For the last two years, Dad's of Muskoka have helped raise funds in support of charities in the Muskoka region by holding their annual Harvest Dinner & Hoe Down at Brooklands Farm. Catered by Chef Mike Rickard of Restaurant One Fifty Five in Bracebridge and with the support of The Griffin Gastropub, Muskoka Cottage Brewery, Lake of Bays Brewing Company and many more supporters, this years event was a sold out success. Held in Brooklands Farm renovated century-old heritage barn on Butter and Egg Road, proceeds of the $100 a plate dinner go 100% to charity, with this year's fundraising going towards prostate cancer care. A worthy cause and a festive fun-filled evening.
We were lucky to have heard about the Dad's of Muskoka Harvest Hoe Down from
Katya at Brooklands Farm, and bought two tickets right away
Brooklands Farm renovated century barn
For the past 134 years, the Riley family has been working the land in Milford Bay. Brooklands Farm, named after the stream winding its way through the property, is a haven of fresh organically grown vegetables, berries, honey, maple syrup and their genuine warm-hearted hospitality. Ken and Katya Riley are the wonderful husband and wife team that own and operate the successful farm. Located just off Highway 118 on the aptly named Butter and Egg Road, the farm is a haven for chefs, residents and visitors alike.
One of the farm's pumpkins just hanging around
The Hoe Down Cocktail: Rye Whiskey, Cider & Ginger Ale
One of the Dad's of Muskoka serving Beef Tartare and White Truffle Oil
on an Herb and Garlic Roasted Crostini
Another delicious appetizer: Ostrich Paté served on a Pistachio & Cranberry Crisp
with a Shallot Relish
House Cured Salmon Gravlax and Crème Fraîche served on a Brooklands Farm
Blue Potato Gaufrette
Curried Cauliflower and Carrot Pakora with Feta Cheese and Cherry Gastrique
Duck Prosciutto with a Balsamic & Juniper Drizzle on a slice of Black Fig
and garnished with Toscano Sheep Cheese
Even a 'Mom of Muskoka' joined in serving Beef Tartare and White Truffle Oil
on an Herb and Garlic Roasted Crostini
Smoked Trout with Fennel Slaw on an 'All Fired Up' Bagel Crisp
With twinkle lights suspended from the rafters, and everyone dressed for a Hoe Down,
the event was a festive affair
Eager to investigate where the delicious appetizers were being created, I wandered across to the kitchen with hopes to being able to meet Chef Mike Rickard, owner and chef of Restaurant One Fifty Five in Bracebridge, who was volunteering his time overseeing the Harvest Hoe Down culinary creations, chief among them his entrée of Seared Ostrich with Port & Cumberland Sauce. Located in the farm's recently renovated log cabin, Brooklands original dairy, with its state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen, I discovered Chef Rickard, along with a handful of Dad's of Muskoka, helping with the appetizers and organizing the courses to come. Busy as they were, they took the time to chat with me and let me take some photographs of them as they cooked.
The original Riley log cabin and homestead has been renovated with a gourmet kitchen for hosting cooking classes and prep for the evening's Harvest Hoe Down
Chef Mike Rickard of Restaurant One Fifty Five in Bracebridge was the featured chef for the second year in a row at the 'Dad's of Muskoka' Harvest Hoe Down
Chef Rickard has catered the high spirited event for the past two years, with his restaurant being voted 'Best Fine Dining in Muskoka' since opening its doors in 2008. Concentrating on local ingredients and seasonal dishes, One Fifty Five is a member of Savour Muskoka, a network of chefs, restaurants, and farmers committed to providing locally produced foods in the Muskoka region and are committed to supporting the growth of local farming and culinary artisans. One of the cornerstones of Savour Muskoka, being the organic produce of Ken and Katya's Brooklands Farm. Just outside the log cabin kitchen was DOM Howie Owens, stirring an enormous pot of Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup, our first course of the delicious dinner soon to be served, courtesy of the Griffin GastroPub in Bracebridge.
Soup Maestro and Dad of Muskoka Howie Owens
A gorgeous warm September night, the barn looked so inviting with twinkle lights,
laughter and the sound of the band playing
Griffin Gastropub owner and acoustic folk artist Jed Corbeil
on stand-up bass was part of the band playing all night at the Harvest Hoe Down
Long wooden tables were set for 100 guests, with loaves of freshly baked
'All Fired Up' foccacia set out on log cutting boards
The Harvest Hoe Down dinner menu featuring a fabulous four course dinner complete with wine and beer pairings — not to mention the six appetizers and cocktail beforehand!
Dinner began with a Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup with sage and a maple syrup infused sour cream, followed by 'Beat the Wheat Gluten-Free Pasta' en Papillote with Shiitake, Porcini, Cloud Ear Fungus and Oyster Mushrooms and garnished with Truffle Oil, Pecorino, Arugula and Sage. The entrée, created by Chef Mike Rickard, was Seared Ostrich served with Johnston's Cranberry & Port Cumberland Sauce with Crab Apple Chutney accompanied by a Warm Kale Salad and Brookland's Farm Carrots and Heritage Potatoes. For dessert, Big Dave's Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Cheddar, Fresh Raspberries and Belly Ice Cream's custom Raspberry Lime Basil Sorbet. Accompanied with both wine and beer pairings, this was a Harvest Hoe Down with culinary flair.
Garofoil Verdicchio Classico
Brookland's Farm Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Sage & Maple Syrup Soup
prepared by The Griffin GastroPub in Bracebridge
Heritage Grain Wood-Fired Foccacia from 'All Fired Up'
Malivoire Small Lot Gamay
'Beat the Wheat Gluten-Free Pasta' with Shiitake, Porcini, Cloud Ear Fungus and Oyster Mushrooms garnished with Truffle Oil, Pecorino, Arugula and Sage en Papillote
The Papillote opens with a glorious scent of wild mushrooms, truffle oil, pecorino
and sage with the frilly cloud ear fungus perched on top
Muskoka Brewery Harvest Ale paired with the Seared Ostrich
The entrée created by Chef Mike Rickard: Seared Ostrich Fan/Pearl/Oyster served with a Johnston's Bala Cranberry & Port Cumberland Sauce with a Crab Apple Chutney accompanied by a Warm Kale Salad and Brookland's Farm Carrots and Heritage Potatoes
A Vegetarian Entrée option: Curried Basmati Rice with Dried Fruit and Roasted Squash served a hollowed out baked pumpkin and served with Brookland's Farm Carrots and Heritage Potatoes
Red oil lanterns and dried corn added to the festive Hoe Down atmosphere
Vintage glass milk bottles from the Farm's original dairy days
The evening's 'Best Dressed Couple' — Our "moooooooving" hosts Ken and Katya Riley,
owners of Brooklands Farm
Big Dave's Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Cheddar, Fresh Raspberries and Belly Ice Cream's custom Raspberry Lime Basil Sorbet
No hoe down would be complete without good old-fashioned knee slappin'
barn raising country music — Yee-Haw!
Recipe courtesy of 'Beat the Wheat'
This recipe is a very versitile recipe. It is easy to make and you can add other ingredients such as sliced peppers, mushrooms or even shrimp or scallops.
300g Beat the Wheat Spaghetti
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
4-6 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp chicken stock
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
Salt to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add Beat the Wheat Gluten-free pasta to boiling water, cook for 2-3 minutes, for al dente. In a pan, sauté the garlic in olive oil. Add the chili flakes and season with salt. Add the chicken stock, and stir until the sauce emulsifies. Add fresh parsley. Take off heat, add the Parmesan and enjoy.