Sunday, June 6, 2010

Regional Food/Regional Plants.

Gail and I were on the New Hampshire/Maine border this weekend for a friends wedding.
We were fortunate enough to enjoy a truly amazing regional dinner on Friday night, to support a local greenhouse in Lee, NH and to visit/shop the Newburyport, MA farmer's market.
Dinner:
On Friday we made the hour long drive from our hotel to Portland, Maine for dinner at Fore Street. Opened in 1996, Fore Street's menu changes on a daily basis depending on what is fresh and available.
From their website:
We believe that good food travels the shortest possible distance between the farm and the table. Our menu is founded upon the very best raw materials from a community of Maine farmers, fishermen, foragers, and cheesemakers, who are also our friends and neighbors. Most of these Maine foods are organically grown or harvested wild, each brought to us at the peak of its season. Our cooks are constantly inspired and excited by the variety and taste of these local ingredients.
In 2002, Fore Street was named Number 16 in Gourmet Magazine's Top Fifty Restaurants of the United States. In 2004, Chef-partner Sam Hayward was named Best Chef: Northeast by the James Beard Foundation.

The ingredients for the majority of our truly stupendous dinner came from Maine and Quebec. Gail started with a golden beet and rocket (arugula) salad with roasted almonds, Maine farm goat cheese and a Bing cherry vinaigrette. My first course consisted of a selection of three chilled meats: Maine farm lamb shank terrine, Maine farm Russian boar rillettes, and foie gras stuffed heritage pork trotters (Carignan, Quebec) served with shallot jam and pickled green beans.

For our main course we split a side of garlic mashed organic Maine potatoes. Gail had the house made Oricchiette with fennel, sweet peppers, favas, basil and ricotta salata. I had a turnspit roasted marinated Maine farm half-chicken served with cornbread and rhubarb butter.

After our amazing dinner we were looking forward to dessert, we were certainly not disappointed. We split a warm dark chocolate, caramel, and vanilla bean torte with caramel sauce and a coffee-caramel ice cream.

The service was exceptional and every last bite was fantastic. I would undoubtedly make the 2 hour drive from Boston to Portland to eat at Fore street again.

Greenhouse:

On our drive back to Boston this morning we stopped by the Blue Bell Greenhouse in Lee, NH. On Friday afternoon, as we drove to our hotel we pulled into Blue Bell to see what they had to offer and to chat with the staff. The staff was knowledgeable and incredibly helpful and we decided to stop there on our return trip to pick up a few plants for the garden. We ended up with a reasonable haul. 3 tomato plants (1 each: Roma, Black Cherry, and Soldacki), 3 Parsley (curly) plants, and 3 Red Rubin Basil plants.

Farmer's Market

Our final stop before we returned to Boston was for some fresh produce for the next few days. We stopped off at the Newburyport Farmer's Market, which was my first market trip of the season. We ended up with a bunch of beets/beet greens from Arrowhead Farm, a MASSIVE head of royal oak lettuce from Ferry Landing Farm, a bag of arugula from Farmer Dave's, a package of delicious artichoke & boursin ravioli & a jar of 'red gravy' sauce from Valicenti Organico, and last, but certainly not least a quart of strawberries from Applecrest Farm Orchards. I usually frequent the markets in and around Boston so it was nice to see what a market north of town had to offer. Below are a few shots of our farmers market finds:

Beets/Beet Greens:

Royal Oak Lettuce (MASSIVE!):

Red Gravy:

Strawberries:

We enjoyed a roast beet salad with a few more of our carrots and last weeks cherry tomatoes, along with the delicious ravioli for dinner. I'll be munching on the strawberries as soon as this entry is posted!

A final question: Does anybody have a recipe or ideas for cooking/serving beet greens???

1 comment:

Gloria said...

I always plant the beet greens to close. So, when I pull seedlings I use them raw in salads. Chop them up and stir fry them in anything. I add them to quiche or a tart. Those antioxidants are healing