Thursday, August 21, 2008
Thanks to Taylor and her excellent organizational skills, a bunch of us foodies got together in a sweet spot in Fairmount Park this past Sunday to eat and hang out in the company of other food nerds. It was a totally gorgeous day, the park was full of happy people and everyone at our gathering brought something delicious to share.
Even though she's a strict veggie, Taylor was kind enough to procure locally raised venison, beef and pheasant for the meat eaters to grill up. I had a venison burger that was cut with a little beef. This not only minimized the slightly gamy flavor of the venison, but because deer is so lean, the beef provided just the right amount of fat to keep things moist and yummy. Just below the burgers are venison kebabs, and the silver bowl contains a delicious North Carolina pulled pork made by Sara from The Real Potato. That beautiful dish of guacamole was made by my roommate, Alison. Most of the time she pretends she doesn't cook, but then whips up magical things like mini fritattas and impresses us all. She's also one of the best guacamole chefs I've ever had the pleasure to meet and she didn't let us down on this day. Taylor also put together some veggie kebabs and Neal from Burning Pasta brought a jar of pickled peaches. They weren't sweet, but lightly spiced and still firm enough to eat as a compliment to meat or just on their own.
One of my favorites from the day was this dish of lettuce wraps with marinated shrimp. Patti from Philly Food Guys made this snack and revealed the recipe was from The South Beach Diet Cookbook. My mother owns that book, so I'm going to have to borrow it and page through it on a search for the recipe.
Alex from Le Petit Cochon made a delicious salad of corn, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro that reminded me of a salad my mother used to make during the summertime when we lived in California and the produce was always so good. Alex's version was light and perfect for this picnic. Other highlights (not pictured) included shrimp marinated in shallots and whole peppercorns and a cold red cabbage and soba noodle salad.
Dessert is usually my favorite category of potluck food and this edition was no let down. Wendy has been perfecting her chocolate chunk cookie recipe and loaded this batch up with three kinds of chocolate, whole wheat flour, almond meal and tons of chopped almonds. Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies made an appearance thanks to Taylor and her friend Stephanie made a fresh blackberry cobbler. The most unusual, but my favorite sweet treat of the afternoon was the Bacon Toffee. Yes, Bacon Toffee! Neal from Burning Pasta made it at home and it was delicious. Salty and sweet as well as crunchy and chewy - that's the perfect combination of flavor and texture and I hereby declare Bacon Toffee one of the best bacon creations I've had the pleasure to taste. I don't have photographic evidence of the rest of the goodies on the sweets table, but Collin made sure to bring some Famous 4th Street Deli cookies and Patti and Bill brought a healthy peanut butter dip with apples.
Another good event with great food and both old and new friends. It was fun to meet the faces behind The Real Potato, Phoodie.info, and Burning Pasta for the first time. I hope you all had fun and will join us at our next get together where hopefully we'll be experimenting with Miracle Fruit.