40 guests arrived to near perfect mountain weather with temperatures in the low 80’s and a soft cool breezing blowing up from the valley floor below. Guests were handed wild orange & ginger iced tea and encouraged to take a stroll around the farm through the elaborate vegetable, herb & flower gardens as well as the two artist studios, the ole chicken coop and the farmhouse itself. As they strolled servers kept them nourished with tiny, warm phyllo tarts stuffed with local goats cheese, caramelized vidalia onions, fresh thyme and a smidge of fresh fig preserve.
After the farm tour, guest settled under the big tent, literally. The Martyn House carries my Gypsy Faire Tents and they have one of the large Buckingham tent styles which is just stunning against the backdrop of the fields and forests. With jaws dragging, the dinner guests found their seats just as the sun released a beautiful sunset splashed across the sky.
My theme, did you think I didn’t have one?, come on …how well do you know me! My theme was “Summer in the South”. But, there was a twist. The South in reference was not just “the south of my childhood”, it was “my favorite souths worldwide. Now that you are confused and before I join you…
First course, Thai Watermelon Soup with fresh crab, sliced avocado and a bit of creme fraiche. The soup is flavored with fresh lemongrass, ginger, garlic and thai chilis along with basil. So, while sweet from the watermelon, there is a nice heat that follows. This soup is inspired by Southern Thailand, especially the islands which I love. South #1!
Second course, Insalata Caprese, almost. Among the stack of fresh garden tomatoes and soft buffalo mozzarella, I also added slices of balsamic roasted beetroot & topped it with fresh arugula pesto & a crostini with the same. The entire thing sprinkled lightly with fried capers. This, of course, is Southern Italy but the FRIED capers make it a little of my southern too 😉
3rd course – Poached local rainbow trout with a minty salsa verde (naughtied up with capers, anchovies and spicy mustard) and a dill mayonnaise dijon sauce. Served with orange oregano roasted fennel (dreamy) and rice pilaf with dried cranberries. (See my previous post on poaching fish which shows in documents first in Rome…but headed to France quickly thereafter. A favorite in southern locations since its served room temperature).
Finalle – Poached local peaches in Lillette Blanc, lemon verbena & honey with a dollup of marscapone/fig cream, a sprinkle of toasted pistachios and a sweet cornbread cake. A gorgeous dessert that whispers of the south of France and again the cornbread takes it down across the mason dixon! (I caught the serving staff dipping the leftover cornbread cakes directly into the leftover marscapone cream. So naughty! I just smiled.)
Shouts out to The Martyn House for the wonderful ambience provided on their magical farm. Shouts out to my staff. Shouts out to Cindy, who was a fabulous sous chef. Shouts out to all of you who made the evening so special by gracing us with your attendance! You really made the event. Thanks for everyone who kindly bought a book that evening as well!
I hope to be back in the Fall sometime and will keep everyone posted on that. If you are interested in any of the recipes above, give me a shout and I will either post them or email you directly.