Friday, June 29, 2012

A Tea Party: South Florida Style

The Fruitful Fields recently had a tea party in their community garden. It was a fundraiser event to bring in money to expand and improve their six-acre Pompano Beach, Florida, property.

Here is a short window into the elegance and community feel of the day.

The next tea-in-the-garden is in 2013. To find out more you can go to their facebook page.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Outstanding In The Field Honors Khouri's Goat Farm, Redland,Fla.

I am not a fan of goat cheese except for Hani Khouri’s. His is a fresh, raw goat’s milk variety that has no musky taste. When I heard that Khouri was having a dinner on his dairy goat farm in Redland, Florida, I ran to buy a ticket.

Gabriele Marewski (Paradise Farms) and Hani Khouri (goat
farmer) at Hani Khouri and Outstanding In The Field
farm-to-table dinner, Redland, Fla.

Outstanding In The Field (OITF), a California based, a travelling farm-dinner promoting group, and Chef Alejandro Pinero of Sustain Restaurant, Miami, organized the dinner.

100 plus seat table outside, set on driveway of Khouri's goat
farm at Hani Khouri and Outstanding In The Field's
farm-to-table dinner, Redland, Fla.

It was really cold when I arrived in Redland for dinner. I was surprised to see a really long table, set for over a hundred people, running the full length of Khouri’s outdoor driveway. It was set with white linens, silverware, and glasses of ice-water, brrr.

Smiling servers glided between guests offering tasty treats. I tried a steaming cup of Calabaza soup made with pumpkin. It was a sweet, spicy, creamy tummy warmer.

Leah Scafe and Jim Denevan of Outstanding In The Field at
Hani Khouri and Outstanding In The Field's farm-to-table
dinner, Redland, Fla.

Khouri and OITF organizers--Jim Denevan and Leah Scafe--gave a history of how each got started. Then everyone visited Khouri’s Nubian milk-goats before grabbing a plate and sitting down to eat.

Florida sourced 50-Mile Salad at Hani Khouri and
Outstanding In The Field's farm-to-table dinner,
Redland, Fla.

Fifty-mile salad was first, made with ingredients sourced within 50 miles of Khouri’s farm. The Paradise Farms crisp Brassica lettuce mixed well with Teena’s PrideCSA (now called Nana's Green CSA) sweet multi-colored heirloom tomatoes, crunchy watermelon radishes, and earthy roasted beets.

Florida sourced raw goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms at
Hani Khouri and Outstanding In The Field's
farm-to-table dinner, Redland, Fla.

Next came my favorite dish: breaded, deep fried, squash blossoms (from Paradise Farms), stuffed with raw goat milk fromage blanc (white cheese) and topped with a spicy, creamy sauce.

Sustain Restaurant staff serve beef shanks at Hani Khouri and
Outstanding In The Field's farm-to-table dinner, Redland, Fla.

Followed by the biggest meat-on-the-bone dish I have ever seen. It was steaming braised beef shanks (from Jackman Farms) the size of basketballs. The meat fell apart in savory, tender, juicy chunks. Corona Farms wax beans came on the side but they were stringy and tough.

Bone marrow and toasts plate at Hani Khouri and Outstanding
In The Field's farm-to-table dinner, Redland, Fla.

There was also a bone marrow side with crispy toast but due to an oven malfunction it came out as its own course.

Florida sourced strawberry cobbler with raw goat-milk
creme fresh, Hani Khouri and Outstanding In The Field's
 farm-to-table dinner,
Redland, Fla.

Dessert was a sweet, colorful strawberry (from Knaus Farm) cobbler topped with a green basil reduction drizzel and dollops of Khouri’s goat-milk crème fresh (similar to sour cream).

All the courses came with wines that perfectly accompanied them.

At $190 a person, it was the most expensive dinner I had ever been to but one of the most delicious.
UPDATED March 17, 2016

Monday, June 25, 2012

Worden Farm, Fla: Organic Farm Open-House

Worden Farm, Punta Gorda, Florida, is an ideal organic farm. This year, their end-of-season open-house event was full of hayrides, goat petting, cooking demos, and organic vegetables sales.

