Farm to Fork Dinner at Verrill Farm


What is better than a summer dinner full of farm-fresh treats? How about enjoying that dinner outside, on the farm itself, surrounded by friends?

Take a break from the city and come celebrate the bounty of summer with the Culinary Guild of New England and the AIWF (American Institute of Wine and Food) for a special Summer Harvest Farm to Fork Dinner out at Verrill Farm!

hayrideFirst, we will enjoy a pre-dinner tractor drawn hayride that will take us through the fields to get a closer look at the crops. Then comes dinner — which will showcase the seasonal and fresh produce grown on the farm. Dinner will also show-off the culinary talents of a few of the Culinary Guild board members as well, such as Verrill Farm chefs Guida Ponte and Jennifer Verrill and Guy Crosby of Cook’s Illustrated.

Just a heads up — our dinner will be held rain or shine and we will be sitting outside. So, please (pretty, pretty please) remember to dress for the weather!

Want to join us for dinner? RSVP now!

Can’t wait until our dinner to enjoy the produce of summer? Try this recipe now — straight from the farm!

Verrill Farm’s Corn and Tomato Tart

This recipe got rave reviews at Verrill Farm’s 2004 Corn & Tomato Festival!

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion – chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – chopped
  • 5 ears corn – uncooked – kernels off
  • 1/4 cup smoked cheddar cheese – shredded
  • 1/2 pint “Sweet 100” cherry tomatoes (these are a small variety and left whole – other varieties may be substituted)
  • 3 scallions – chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  1. Sauté onions & garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the corn & cook 5 – 10 minutes.
  2. Season with salt & pepper to taste and remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Add 1/2 of the corn mixture to the pie shell. Layer shredded cheese on top and add the remaining portion of the corn mixture.
  4. Put the cherry tomatoes & scallions on top.
  5. Whisk eggs, milk, and cream together with a pinch of salt and pour over tart.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 30 mins or until set.

Variation: Add chopped bacon and/or jalapeno to the tart for some extra kick.

Notes: You can use either a pre-made pie crust or make your own. If making your own pie crust, check out Verrill Farm’s recipe that fits a 9″ – 10″ ceramic pie pan.

A tart pan may also be used.

Election Day Cake

by Lynn Paikowski MD, CGNE member

Photo credit: The Culinary Institute of America

With election season upon us, we recognize that there existed culinary traditions associated with this time. In New England of the 18th and 19th centuries, Election Day was a great holiday, ranking second only to Thanksgiving. Naturally, such a big event called for special foods.

The women (who couldn’t vote) stayed at home and baked special yeast-raised, fruited “Election Cakes” while the men trekked to the polls, sometimes having to travel great distances to cast their ballots. The rich, moist cakes, similar to Italian panettone or German stollen, were served with punch or eggnog at get-togethers when the hungry voters returned. Women of the hosting towns, where the voting places were, would also bake these cakes to serve to visiting voters. An early evening supper was another event of the day. This might include sausage, fried apples, potatoes and milk gravy, and ”Rye’ n Injun” bread, a steamed bread made from rye and cornmeal, similar to Boston brown bread.

Election Cake is thought to have originated in Hartford. In “American Cookery”, the first cookbook published in America (circa 1800), the writer Amelia Simmons mentions a Hartford Election Cake. “The Yankee Magazine Cookbook” says the cake was …”sold outside the polling place, like a one-cake bake sale, to help sustain voters”.

In honor of the women of early New England, who did their part to help keep our democratic traditions alive even though they could not vote themselves, we present a recipe for Election Cake, to help us start an Election Day tradition of our own.

Election Cake

  • 4 to 4 ½ cups unsifted flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • 1 ½ cups very hot tap water
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped citron
  1. In a large bowl thoroughly mix 1 ¾ cups flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace, and yeast. Add butter.
  2. Gradually add hot tap water to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.
  3. Add eggs and ¾ cups flour, or enough to make a thick batter. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Add raisins, pecans, citron, and enough flour to make a stiff batter. Stir until well combined.
  4. Turn into greased 10-inch tube pan. Cover: let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 ½ hours. Bake at 375 about 45 minutes, or until done. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Happy Election Day!

