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


Class Act in Newburyport

Posted: February 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Newburyport | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Learning something new about food is always a pleasure, and the fun didn’t stop there Friday night at Jewett Farms Studio in Newburyport, where Mary Reilly of The Savory Kitchen was teaching a class of eight how to cook Thai food at home.

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Reilly and Jewett’s Elena Bachrach and offered beer, wine, or limeade. Being a Thai-themed evening, the beer was Singha, and the wine was a Covey Run Riesling from Washington, chosen by Bill at New England Wine and Spirits to go with the meal.

We gathered around the soapstone island in the store’s demonstration kitchen while Reilly, a personal chef, began simultaneously preparing Tom Yum soup and giving us a wealth of information about where to find Thai ingredients locally and what to substitute for hard-to-find items. We learned about green papaya, banana blossoms, jicama, red curry, coconut milk, and more. Reilly is a born teacher, relaying food history and kitchen techniques in a relaxed tone and happily fielding all of our questions. It was more like being in a friend’s kitchen who happens to know a lot about Thai food than a class.

0220BBAfter Reilly prepared a salad of jicama, pineapple, and watercress, another of green papaya, and set the red curry pork to cook, we sat down to taste the soup. The chicken broth had been flavored with lemongrass, ginger, lime, chiles, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Served over jasmine rice with tiny, fresh Maine shrimp and optional extra chiles and herbs, it hit all the notes that make Thai food so addictive, according to Reilly: hot, sweet, sour, and salty.

Reilly returned to the kitchen for a bit more prep work while we chatted about food and other topics. The group was diverse in age, but everyone was friendly and clearly excited to be eating well and learning. Reilly called us over to watch her make pad thai (in two batches so as not to crowd the pan), then we sat down to a Thai feast.

0220CXThe curry had just the right amount of heat, tender meat, and lots of vegetables like cauliflower and sweet potato. The salads were full of unusual flavors and textures, the perfect foil for the rich curry. The pad thai was outstanding, with perfectly cooked noodles, fried tofu, salty peanuts, and, once again, those salty and sour notes.

Dessert was deceptively simple. Reilly set out vanilla ice cream and mango sorbet. We helped ourselves, pouring on a luscious banana ginger sauce that everyone swooned over. All of the recipes were bound together in a neat booklet that included make-your-own versions of things like roasted chile oil for those who don’t want to hunt down Asian convenience foods.

The class was the first in a series Reilly is doing this winter/spring. The next class is bread, on March 13, followed by food of Northern Italy on March 19 and fresh ways with seafood on April 16. Classes are $90. More details are the Savory Kitchen site. All classes are held at Jewett, by far the most appealing kitchen showroom I’ve been in.

Mary Reilly
The Savory Kitchen

Jewett Farms & Co
58 Merrimac St, Newburyport
(978) 961-1538