Benefit Dinner (with a side of moral dilemma)

Piggy
Last week I hosted a benefit dinner for our local food bank. This is the third year we’ve held the event, and it was a sold-out success that raised over $10K. For the past two years, I have created a 5 course meal using mostly canned and dried goods that could most likely be found in a food bank. For this year, I totally changed the format. I wanted to do a sustainable & local head-to-tail/root-to-stalk dinner. While the first two years were hugely successful, at the end of the day I wasn’t happy about what I was serving. This wasn’t how I cooked on a day-to-day basis, and I wanted to cook food that I was proud of. Last year’s event was held on the same night that the big Cook It Raw dinner was going on in Charleston, and that hammered home the point that we needed to change our format. While we need to be reactionary to hunger needs by having food available in food banks, I felt that by doing a dinner highlighting less expensive, seasonal ingredients, as well as off-cuts and scrap, we could show a great way of eating that focuses more on healthful foods and is more economical. Why pay $10/pound for salmon when we have delicious, invasive Maryland Blue Catfish in the Chesapeake that costs less than $4/pound. Like many chefs, I like to do charcuterie, so I did an 8-item charcuterie bar for happy hour, with the centerpiece being a whole pig’s head, glazed with a pumpkin ale agro dolce.
A big thank you to Jeff Givens of Southern Skies Coffee for being my photographer for the evening.

Grocery List

Corn Husks

Corn Cobs

Pig’s Head from Autumn Olive Farms. http://www.autumnolivefarms.com/

Pig’s Heart & Shoulder

Beef Tongue

Chicken Liver, Skin & Fat

Salmon Bellies from Sustainably Farmed Verlasso Salmon http://www.verlasso.com/

Invasive, Maryland Catfish http://dnr2.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/catfish.aspx

Cauliflower Cores

Rainbow Chard Stems

Watermelon Rind

Venison

Turnips

Turnip Greens

Red Cabbage

Parsnips

Celery Leaves

Cocktail

Street Corn Sour

Corn on the Cob Bourbon, Roasted Corn Husk Syrup, Lime Juice & Chili Powder

Happy Hour

Roasted Hog’s Head

Pumpkin Ale Agro Dolce

Green Curry Sausage

Hog’s Heart Pastrami

Headcheese

Chopped Liver

Chicken Skin Cracklins’

Fried BBQ Pig Face McNuggetz

IMG_4517

Sweet & Sour Verlasso Salmon Bellies

Capers

Sauerbraten-Style Beef Tongue

Gingersnap Mustard

Pimento Cheese

Ritz

Starter

Fried Catfish

Fried, Maryland Blue Catfish with Cauliflower Core Harissa Aioli & Pickled Chard Stems & Watermelon Rind

IMG_4520

Entree

Venison Meatloaf with Lingonberry BBQ

Venison & Bacon Meatloaf, Topped with a Lingonberry BBQ Sauce. Served over Smoked Gouda Grits

with Braised Turnip Greens

Intermezzo

Red Cabbage, Apple & Akavit Granita

Dessert

Parsnip Cake

Parsnip and Walnut Cake with Root Beer/Turnip Cream Cheese Frosting and Parsley Crème Anglaise

If you like what you see, please consider hiring me for an in-home dinner or cooking lesson. Get more information here. Thank you.

Chris Spear

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Benefit Dinner (with a side of moral dilemma)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s