My Endless Feast

I’m a staunch supporter of buying local. I buy organic and try to stop by the local farmers market when I can (not as much as I’d like.) I made all my kiddos’ baby food because I wanted to know what was going into their body. I even go so far to try to dine only at local restaurant because there is a vested interest in their food. So, when I read about this upcoming event called Chefs for Farmers where local chefs with a passion for local ingredients paired with local farmers create market-to-menu dinners, my hubby and I jumped at the chance to attend. Fortunately, the date of the event coincided with the week of our 10 year anniversary. 

The evening began with hors d’oeuvres. We mingled with “honey bee queen of the DFW area” Susan Pollard, Brian Luscher, the Executive Chef/Owner of The Grape Restaurant and his beautiful wife/General Manager Courtney Luscher,  and Scardello Artisan Cheese owners Rich and Karen Rogers, and that was all before we sat down for dinner. At 5 p.m. sharp, we were rounded up and led to a table set for 80 in the middle of Eden’s pasture in Balch Springs, Texas. We were treated to a delectable five-course dinner by eight of Dallas’ premier chefs. The chefs of the night included Abraham Salum and Al Havens of Salum Restaurant; Bruno Davaillon of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek; Janice Provost and Chad Houser of Parigi Restaurant; Matt McCallister of Stephan Pyles Restaurant; Nathan Tate and Randall Copeland of Restaurant Ava in Rockwall; and Ryan Tedder, sommelier of GRACE in Fort Worth.

Barking Cat Farms Roasted Sweet Peppers with Local Green and Brazos Brie
Seared Scallop with Edens’ Cucuzza Squash, Caprino Goat Cheese and Pancetta Bread Pudding with Grain Mustard Vinaigrette
Smoked Tennessee Duck Breast with Spiced Pumpkin Puree and Rockys’ Swiss Chard
Confit of Local Pork Belly with Blood Sausage, Heirloom Apple, Rapini, Chestnut and Aged Sherry Vinegar
Burgundy Beef “Pot Roast” Deconstructed
Gleaned Sweet Potato Panna Cotta with Coconut Lemongrass Sauce

Dinner pals included Jon and Amy Davis, owners of Hear, Hear Wines; Adam Jones, owner of GRACE in Fort Worth; Blaine Staniford, executive chef of GRACE in Fort Worth; Randall Copeland, chef/owner of Restaurant Ava; and my wonderful husband of 10 years. The weather was perfect, the sunset was absolutely gorgeous, and by the end of the night, it felt like one gigantic family dinner. It was truly a spectacular evening!

**The money we raise will not only help local farmers but goes specifically toward a great organization called The Gleaning Network , which collects surplus produce and makes sure it gets in the hands of people in Texas who really need it.**

10 Best Trader Joe’s Items

1. Trader Joe’s Organic Mango Passion Granola 
Each serving has four grams of fiber, six grams of protein and an utter lack of things like cholesterol, trans fats and artificials. The clusters of oats give it a satisfying, substantive crunch and the mango pieces provide a sweet-tart chew – enough to evoke a good deal of passion among its admirers.

2. Trader Joe’s Multigrain British Muffins
Not only do they have all the great taste and convenience of English muffins, they also boast a good dose of multigrain nuttiness. Each British Muffin contains much more fiber than the average English muffin.

3. Trader Joe’s Steelcut Oatmeal (found in frozen section.)

4. Trader Joe’s Greek Style Nonfat Yogurt 
It features the creaminess you expect from Greek-style yogurt and is made with the milk of cows not treated with rBST. It’s also higher in protein than most yogurt—each eight ounce serving has 22 grams of protein!

5. Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
These pillow-like nuggets have the perfect balance of crunchy pretzel and smooth peanut butter.

6. Trader Joe’s Chicken Gyoza Potstickers (found in the frozen section.)
Steam, boil or fry Trader Joe’s MSG-free potstickers for a super-easy meal. Serve over rice with a splash of soy sauce or toss into some chicken broth for a simple soup.

7. Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup 
It’s a velvety smooth concoction with a subtle tomato base. Its depth of flavor comes from the flavorful spices and the slightly sweet finish is courtesy of the roasted red bell peppers.

8. Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese (found in the frozen section.)

9. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
They’re bite-sized cups, just big enough to make you want another one. The size of the package is ideal for gift giving, and it’s also very helpful for portion control.

10. Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s (Seasonal)