Notable Edibles

Notable Edible: Highfield Hall

By / Photography By Daniel Cojanu | June 17, 2016
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Culinary program at Highfield Hall
Gail Blakely, culinary program director at Highfield Hall, third from left, watches Frederic Feufeu, Bleu chef/owner, demonstrate a dramatic meal prep during the recent Meet the Chef series.

Tired of making the same dinners every week? Wish you knew how to make use of all those funky vegetables in your CSA basket? Or how about a recipe for that kamut you got for Christmas?

These prayers and more have been answered by Highfield Hall. Gail Blakely, culinary program director at the Falmouth non-profit, says, “The most important thing about cooking is to try new things. It doesn’t always work out the way you expect, but you’ve learned a new trick or two.”

For starters, Blakely has cooked up a series in celebration of “The Year of the Vegetable” aimed to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen.

With an emphasis on nutrition, this weekly series explores fun ways to enjoy vegetables, ancient grains, and healthy fats. Joined by a cadre of co-teachers and volunteers, Blakely will guide participants through the art of making power bowls (May 4); spiralizing veggies (May 11); using ancient grains (May 18); cooking with legumes (May 25); incorporating plant-based fats into your diet (June 1); and cooking vegetarian meals (June 8). Students can expect to learn how to make anything from no-knead focaccia to cauliflower steaks with produce and dairy supplied by Upper Cape farmers’ markets, Da Silva Farms, and Blakely’s own herb garden in the mansion’s backyard.

A special dinner prepared by Jean-Jacques Paimblanc, a Cape resident and co-founder (with Jacques Pepin and Julia Child) of the certificate program in culinary arts at Boston University, is on the Highfield Hall menu this spring as well.

At the end of June, Highfield hosts the 60th College Women’s Association of Japan exhibition of contemporary Japanese prints. The Eastern influence spreads from the mansion’s walls and into the kitchen, where Blakely will host a weekly Farm to Table series “with Japanese flair.” Each Wednesday from June 29 to August 24, students can learn the art of Japanese cooking—beyond tempura, sushi, and ramen.

Cookbook demos and signings are another foodie delight at Highfield. In partnership with Eight Cousins Bookstore, patrons are invited to observe the preparation and sample a recipe from Fresh Fish by Jennifer Trainer Thompson from 4 to 6 pm on May 13. A summertime resident of Buzzards Bay, Thompson walks the seafood-curious through the art of grilling, shucking, roasting, poaching, and sauteing with simple yet elegant recipes like cornmeal-crusted oysters with Old Bay sauce and herb-roasted whole black sea bass with sesame spinach. Later in the summer, bestselling author Debra Samuels will showcase recipes from My Japanese Table, which Blakely praises for “demystifying Japanese cooking.”

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