An interview with WGBH event panelist Dan Souza

By Amy Scheuerman, CGNE vice president

Dan Souza is an Associate Editor for Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Dan was the Test Kitchen Experiment Editor for The Science of Good Cooking and will be a star in the upcoming season of America’s Test Kitchen TV. We interviewed Dan to learn more about The Science of Good Cooking, his experiments with David Pogue and the NOVA team for Can I Eat That and how he went from being an English teacher in Hungary to studying the science of the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Amy: How did you first get interested in cooking?

Dan: I was interested in cooking from a young age, which I think most people are who get into this world. I didn’t get interested in cooking professionally until I went and tried teaching English in Hungary and I was quite poor at it. And one of my adult students was the chef at the local restaurant – and this was a village of like 1500 people, so this is a restaurant in the truest sense of the term – but was more making really old school Hungarian food for large groups of people. I was looking for something I’d really enjoy and I started cooking there on the weekends and fell in love with it and thought it was the best thing ever. We’d get like whole sides of beef from like the father of the bride for a wedding dinner and turn it into beef stew and goulash and all these things. So I started paying way more attention to that and didn’t have to worry about the fact that I was horrible at teaching.

Amy: Did you just abandon the kids?

Dan: Ha! No I actually started working cooking more into the lessons, which made me like teaching more.

Amy: Where did you attend culinary school and get your cooking chops?

Dan: When I came back from Hungary, I’d gone to school for business and communications and wanted to do something with that. So I worked in advertising as a copywriter. During that time I kept thinking “I kinda want to cook,” but it took me two years or so to convince myself that I could go make salads for a living and it would be okay. I finally did that. I was doing some freelance ad work with Dante and I just asked them if I could cook for them on weekends. They threw me into it, I screwed up a ton, they let me keep doing it, amazingly. And eventually the chef said to me, “If you want to do this, you’re kinda old in the grand scheme of restaurant cooking, so you might want to go to culinary school soon.” So I went to the CIA in Hyde Park and got an Associates there.

Amy: Did your interest in cooking science lead you to ATK, or did ATK increase your interest in cooking science?

Dan: There were times in culinary school that I wanted to know more and I turned to Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, which I think is pretty common. I tried to look for answers on things and try to understand the whys. But I definitely came to science through food. I’m really a writer and a cook first. The science helped me to better understand the cooking. It really came to a head here [at America’s Test Kitchen] when I was really looking for ways to make recipes better or more functional.

Amy: What was the topic for the NOVA special?

Dan: Making the perfect turkey. We talked a lot about brining and salting. We did some stuffing. Talked about staling bread versus drying it out and what that does to the final texture. I know what I did was smash a lot of burgers with David Pogue to show the value of grinding your own meat.

Amy: When was it filmed?

Dan: We filmed in April.

Amy: So is it weird to be making a giant Thanksgiving feast in spring?

Dan: You know, it isn’t really for us, just because we work on a time table that’s so offset. We’re never really doing things at the right time, like holiday cookies in summer. I think that for most people it could be weird, but we’re very used to it at this point. Like grilling when you don’t want to be grilling so readers can do it in the summer. By the time Thanksgiving actually rolls around you don’t even want it because you’ve had it so many times.

Amy: What’s your favorite part of testing recipes and cooking techniques in the ATK kitchen?

Dan: We do two kinds of testing. One is more step-by-step. We always try this and then that and then that. The other is that we do some really out of the box stuff where we just see what happens. It’s those kinds of discoveries that I really like. And I like trying things that you read in Modernist Cuisine that’s kind of a chefy, high-end book, but then we tweak it in the kitchen so it’s something home cooks can use.

Amy: You were also very involved in the new Science of Good Cooking book, right?

Dan: Nods

Amy: What was your favorite experiment from that book?

