June 12, 2017 Missive from J.K. Farm
The last couple of days of tropical heat and humidity have convinced me that we have come through the long, cool, wet spring and have arrived at summer. Shimmering heat and the cacophony of tree frogs and cicadas has replaced damp coolness and sinister, carnivorous May flies. The veil has lifted. The air is fresh and soft and clear. The wind has shifted back to the southwest and the barometer reading is trending upward. There is much and varied birdsong and there is a general deep, verdant lushness that we haven’t seen in recent years.
The creek is still flowing strong this year. Normally, the flow would have by now been reduced to a trickle or in the serious drought years, a dry bed. The vineyard is heavy with nascent clusters of fruit. The challenge still remains to bring them to ripeness for harvest in late September. The vegetable and flower garden is almost fully planted. Shehan has been working hard, preparing the beds to receive his seedlings.
Even though it is still early in the season, the farm still offers up perennial spring harvests like rhubarb and asparagus. Foraging continues with harvests of stinging nettle and chive gracing our late May and early June menus. Dandelions too with their healthy bitterness, an aid to digestion are delicious sautéed with caramelized garlic. The rhubarb and asparagus offer such incredible complexity in taste as they are being harvested at their seasonal best.This week I follow these excellent ingredients through the process of ultimately appearing in front of guests on Saturday. We start from scratch every Thursday afternoon and work methodically towards dinner service on Saturday, adding layers of complexity all along the way.
It takes a cook with an innate understanding of foods and the process of cooking to gently steer the raw ingredients towards the finished dishes that are presented to the guest. Anne Rumble, the chef de cuisine for the summer dinner series along with her small team possess just the right balance of raw talent mixed with the experience of many years of cooking behind the stoves every day to create unique, delicious food. The cook’s discipline of execution and renewal at a level that contributes so importantly to the gastronomic experience of our guests each Saturday evening is evident in the confounding subtlety yet complexity of the gastronomy served up at these dinners.
Take for example the “Coulibiac of Pickerel with Two Sauces” that we served this past Saturday. A classic dish that involves baking the fish inside a savoury wrapping of brioche pastry with mushrooms, spinach and hardboiled eggs. The two sauces, a fine mushroom and a sorrel, white wine form a yin yang of harmony and colour on the base of the plate. The whole dish is poised to compliment the “saignée rosé 2016 from the Grange of Prince Edward. The taste sensation of the fish and the wine together is so much greater than the sum of its parts. I am so grateful to have Anne and her brigade as part of the team creating magic in the loafing barn every Saturday night.
This past Saturday was no exception as the evening progressed and more taste sensations were experienced, this menu culminating with a roaring apple wood bonfire and a strudel of apple and rhubarb, lifted beautifully by the Grange’s 2014 sparkling Riesling.
Saturday June 10, 2017
The Grange of Prince Edward
Vineyards and Estate Winery
Hors d’Œuvres on the Ridge
JK Fries with Two Sauces
Smoked Whitefish Éclairs
Confit Pork Belly on Crisp Apple
Socca with Tapenade and Crumbled Feta
Green Pea Arancini with Mint Pesto
2012 The Grange of Prince Edward Rosé Brut VQA Prince Edward County
Dinner in the Loafing Barn
Green and White Asparagus with Honey Mustard Sabayon
2014 The Grange of Prince Edward Select Riesling VQA Prince Edward County
Coulibiac of Pickerel with Fine Mushroom Sauce
2016 The Grange of Prince Edward Select Rosé VQA Prince Edward County
Braised Oxtail with Marrow Toast and Young Garlic
2013 The Grange of Prince Edward Select Cabernet Franc VQA Prince Edward County
Highlights of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival
2013 The Grange of Prince Edward Select Gamay VQA Prince Edward County
Rhubarb and Apple Strudel with Bitter Almond Anglaise
2014 The Grange of Prince Edward Sparkling Riesling VQA Prince Edward County
Coffee or Tea
Photos by @jodickins and @vtaylorlandarch
Follow Anne Rumble on Instagram at @rumblebee73