“I’ll Have What She’s Having!”
By Julie Walters
Falls Church Times Staff
September 27, 2013
On a July weekday lunchtime visit to Curry Mantra 2, the 7-month old Indian restaurant in West End Plaza on Broad Street, a diner at the table next to me oohed and aahed with delight as she sampled each dish from the ample lunch buffet. “I will remember this food for the rest of my life,” she gushed to her dining companion. Her enjoyment of the food was so effusive, and her sounds of pleasure were so, shall we say, passionate, that I hoped my lunch partner — my 5-year old son — didn’t notice me blush.
It was quite a testament to the smorgasbord we were about to enjoy. And, for the most part, my son and I agreed with her. We tried, however, to limit our audible reactions to a more modest “yummy!”
It was yummy. The lunch buffet at Curry Mantra 2 is a delicious, great deal. And, they just lowered their prices, making it an even better lunchtime bargain. For $9.49 per person ($5.49 for kids ages 5-11, and kids under 5 eat free), you can dine on a half dozen different all-you-can-eat meat or vegetarian entrees. The flavors range from mild Tandoori Chicken or Saag Paneer (spinach with homemade Indian cheese) to creamy Butter Chicken (tender chicken in a tomato cream sauce) to spicy Lamb Vindaloo or Goat Curry.
Along with the ever-changing vegetarian selections and at least three meat entrees, the lunch buffet includes some other real treats. On my lunch visits, I’ve enjoyed: fragrant basmati rice, as well as a second rice dish (I love the crispy onions on the tomato rice!); Palak Anar (crispy spinach); Vegetable Pakora (an addictive vegetable and onion fritter); two salads; a Daal (my favorite is the slightly spicy yellow lentil soup punctuated with tomatoes and cumin seeds); warm, flaky, and perfectly chewy Naan (Indian bread) served to your table (on my last visit it was the best Naan I’ve ever had anywhere!); a modest dessert; and, as much of that flawlessly flavorful and spicy “green sauce” (cilantro sauce with a hint of mint) as you want.
At dinner, the price point increases considerably. With most entrees in the $18.00-$20.00 range, dinner for two (with 2 entrees, an appetizer, and bread) runs more than $50.00 (without alcohol). It makes lunch feel like an even better deal, especially because, with curries, the food on the buffet is pretty much the same as ordering a la carte for dinner. Curries are not made to order, and curries sitting a few hours in a chafing dish at lunch didn’t taste much different from those simmering all day on a stove for dinner.
In my several visits for lunch, the entree choices were never the same. Each time, regardless of my selection, I found the flavors to be varied, complex, and delicious. Everything had a nice kick, but nothing was so spicy that I couldn’t enjoy the other flavors.
The biggest standout was also my biggest surprise: the goat curry. Truthfully, I just wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. It was by far the best dish I ate on each of my visits. The curry had huge depth of flavor, aided by the red chilies, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods found in the sauce. It was rich without being heavy, and spicy without being overpowering. And the goat meat. Wow. It was tender and lush and such a pleasant surprise. I expected to love the Lamb Vindaloo or the Chicken Tikka Masala the best. Nope. They’re very good. But, get the goat!
Another surprise, this time not as pleasant, was the Palak Anar (flash fried spinach served with pomegranate seeds and tamarind and yogurt sauces). At lunch, it doesn’t stay crisp on the buffet. That makes sense to me, and it still has nice flavor even when it’s limp and lukewarm. My son always gobbles it up (he loves spinach and pomegranate seeds). In fact, when a friend first sampled the Palak Anar during lunch this week, she enthusiastically observed, “that spinach doesn’t taste like spinach. It tastes like a funnel cake!” Maybe that’s also why my 5-year old loves it.
