A Taste of Tuscany in Beverly Farms

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Italian | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

A fabulous meal, fellow food-lovers, and a knowledgeable teacher—that’s what awaited us earlier this week at Shelly Green’s house in Beverly Farms. Oh, and did I mention a roof-top wood-fired oven?

We were invited to attend a pizza-making class at Italy Eats, and it was an incredible experience. There was a lavish spread of cheeses, crackers, salami, olives, fig jam, prosciutto, and more. We nibbled and took pictures while Shelly gave us a tour of her kitchen, which is laid out for teaching and includes both an incredible ocean view and the aforementioned pizza oven. (Full disclosure: our class was complimentary as part of Shelly’s effort to reach out to local bloggers.)

Shelly had already made and proofed the pizza dough. As we sampled the antipasto, Shelly’s husband, Ralph, a native Italian, cooked some fresh bread sticks in the oven to be filled with broccoli rabe and sautéed peppers. Between the wine, the spedini, and the food-related conversations, we were hard pressed to turn our attention to the pizza making.

Still, we managed to turn out some fantastic creations using the array of ingredients provided, including fresh mozzarella, smoked gouda, farmer’s cheese, parmesan, spicy sausage, fontina, leeks, broccoli rabe, and chili flakes. Fellow blogger Brian Knowles came up with my favorite combination: a white pizza with farmer’s cheese, broccoli rabe, and sausage. Definitely one to try at home, it was perfect with Shelly’s lightly-dressed salad of arugula, watercress, and gala apples.

Shelly can accommodate up to eight people for classes, and if you come as a group, she will customize the menu based on food preferences and what the participants want to learn. The class includes a sit-down dinner. If you’re lucky, you’ll be serenaded in Italian after dinner by one of Ralph and Shelly’s guitar-playing friends, as we were. Shelly’s knowledge of Italian food is formidable, and she both encourages you to ask questions and offers recipes.

Shelly also leads small-group trips to Tuscany. There are still a few spaces left on her May trip based in an 11th century castle, which includes five days of cooking, photography, or both, and a “Big Night” medieval banquet.

We’d like to thank Shelly and Ralph for a magical evening—we’re still dreaming of that crispy, chewy, smoky pizza and scheming to somehow build our own wood-fired oven so we can replicate it.

Italy Eats
104 West Street Beverly Farms
978.927.5555
http://italyeats.com/

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Many Cooks in the Kitchen: Amesbury’s Kitchen Local

Posted: March 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Amesbury | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Owner Lisa Sutton explains the inspiration behind Kitchen Local.

We recently had the pleasure of touring an exciting new business in Amesbury: a shared-use commercial kitchen called Kitchen Local. Owner Lisa Sutton proudly gave tours of her just-completed space to attendees of the quarterly meeting of The Enterprise Center’s Local Foods Initiative. Sutton said that after seeing the burgeoning local food industry and realizing the shortage of commercial kitchen workspace, she decided to open her own.

The 1,200-foot work space is located in 14 Cedar Street Studios, a historic building a few blocks from downtown. Originally home to a carriage and automotive manufacturer, the building now hosts creative entrepreneurs such as artists, architects, designers, builders, and musicians.

Kitchen Local is available to chefs, small-scale food producers, farmers, and nutrition instructors for food production, catering, baking, cooking classes, menu planning, training, recipe testing, photography, and product development. You can rent the entire space for $40 per hour, which includes both the catering kitchen with a six-burner range as well as a baking kitchen with a 30-quart mixer, double electric convection oven, and proofing oven. You can rent one side or the other for $20 per hour.

The web site has a complete list of included equipment, plus information about becoming a client (including information on required food safety certification).

This is the first certified shared-use kitchen on the North Shore, and the meeting attendees were visibly excited about the possibilities. They also appreciated the protein cookies from Alex’s Whey and cinnamon-sugar popovers from 19 Steps Bake Shop, two of the businesses using the shared space.

The Enterprise Center is looking to support the local food community, specifically with regard to manufacturing, shared commercial kitchen space, distribution, and marketing. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the group’s progress.

Kitchen Local
14 Cedar Street Studio 106, Amesbury
(978) 204-3197
www.kitchenlocal.com

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Christopher’s Table Wins Best Chef Award from Beverly Bootstraps

Posted: March 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Event, News | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Lobster tarts from Timothy S. Hopkins Catering, colorful bites from Tastebuds Gourmet Foods and an array of treats from The Topsfield Bakeshop.

It was a great night for a great cause—we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at Monday night’s Best Chef 2013 event to benefit Beverly Bootstraps.

We started by perusing the gorgeous silent auction items, then made our way around to each of the food offerings from various North Shore purveyors, caterers, and restaurants. One of favorite tables, Timothy S. Hopkins Catering, ended up winning the people’s choice award. We loved their tiny lobster pastries and delicious toffee-chocolate mousse cups.

The variety on offer was terrific, including smoked mahi ceviche shooters from Red Lulu, healthy grain dishes from Life Alive, and seared tuna on crispy tortillas from Not Your Average Joe’s. There was plenty of food, too, allowing us to go back for seconds and thirds of our favorites.

The teams hard at work. Clockwise from top left: Alchemy Cafe and Bistro, Fibber McGee’s, Christopher’s Table and Chianti Tuscan Restaurant & Jazz Lounge.

As the four chefs competing for Best Chef title prepared their entrées, the live auction got going, with much fanfare. The entire event was extremely well thought out and ran smoothly from start to finish. The Best Chef contestants were Christopher’s Table (Ipswich), Fibber McGees (Beverly), Alchemy Cafe and Bistro (Gloucester) and Chianti Tuscan Restaurant (Beverly).

Top: The judges taste and compare notes. Bottom: The winning dish from Christopher’s Table.

The contestants used ingredients from the Beverly Bootstraps pantry as 75% of their ingredients, with 25% coming from their own kitchens. They were judged on taste, appearance, and the originality of the use of pantry items by Eliana Hussain of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Sam Hunt of Wild Horse Café, and Paul Guanci of Super Sub Shop of Beverly.

The chef’s creations were wildly imaginative, including goldfish-encrusted spam cooked sous vide from Alchemy and a chicken pot pie with crust made from pumpkin bread mix and Bisquick. But the beautifully plated pho from Christopher’s Table was the judge’s winner. It featured ramen noodles in a broth flavored with peanuts, cilantro, and lime, plus a spring roll accompanied by a hoisin sauce made with grape jelly.

A good time was had by all. (L) Lindsey Sakonchick, Development/Marketing Coordinator for Beverly Bootstraps had everything under control. (Center) Matt Blanchard, new owner/manager of the Wild Horse Café and Mark McDonough, owner of Serenitee Restaurant Group are old friends. (R) Blanchard’s Wild Horse partner and 2012 Best Chef winner, chef Sam Hunt chats with Christopher DeStephano, this year’s winner, as he preps his meal.

It was such a pleasure to see the North Shore turn out for this sold-out, fun-filled event!

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