Summer Chef Series
|Features - Chefs and Restaurants|
|Written by Michelle Collins|
It’s not every day that I leave my office cubicle to walk with chickens and turkeys in a field – although I wish it was.
Last Wednesday, Smolak Farms in North Andover debuted their Summer Chef Series, which will take place the last Wednesday of each month through August. Smolak Farms has partnered with Edible Boston magazine and Wineconnextion for this free event that’s open to the public. The Summer Chef Series kicked off at the scenic farm with a cooking demonstration by Chef Antonio Bettencourt of Sixty2 on Wharf in Salem, who made his Strawberry Rhubarb Crostada with Whipped Mascarpone using fresh produce from the farm (see recipe below).
Chef Bettencourt prides himself on using locally-sourced, all natural ingredients at Sixty2 on Wharf, so for his demonstration at Smolak Farms, he wanted to use ingredients that were in season. Chef Bettencourt admitted to being more adept at cooking savory dishes, but, in this case, a fresh dessert was more fitting due to what was available at the farm. Throughout his demonstration, Bettencourt interacted with the large, chatty crowd and was very informative in regards to the cooking process and the ingredients he was using.
In addition to the cooking demonstration, the Wineconnextion also passed out free wine samples, while a cash bar provided additional drinks to attendees. There was also plenty of food for purchase, including BBQ Vegetable Skewers for $1 each and Moroccan Grilled Ribs with Local Strawberry Honey Glaze for $3 a piece.
Those of us who watched Chef Bettencourt’s cooking demonstration were given samples of his rhubarb crostada after the demonstration was over. The crust of the crostada was perfectly thick, flaky and buttery, and the fresh chunks of tart rhubarb and sweet strawberry tasted so refreshing on this hot summer evening. The flavors of the cool, creamy, lemony mascarpone also balanced beautifully with the buttery crust and tart fruits.
It was great to see so many people come out to Smolak Farms on this first night of their Summer Chef Series – it really shows how many people are interested in supporting our local farmers and the restaurants who appreciate them. The owner of Smolak Farms was even on hand to provide a few words before Bettencourt’s demonstration, and the joy in his face at the sight of the large crowd was evident.
The upcoming Summer Chef Series events are: July 28th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with Chef Jason Bond of Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro; and August 30th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with Chef Samuel Hunt of 15 Walnut.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crostada with Whipped Mascarpone
Chef/Owner Tony Bettencourt
Sixty2 on Wharf
3 ½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
12 oz butter, cubed
8 tbsp heavy cream
2 egg yolks
In a food processor bowl, combine the flour sugar and a pinch of salt. Pulse the dry ingredients until well mixed. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs or sand. Place the cream and egg yolks into a small bowl and beat together with a fork. With the motor of the processor running, pour in the cream and egg mix. Stop the mixer when the dough just comes together. Do not mix for more than 30 seconds or so. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly to combine any last bits of flour and sugar. Roll out onto a piece of parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes before using.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup melted butter
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir with a fork to resemble coarse crumbs. Chill before using.
For the Filling:
1qt of Strawberries
6 stalks of rhubarb
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp flour
Roughly chop the strawberries and rhubarb. Place in a bowl and dust with the sugar and flour. Set aside for 30 minutes before using.
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp sugar
Whip the mascarpone, sugar and lemon zest on high speed until soft enough to spoon like whipped cream.
Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and press into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Add the strawberry rhubarb filling and top with the streusel. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting into slices and top with a spoonful of whipped mascarpone.