I was excited, however, to return for dinner to sample a fresher, crispier version. How great would it be to find a local supplier for my crispy spinach fix? Usually, I can only satisfy that craving downtown at Rasika. Sadly, though, the biggest disappointment of my many meals at Curry Mantra 2 was the discovery that the Palak Anar is not prepared fresh to order at dinner either. And, even if the spinach were fried to order, it would become mushy and soggy when served drowned in the tamarind and yogurt sauces. The whole thing just confused me.
On the bright side, the management at Curry Mantra 2 seems eager to receive feedback and make adjustments as necessary. On my first few visits this summer, the Tandoori Chicken was tough, fatty, and rubbery. It was a complete miss. During one of those visits, the manager, Sid, asked if I had any suggestions or feedback about the food. I shared my impression of the chicken. When I returned this week, the Tandoori Chicken was spectacular. It was actually perfect. Maybe there’s hope for the crispy spinach too! [Note: This is my first restaurant review and I was completely unknown to the manager. I think he was genuinely interested in a random customer’s feedback and was looking for ways to improve the dining experience. In fact, it’s obvious that they’re making adjustments since the food has improved considerably in the last two months. It started off pretty good but now it is excellent.]
Finally, the service and the decor at Curry Mantra 2 are top notch. At lunch, our water was always filled and our dirty plates were quickly (too quickly?) whisked away. The wait staff was friendly, attentive, and kind to young kids. One night at dinner, we had the best waiter ever. He was super knowledgeable about the menu, as well as about Indian cuisine generally. He enthusiastically shared his knowledge with helpful and often funny explanations. When we inquired about the design-your-own Veggie/Meat “Must Try” combinations, our waiter suggested we not get too creative. “Most dishes are good. Some combinations are deadly,” he advised. We also asked about the spiciness of some of the entrees and were educated about the flavor differences among the many regions of India. “Generally, in India, as you go south, the food gets spicier. Kind of like greasiness in the United States,” he explained.
The decor is happy, with a warm color palette, bright mosaic tiles, and walls the paint color of which could be named “Tandoori.” The room has a lot of natural light with high windows that offer a fun overhead view of the W&OD trail where it crosses Broad Street. The street level windows are opaque, yet they allow plenty of light while enabling you to forget you’re sitting in a strip mall next door to yet another frozen yogurt shop.
And speaking of frozen yogurt, get the Mango Lassi (mango yogurt smoothie) at Curry Mantra 2. It’s awesome! Do you really need more fro-yo?
(All photos copyright: Julie Walters)
Curry Mantra 2
1077 W. Broad Street, Falls Church, VA 22046
(Curry Mantra 2 is the second location of the original Curry Mantra in Fairfax)
Hours of operation:
Lunch – Mon. – Sun. – 11:30 – 2:30
Dinner – Mon. – Sat. – 5:00 – 10:00, Sun. – 5:00 – 9:00
Free delivery for dinner within a 5 mile radius. (Minimum order: $35.00)
[Congratulations Deanna Dulka! Your entry to name this column "Tastes of the Little City" has won you a $20.00 gift certificate to a local Falls Church restaurant of your choice. Thank you to everyone who entered our contest. Happy dining!]
Julie Walters is a resident of Falls Church and writes children’s books (mostly about food). She’s the daughter of a food editor, the wife of a man who knows his Louisiana cuisine, and the mother of a 5 year old with a ridiculously sophisticated palate. You can reach her at FCTFood@gmail.com. Read more
By Falls Church Times Staff
May 8, 2013
The restaurant released the following statement this morning:
Dear Patrons and Friends of Anthony’s,
It is with a heavy heart and sincere regret that we inform you that Anthony’s Restaurant will be permanently closing our location at 309 West Broad Street, Falls Church, Virginia. As a result of our lease expiring, our last day of operations will be June 2, 2013. Although we have yet to find a suitable new location, we continue our search and we hope to find a new home for Anthony’s in Falls Church. After 41 years of serving our patrons at this location, we would like to say THANK YOU for being a special part of our family and for all the wonderful memories. We will continue to serve the community at our Manassas location.
