This weekend's main meal could be coming straight from the farm to your fork, and to your mouth.
The Arts Center of Greenwood's second Farm to Fork dinner and fundraiser is 7 p.m. Saturday, at the Arts Center, and includes a plentiful buffet with fresh, local foods prepared by guest chefs. Plus, there is live music by Jackson Station.
Tickets are $75 per couple/$40 per single for Friends of the Arts Center and $90 per couple/$50 per single for the public. Call 864-388-7800 to inquire about remaining ticket availability.
The extensive menu includes numerous appetizers, side dishes, fish and seafood dishes, poultry dishes, meat dishes and desserts.
Among appetizers are fresh figs with local Italian sausage and a balsamic glaze. Fish and seafood includes grilled trout. Poultry offerings include fried quail and meats include rosemary pork tenderloin. Desserts include fresh fruit tartes and other elegant dishes to conclude the meal.
Guest chefs include: Neil Talbot of Montague's; David Epps and Taylor Reed of Inn on the Square; City of Greenwood public works director Billy Allen, with Tony McAlister; Greenwood city manager Charlie Barrineau and wife, Leslie; Dave and Debi Bailey of Waterloo; Tripp Whitmire of Greenwood; Rob Jones of Greenwood; Debbie Crowe of Donalds; Sharon Bagwell with Self Regional Healthcare; and Niki Hutto of Greenwood City Council and the Arts Center.
Guest chefs husband and wife duo Dave and Debi Bailey of Waterloo are preparing a zucchini and peach salad, using all local produce that requires some prep, but no cooking. Zucchini "noodles" made using a kitchen tool known as a spiralizer are the base of the dish, with loads of other colorful fruits and veggies: tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, fresh peaches and fresh herbs.
These trending kitchen gadgets function somewhat like old-school pencil sharpeners with hand-cranks. They produce long, curling spirals from firm, peeled vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, fennel, onion and more. The resulting noodles can be cooked briefly or left raw and crunchy as the Baileys are doing with this recipe.
If you don't have a vegetable spiralizer, a julienne peeler can lend a similar effect.
The noodles can be quite long, so a snip with kitchen scissors to get them to a decent length can make them easier to eat.
Debi Bailey notes that zucchini are good sources of nutrients and antioxidants, particularly those important for eye health.
Fellow guest chef Billy Allen, City of Greenwood public works director, is lending his culinary talents to the event. Allen is preparing smoked dry rub chicken. Allen said the key to moist, flavorful chicken is to brine it before cooking. Since the brine helps keep chicken moist, it helps prevent overcooking it, too.
The key to brine, Allen said, is making sure you use kosher salt, not table salt.
Allen lets the chicken soak in a wet brine for three to four hours, before rinsing, patting dry and rubbing down with spices and oil.
Montague's Restaurant chef Neil Talbot is preparing seasoned, grilled trout with crispy skin, garnished with fresh, chopped Italian herbs, with lots of lemon zest, garlic and parsley. Traditionally in Italian cuisine, gremolata often includes pine nuts and it is served with veal, but the bright flavors of the condiment are also a great pairing with fish.
Talbot is omitting pine nuts but the lemon-herb flavor will be there. Gremolata could also make a zippy salad dressing, marinade or an addition to meatballs or roasted vegetables. His side of spaghetti squash is also a colorful mix of savory and slightly sweet flavors.
DEBI AND DAVE BAILEY'S ZUCCHINI AND PEACH SALAD
2 zucchini, spiraled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 cup green bell peppers, diced
1 cucumber seeded and diced
2 fresh peaches, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs: oregano, sage, basil or mint
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar or Stevia blend
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (This is available in flake form. It has a nutty smell and cheesy flavor. Plus, it has vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 cup water
Combine zucchini, tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber, peaches and fresh herbs in a large serving bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients in a small bowl or blender to make dressing. Pour over vegetables and toss gently to combine. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
BILLY ALLEN'S SMOKED DRY RUB CHICKEN
1/2 cup kosher salt for brine
1 gallon warm water for brine
1 whole chicken, cut up
1 large bag to hold chicken and brine
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
Hardwood charcoal for smoking. May also add fruit tree wood.
Mix salt in water until it dissolves. Let water cool completely before adding whole chicken to brine in a bag. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Rinse chicken with cool water and pat dry. Rub chicken with olive oil and spices. Refrigerate 3 hours.
Smoke chicken with hardwood chips at 275 degrees until done.
NEIL TALBOT'S CLEAR SPRINGS RAINBOW TROUT WITH LEMON GREMOLATA AND SQUASH
For trout fillet:
1 rainbow trout fillet
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
To grill trout:
Heat grill and place silicone grill mat over grates. Season flesh of trout with salt and pepper. Rub lemon zest and juice on fish. Season skin side of trout with salt and pepper. Oil grill mat well and place trout flesh-side down on mat.
Cook for 3 minutes. Then, grill fish skin-side down. Grill for 3 minutes, until skin is crisp.
Serve skin-side up, with a spoonful of gremolata to garnish.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Reserve to garnish trout.
For hot honeyed spaghetti squash:
1 spaghetti squash
salt and pepper to taste
To finish squash, have on hand oil, butter, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and honey.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Split spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Rub inside of spaghetti squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast spaghetti squash in 400 degree F oven for 45 to 55 minutes until squash is fork tender.
Allow squash to cool to room temperature. Remove strands with a fork. Finish the squash by heating oil, butter and red pepper flakes in a saute pan. Add spaghetti squash strands. Saute over medium high heat, until squash is warm and starts to brown. Turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in honey to serve.