Foodbuzz 24,24,24: First Annual Farm to Table Dinner

Farm to Table DInner 2

This past Saturday, Miami Dish participated in a global blogging event, as part of the official launch of Foodbuzz.com. Twenty four bloggers from around the world held dinners on Saturday night and then posted about the events on their blogs. There was a BBQ road trip, a recreation of a Serbian medieval dinner, and a Hawaiian luau. This map shows the locations of all of the dinners.

For this event, I held the first annual Miami Dish Farm to Table Dinner. Eleven friends joined me at my home for the hard-won feast.

Farm to Table Dinner 3

Longans, passionfruit, mamey.  These exotic fruits just roll off the tongue, but what to do with them?  I’ve always thought of summer in South Florida as the lag time before our growing and harvest season– a sweltering, humid time of mangos and avocados…and that’s about it. I’m realizing that there is more to eat in the summer than I previously thought. However, this produce may take some effort to find. Hopefully, the information here will help my readers in creating their own farm to table meals.

I tried to use as much seasonal and local food as possible in the menu. The links in the menu will lead you to the posts for each course, where you can find recipes, photos, and multi-media how-to’s.  Since this is Miami, the menu reflects our tropical roots, with Guatemalan and Venezuelan influences:

First Annual Farm to Table Dinner Menu

Beverages: Tropical fruit wines such as lychee and passionfruit; kalamansi water

Amuse-bouche: Chilled avocado soup with Venezuelan arepa fritter

Appetizer: Jerk chicken tacos with tropical fruit relish

Venezuelan pabellon empanadas

John di Rocco’s brick oven flatbread bites with tomatoes, homegrown herbs, and Venezuelan queso de mano

Main course: Guava-glazed snapper, avocado, and fried sweet plantains with a Guatemalan pepian sauce

Dessert: Tropical Tasting: Passionfruit Ice Cream, Jackfruit Sorbet, and Longan Sorbet

This local scavenger hunt made for a frenzied two weeks.  It was quite an effort–like a cram course in local summer produce. I found local eggs, starfruit, passionfruit, jackfruit, longans, garlic chives, curry leaf and other herbs, bananas, and eggplant.

Produce from Bee Heaven Farm

Produce from Bee Heaven Farm

It was much harder to find local animal products.   I was hard-pressed to find beef from a farm that was closer than 150 miles. It was even more challenging to find a farm that didn’t require me to buy enough beef to fill an entire freezer with meat.  Ultimately, I had to go to the supermarket for the beef and chicken. Margie from Bee Heaven Farm says that she will soon be culling her older hens and selling them for stew chickens. Buyers will have to go to the farm, but it will be a worthwhile trip because she will offer lessons on how to prepare a whole chicken “from scratch.”  I’m hopeful that I’ve just scratched the surface. I look forward to discovering more delicious knowledge with future farm to table dinners.

The eggs for my ice cream came from Bee Heaven chickens.

The eggs for my ice cream came from Bee Heaven chickens.

My favorite parts of the experiment were trying out recipes and meeting farmers. Local farmers were enthusiastic and obliging.  Thanks to Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farms, Roger Washington of Red Dragon Fruit Company, Holly of Sawmill Farm, and Peter Schnebly of Schnebly Redland’s Winery for their help with the dinner.

Produce from Red Dragon Fruit Company

Produce from Red Dragon Fruit Company

A gigantic thank you to David Samayoa, my husband and partner in this project, who helped with cooking, photography, editing, and emotional support.   I truly would not have been able to complete this project without his help. It would have been much less fun without him!

More thank you’s:

Farm to Table Dinner 4

To Marilu Deltoro, for being my sous-chef and server at the dinner and for the gift of the ice cream maker.

To Mercedes Golip Laya, the rising chef, for patiently teaching me how to make the empanadas and arepa fritters.

To Jose Laya of ilikenomo.com for his invaluable help with the video editing and for helping procure the queso de mano.

To Chef Graham Howland for generously agreeing to help me with the guava-glazed snapper recipe and video.

To John di Rocco for once again contributing his inimitable onscreen presence, as well as for making the flatbread and kalamansi water.

To Denise Diaz, for helping with pictures and décor and for providing me with the ice cream maker.

To Jacqueline Reyna “Pepiada” for her IKEA scavenger hunt.

To Dan Grech and Carey McKearnan, for advice and moral support.

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21 Responses to “Foodbuzz 24,24,24: First Annual Farm to Table Dinner”

  1. September 22, 2008 at 5:14 am #

    What a wonderful feast! I love food prepared from fresh local farms ingredients.