The Anthony’s Family
By Christianna Sargent
May 3, 2013
Special to the Falls Church Times
Does the word Condrieu [Cohn-dree-uh] ring a bell—the original home to Viognier, which is now Virginia’s signature grape? Condrieu is a French grape growing region that rests in southeastern France along the Rhône River and exclusively produces Viognier. The name itself is derived from the French phrase coin de ruisseau, which translates to “corner of the brook.” Despite the fact that most people are unfamiliar with Condrieu, the wines are worth seeking out and are memorable in their own right. Condrieu represents a full-bodied, exotic style of wine appropriate for spring, summer, and fall seasons that weaves a fascinating story about a grape that is for all practical purposes the anti-Chardonnay.
Condrieu is one of the great white wine regions of France and it stands as the benchmark for Viognier crafted wine, analogous to what Napa Valley is to Cabernet Sauvignon. But Condrieu is little known to the wine-drinking world at large, even though Viognier itself has become popular to grow right here in Virginia and even Australia, Chile and California. What reasoning lies behind this grape obscurity, when the general public tends to demand full-bodied, full-throttle, rich wines that explode with fruit and flavor? The answer lies in simple economics and the fact that Viognier can easily be a lackluster grape if not managed properly and crafted masterfully. Condrieu is pricey, with only a small quantity produced for the entire globe.
Viognier was once almost extinct in the 1960s, but grew in popularity as people’s palates leaned more to the adventuresome side. Virginia wineries jumped on the Viognier train over two decades ago when Horton Vineyards first released their version in 1992. Today, the grape itself is the Commonwealth’s darling grape and tourists hoard from afar to drink some of the best put forth by Horton, Barboursville, Chester Gap, Michael Shaps, Jefferson, Chyrsalis, Veritas, and Pearmund Cellars to name some of the best. Almost half (approximately 40%) of Virginia vineyards grow the Viognier grape. However, this darling vine is not the greatest of love affairs. The grape itself is persnickety and difficult to master. The trick with Viognier is that optimal ripeness must be reached; thereby requiring longer hang-time on the vine. Longer hang-time in Virginia equates to hurricane season, and to worsen matters the grape naturally has low acidity levels and characteristically high alcohol potential. So, if the rains come, like they so often do in September and October, the winemaker risks producing a diluted, flat, high alcohol, vegetal wine. Ouch. Not so appealing.
Grape maturity and ripeness remains key to the balance equation, and obtaining it is like riding a tricycle on a tight-rope wire. Condrieu masters this mythical balance from its top producers like Vernay, Guigal, and Chateau Grillet. But the Gods smiled on Condrieu with hot summers, less rain, perfect geography with steep slopes situated along the river facing due east, and strong winds that keep the grapes dry and free of rot. When Viognier sings, she makes rich, powerful, floral and perfumed juice boasting exotic aromas of peach, apricot, honey, violets, and white flowers. The secret is maintaining lower alcohol levels around 12.5 -13% versus today’s fad of 14.5-15% alcohol wines that warm the belly and burn the throat on the way down.
Truly I tell you that Condrieu, and even Viognier produced elsewhere around the world, is a discovery to please your taste buds, and you can do it right here in Falls Church/Arlington. Explore the Old World versus New World factors at 2941 restaurant where Sommelier Jonathan Schuyler designates an entire section of his wine list to Condrieu and Viognier. For just the domestic juice, visit Eventide in Clarendon, or walk down the street in either direction or you can also taste Viognier at Lyon Hall and Northside Social Wine Bar. For an exquisite food pairing from appetizers to entrees, Tracy O’Grady satiates the palate with her choice selections of Viognier from California, like Darioush in Napa. Last but not least, Tallula trots the globe with their Viognier selections from France, to down under in the land of Oz, back to California, with a final pit stop in Virginia.