Chris Worden giving guided hayride tours of his farm, Punta Gorda, Fla.

There were families, single people, members, non-members, and goats at the event. The activities included guided hay rides with Chris Worden, cooking demos, cover-crop seed sowing, vegetable sales, and pick-your-own flower cutting.

Melted Tatsoi, Mint, and chocolate frozen coconut-milk
dessert, Worden Farm, Punta Gorda, Fla.

At the cooking station there was salsa and a frozen dessert or semi-frozen by the time I got there. The dessert was made with Tatsoi spinach, mint, and coconut milk. It was very tasty with no hint of vegetable.

Cover Crop seed sowing event using frame on field as
guide, Worden Farm, Punta Gorda, Fla.

At the cover crop sowing activity, guests were invited to scatter the contents of small containers, filled with cover-crop seeds, onto a field where wooden frames had been laid. Cover crops are grown through the summer to enrich the nitrogen levels of the ground.

Eva Worden next to bins of organic vegetables for sale
at Worden Farm's end of season open house,
Punta Gorda, Fla.

There was plenty of organic vegetables for sale at very reasonable prices. Eva Worden said the event was held each year to give nonmembers a chance to see what was available at the farm. It is also a chance for members to meet each other and the Wordens.
Extra produce on its way to local food bank, Worden
Farm, Punta Gorda, Fla.

At the end of the day all unpurchased food is donated to a local food bank.
To find out more about Worden Farm go to their website at

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hani Khouri Speaks About Raw-Milk Goat Cheese

Hani Khouri of Khouri Mediterranean Organics spoke recently about his raw-milk cheese making process at his Redland, Florida, based farm.

His farm had been chosen by the farm dinner promoting group Outstanding In The Field, to be the site for a farm-to-table dinner featuring South Florida grown ingredients. In the video below he talks about his raw-milk goat cheese.

He described how his raw-milk cheese was labeled Farmstead cheese, which meant it had to be made on a farm. He also said Florida was the only state that allowed raw-milk cheese sales. He finished by telling the foodie audience which restaurants in Miami used his cheese, and where the cheese could be purchased.

To find out more about Hani's cheese go to

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cathy's Cajun Cuisines: Orlando, Florida Style

Cathy Boullosa says Cajun cooking is more about flavor than heat. And she should know, she was born and raised in New Orleans, and is now the owner of Cathy's Cajun Cuisines.

Cathy Boullosa and Donna Moore at Chateau
Confections Commissary Kitchen, Winter
Park, Fla.

Her interest in Cajun style home cooking and preserving blossomed in Mississippi where she had a garden. Her first jam was made with home grown figs. At the time she sold five types of jam and B.L.T. muffins at local farmers markets.

Cathy moved to Florida eight years ago. She was so disappointed by the Cajun restaurant food that she stopped eating out. Eventually she developed her own T.N.T spice mix to carry with her to restaurants to season her food.

I met her at the Chateau Confections commissary kitchen in Winter Park, Florida. Where she makes and bottles all her recipes.

“I will create a recipe with just about anything, I don’t like to do just strawberry jam. I like to be different and unusual,” Cathy says, handing me a slice of her Fire and Ice pickles, made with vinegar, pepper, and sugar.

We are standing at a counter in the kitchen. There is colorful plate set out before us with multiple spoons filled with different types of jam.

“I’m not afraid to use chocolate in my jams,” She says referring to a best seller called “Red, White, and Blue jam,” that has strawberry jam, raspberry jam, white chocolate, and blueberry jam. “I get a lot of people saying they can’t taste the chocolate but what they don’t realize is the chocolate smooths out the tartness of the raspberries.”

The white chocolate also adds to the eye appeal of her jam. “You eat with your eyes, your nose, and your mouth. So it has to be delectable and look good,” Cathy says with a smile.

She uses Florida ingredients whenever she can especially when they are in season.

