July 25, 2016 Missive from J.K. Farm
We’re kind of roughing it this summer. My little house on the farm is over 100 years old. So many people have told me it smells like their grandmother’s house when they walk inside. This summer for the very first time, I have brought a water line from my well to this house. The line does not reach inside the house, but up to it, on the outside. So we have an outdoor space that comprises a hose bib to water our garden, a two-compartment sink and a shower.
I have mentioned before that we are experiencing a rather serious drought in Prince Edward County. It seems the only greenery I see is coming up through the cracks in the wooden skid that we have put in place as our showering platform. Everything is so thirsty these days. Last night I came outside to brush my teeth at the sink and stepped across the skid. I guess I had startled this family of frogs who had found this moist spot to refresh themselves. I felt several brushing against my legs as they tried to jump out of harm’s way. I was startled too, to say the least as I let out a yelp and a WTF. I realized just then that I hadn’t seen the frogs this year, jumping around in the moist grass as they usually do because there simply hasn’t been any moist grass. Now it seems everybody wants to use our lovely outdoor shower. In the morning though, I was awoken by the distant rumbling of thunder and the persistent staccato sounds of rain falling on my metal roof. It was a beautiful sound that transported me to a reverie of reflection on the weekend that had just passed.
As working cooks, we spend the majority of our time in our own kitchens working through our creative process, hopefully developing a signature style that is recognizable. It is an amazing process that takes years of experimentation and refinement. From time to time we get to collaborate with our colleagues to create a gastronomic experience for our guests that allows them a window to observe and taste stylistic differences in food preparation, in real time, in the context of a dinner. For all the cooks involved, it is also a great opportunity to step outside one’s comfort zone and to learn from each other.
Such was the scene this past weekend on the farm. Our team: myself, Anne Rumble and Chase Collins-Chandler were joined by chef Albert Ponzo and his sous-chef Jeremiah to compose and deliver a gastronomic evening for our guests. Also in the house, and an integral part of the performance was Joshna Maharaj, fellow cook and gastronomic explorer. Once it was showtime, all nervousness or trepidation vanished and was replaced by our common desire to cook beautiful food for our guests. The wines to accompany our work came from literally across the road. Stanners Vineyard, represented by Colin and Mary Stanners, presented a delicious collection of estate grown wines. It was a sultry July evening that set the stage for this delicious collaboration. For all, but I think particularly for all the cooks present, our horizons had been broadened.
Menu for Saturday July 23, 2016
Hors d’Œuvres on the Ridge
JK Fries with Two Sauces
Smoked Whitefish Mousse on Foccacia
Steak Tartar on Spruce Tip Lavash
Hinterland Rosé Traditional Method, Hinterland Wine Company
Vegetable Mosaic from Prince Edward County
2014 Stanners Vineyard, Pinot Gris, Prince Edward County VQA
Corn Gazpacho: Fermented Corn, Scallop Crudo, Pumpkin Seed
Summer Fricassée with Rabbit Sausage, Favas, Confit Tomato
2014 Stanners Vineyard Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County VQA
Sour Cherry Float
Fregola e Fragole: Blood Fregola, Pickled Green Strawberries, BBQ Pork
2013 Stanners Vineyard Pinot Noir Prince Edward County VQA
David Smythe’s Ontario Artisan Cheese Selection with Cherries, Plums and Green Salad
2014 Stanners Vineyard Chardonnay, Prince Edward County VQA
Apricot Beignets with Vanilla and Chocolate
2015 Hinterland Ancestral
Coffee or Tea
Photos from @Chefjamiekennedy @rumblebee73 and @albertponzo