While hunting for your next Viognier taste, remember the wine pairs extremely well with scallops, lobster, crab, shrimp, roasted chicken, creamy sauces, Caribbean fare, Indian curries, and exotic spices like cinnamon and cardamom found in Moroccan dishes for example. For simplicity, pair Viognier with cashew nuts or triple-cream cheeses, like Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam. The richness of Viognier also bodes well with Gouda and Gruyere cheese. All in the entire Viognier grape should be more celebrated, as it is a versatile food pair and an excellent alternative to chardonnay.
BY Kathleen Nixon
April 12, 2013
Falls Church Times Staff
As the weather has warmed up – considerably – we welcome the earlier hours of the Falls Church Farmers Market and the fifth season of the Farmer’s Market Chef Demonstrations. Last weekend the farmers’ market started opening up earlier, now at 8:00am, with a few vendors from the summer market. We won’t be seeing the full contingent of summer vendors until later in May but a few will trickle in like Clear Spring Creamery.
The Farmers Market Chef series will kick off on Saturday April 20th with a market and series favorite, Willow Restaurant. The chef series always kicks off around Earth Day to remind us that eating locally and seasonally is another way to be green. The chef series will include other program favorites such as Bertrand Chemel, 2941, Will Artley, Pizzeria Orso and Andrew Dixon, Madfox Brewing Company. A new addition this year will be Lebanese Taverna and we look forward to seeing what they cook up later in the season.
All of the demonstrations occur in the Falls Church Farmers Market utilizing the produce and products available in the farmers’ market. Tastings and recipes are also provided throughout the two hour demonstration.
2013 Farmers Market Chef Demonstrations
April 20 Tracy O’Grady Willow – Restaurant and Nosh
May 18 Will Artley – Pizzeria Orso
June 15 DC Central Kitchen
July 13 Andrew Dixon – Madfox Brewing Company
August 10 Bertrand Chemel 2941
Sept 14 Lebanese Taverna
October 12 Steve Mannino American Tap Room
November 9 Tracy O’Grady Willow
BY Kathleen Nixon
March 29, 2013
Falls Church Times Staff
Easter is second biggest chocolate selling time behind Christmas. But why do we crave those little chocolate eggs and bunnies at this time of year? The shapes of our chocolate delicacies revert back to the time of the Pagans. Eggs represented fertility and spring was celebrated in the Pagan belief as the festival of Eastre, which is the goddess of springtime. This goddess would make her earthly presence known each year in the form of a rabbit.
Why chocolate? As you may have heard in the 16th century Queen Elizabeth I banned hot cross buns because of her belief that the cross was a symbol of Catholicism. However, she did allow the pastry to be consumed during Easter and it was a big hit. The bakers throughout Europe were thrilled and very successful at selling pastries that the chocolate makers jumped at the chance to capitalize on the popularity.
It is not only the symbols that are a spring tradition; it is the bright and fanciful colors. These symbolize that it is time to shake off the dark grey clouds and coast of winter, and look to eye catching colors of spring. So when I was invited in by a sign saying “Chocoholics enter here” a few weeks ago, it wasn’t the prospect of chocolate that captivated me it was the bright colors.
Artisan Confections, now in Mosaic, features fanciful chocolates with dazzling colors. You won’t find bunnies and eggs here, but neatly decorated chocolate squares. “Tiny works of art from your local micro-chocolatier” is how they put it. These freshly made masterpieces feature Valrhona chocolate from the south of France. Each work of art is then created adding in unique ingredients such as teas, mint, spices or liquors. The colors will entice, the flavor explosion will saturate your being.
When looking at the wide descriptions of flavors you run from comfort food standby such as Peanut Butter and Jelly, or Salted Caramel with sea salt, but it is the more exotic that will cause you to ponder the selection – Port Wine Fig, Earl Grey Tea or the Arnold Palmer with dark chocolate, lemon and black tea. My favorites? It’s hard to choose. I like the spice of the Ancho Chile or Madagascar Pepper, but the Lavender flower caramel was also too yummy to pass up.
