’s the beginning of a great annual event.

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