THE GIST: Firelight Camps, Early Morning Farm and the American Skillet Company are offering a Farm-to-Fireside Meal & Glamping Giveaway! One lucky winner (and their companion) will experience the glory of the Finger Lakes with a 1-night stay for 2 at Firelight Camps (subject to availability), a farm tour and bushel box of organic produce from Early Morning Farm CSA, and an available cast iron skillet of your choice from the American Skillet Company. The winner of this fire-hot giveaway will be selected on September 30, 2015 and notified via email & Facebook.
Here’s a sneak peek of the experience, with more details below!
THE FULL SCOOP: For those of you who have come to know me well, you may have picked up on my voracious appetite for two things in particular: farm-fresh food and adventure. I’ve been satisfying my appetite for the first by way of a beautiful partnership with Early Morning Farm, making cooking videos in the farm kitchen with Tracy McEvilly. (Tracy delivers outstanding weekly recipes and blog posts to over 2,000 CSA members in Upstate NY.) In each video we feature a freshly harvested ingredient and a variety of ways to prepare it.
I’ve been feeding my adventurous streak with a growing obsession for fireside cooking at my luxury camping hotel (a.k.a. “glamping”), Firelight Camps. No traditional kitchen, no stovetop, no pantry stocked with go-to ingredients, no arsenal of tools. Just me, the forest’s symphony and a campfire of flames waiting to lick whatever food I lay over them. I’m curious – excited! – about returning to a more primal way of eating and learning how to read the heat in a whole new dimension.
So you can imagine my delight when Tracy introduced me to Alisa, the artist behind American Skillet Company. These two power-women met at an art festival where Alisa was showcasing her State Shaped Pans (yes, cast iron skillets outlining Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and New York!). Tracy and I got giddy … like, really giddy … over the prospect of making a 100% NY-made meal over the campfire in the NY skillet. And so, this meal was born.
Starting with farm-fresh produce from Early Morning Farm, we created a “Grilled Escarole Salad with Chevré and Smoked Cherry Sauce” (recipe below). The main ingredient is smoke, which infuses and unites everything on the plate. But the other flavors emerge too: the perky bitterness of the escarole tempered by the creamy chevré; the grilled lemons draw out the chevré’s bright acidity, and the grilled spring onions with crispy roots attached add a caramelized base to chop into the dish. The buttery, toasted walnuts are made to dance with the Smoked Cherry Sauce. (We scraped every last drop from the NY Shaped Pan with a fresh loaf of bread.)
Apart from the lemons and walnuts (which were too good to pass up), we used 100% NY ingredients to compliment our Early Morning Farm harvest, including Lively Run Goat Dairy chevré, Finger Lakes Distilling cherry liqueur, F. Oliver’s balsamic vinegar, Kriemhild’s meadow butter.
We served our final dish to two lucky guests staying at Firelight Camps, and the result was a resounding success. In part, because it’s near impossible to let a fireside meal go unappreciated. It takes gusto to prepare, shoveling burning coals onto roots and shifting searing hot pans around on the flames as they shift with the wind. There are few settings more romantic to eat than under a canopy of stars with the music set to birdsong and a crackling campfire to warm the soul. But ultimately, it is the quality of the ingredients and the cooking vessel that make a meal go down in memory.
Tracy, Alisa and I want to invite you to join us in the experience with a *Farm-to-Fireside Meal & Glamping Giveaway!* We’re offering one lucky winner (and choice companion) a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sink their hearts into the glory of the Finger Lakes region of Central New York with:
- A 1-night stay for 2 at Firelight Camps (subject to availability)
- A farm tour and bushel box of organic produce from Early Morning Farm CSA
- Any available cast iron skillet of your choice from the American Skillet Company
The winner of this fire-hot giveaway will be selected on September 30, 2015 and notified via email & Facebook.
We look forward to seeing you around the campfire!
With love and a puff of campfire smoke,
If preparing your dish by fire, start the fire two and a half hours beforehand. You will need a bed of glowing coals to bury and bake the beets. Arrange the fire so that a few smoldering logs cover the coals on one side of the pit, while a few simmering logs remain on the other side to prepare your sauce, escarole and spring onions. (The fire should be medium-range, not roaring). Arrange the logs to create a flat surface to land your grill grate. Have a thick towel (or fireproof mitts) and coasters ready to handle your cast iron skillet and other utensils.
- For Grilled Escarole Salad:
- Beets - 2
- Walnuts - 2/3 cup, whole
- Escarole - 1 head, halved
- Spring onions - 2, roots attached
- Lemon (optional) - Thinly sliced, seeds removed
- Chevré, plain - 1/3 cup, crumbled
- For Smoked Cherry Sauce:
- Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Shallots - 2.5 tablespoons, minced
- Cherry liqueur - 1/3 cup (substitute with ruby port)
- Balsamic vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- Cherries - 1 pint, pitted (sweet or tart)
- Separate the beets from the stems and leaves (save them for sautéed greens). Peel the beets and wrap them in foil. Bury the beets in hot coals or place on a grill and cover. Cook for 30 - 40 minutes until tender. Remove and allow them to cool. Slice into wheels.
- Place the skillet on the grill grate to heat. Toast the walnuts. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Place the escarole on the grill. Char and wilt the leaves on both sides. Transfer to a serving plate.
- Place the spring onions on the grill, and turn occasionally, cooking until the leaves are charred and crisp, and the onions tender. Transfer to the serving plate with the escarole.
- Add the lemons to the grill (optional) and cook until charred. Transfer to the serving plate.
- Add the sliced beets to the salad and top the salad with the toasted walnuts and chevré.
- Return the skillet to the grill to heat up.
- You will need to move quickly making the sauce. Add the butter. When it foams, add the shallots and cook until they begin to brown. Add the cherry liqueur and balsamic vinegar. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce slightly. Add the cherries and gently smash with the back of a spoon. When the cherries break down, add the thyme.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the sauce over the grilled salad.
Allergens: dairy, tree nuts