The other spring tradition for me was always watching the Wizard of Oz. Spring break, Easter Sunday and Dorothy Gale that is when I knew spring was here. While it has been a long time since Toto danced across my television screen, I did thoroughly enjoy the new film Oz The Great and Powerful in 3D. There have been many 3D movies out for some time, but this film finally showcases how 3D can truly enhance a story.
Mosaic District Fairfax – in the same building as Target
2910 District Avenue Fairfax, VA 22031
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm
March is the cruelest month. This week we had snow, then 70 degree weather and then snow forecasted again for Monday. The Falls Church Farmers Market has been plagued with bad weather several Saturdays in a row according to Howard Herman, Farmers Market Manager. Usually this time of year, we hear from the farmers that they want to bring in early summer goods, but not this year.
What do you find now that is fresh? Kale is coming back and the tender greens are perfect for salads. Last fall, one of the Little City’s favorite chefs Andrew Dixon of Madfox Brewing Company did a kale salad with butternut squash bacon for a Falls Church Farmers Market Chef Demonstration. Fortunately we have a special video of Andrew making the salad for the crowd at the market. The demonstration series will start up in April and shortly thereafter we can welcome back many of the familiar and new farmers’ market vendors.
March is when we start putting things in the ground such as potatoes and peas. Around our house we call it March Madness, not the basketball brackets but the bareness in the garden that drives you crazy that you think you need to put more plants in the yard to fill up all the bare spots. Take heart your garden will fill out in a month or two.
And while you may think warmer weather will never get here, have heart as there will be tomatoes soon! Spring Valley Farm and Orchards just posted on their Facebook page that tomatoes are showing up on the vines in their greenhouses. Other vendors have tomatoes started in their greenhouse as well. And why do we always use tomatoes as the temperature gauge for fresh food rather than look at what is seasonal and local?
As we settled into our sitting area a few winter weekends ago, my husband said “this really is a little gem” referring to our cabin at Savage River Lodge. After just under three hours away from the City of Falls Church and after a lovely stop for lunch in Frederick at Family Meal, our drive dipped down into a canyon, across a meadow stream and then up Savage River Mountain.
In the winter, if you do not have four or all wheel drive, you either have to call to be picked up or don’t bother coming. The road is plowed but still needs extra traction to get up to the main lodge and even some cars (Audis) still don’t make it. If you try to chance it and get stuck, it is a $250 charge to get pulled out. This seclusion is worth it because at the end of the road is a luxurious and sumptuous get away for you and possibly your favorite furry friend.
Once at the main lodge, you feel like you have returned to your family’s mountain retreat. Rough hewn walls, comfy chairs and a huge fireplace welcome you to your retreat. This lodge has seen many of my family celebrations – birthday, anniversaries, holidays and the all important get a way.
Savage River Lodge is set on 45 acres surrounded by 750 acres of the Savage River State Forest in western Maryland. You are very far removed from traffic congestion, hub-bub of urban life and most importantly TV or electronics of any kind. The lodge was started by Jan and Mike Russell after forming Nature of Business, a management development program founded on the principle that nature can teach us personally and organizationally how to succeed.
After purchasing the land in 1990, the long road was started. Literally as the road and bridge to the main lodge was not finished until 1998 with the lodge and cabins completed in 2001. Each of the 18 cabins is a serene get away with a loft for sleeping, a cozy sitting room with gas burning stove and a porch. All the cabins are similar in layout but offer different views of the forest, which is right outside your door. You can step out of your cabin and be on one of the many hiking or cross country skiing trails. The favorite and easiest trail being the Bodhi’s Green trail which circumvents the main property and allows secluded views of the forest and its valley’s to and from the main lodge or just to take a walk.
In following Jan and Mike’s environmental vision, many “green” enhancements have been made along the way to support their business venture. Biodiesel was first used in 2008 utilizing the restaurant’s cooking oil to power all of the equipment on the property and in 2010 350 solar panels were installed on the hillside behind the Main Lodge. Mike has done all this himself and provides many tidbits to interested parties. These conversations have been helpful to my family as Virginia and the City of Falls Church seems to be void of any green energy practitioners.
