Field & Fork Network kicked off their Seasonal Suppers dining series this past Saturday, July 23, 2011 at Root Down Farm in East Amherst, NY. This unique dining series is meant to encourage guests to explore and savor the bounty of the season all at various farms across Western New York. All proceeds from the dinners support Field & Fork Network. The inaugural dinner featured ingredients found fresh in the summer prepared by Chef Patrick Rhodes from Nektar Restaurant in Buffalo, all paired with wines from Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in Lockport!
With plates in hand, guests arrived at Ken Spoth Farm Market and Farmer’s Daughter Gift & Antique Shop where they enjoyed a cocktail reception featuring braised local lamb (from Painted Meadows Farm) flat bread with charred scallions and yogurt, various local cheeses from Yancey’s Fancy and fresh local berries paired Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Meritage Reserve. This wine is a hearty blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot and pairs beautifully with lamb and other game meats. Guests were also provided a field tour of Root Down Farm from proprietors, Erin Grimley and Steve Blalock. Root Down Farm is a CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture) in its first year of production. With over 50 shares, they have an extensive waiting list of folks who are eager to join next year.
At the conclusion of the cocktail reception, guests were escorted to the tented dining area where the first course was soon served. A distinctive take on a good ‘ole fashioned Buffalo chicken wing, Chef Rhodes wowed guests with Buffalo Style Duck. This deconstruction of the trademark wing consisted of duck confit with celery and carrots, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with blue cheese slaw atop a lettuce leaf. This was paired with Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Semi-dry Reisling, a fruity luscious wine with a balanced touch of sweetness.
The salad course featured honey roasted beets and shaved heirloom carrots with crumbled goat cheese and mint atop frisee lettuce. This was paired with a 2009 Arrowhead White Sauvignon Blanc which displays intense tangy lime and gooseberry flavor on the palate and is a perfect match for any summer salad featuring goat cheese.
Next came the Intermezzo which was a delightful bite size portion of fresh blueberry granita and prepared the guests’ palates for the main course, Chard Wrapped Rabbit Loin.
Chef Rhodes prepared fresh, tender rabbit loin from Painted Meadow Farm by stuffing the loin with bacon, then wrapping it in braised chard and then cooking it in an immersion circulator, sous vide style. The perfectly selected accompaniments included fresh summer succotash and herbed fingerling potatoes. Paired flawlessly with Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Pinot Noir Niagara Escarpment vintage. This 100% Pinot Noir from the Demaison vineyard was aged for 1 year in French oak and has a beautiful nose of raspberry, cranberry, and the scent of fall leaves on a hike in the woods!
Last but certainly not least was the dessert course. Chef Rhodes wowed guests once again with his deconstruction of the campfire favorite, S’mores! A perfectly plated homemade marshmallow, alongside a scoop of oak infused vanilla ice cream with crumbled homemade graham cracker and a drizzle of chocolate fudge sauce. This course was completed with a glass of Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Vidal Late Harvest ice wine.