Now, she has over 70 Cajun spiced items that she sells at farmers markets, online ,and at Raindancer Carwash in Winter Park. You can find out which Farmers Market she is at by going to her website

Monday, June 18, 2012

Big Wheel Provisions Food Truck: CLOSED

Recently, I had the good luck to try a locally sourced Florida sandwich made by Big Wheel Provisions food truck. I was at the Monday night Audubon Park Community Market and got in the last order of the night, a seafood Po-boy sandwich ($9).

It was made with Ft. Pierce breaded scallops (provided by Wild Ocean Seafood Market), and Heart of Christmas farms' greens. There was a slightly spicy, tart and creamy sauce poured over the finger-licking crispy fried scallops. I couldn't stop eating them even while I was interviewing other vendors at the market. The flavors were just that good.

Updated April 2015, Big Wheel Provisions Food Truck closed in 2013

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Locally Sourced Appetizer: Sth Florida Style

Coolinary Cafe in Jupiter is my new favorite restaurant. I like Chef Tim Lipman's style of cooking and using local Florida ingredients. I also like that I can combine his dishes with local Florida wines I bring with me, like the one from Lakeridge Winery and Vineyard.

Coolinary Cafe's Panhandle appetizer, Jupiter, Fla.

Here's Lipman's Florida Panhandle clams dish paired with Lakeridge Reserve Cuvee (meaning mixed) Noir wine. It is a delicious, complex wine filled with pheromones. It brings the sexy animal side out in food dishes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How I Choose Sweet Watermelons

I always had bad luck choosing sweet, whole, watermelons. So, I was forced to pay higher prices for cut melons.
Florida watermelon with large yellow patch indicating
sweetness, Fla.
Then someone gave me a tip on how to find sweet watermelons: tap on the side of it and listen for a hollow sound. I thanked them and eagerly rushed to the nearest fruit stand to try my new skill. I discovered all melons sound hollow when tapped.

After tapping a dozen or so melons, I took a chance and bought one. When I got it home I discovered my tapping/listening for hollow sounds ability was broken. The melon was OK but not as sweet as I was hoping.

I tried several more times but the results were always the same. Finally, I was forced to go back to buying cut pieces of melon.

Then two years ago, at an Atlanta farmers' market, I got a chance to talk to a watermelon farmer. I asked him how he determined when his fruit was at the peak of sweetness. He said he looked for the ones with a large yellow patch on their skin. This told him the melons had been lying in the fields long enough to become very sweet.

He sold me one of his yellow-patched melons. When I got it home I pleasantly surprised to discover it was one of the sweetest melons I had ever tasted.

It's watermelon season now in Florida. And I just bought a melon using the farmer's technique.'s crisp, sweet, and delicious and just as good as the watermelon I tried in Georgia.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wine And Cheese: Cental Florida Style

I was recently in Orlando, and picked up some food items grown and made in the Central Florida area. I put them together into a sandwich, made with out-of-state mustard and bread.

Central Florida sourced cheese, wine, and greens
For the filling I used creamy, tangy chunks of raw-milk Blue Cheese from Winter Park Dairy (Winter Park), and crunchy greens from Heart of Christmas Farms (Christmas). I chose Orange Sunshine wine to accompany the sandwich. It was made out of fermented florida grown oranges. It was produced by Florida Orange Groves Winery (St. Petersburg). The wine reminded me a lot of a German dessert wine.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Goat Milking And More At Bedner's Farm Earth Day Event, Boynton, Fla.

Foodies gathered at Bedner's Farm to celebrate the Earth and Florida. It was Earth Day. The group--Gulp! Food and Libations organized the event with help from the Bedner's Produce Market family members. They invited 20 Florida companies to showcase their food, alcohol, and products.

Jojo of Goodness Gracious Acres Farm, milking goat--Nikita
at Bedner's Farm Fresh Market, Gulp's Earth Day celebration,
Boynton Beach, Fla.

There were several short 15 min demonstrations/speeches of various topics like goat milking by Jojo Milano of Goodness Gracious Acres Goat Farm/Delilah's Dairy (Loxahatchee). And "Where does your food come from," speech by Francesca from Francesca's Terra Verde Farm Club.

Francesca from Terra Verde Farm Club at Bedner's
Farm Fresh Market, Gulp's Earth Day celebration,
Boynton Beach, Fla.