The lodge has a restaurant that may serve most of your meals. You do receive a lovely morning basket with muffins, juice and the daily lodge newsletter. The lodge restaurant serves breakfast/brunch/lunch on the weekends from 9am to 2pm and dinner all evenings. You can go off property for your meals, but you really won’t want to. A leisurely walk through the forest to the lodge where a sumptuous meal awaits is what getaways are all about.
During the warmer weather the restaurant offers a lovely porch with a commanding view of the meadow and surrounding forests. Hummingbird feeders and flower filled planters frame the view. In the winter, the dining room just beyond the bar is warm and cozy. The lodge works with several area farms for their ingredients including a new partnership with Firefly Farms for their goat cheese.
The new chef Tylor Dinteman has significantly expanded the menu including several vegetarian options including Grilled Trumpet Mushrooms served over black Beluga lentils and Heirloom Bean Cassoulet served with mushrooms and root vegetables. The rest of the menu has also been expanded to include several new dishes for brunch and dinner.
For breakfast I was enthralled with “The Hunter” omelet with caramelized mushrooms, melted leeks, smoked Gouda and wilted arugula. Omelets sometimes are too big and too wet for me, but this omelet was so perfect that I had it both mornings. The caramelized mushrooms and melted leeks supported the smoked Gouda, so the overall taste was warm and inviting with just enough bite from the arugula. Maple glazed bacon – maple from trees on property – was thick and crunchy.
For dinner the Lodge Meatloaf is a favorite with its unique bland of wild meats, pork and beef with fresh herbs, spice and local maple syrup that is wrapped in apple wood smoked bacon, finished with cabernet mushroom demi glace. The new menu includes several new items such as a Lamb Cassoulet a lamb loin with braised lamb, Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast and a duo of Pork which includes a pork ragu tossed with fresh pasta served with a roasted pork tenderloin.
One of the new additions is a partnership with Firefly Farms and you can see this at its best with either a private tasting at the farm or for dessert by choosing the cheese plate. I am partial to cheese after dinner rather than dessert so I was thrilled to see this addition to the menu and impressed by the selection of cheeses presented.
For your dining pleasure there is an extensive wine list which has been noted by both the Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast as being exceptional. I tend to agree.
In addition to the secluded and lovely location and the wonderful food, the Savage River Lodge is a very the dog friendly environment. The current lodge canine hosts are Koko and Karma who just celebrated their third birthday – 21 in people years – and they were able to enjoy their first micro brew. Besides seclusion, luxurious hospitality and environmental responsibility, canine comfort is important to the team at Savage River Lodge. In your cabin there are supplies that all dog parents need – towels, bowls and bags. If you need any treats, they are freshly baked on the premises. If you would like to treat your pup to a gourmet meal, there is a menu to select from. And in your morning breakfast, you will find a sumptuous doggie treat for your pup along with your muffins and juice. Dogs are allowed everywhere on the property except in the Main Lodge and only need to be on leash in and around the cabins. There are plenty of puppy stations throughout the main property equipped with bags and trash receptacles. Ill behaved puppies and their families are noted and not invited back.
Savage River Lodge is located off of Interstate 68 just outside of Frostburg Maryland. The cabins are all the similar with differences being in size of the bed and view. They range from $225-$245. There is a pet fee of $30 per night. There is a two night minimum on the weekends, and a three night minimum on holiday weekends. The lodge notes that it is an adult centered retreat and does not have activities or sitting arrangements for children as well as a very limited children’s menu in the restaurant.
Savage River Lodge
1600 Mt. Aetna Road
Frostburg, MD 21532
Every now and then you need a refresher on basic cooking techniques; no matter how many reruns of Julia Child you watch, we all need a reminder of some of the basics. With so many diets, fads and trends that have clouded the landscape it is difficult to remember – do we use oil, butter or nothing? What is wet versus dry cooking? And not only how will this taste but how will it be good for me?