Dan: There’s one that I really liked…discussing the effect of glutamic acid and glutamates on our sense of savory or umami and talking about these newly identified group of flavor boosters called free nucleotides and they work in synergy with each other.

So what we did was we got pure samples of MSG and free nucleotides and added them to water. We added MSG to one and free nucleotides to another and a combination of the two to another. And the water is remarkably savory, which is kind of weird because it’s water and it’s savory. The combination one there’s synergy there and it’s really noticeable and really cool. And if you look at cuisine this relationship is everywhere. And foods that are rich in glutamates and paired with foods that are rich in free nucleotides.

Amy: I’ve never heard of free nucleotides, can you give me an example?

Dan: If you look at Caesar salad. In caesar salad dressing you have anchovies, which have a lot of free nucleotides (and a little bit of glutamic acid), and then the Parmesan cheese has a lot of glutamates, so that combination together is really savory and good. If you look at even like a cheeseburger, the beef has a lot of free nucleotides and the cheese has glutamic acid which is another combination we love and you see that repeated over and over.

Amy: What experiment gave you results you really didn’t expect?

Dan: There’s some really surprising stuff in the book and when you first encounter it you’re like “whoa!” We had an experiment where we had four boneless, skinless chicken breasts and four different marinades. They were pretty standard: one was soy sauce based, one was red wine, one was garlic and parm and one was yogurt based. So we marinated them for 18 hours, which is a really long time for a marinade, but we wanted to make sure it had time to penetrate. Then we cooked them and carved off the outer 3 millimeters of all of them. We cut them into cubes and had people try them and people couldn’t tell the difference.

Amy: Everyone who buys a ticket to the screening of the NOVA special will receive a copy of the Science of Good Cooking. What is the one recipe you think everyone should make from the book?

Dan: It depends on if you have a sweet tooth or not but I feel like the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies are a must. They’re so good, they’re what the Tollhouse cookie always wanted to be. And there are a few tricks in there terms of how we boost the flavor and perfect the texture. Cookies are really complicated even though they seem so simple, so there’s a lot of good science in there.

Amy: What are 3 ingredients you can’t live without?

Dan: What would go into a vinaigrette basically: salt, oil, and acid. More specifically Kosher salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. You can make so many things good with those ingredients. I think the best things on our world are essentially vinaigrettes.

Amy: A piece of equipment you think every cook should own?

Dan: I feel like the easy answer is a good knife. I’m going to say that beyond a good knife is a good cutting board. Which most people don’t have. A cutting board that is big enough and a good material.

Amy: Who or what inspires your cooking?

Dan: Two different things. What I do here: the curiosity and the scientific process because I find it really interesting. Cooking in general would be the childhood memories. Trying to make things more and more delicious.

Amy: What’s your favorite comfort food?

Dan: Noodle soups are the most comforting thing out there. Any big hot bowl of soup, like miso soup or ramen.

Want to meet Dan in person? He’ll be one of our panelists at the Culinary Guild’s event: Cooking Science with WGBH. This exclusive event, open to Culinary Guild members and their guests only, is just $60. Ticket price includes a copy of The Science of Good Cooking. A book signing will be held after the panel discussion. Register now to save your spot!

20 Questions with Author Molly Birnbaum

Interview conducted by Social Media Intern Linda Yung. You can Read more of her work at her blog, spoonhau5.

Molly Birnbaum

Molly Birnbaum will be discussing Season to Taste at CGNE's November Book Club

1. Favorite childhood snack:

My mother used to make applesauce every fall. I loved to eat it warm, with lots of cinnamon sprinkled on top. Then I would add a big scoop of cold vanilla yogurt, which kind of melted into the sauce. In fact, that was the only way my family could get my little brother, Ben, to eat fruit for years.

2. Best place to relax in greater Boston area:

Arnold Arboretum. I like to pack a picnic—a baguette, some kind of soft and creamy cheese, and a pile of fresh peaches (in the summer) or ripe pears (right now). It’s an escape from the crowded streets of Harvard Square, where I live.

