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.
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
Amuse-bouche: Chilled avocado soup with Venezuelan arepa fritter
John di Rocco’s brick oven flatbread bites with tomatoes, homegrown herbs, and Venezuelan queso de mano
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.