Tag Archives: dinner

Thirty Acre Farm & Outstanding in the Field {Whitefield, ME}

You may or may not have heard of this “farm-to-table” trend and, perhaps depending on who you ask,  it may or may not have hit the road and spread across the country thanks to Jim Denevan. He started a career in the food world as a dishwasher, progressed to second-line cook and, with credit given to the influence of Alice Waters in California, eventually led an Italian restaurant to source locally grown ingredients and be proud of it.

As fate would have it, his brother (Bill Denevan) owned and operated an organic farm in the area. Jim’s idea to source locally to his restaurant’s tables was eventually taken outdoors to an actual on-the-farm table. Years later, he tours the country with his Outstanding in the Field (OITF) team and, lucky for us, opens the farm doors to any and all who wish to dine.


A summer trip to the Land of Lobstah was largely planned around the Thirty Acre Farm dinner in Whitefield, ME. An outdoor dinner on a farm on a late-August Maine evening? Yes, count me IN.


The “dinner” started in the late afternoon (3pm) with appetizers, generous local beer and wine pours, a farm tour and a lot of photo-taking.


On the left: Jim & Anna giving the OITF story.
On the right: Jane & Simon giving us the Thirty Acre Farm story!


Each OITF dinner is BOYP – bring your own plate. This was an excuse to buy new plates, because there’s no reason to trust TSA with this kind of thing, and bring home a unique souvenir! The OITF team kindly cleans them for you before the evening is said and done, and they do have extras laying around just in case you miss the memo.

We sat down to dine around 5pm, with four courses ahead!


We started with freshly baked artisan breads and, of course, a fresh-from-the-farm salad. Summer tomatoes and arugula have never tasted so good…


The second course brought us locally sourced grilled Bluefin tuna, the farm’s signature kimchee and a daikon lamiaceae salad.


Each course is served family-style, with “family” being defined by the lines in the table. We were among locals (Portland, ME) and travelers  (Boston, South Carolina, California, DC…) alike. It makes for great conversation, plenty to eat or a way to pace yourself for the main entrée – depending on your approach!


For the big hurrah, the table was graced with Thirty Acre Farm lamb, baked Swedish beans and roasted peppers + eggplant. My plate looked a little bit different, with a variety of grilled vegetables, herbs and rice ‘cakes’ (not the cardboard-kind, the kind made with freshly cooked rice and seasonings):

(They happily accommodate food allergies, intolerances and/or preferences.)

And while we were all hoping that the deliciously in-season Maine blueberries would make an appearance for dessert, we were instead greeted with a creative spread of sweet breads, homemade granola and sweet spreads:



I’ve already scouted events in 2014, as these dinners sell out quickly! It was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had while on vacation. I know no better way to get a feel for the local food scene: support a family farm, meet the traveling farm-to-table enthusiasts and hang with local servers and chefs (huge kudos & thanks to Eventide + Hugo & Chefs Andrew Taylor & Mike Wiley).

If you have the chance to join this crew for a meal, don’t turn it down!


Check out their upcoming events & read more about the OITF family here.

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Filed under food, travel

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot: Eat Food.

After posting my health library I realized that, while I love flipping through the pages, I’ve never fully read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It actually sits on my desk at work, should I ever need some very simple inspiration for a post (work-blog, not here), seminar or handout. Now, it’s sitting on my kitchen table as I realize it could be the inspiration for some new recipes.

I like to think we make up our own rules here in the DOTR kitchen, and that Mr. Pollan would approve. Our “rules” would have to mash together to form something that includes dark chocolate and a hankering for chips & salsa; there are some compromises to be made! But nonetheless, I opened the book to page 5 and started with this:

1) Eat food.

We can do that!

Today’s recipe is a simple one-pot wonder that will put dinner in your bowl/plate/mouth within 30 minutes (or less). If you wanted to roast the tomatoes yourself – power to ya! – then use this on a cooler summer evening with fresh summer tomatoes and go for it (adding some cook-time)! When they’re out of season, I reach for the Muir Glen Organic Fire-roasted Tomatoes because I know them well. The flavor can’t be matched!

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot

2 cans (15 oz) fire-roasted organic tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) organic chickpeas, undrained
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or one glove garlic, minced)
Salt/pepper to taste

Le Creuset Cooking

Heat oil over medium in a large pot or Dutch oven; add onion and sauté until opaque/softened. Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, broccoli, quinoa and seasonings. Stir until mixed well; bring to boil and then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for ~20-25 minutes (until quinoa is cooked through). Stir every couple of minutes to prevent any burning.

Let it cool, and then dish it out!

Roasted tomato & quinoa veggie pot 2

This was the perfect, easy and flavorful one-pot creation on a colder DC night. Next up I might finally use that slow-cooker that’s staring at me and waiting to show its power!


What was on your dinner menu this week?


Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Basil Tofu Pesto & Pasta

With D on a ride after work, I had some extra time to assess the fridge’s contents and be creative with its dwindling supplies. I knew one thing for sure, that post-bike-ride stomach is a bottomless pit! Dinner needs to be voluminous, with all of the right nutrients.

This recipe is gluten and dairy free, but could be easily adapted either way:

tofu basil pesto ingredients

When I pick up the Trader Joe’s organic infinite Basil, it is with well intentions and an ambitious mind. It’s tricky to get through that entire box before leaves begin to bore and brown. Pesto is a quick fix for that!

Knowing that riding in the 100* heat wouldn’t create an appetite for a steaming bowl of pasta, I cooked these brown rice noodles about an hour beforehand, and let them cool in the fridge.

Then, I photographed things and got to thinking…would this work? Dinner, let’s play, and see what happens!

Basil Tofu Pesto & Pasta

4-6 oz brown rice pasta* noodles (3-4 servings), cooked & chilled
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 block extra firm {sprouted} tofu, drained
1/4 cup raw pecans
1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
Splash of unsweetened Almond milk**

Optional add-in: steamed kale leaves, or other greens (spinach, mustard, etc.)

*Use any noodle/pasta you have on hand.
**Or other milk substitute (soy, rice, etc)

Before chilling the pasta, stir in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and season with pepper.

Slice tofu block into pieces; add to food processor with pecans, basil leaves and salt/pepper. Pulse for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 1/2Tbsp oil and add in a splash of Almond milk (or other milk substitute). Continue pulsing for an additional ~3 minutes, until reaching a smooth, creamy texture.

tofu basil pesto

Stir tofu basil pesto with pasta to coat and mix together. Add in steamed greens.

tofu basil pesto pasta bowl

Quick, easy and perfect for a hot summer evening! The texture was the middle ground between traditional pesto and alfredo sauce, without any heavy cream or excessive oil. The sauce was smooth enough to spread around easily, but strong enough to really stick onto each twisted noodle.

I added in kale leaves because we had them on hand and I love an extra dose of color for nutrients and flavor. Any vegetable of preference could be substituted in there, or even a medley of them – I’m thinking sautéed summer squash & red onions, or sun-dried tomatoes and spinach for next time!

Either way, this tofu basil pesto will not disappoint, and could even trick a meat-eater with a bowl of creamy pasta & a full on flavor punch. You have your protein, multiple sources of healthy fats, carbohydrates and veggies! In other words, you can’t go wrong with this staple.


Happy Friday!

Have you tried a twist on the traditional pesto before? Our last experiment involved avocado and sunflower seeds, and that was a hit, too! Pesto can wear many hats.


Filed under dinners, recipes, vegetarian