North Shore Holiday Happenings

Posted: December 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Blue Ox, Boston Local Market, Enzo, Event, Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel, Smolak Farms, Victoria Station | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

There are a slew of culinary-related holiday events in the next few weeks, so let’s dive right in.

First up is the Holiday Local Market from 11:00 to 5:00 on Saturday. It’s in Boston but includes North Shore vendors Lark Fine Foods, Chococoa, and Blue Egg Baking Company. Go here for more information and to RSVP.

On Tuesday the 13th at 5:00, Victoria’s Station is hosting the 18th annual Salem Children’s Charity event. All proceeds from the event (which includes food, celebrities, auctions, and surprise guests) go to the less fortunate school children of Salem. $15 cover charge per person.

Rockport’s Christmas Pageant is taking place on Saturday the 17th, and the Emerson Inn is offering a three-course prime rib dinner from 5:00 to close for $33. They are donating 10% of the sales from this event to the Rockport Christmas Tree Committee. The are also offering a five-course New Year’s Eve dinner for $75 per person with selections like rack of lamb and shrimp florentine.

Also on the 17th, you can make your own gingerbread house at Smolak Farms in North Andover. The event is from 10:00 to 12:00 and costs $40. Call (978) 682-6332 to reserve a spot.

The Hawthorne Hotel is holding a number of holiday events, including a Teddy Bear Tea on the 17th, Brunch with Santa on the 11th and the 18th, as well as Christmas Eve dinner and a Christmas Day buffet brunch. Some friends of ours celebrated Thanksgiving at the hotel and raved about it. Check their events page for details.

Finally, the folks at Enzo in Newburyport are offering a traditional feast of the seven fishes on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th. The menu includes house-smoked bluefish pate, lasagna with anchovy (a traditional Piemontese Christmas Eve pasta), broiled clams and mussels, and much more for $50 per person. Enzo is also planning a New Year’s Eve dinner where diners can select from one of four offerings for each course. Personally, we’re interested in the duck conserva raviolo with egg yolk, duck sugo, and crisp leeks and the crema fritta with chocolate sauce and gianduja gelato. The cost is $65 per person, and wine pairings will be available.

One final note—we’d like to congratulate Lynn’s Blue Ox for being named one of the top 100 American fare restaurants in the US by OpenTable. Fantastic news!

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Farm to Table, Vermont Style

Posted: August 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Farm, Smolak Farms | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

The setting at Wednesday’s  Whim dinner could not have been more perfect for a visit from some of Vermont’s finest culinarians. Chef Tom Bivins of The New England Culinary Institute brought teachers, students, and expert gatherers with him to help put together a terrific meal at Smolak Farms. The apple trees were heavy with fruit, the pond was calm, the music was carefully chosen, and the food showcased the best Vermont has to offer.

We sipped a Rosenblum Cuvee zinfandel supplied by North Andover’s Wine ConneXtion while enjoying incredibly fresh butter from Vermont Butter & Cheese on slices of freshly baked baguette. We were then served hot corn consommé with mushroom glace, pan-fried daylily corms, and toasted wild onions. The sweet broth contrasted wonderfully with the earthy glace and the pungent onions, a great start to the meal. It was followed by a savory and comforting entree of grilled grass-fed beef strip steak, lobster mushrooms, madeira demi sauce, mashed potatoes, and sauteed summer squashes.

The daylily corms, wild onions, and lobster mushrooms were gathered by Nova Kim and Leslie Hook of Wild Gourmet Food. Kim said she and others in the Wild Food Gatherers Guild are pleased with the recent movement toward local food and eager to pass their years of knowledge onto the next generation.

The guild helps members market their wares and promote sustainable gathering (they prefer this term to foraging, which had a negative connotation in past times). “We don’t take everything in a given spot; we harvest it so it comes back again,” said Kim. Bivins said his interest began in grade school when his class read Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus. “At first when Nova and Kim brought me some of their finds, I thought ‘What am I going to do with this?’ but then I just went with it,” Bivins said.

A generous cheese plate featuring three award-winning Vermont cheeses was up next. We greatly enjoyed the Cabot clothbound cheddar, Bayley Hazen blue cheese, and Vermont Butter & Cheese Bonne Bouche (Bivins favorite).

The cheese plate included plums from Smolak, and the dessert included the farm’s plump blueberries. The berries were paired with tiny sweet Vermont blackberries and an outstanding shortcake moistened with milkweed blossom syrup and topped with elderberry flower cream.

The Whim series continues for the next couple of weeks. Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro will prepare the meal on Wednesday the 17th, followed by Chef Paul Turano of Tryst Restaurant on the 24th. Dinners are $60 plus beverages and gratuity; tickets can be purchased through the Smolak website.

Smolak Farms
315 South Bradford Street, North Andover
(978) 682-6332
www.smolakfarms.com

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