We recently attended a cooking class titled “Basic Meat Cookery Methods” which included Pan Searing, Braising, and Poaching. The class was part of a series of cooking classes taught at the Fields Of Athenry farm, outside of Middleburg which also raises beef, lamb, duck, turkey, chicken and goose while sourcing pork from a local Mennonite farmer.
The class setting is intriguing as it is part of a farm kitchen and many of the ingredients for the class could be purchased in the farm store. The farm, class and chef follow the Weston Price Foundation philosophies which believe that healthy lives are only possible if we eat nutrient dense foods and animal fats prepared in traditional manner from ingredients that are raised sustainably, organically and responsibly.
The class is taught by Chef Wes Rosati, formerly the Executive Chef at Landsowne Resort and now formally part of the Fields of Athenry farm. Chef Wes has been a long supporter of sustainably raised foods, so he fits in perfectly with the farm which adheres to sustainable farming practices.
For our class, the menu was set: Steak au Poivre, Braised Lamb Osso Bucco with Red Wine Integral Jus, and Poached Salmon with Winter Vegetables all which we were able to see prepared and then enjoy lunch. It was a sunny cold winter afternoon, but the class kitchen was warm and toasty and while observing the class we enjoyed local cheeses complemented with local wines.
The basics of the class centered on understanding that there are two different types of cooking for meat and fish: wet and dry. Depending on what end result you were looking for, you chose the appropriate method. Chef Wes first built a vegetable broth that would be used to poach salmon. Poaching is a wet method that requires first building a broth, which he did utilizing seasonal vegetables that could poach, create a sauce and maybe later use as a nice soup base.
Onions were first sauteed in lard, but coconut oil or ghee could be used. Chef Wes shared that certain sautéing ingredients are easier for the body to digest, thus he uses lard, ghee or coconut oil. Then adding spices, primarily turmeric, which is especially beneficial in a diet, he then deglazed with some wine. After this he added in lemon, garlic and his other vegetables – kale, carrots, turnips, celery and covered them with water and simmered. He shared that when using herbs distinguishing between hard and soft herbs that will stand up to cooking; using the hard herbs – thyme, rosemary, first and then following with the softer herbs such as oregano, parsley or chives.
After cooking for 15 minutes the broth is ready to use to poach the salmon. The salmon is first prepared with sea salt – again a more easily digestible form and better for the overall diet – and pepper and set at room temperature. The poaching took about 10 minutes, 5 minutes each side and then was served with some of the vegetables in the broth. The vibrant colors and delicious taste brighten up the winter afternoon. What was even for sublime, was that my husband was able to recreate the entire dish a few nights later using salmon from the farmers market.
The next dishes – steak au poivre and chicken – featured the dry method but using a spice rub or just plain salt and pepper, and high heat to seal in the juices. The preferred cuts for this method were Sirloin, or Delmonico as well as just a plain chicken breast. The key in this method is to use a high heat and patience – just a few minutes. This allows the ‘sealing” of the meat which happens as the meat pulls away from the pan. The final dish involved braising which is a long slow cooking process again in a broth, a heartier one than poaching, and a cut of meat that is fattier. The slow cooking allows the fat in the meat to render down creating a melt in your mouth texture.
The next class available is on March 9th which will feature how to prepare proteins with an accompanying pan sauce, a basic Sauce Bolognese and vegetable cookery. The demonstrated dishes will be: Pork Tenderloin Medallions with an Apricot and Red Onion Compote, Beef and Lamb Bolognese, Roasted Cauliflower, Sautéed Garlicky Kale.
The team at Fields of Athenry is developing a spring schedule of classes, so check their website for updates on upcoming classes. The Fields of Athenry will also be providing the “pop up wellness café” at the March 10th Grow Your Health conference occurring at the Woodson High School in Fairfax. The Wellness Festival will be featuring a food documentary called “In ORGANIC We Trust” as well as gardening classes and local foods panel discussions.