Tasting the goods at Cooking for a Cause

Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, food news

The Food Report was invited last week to Cooking for a Cause, a culinary fundraiser at, and for, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado. It was an extra-special night to boot:

“Normally when you come to the event, you have a chance to meet one chef, learn a little bit about what that chef does,” says Care and Share chief development officer Stacy Poore, “and tonight you’re going to be able to see the beautiful work of several chefs.”

Featured chefs Nathan Dirnberger, Kathy Anderson, Kimberly McCurley and PPCC culinary arts students Houston Brandon and Jack Ritchie crafted a nine-course dinner accompanied by sips from Axe and the Oak Distillery. Co-owner Casey Ross was on-scene with moonshine and other treats.

Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
The night started with a smoked whiskey sour, blended with whipped egg white and dusted with edible sparkles. Served with caramelized onion, bacon, Axe and the Oak jam, and Colorado goat cheese on a grilled baguette.

Portions of both food and drink were on the small side, but the nine courses helped, and were certainly delicious.

Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, food news
Fresh tomato ‘cappuccino.’
Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
Seared fresh scallop with arugula, grapefruit-infused honey Axe and the Oak vinaigrette and bacon lardons.
Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
Sous vide duck breast seared with rhubarb bourbon glaze, chicharrones crumble, duck fat-roasted fingerling potatoes, green beans and smoked salt.
Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
Grilled peach bourbon sorbetto topped with mint.
Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
Coffee-dusted bison short rib with wild forest mushroom demi, brown butter cauliflower puree (those are natural colors), and charred carrots.
Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
Cheese course: singed apple and sharp cheddar.
Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
And for dessert, Manhattan chocolate mousse with Axe and the Oak-marinated cherries and vermouth foam.
Care and Share Food Bank, Cooking for a Cause, Rocky Mountain Food Report, Colorado Springs, food news
Axe and the Oak co-owner Casey Ross poured tastes of bourbons, ryes, a prickly-pear-infused moonshine and a specialty one-year-aged whiskey.

Following the meal, Poore led a tour of the facility, showing off the 9,000-square-foot refrigerator and the recycling area, where Care and Share compacts and sells its cardboard and plastics (that operation will soon expand to a unit nearby). Poore points out Care and Share can get about six or nine cents per pound of either paper or plastic, but it swiftly adds up, and only one dollar, she says, can provide as many as eight meals.

Cooking for a Cause returns July and runs through November and will feature chef James Africano of The Warehouse, Jenna Hines of Picnic Basket Catering and others. Tickets are $40. Before then though, check out Axe and the Oak’s One Year Barrel Release Party, happening Friday, June 17, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at its distillery (4665 Town Center Drive, #140). Expect live music in the evening, drawings, tastings and the release of Colorado Collective’s Volume 2.

[Images: Bryce and Edie Crawford]