Farm & Fork
The second Farm & Fork event was held on September 25 at the Lightcatcher Winery. The announcement read: “Join the winemaker, chefs, farmers, cooking school teachers, bakers and restauranteur for an evening of food, wine and entertainment at Lightcatcher Winery.” The Lightcatcher Winery is a unique, boutique winery owned by Caris and Terry Turpen. Caris is the lead chef and winemaker. They have produced award winning wines and the food created by Chef Caris Turpen and her staff is stellar. I loved the atmosphere–from the tasting room filled with unusual gifts and displays of their wine to the outdoor patio where a nice breeze was blowing and guitarist Adam Hull was playing classical music. Stations were set up throughout the winery where interpretations of international street foods were served. After selecting our glasses of wine, 2010 Texas Kiss Rose Merlot, a sweet, crisp and fruity wine, we found a table on the patio. I was excited to see some friends whom I had told about the event waving at us from their table, Jim and Peggy Davis and Jim and Mary Painter. Mindy and Mike Masters joined us later. I visited the Culinary School of Fort Worth station first. They were serving grilled Mediterranean tenderloin kabob and Cowtown Farmers Market vegetable couscous. Chef Brad Waier was nearby. I always enjoy seeing him, but a part of me always gets a little anxious because he was one of my chef instructors when I attended culinary school. I made some pretty awful dishes then and I’m sure he remembers that. Seriously, he is a great guy, and is a gifted teacher. I enjoyed the tenderloin kabob, and by now I had a glass of the Lightcatcher 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, my favorite Lightcatcher wine, to enjoy with it. I especially enjoyed the Israeli couscous with vegetables. I didn’t think I liked Israeli couscous because I had been served some that was prepared in a way that resulted in an off texture, however in one of my private cooking classes recently the student bought Israeli couscous instead of the fine ground type. We made the recipe and it was better than it had been when I made it with the other couscous. Now I really prefer the Israeli couscous. The tenderloin was grilled nicely and moist and tender.
I tried the Lightcatcher Winery dish next. Chef Turpen’s sous chef was on hand to present a Beggar’s Purse of puff pastry filled with abalone and scallops. From a previous dinner at Lightcatcher a few weeks ago I knew I was in for a treat. I tried the abalone appetizer and liked it so well we had it again the next week. The Beggar’s Purse was flaky, creamy, rich and left you wanting more. Although tempted to have another one, I had to save room for the other 3 stations.
The Farm & Fork Banh Mi was next. This version of the French-Vietnamese poboy sandwich was made with an Artisan Baking Co. baguette, pate created by Chef Waier, roast pork, salad greens, pickled vegetables and cilantro. I am a big fan of the Banh Mi, having made them on a few occasions myself. I also experienced the Nom Nom food truck Banh Mi when it stopped in Fort Worth during the Food Network food truck race. The Farm & Fork Banh Mi was immediately superior to all other Banh Mi sandwiches because of the bread. Chef Grimes makes the best baguette, hands down. In fact, I plan to order about 40 loaves of it for something I’m making later this month. The pork was tender and the pate was well executed. My overall impression was that it lacked the heat and sharpness I expected, but then I have a taste for very spicy foods and would be the one throwing sliced jalapeños and sriracha all over it if they were available. Not saying that I didn’t scarf down the entire sandwich, though. I was ready for a little ice cream after the Banh Mi so I went over to the Wine Down Bistro stand. Chef Andrea Blair was there with her Savory Lemon-Thyme Buttermilk ice cream in Cracked Pepper Cones. The savory/sweet combination is very different so those who were expecting the usual super sweet ice cream had to adjust their palate. The peppery cone and lemon herb ice cream went together well. Chef Blair’s Wine Down Bistro was the setting of the last Farm & Fork event and I can’t wait to get over there again and try some of her creations. The Artisan Baking Co. Interactive Dessert station was last. I watched the culinary students make the crepes and noticed the different fillings, including vanilla custard and lemon curd and then the sauces–a mixed berry fruit sauce made with locally grown strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. There was also a chocolate sauce. I sampled two variations, my husband’s vanilla custard with chocolate sauce crepe and mine with vanilla custard, lemon curd and berry sauce. Both were delicious, rich, creamy, and addictive.
Chef Gwin Grimes
The dinner was so relaxing and enjoyable. The cool air and outdoor setting was such a pleasure after our long, hot summer. I loved talking to all the chefs at the various stations and hearing about how they prepared the food. The interactive style of this event was a definite plus. These are some talented, committed, energetic professionals and aspiring chefs. Attention to detail was evident all around, even the signs, hand painted blackboards on stands prominently displayed a detailed description of the dishes. Megan Waier did an outstanding job creating the lovely boards.