  2. September 22, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    Congratulations! The guava snapper with plantains sounds truly mouthwatering.

  3. September 22, 2008 at 8:54 am #

    Wow! Looks delicious. I would be feeling triumphant too!

  4. Carey McKearnan
    September 22, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    As an honored guest of the Farm to Table dinner, I would like to express how proud of Trina I am for all her hard work, dedication and enthusisam. She is so committed to spreading joy among foodies everywhere, expanding the readers’ knowledge, in a fun accessible way.

    What really struck me as we feasted on the culmination of all of Trina’s hard work was that the average reader and diner might not be fully cognizant of how much careful preparation, research and deliberation went into Trina’s menu selection, dining event and eventual posting. Trina has really made me think more carefully about the foods I eat, but also with far greater appreciation for the behind-the-scenes conceptualizing and deep thinking that goes into the mulitude of choices a chef makes throughout the process of creating a menu and presenting it to the guest.

    I applaud Trina for her concept for the 24-24-24 from her initial idea of Farm to Table, her extensive reserach, her mindful selection of local sources, her interviews of and outings to local purveyors, her delicious culinary creations and the blog postings which provide the reader with a bounty of information and fantastic recipes to enjoy.

    Thank you to Trina and to FoodBuzz for exposing us to the wonderful world of foodies in a new and exciting way. Carey

  5. Carey McKearnan
    September 22, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    Where is the photo of our special chef and blogger?

  6. Denise
    September 22, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    Your dinner was a spectacular success. Key highlights were the empanadas, the jerk chicken tacos, the guava fish (my fave) and the “palcha” (as we say in Puerto Rico) otherwise known as passion fruit ice cream. Wait… isn’t that like almost all of it??? LOL!

  7. Carey McKearnan
    September 22, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    Oh, my goodness. I really hope your readers take the time to click on all the links. This is amazing! Trina, what an incredibly resource you are. I love the video interviews and all the step by step photos.

    PLEADING request to the reader: do yourself a favor and click on all the links. You don’t want to miss a single page of this blog.

  8. Eshanthika
    September 22, 2008 at 1:56 pm #

    Read through everything, you should be very proud! John di Rocco is hilarious. Wish we could have been there! :)!

  9. Jacqueline Reyna "Pepiada"
    September 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    Trina! Congratulations on a WONDERFUL dinner!!! This pregnant lady enjoyed every bite! :-) :-)

  10. September 23, 2008 at 12:41 am #

    This is a really interesting menu! and I love the insistence on seasonal and local. marvelous work.

  11. September 23, 2008 at 9:13 am #

    Wow! That looks amazing. What a great menu. I’ve always thought it would be hard to eat all local in here in So Fla…but you definitely pulled it off. Congrats!

  12. trina
    September 23, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    Natalie–Thanks! I think it’s still hard to eat local, especially compared to other cities around the country. However, that’s why I thought it would be important to highlight the ways we can eat local here, so that we can support the farmers and foods that we already have.

  13. September 23, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    I’m very impressed that you pulled off such an ambitious dinner. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything close.

    What’s the Foodbuzz connection anyway? Was it just a challenge they presented or are you partnered with them in some way?

  14. trina
    September 23, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    Bill–Thanks! The advertiser on Miami Dish is Foodbuzz and I am a featured publisher on their website. The event was to promote their launch and to challenge myself!

  15. September 23, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    this sounds delicious. your recipes with videos are very impressive. great job.

  16. September 24, 2008 at 9:37 am #

    The arepas and empanadas sound especially good.

    I second Carey McKearnan’s comment that to get the full experience of this post one shouldn’t miss the links!

  17. September 25, 2008 at 2:24 pm #

    Trina, I know how hard it is to put on just the simplest dinner…I am in awe! What a great project; it would be nice to keep this kind of thing going on a regular basis.

  18. trina
    September 25, 2008 at 11:58 pm #

    Gail, I would like to do something like this again someday, although definitely with more planning time and maybe as even more of a potluck.

  19. October 15, 2008 at 2:04 pm #

    Now I see why I wasn’t chosen to host a 24-24-24, but why wasn’t I invited? I only live in Boynton Beach (LOL). A great job — very expressive of the diversity of Miami. I look forward to seeing more of your work and have subscribed to your RSS feed.

  20. October 21, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    Amazing, I only just scanned this and in awe of your production! Congratulations.

  21. April 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    My friend on Facebook shared this link and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came here.

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