KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: The Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust's 2nd Annual Dinner
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Sunday, May 28, 2006
The Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust's 2nd Annual Dinner

On Saturday May 20th a very small gaggle of volunteers, myself included, pulled off the 2nd annual BALT dinner. Almost 300 lucky people ate a five-course dinner amid vineyards with a spectacular view of Mount Diablo to show their support of the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust.

Last year whilst shopping at The Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, Kristie Knoll, an infectiously energetic farmer, asked me if I wanted to make dessert for the first BALT dinner. Donated produce from the various farmers of Brentwood? How could I say no? After learning Knoll Farms amazing verbena would be available for use I knew immediately I would be making, by hook or by crook: subtle aromatic verbena ice cream.

When I arrived at the "kitchen site" last year: a corrugated tin-roofed dirt-floored driveway with no walls, electricity or running water, I looked around at the many chefs prepping on haphazardly arranged 6 foot tables and said to Kristie, "Hey, who's expediting and where will the plates be leaving from?" She replied, "What's an expeditor?"

"Oh [Expletive deleted]!" I thought. And then I took charge. Within a few hours I had re-arranged the "kitchen" checked in with the 20+ chefs, recruited one of Kristie's Saturday workers, Chris Hatfield as my co-captain, and by 6 PM we had a physical chart of the diner's tables and a plan. My "waiters" were a gangly group of barely teenaged FFA'ers and a sprinkling of restaurant servers. We had five courses with no fewer than four chefs represented per course! It was by no means an easy task, but it was quite satisfying to realize later what I had pulled off.

Kristie, Chris and I all agreed we wanted this year's dinner to go more smoothly, be more organized. We met months ago to do a walk-through at the new site, Tamayo Family Winery, and had a meeting with the entire dinner subcommittee. I created the position "chef liaison" and filled it. Chris, a corporate organizer by profession, highlighted the site blueprints, set them to scale, creating efficient pathways for staff. She produced beautiful timeline and volunteer job spreadsheets. Hundreds upon hundreds of emails later we served a diverse exquisite five-course menu I helped to balance and arrange. Various Bay Area chefs created inspired dishes highlighting produce generously donated by Brentwood's finest hardworking farmers and ranchers.

Guy Frenette and Paul Canales Oliveto
A Sampling of House Cured Salumi
Tina Steele & Lynn Kutsal Nature's Bounty
~ Asparagus and Potato Frittata
~ Sweet & Spicy Walnuts
Ethan Mantle Camponere Fine Catering and
Tim Hammack Bohemian Elegance Catering

Chevre and Chiogga Beet Napoleons
Alison Negrin John Muir Health
Brentwood Fresh Vegetable Crudité with Green Garlic Dip

Sean Baker, Jacob Evenich and Renee Rohrig Google
~ Blue Corn Molotes with Morels, English Peas and Fava Shoots
~ Stinging Nettle Kona Kimpache Nigiri with Nettle Sushi rice,
and green Almond Seaweed Salad
~ Szechuan Pepper Crusted Wagu Beef with Cilantro Curry Potato Flatbread
and Bing Cherry Shiso Compote
Jamie Lauren Prana
Indian Spiced Mini Lamb Burgers with Green Garlic Yogurt and Onion Chutney

Eric Tucker Millennium
Wilted Fava and Bitter Greens with Gigante beans, Braised Cardoon, and Smoked Tofu
John Townsend Orinda Country Club
Knoll Farms Petite Mixed Greens Salad with Pickled Carrots, Green Garlic,
Grilled Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Knightsen Honey Vinaigrette
Niklas Terczak RNM
Warm Crispy Fava beans Over Green Garlic and Fromage
Blanc Crostini with Fava Leaves and Arugula
Michael Dotson Evvia
Anderson Ranch Lamb Terrine with a Spring Herb Salad and Carrot-Dijon Dressing

Kelly Degala Va de Vi
Braised Pork Belly with Vincotto Olive Oil Roasted Asparagus
Michael Baker Piatti Danville
Spring Vegetables and Caciovallo Cheese Stuffed Ennes Ranch Meatloaf
with Natural Pan Juices

Shuna Fish Lydon Eggbeater
Knoll Farms Verbena Cream Puffs with Aromatic Herbs and Knightsen Honey
Shuna Fish Lydon in Conjunction with Evvia
Rosemary Almond Financiere with Frog Hollow Apricot Preserves
and Black Pepper Infused Balsamic Syrup



Anonymous jeanne said...

well, I see now, we have yet something else in common my dear friend...Brentwood Ag! I'm in the midst of a volunteer marketing effort for them.

6/07/2006 10:23 PM


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