Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yum, Lovely, Yum, Fun

I had a wonderful dining experience last weekend at Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island, Washington. A cousin who appreciates good food took my husband and me out to celebrate our recent significant (ending in zero) birthdays.

It was a beautiful spring day and we took the ferry from West Seattle to Vashon and arrived at the farm just before dinner. We had time to walk around and check out the grounds, peek at the animals and ogle the raised vegetable beds (poured concrete, nice!).

Kurtwood Farms is run by Kurt Timmermeister, a very friendly, informative and congenial fellow who obviously works his butt off on a regular basis. He has a 13 acre farm on which he raises Jersey cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and lots of fruits and vegetables. He does most of the farming himself, with only one part-time farm hand to help out. His is more than a full-time job, and an obvious labor of love.

On many Sunday nights he hosts a dinner for 20 (or so) people where guests are served from the bounty of those 13 acres.

In fact, we ate food produced there exclusively...the only items that Kurt serves that are made off of the farm are salt, pepper, sugar, flour, coffee and wine.

When my husband asked him about olive oil, Kurt's response was "We don't use it. We only use butter." Works for me. I'm not afraid of butter. And oh, what good butter it is! When I first saw the crock of it sitting on our dinner table I remarked at its yellowness. Kurt explained that Jersey cows don't absorb carotene from their fresh diet and, therefore, pass it along into the cream and other dairy products that he makes. This makes the butter a beautiful color. It was also super yummy.

Visiting chef Tyler Palagi did the food preparation as Kurt assisted and got things ready for our group to be seated. We sipped wine and sampled incredibly flavorful flat bread pizzas made with ingredients like Kurtwood Farms cheese, caramelized onions, and cured pork belly. The pizzas were cooked in the outdoor wood-fire oven near the main kitchen and dining area. Tasty!

Once seated at the table, we were served sweet tomato soup with homemade bread and the aforementioned butter. The tomatoes were canned last fall and tasted as fresh as...well...fresh tomatoes.

Here is where my photo record stopped. I was too busy eating to take any more pictures. We continued our meal with an antipasti plate of cheeses, prosciutto, and tomato jam. Next came slices of cured pork belly, fresh pasta, broccoli with cider vinegar and bacon, beef with sauteed leeks, cauliflower with red currants and dried chilis. There were eight courses in all, served over three and a half hours. No dish had more than four or five ingredients. It was all incredibly fresh, flavorful and simple fare.

During all of this, we chatted with the people sitting next to us at the long, wooden table. I had the pleasure of visiting with a couple from Vashon who knows Kurt and have been for dinner there before. Conversation was lively. We finished up with a butter cake served with fresh cream and rhubarb sauce.

Kurt has an email list of folks who he sends alerts to periodically, announcing upcoming dates to reserve your spot at the table. It's harder to get in during the summer and harvest months, but would be very much worth it. I hope to go back again soon and bring some friends!


red ticking said...

yummmmmie will go try it! great post!

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