August 29, 2016 Missive from J.K. Farm
I am noticing how the sunlight plays on the side of the barn. This year we constructed an arbour covering the area of our outdoor kitchen. The idea was to allow, through the slatted roof, filtered sunlight to enter the space. It is a breezy spot, pleasant to work in, and sheltered from the direct glare of the sun. As the day progresses, the angle of the shadows cast by the slats changes. The effect is similar to a sundial. On a sunny day we can approximate the time of day just by looking at the side of the barn.
I grew up in Don Mills. My parents used to bring our whole family to visit Edwards Gardens. It was a favourite place to go on a Sunday with its beautifully manicured gardens and ponds and a barn with real horses in it. One day while walking through the grounds I noticed a beautiful sundial that was a feature in one of the gardens. I didn’t know what it was but it piqued my curiosity. My father patiently explained the theory behind it and that of course it depended on full sunlight to work. As he was pointing to the roman numeral three on the dial the sun went behind a cloud and the screen went blank. A ha said I.
This past Saturday was a wonderful sunny day. The temperature seemed a bit milder, the humidity had dropped and there was no threat of rain. We set up the tables under the stars and let the evening unfold. Up on the ridge, we added a novel element to the aperitif. Michael Sacco of Chocosol Social Enterprise held forth, dishing up tamales sourced from 97% local ingredients. He treated our guests not only to the delicious offering, but a fascinating insight into the history and provenance of the tamale. What I found of particular interest was the importance of limestone in the preparation of the corn. Later on in the evening, Michael took the stage again to reveal the background stories of his chocolate and coffee.
David Smythe, Ontario cheese monger extraordinaire, has been supplying us with his curated cheese selection all summer. On Saturday he was in the house to speak to the cheeses he brought and to bring us up to date on the evolution of cheese culture here in Ontario. James Lahti and Victoria Rose were also on hand representing and pouring their beautiful Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from their Long Dog Vineyard and Winery in Milford, Prince Edward County. It is always so exciting to taste the differences in terroir through the wines. Milford is not so far away from Hillier and yet there are marked differences in the styles of wine coming from these two villages.
Altogether this past Saturday night epitomized the goal of these dinners. A gentle discovery of excellence through bringing diners and members of the artisan food and wine community around the table, to experience the delicious new heights in gastronomy that we are creating here.
Menu for August 27th, 2016
Hors d’Œuvres on the Ridge
JK Fries with Two Sauces
Smoked Whitefish Éclair
Jardinière Vegetable Skewer
Bison Tartar on Crisp Round
* Chocosol Tamale*
2013 Hinterland Rosé Traditional
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Corn Vinaigrette
Braised Onions in Fine Mushroom sauce
2013, Bella Chardonnay, Long Dog Winery
Sorrel Gratiné Pickerel with Ratatouille
2012, Bella Chardonnay, Long Dog Winery
Marinated, Grillled Hanger Steak. Chive Potatoes
2013, Top Dog Pinot Noir, Long Dog Winery
Dave Smythe’s Ontario Artisan Cheese Selection with Green Salad
2012, Top Dog Pinot Noir, Long Dog Winery
Chocosol “Darkness” Cake with Poached Apricots and Vanilla Crème
Coffee or Tea with Chocosol Tasting Board
Photos courtesy dinner guest Hali Krawchuk (thanks you Hali!).
Pictured: Michael Sacco, Jamie Kennedy and James Lahti.