Lovely fundraiser dinner for WFFC last night at The Rabbit. I got a chance to catch up with my friend and fellow Master Food Preserver Amy, of WFFC and Eugene Local Foods fame, and her husband Matt. I met a tableful of new people, too. I’ve been feeling a bit too cloistered, so it was nice to get out and talk to people from the community.
We started out with rabbit pâté bonbons, a fat cube of pâté frosted with foie gras, goat cheese, and some kind of delicious crunchies that may very well have been cracklins. I am not ashamed to admit I ate about six of them. Because seriously, WFFC dinner guests, I was NOT going to let those go back to the kitchen if you weren’t gonna eat them.
The tuna was seared and placed atop a nice little salad. It wasn’t as good as, say, the silky watermelon gazpacho I had last week (and Chef Gil is letting me post the recipe — on to do list). But it was bright and had enough nice acid to hold its own against the fresh albacore.
The Delaware chicken and Ancona duck were from Boondockers farm. I had the pleasure of talking to Evan and Rachel, the farmers, and was really blown away by the conservation work they’re doing with the heritage breeds. They actually breed the ducks on their farm instead of buying ducklings, and they’ve received a grant for an incubator and stock from venerable breeders. Go ducks! It’s really impressive and industrious. They have been also working on other poultry species, including the chicken our chef served in a gallantine with an absolutely beautiful verjus mayo-ish concoction made with verjus, oil, and xanthan. I was so happy to see the bed of red sweet and sour cabbage with the gallantine, what with my Eastern European fetish and all.
The duck was surrounded by small, jeweled vegetables from the other farm featured that night, Creative Growers, who provided most if not all of the produce. I liked the addition of the slightly glazed chanterelle — it was like watching summer turn to fall right before our very eyes. And don’t think we didn’t notice the various gizzardy bits in the sauce. Pretty sneaky, delish!
The lamb, from Anderson Ranch at Long’s, was also delicious, a swirl of smoked jus jealously lurking around the real star of the show: a blackened, thick, smoked eggplant paste that set off the lamb perfectly. Oh, and the wines were really terrific, too, especially the Riesling matched with the gallantine. The Lemelson was nothing to sneeze at, either.
And dessert was my fantasy, for the most part. The pale rose caramel and glazed walnut were the only hint of sweetness. A walnut cake and underripe seared peach were served with a peeled, marinated (I think) cherry tomato, like a full stop.
Thanks, Rabbit, Boondockers, and Creative Growers! It was a wonderful meal and I so appreciate your efforts to improve the Eugene dining scene. You’re doing fantastic work.