Friday, September 18, 2020

Farm to Fourth at Home

I love dining for a good cause. Winston-Salem's annual Farm to Fourth Fundraiser to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina followed the lead of many events this year, and went virtual. Farm to Fourth at Home still provided people the opportunity to taste some fabulous dishes from local chefs, and raise money while doing it. Chefs from The Katharine Brasserie, Spring House, The Porch, Providence and more prepared dishes. I wish there was an event like this once a quarter! 

I couldn't have been more impressed with the organization of the fundraiser - everything from the ease of picking up the meal, to the ability to re-heat items, to the outstanding quality of the food. I appreciated the cohesiveness of the meal too - there were Southern through lines (sweet potatoes, shrimp, sausage) and everything complimented each other well. To kick things off, we had a craft cocktail featuring Winston-Salem's Broad Branch Sungrazer Rum, Fire-Roasted Pineapple, Lavender, Ube Extract and Vanilla Bitters. This was a welcomed burst of flavors to the palate - subtle spice from the roasted pineapple and warmth from the vanilla - and it was a vibrant purple hue from the ube (which is a purple yam!) Quite slurpable.

Just look at that color!

Our first of two appetizers consisted of NC Shrimp and Sausage, slathered with a Hot Honey BBQ Sauce, roasted Purple and Orange Sweet Potatoes and a Candied Bacon Crumble. The shrimp were perfectly cooked (not easy for a take-home item!) and the sausage had a notable amount of heat, which I dug. It also provided a nice smoky flavor, to match the smokiness in the bacon. The sweet potatoes were tender and a nice echo from the starter cocktail. Shrimp, sausage and bacon, what's not to love?

Shrimp, Sausage and Sweet Potatoes

I flipped out at how delicious this next item was - Texas Pete Chicken Flautas. I am forever changed. It was like a cheesy chicken egg roll, stuffed to the brim so you weren't left with a bunch of excess tortilla. It was served with fresh pico that I could eat by the spoonful, and a spicy Texas Pete CHA sour cream. And the crispy shell maintained its crunch - again, not easy to do for a take home item!

Texas Pete Chicken Flauta with pico and spicy sour cream

A refreshing salad of Mixed Greens, Pickled NC Shrimp, Candied Pecans, Pearl Onions and a Honey Cider Vinaigrette was a welcomed break from the heat of the previous two dishes. This course was a substantial size and protein-packed from the shrimp and the pecans. I liked the acidity in the vinaigrette, too. And apologies - I didn't get a photo of this course, or of the flavorful bread from Bobby Boy Bakeshop, which was a hearty, artisanal whole wheat, with a ton of flavor and a nice chew on the crust.

Now onto the main events. Yes, plural. As if there hadn't already been enough delicious food! Beef lovers would rejoice at tender Short Ribs, accompanied by Bordelaise Sauce and Gremolata, but the Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin stuffed with Collard Greens, Smoked Gouda and Andouille Sausage stole my heart. This pork trio (bacon - pork loin - Andouille) was sensational, and the tangy collards broke up the richness. It's clear that a lot of time and effort went into this dish, and truly, every dish of the night. To accompany the proteins, we had another serving of those delicious, buttery collards and the best Sweet Potato Hash I've ever had. There was a Mexican flare, adding Corn and Black Beans to the mix, and a bright Cilantro Cream. YUM!

Pork Loin Roulade, Sweet Potato Hash, Collards

To round out the meal, and to get us excited for apple season, we enjoyed an Apple Almond Tarte with Spiced Vanilla Cream. Perfect for fall. The apples were thinly sliced and spread out beautifully over the not-too-sweet, almond-studded crust. This dessert, like most pastries, clearly took some time and thoughtfulness. I appreciated that it wasn't cloyingly sweet and used fresh apples - none of that canned, gloopy stuff. 
Apple Almond Tarte

Again, I wish there was something like this once a quarter. The team did a tremendous job of piloting this program at home. I can only imagine the logistics it took to manage all of this, and it was executed seamlessly. I look forward to the next one - in-person or at home - I know it will be a success.

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