Terrific Tacos at the Beverly Arts Fest Food Truck Court

Posted: June 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Event | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

A chance to browse arts and crafts and sample offerings from food trucks lured us to Beverly last weekend for Arts Fest. It was a gorgeous day, and the event was well attended, which was great to see. The trucks gathered in a parking lot just off Cabot Street, and there were lines at every stand.

We weren’t in the mood for lobster, but Rowand Seafood Market’s lobster roll with chips, slaw, and a drink seemed like a good deal for $12. Across the lot, Anmol was offering a selection of Indian food that looked tasty.

We opted for the BBQ pulled pork sandwich ($8 with chips) from Beverly’s Grillicious, but we weren’t impressed. It had pineapple salsa that, combined with the sweetness of the BBQ sauce and the cream cheese at the bottom of the (not grilled) bun, just didn’t work. It’s possible they just weren’t prepared for the crowds—the servers seem harried, and the grilled sandwiches on their Facebook page look much more appealing than what we saw.

We had the opposite experience at The Happy Taco truck (based in Gloucester). We tried the chicken and the baja fish tacos, and both were outstanding ($6 each). The chicken was tender and flavorful, the salsa was fresh, the veggies crunchy, and the corn tortilla was nicely grilled. The fish was fried to perfection and accompanied by a creamy sauce with a real kick to it.

Although the savory crepes at Benny’s Crepe Café sounded appealing (smoked salmon, ham and cheese, and mediterranean are on offer), we were in the mood for dessert after our tacos and ordered the Elvis (peanut butter, banana, and bacon, $3.75). It was a great mix of flavors on a freshly made crepe and went down quite easily with a refreshing watermelon basil lemonade ($2.50).

We’re hoping to see more North Shore events include food trucks so we can check out new treats and order more of those tacos.

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Summer on a Plate: Cooking Classes and More at Appleton Farms

Posted: June 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Appleton Farms, Event, Farm, Ipswich | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen—and it was perfect. We recently attended a terrific class given by Carolyn Grieco of Farm Cooking With Carolyn at the new Appleton Farms demonstration kitchen.

Before we describe the class, we want to let you know about the exciting food-related activities going at the farm. First, there’s a dairy & farm store selling milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, beef, eggs from the farm and an assortment of other locally sourced products. (The store is open Mon-Fri from 11:00 to 6:00 and Sat/Sun from 10:00 to 4:00.)

Second, there’s a new café offering salads, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages from 11:00 to 2:00 Wednesdays through Saturday. Third, on select Friday nights in July and August, there will be family farm dinners with pizza from the group’s just-built earth oven.

Finally, the Appleton Cooks series of classes and workshops has 30 events scheduled in June, July, and August with classes on cheesemaking, pasta making, gluten-free living, seasonal tapas, and much more. Prices range from $25 to $85 for non-Trustee members.

We thoroughly enjoyed the class we attended, coming away with food profile insights, great recipes, and new friends. We gathered in the kitchen, which was set up with workstations and ingredients, most from the farm. Carolyn went over the menu and then we split into groups of three or four to prepare the dishes.

The meal consisted of grilled zucchini hummus with homemade pita chips, spicy peanut noodles with snap peas, green goddess chicken salad with cucumber and avocado, a veggie-stuffed picnic loaf, and skillet strawberry shortcake. As we collaborated to prepare the meal, Carolyn demonstrated everything from knife skills to “temping” the poached chicken, arranging the composed salad, and tray rotation to get the pita chips properly crisped. She was full of energy and great tips for both seasoned cooks and new ones. She was happy to accommodate dietary concerns (a non-spice lover got her own chips without cayenne, and we prepared a salad without chicken for the vegetarian in the group).

While meal components were cooking/cooling, we took a short walk to the kitchen garden to pick herbs that we combined with farm butter. We spread it on baguette slices and ate it with freshly-picked radishes while Carolyn showed us the picnic loaf technique. These have to sit overnight, so she brought some already prepared for our meal.

And what a meal. Everything was incredibly fresh and flavorful. The green goddess dressing was amazing with the chicken, the blanched snap peas were the perfect contrast to the spicy noodles, the picnic loaf was full of balsamic-marinated vegetables and goat cheese, and the dessert was warm and luscious.

We are thrilled to see this 375-year old farm embracing the North Shore’s thirst for local food, farm-to-table, and new food experiences. See you on the farm!

Appleton Farms
Rt 1A, Ispwich
www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/northeast-ma/appleton-farms.html

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