2015 Blueberry BBQ Dinner

I had the wonderful fortune to attend a culinary event this week in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park that has been on my summer bucket list for a few years now. It’s called the Blueberry BBQ and is co-hosted by Chef Douglas Katz of Fire Food and Drink in Shaker Heights and Dan and Michelle Greenfield of Greenfield Berry Farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The event showcases the blueberry in a multi-course meal enhanced by craft cocktails honoring the berry as well. And the setting is the berry farm itself with its acres of berry fields and historic rustic barn, a perfect backdrop to compliment a delicious meal.
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The evening started with craft cocktails like the Aviation made with blueberries, gin and crème de violette, or an Aperol with rum and raspberries, or a traditional mint julep. Want to try one yourself? Here’s the recipe from PopSugar for my favorite drink of the night, the Aviation:

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounces maraschino liqueur
1/4 ounce crème de violette
Blueberries for garnish

Directions
Add the gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and crème de violette to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until thoroughly chilled, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with the blueberries.

crafting an Aviation

crafting an Aviation

using the Italian aperitif, Aperol

using the Italian aperitif, Aperol

Making a mint julep

Making a mint julep

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

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The cocktails were delicious and served alongside appetizers like potato chip with hanger steak, chives and horseradish cream or candied citrus pan seared scallop on brioche with housemade tarter sauce and fried parsley. And the barn setup for dinner could not be more beautiful with simple fresh flower arrangements and rustic mason jar glassware.
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Doug and team preparing the meal

Doug and team preparing the meal

Grilling the ribs

Grilling the ribs

Before dinner, Doug spoke about the history of the Blueberry BBQ and the setting of Greenfield Berry Farm and the Countryside Conservancy organization, followed by a talk given by Dan in the blueberry fields themselves.

Douglas Katz

Douglas Katz

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Dan Greenfield

Dan Greenfield

Some cannot resist sampling a few berries

Some cannot resist sampling a few berries

My cute husband sipping an Aviation

My cute husband sipping an Aviation

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And then it was time for dinner! On the menu…

  • beer braised new creations farm pork ribs with blueberry barbecue sauce
  • housemade chicken sausage with Moroccan couscous and quinoa, dried blueberries, pine nuts, parsley, grilled red onions, fennel, carrot, zucchini, bell pepper and toasted cumin aioli – I could have just eaten this and been VERY happy!
  • trout cakes with lemon aioli
  • wax and green beans salad with chunky romesco dressing
  • shaved yellow beets, cucumbers, tomatoes with pickled peppers, dill, radish, feta cheese, sweet and sour vinaigrette
  • smashed red potatoes with rosemary-sage salt

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Oh my, deliciousness!

Oh my, deliciousness!

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Dessert was a delicious trio of blueberry crisp bars with whipped cream, salted caramel panna cotta and bruleed banana on shortbread cookies, peanut butter cookies with bittersweet chocolate ganache (gluten-free) – the blueberry crisp bars were my favorite!
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The night was a spectacular blend of delicious drinks, food, and company all in a setting honoring the Cuyahoga Valley, its history, and its bounty. Thanks to Doug and Dan and team for a great evening!
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