By Frank Kourt
MADISON COUNTY —
Guests numbering 120 sat in rapt attention Saturday as this year’s Madison County Cooperative Extension cooking school featured Allison Gordon Davis.
The Madison County native is owner of Wild Thyme, a cooking school and catering business in Lexington.
The annual event combines entertainment and education, as guest chefs take the stage to offer up their expertise in making various dishes, with the assistance of members of the Madison County Homemakers.
“Garden Party” was this year’s theme. The party wasn't in a garden. It was about partying with things that grow in a garden.
Davis told of how her membership in the Madison County 4-H program growing up sparked her life-long passion for food and cooking. In addition to owning and operating her business, Davis does a weekly cooking segment on WLEX-TV.
She regaled her audience with a tasty salad of kale with sweet potatoes and strawberries; spicy Thai beef lettuce wraps; a light summer squash caprese noodle salad; and a creamy potage crème d’asparagus soup.
In addition to demonstrating her recipes, Davis provided practical tips, such as the easy, proper and safe way to chop an onion; why she prefers coconut oil for some dishes; and where to find some of the more exotic ingredients, such as white truffle oil, an optional ingredient in her asparagus soup.
The sponsors made every effort to use as many fresh, locally grown ingredients as possible, and a list of local sources for fresh food was provided, along with the recipes.
During her presentation, Davis frequently paused for questions about her recipes and techniques.
After the demonstration, guests were invited to sample the various dishes the chef created, along with a special dessert provided by the Madison County Extension Homemakers.
Prior to, and after the demonstration, for the first time ever, the event hosted 15 vendors, who set up booths selling everything from vintage jewelry to handmade baskets, to herb baskets and wooden bowls and more.
Door prizes were provided by local artists, and everyone got a “goody bag,” containing useful items.
The $10 per ticket price went to a good cause, since all proceeds were donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Program at the University of Kentucky.
Chef shares sweet summer salad recipe
Allison Gordon Davis, owner of Wild Thyme, a cooking school and catering business in Lexington, guest chef at this year’s Madison County Cooperative Extension Garden Party cooking school, made four dishes Saturday for those attending the event.
Here’s one of those recipes:
Kale With Sweet Potato and Strawberry Salad
1 medium sweet potato
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil (unrefined)
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
Fresh thyme sprigs
Pinch of sea salt
2 cups shredded kale
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup sliced strawberries
Maple Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Chop sweet potato into small cubes, roast with coconut oil and season with pinch of sea salt until just fork tender. Sprinkle with fresh thyme sprigs, or your favorite fresh herb(s). Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and top with maple mustard vinaigrette. Sprinkle with blur cheese if desired.
NOTE: You can substitute blueberries or pomegranate seeds for the strawberries. Use just the leafy portion of the kale leave, or you can use baby kale, or fresh spinach.
If using kale, this salad can be made and dressed ahead of time and keeps well for several days (Serves four).