3. Go-to last minute dinner:

I take an onion, slice it up, and cook it over low heat until it gets nice and caramel brown. When it’s done, I set it aside, turn up the heat and add some sliced up Andouille sausage to the pan, which I often have around the house, because my boyfriend is from New Orleans and he got me hooked, and get that all crisp and browned. Meanwhile, I bring a pot of water to boil, salt it, and cook up some spaghetti, or linguini, or whatever pasta is in the cupboard. As it cooks, I add a few large handfuls of baby spinach to the pot with the sausage, and the onion back in, too. When the pasta is done, it goes in as well, along with a bit of pasta water, salt and pepper and hot pepper flakes. Just before serving, some Parmesan. So good.

4. If you were a fruit, what would you be?

An apple. Sometimes I’m rather tart. But with a little time in the oven, I’m a real softie.

5. Guilty pleasure:

Ice cream. Any kind. Any time. Any where.

6. Guilty pleasure midnight snack:

See previous question.

7. Favorite class in college:

I studied art history as an undergraduate. With this as a major, I was able to spend a semester studying abroad in Italy. While there, I took a class on pasta. This was in the very beginning of what became my obsession with food and cooking, and really taught me the power of making things from scratch. I’ll never forget that first butternut squash ravioli, which we ate with browned butter and sage. It was a classic dish, made in the way it’s been made for generations, but for me, it was a whole new world.

8. Most memorable meal you’ve had:

When reporting Season to Taste, I had the luck, and pleasure, to eat at Grant Achatz’s restaurant, Alinea, in Chicago. He is a chef who truly understands the importance of smell—and all of the senses—and uses that in his cooking in different, fantastical ways. My meal lasted for hours, and vacillated between simply delicious and intellectually challenging. The most memorable moment, I think, was the sweet potato tempura that arrived at the table on a smoking cinnamon stick.

9. Biggest inspiration:

In cooking? After thinking about that meal at Alinea, I’d have to say Grant Achatz. He was diagnosed with tongue cancer right in the midst of his meteoric rise in the world of restaurants and food. As a result of the treatment, he lost his ability to taste. While he did eventually recover—from both the cancer, and the treatment—he had to spend more than a year cooking without all of his senses. But he made it work. And that is a huge inspiration. But in writing? Oliver Sacks, who I was fortunate enough to spend time with during the reporting of Season to Taste as well, is a master at taking the flaws of the human body, the mysteries of science, and turning them into a narrative.

10. Signature pot-luck dish:

I recently brought a batch of Cook’s Illustrated’s Swedish Meatballs, with quick-pickled cucumbers and lingonberry jam to a pot-luck. They went fast.

11. Favorite food-related television show:

I will not lie: I love Giada de Laurentiis.

12. Preferred cuisine:

It’s hard to narrow it down. But Italian? I’ll never say no to a good piece of pizza.

13. Favorite travel destination:

This is impossible to narrow down. I loved the street food of a trip to Kunming, China. The vineyards from a drive up to Salta, Argentina. More recently, I took a trip with my boyfriend to Romania, among other spots, and fell in love with the colorful painted monasteries still intact from the Middle Ages in Bucovina. The tripe soup that we tried there, however, I could probably live without.

14. One thing you can eat every day for the rest of your life:

Mustard. I think this is genetic. When my father was a boy, he actually had scurvy because the only thing he would eat was mustard sandwiches.

15. Favorite time of year:

Apple season. (I love apples.)

16. Signature drink:

Negroni. I love bitter things.

17. Favorite restaurant in the Boston area:

Craigie on Main. I worked as a dishwasher and prep chef for Tony Maws when it was still the Craigie Street Bistrot, before I lost my sense of smell. He puts out some of the most interesting, high quality cuisine in the city.

18. Best advice you’ve ever received:

You’ll sleep when you’re dead, from my mentor at Columbia, where I earned my masters in Journalism.

Molly Birnbaum is the author of Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way, CGNE’s Book Club choice for November. Molly will be joining the book club for a Q&A and discussion on her book.

