July 19, 2016 Missive from J.K. Farm
It is another peerless day on the farm. This morning I notice a heavy dew. The temperature has dropped overnight, providing water from condensation that I imagine my potato plants absorbing before the sun rises and all is dry again. It is a daily question I ask myself. Do I tax my well and water my potato plants or do I not and watch the potatoes wilt. Truth be told, I do a little of both. On days that we are not in production for our dinner on Saturday night, I tend to water my potato plants. It is a delicate balancing act for sure.
This past weekend there was a celebratory feeling in the air. The menu featured foie gras and duck. Charles Baker, my longtime friend and colleague graced us with his presence, his stories, and his wines. And the wines of Stratus Vineyards. The wines complemented the dishes served by me and my team. The conversation level around the table was animated and the evening was beautiful.
When it is time to serve the cheese, I give a short introduction to the cheeses that Dave Smythe has chosen this week and invite everyone to stand up, stretch their legs, and take a short intermission outside on the apron surrounding the barn. The sun was setting and it was that golden hour where the light glows and the cloud formations shift dramatically in shape and colour. A lovely moment spent outside before coming back in for a delicious raspberry, chocolate and cabernet franc icewine sandwich.
As I look forward to this coming Saturday I am excited in anticipation of collaborating with chef Albert Ponzo to create a memorable evening for our guests. For my part of the menu I am delving into the plant world. My dishes will feature fruits vegetables grown in Prince Edward County and other parts of Ontario. I will also look to what I can forage from right here on my land in Hillier. The weeds and other vegetation that have been established here for many years seem to cope with drought conditions better than annual crops, planted in the field this past spring.
I am considering what to do with sumac, which is blooming right now and is in abundance all over the farm. The flowers are like red velvet. The seed pods, sour like rosehip and full of vitamin C. Sumac is used extensively in Persian cooking where it is dried and ground into a powder. We will see what form it takes in the menu this Saturday. Stay tuned.
~ Please click HERE to watch a beautiful, quick (55 second) yet thorough video collage of the event by Suresh Doss ~
Menu for Saturday July 16, 2016
Hors d’Œuvres on the Ridge
JK Fries with Two Sauces
Smoked Whitefish Canapé
Wild Mushroom Strudel
Bison Tartar on Crisp Round
2015 Wildass Rosé, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Marinated Beet and Fried Zucchini Flower
2015 Charles Baker Riesling IVAN Vineyard, VQA Twenty Mile Bench
2012 Charles Baker Riesling PICONE Vineyard, VQA Vinemount Ridge
Seared Foie Gras with Apples and Black Currant
2011 Clos Thales Blanc, Cotes Catalanes, Maury, France
Confit and Roast of Duck with Sour Cherries
2013 Stratus Gamay, VQA Niagara-on-the-lake
Dave Smythe’s Ontario Artisan Cheese Selection with Green Salad
2013 Stratus White, VQA Niagara-on-the-lake
Chocolate and Raspberry Sandwich
2013 Stratus Icewine Red, VQA Niagara-on-the-lake
Coffee or Tea
Photos from @Chefjamiekennedy @rumblebee73 and @jkarah