GiveAway: Win a FREE ticket to The Feast of the Seven Fishes

This November 7th, The Culinary Guild of New England is teaming up with the folks at Island Creek Oyster Bar for a modern take on The Feast of the Seven Fishes, a Southern Italian tradition passed down through generations and celebrated around the world.

The event, costing $55 for members and $70 for non-members, is being held at the Hotel CommonWealth Boston and will include an amazing menu designed by Island Creek Oyster Bar, chef demonstrations of lobster stew and seared scallops, and wine pairings personally selected by the Lower Falls Wine Company.

Here’s how to win a FREE ticket:

  • Like our Facebook page CulinaryGuild
  • Follow Us on Twitter @NECulinaryGuild
  • Answer 1 of the 3 following questions on Twitter and include @NECulinaryGuild in the answer.
  1. The Feast of the Seven Fishes was originally celebrated by which religious tradition?
  2. Baccala, one of the most famous Southern Italian dishes served at Feast of the Seven Fishes, is made of what main ingredient?
  3. The Culinary Guild of New England was founded in what year?

The contest ends at 7:00pm on October 14th, so get your answers in! At the end of the contest we will randomly choose a winner from the contestants. We’ll notify you by Twitter and Facebook by October 17th if you’ve won. Contest limited to 1 entry per person.

Good Luck! 

Time to Renew!

Dear CGNE Members and Friends,

As we wrap up another extraordinary season, I invite you to renew for the coming year.

The 2011-2012 year promises to be very exciting with events including:

  • Foraging with Russ Cohen
  • Feast of the Seven Fishes
  • Gingerbread House Competition
  • Chinese New Year Demo with James Beard Award Winner, Grace Young
  • Valentine’s Baking with Judy Mattera
  • An evening with Cooks’ Illustrated
  • A culinary weekend in New York City
  • Beer and barbecue with Andy Husbands

This year, in addition to our events, supper club, book club, and coffees, we will have volunteer service opportunities in the culinary community.

Annual membership dues:  $75
Seniors (65 years and over) and Juniors (up to 30 years): $35

You can renewal of membership dues:

  1. By logging onto our website, completing the membership application, and submitting your payment through PayPal or
  2. Complete the membership application on our website and send a check payable to:

Culinary Guild of New England
C/O Barbara Baratz
2420 Beacon Street, Unit 102
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

All memberships must be renewed and paid in full by the Opening Meeting on Monday September 19th, 2011 at Commander’s Mansion.  Membership renewals that are paid in full and received on or before August 1st will be entered into a raffle at our Opening Meeting for a free supper club.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us
I look forward to seeing you in our 2011-2012 season!

Feed Your Passion!

Carrie Richards

CGNE Logo Green Medium

Kennebunkport Food Festival

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some food, wine, and art while supporting a good cause.  This year our own Ronni Hass, CGNE’s Marketing Chair, has used her remarkable talents to help organize the Art of Dining: Private Dinner Series during the Kennebunkport Festival.

The Kennebunkport Festival is from May 31st- June 4th and offers up the best of Maine.  From their own website “the Festival is truly a collaborative event where all involved share a single vision: give you an epic and ever-so-memorable start to your summer.”  For visitors it’s a chance to see the art, taste the food and wine, and hear the music that make up the amazing culture of this coastal community in Maine.  For a number of charities aiming to end childhood hunger it’s a way to fund their good works.  Share Our Strength is the largest beneficiary of the Festival and tickets sales for the Art of Dining series go directly to them. Good Shepherd Food Bank, The Preble Street Teen Center, Cultivating Community, and East End Kids Katering are also supported by the profits for the Festival.

The Art of Dining Series, which Ronni was instrumental in organizing, is a series of intimate dinners set in private homes.  The dinners are prepared by Maine’s most-respected chefs, such as David Ross and Brandy Hynes and feature special wine pairings and invited artists. Seating is limited at each dinner and advanced reservation and ticket purchase required.

Ronni Hass, the CGNE connection to the Kennebunkport Festival, has been an active member of CGNE for many years and a board member for the past year.  To learn more about her check out this article in Maine Magazine.