BY ABBY FOX / PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIMI GIBOIN
On a Friday evening in early December, inside a cozy home on 45th Street, a motley crew of home chefs are working in harmony to prepare a five-course gourmet dinner. Year after year this particular home-cooked feast is known to leave diners with memories of exquisite food shared with good friends, all in celebration of a local organization that benefits inner-city kids.
This feast is prepared for the winning bidder (and their guests) of one of the most coveted auction lots at Sacramento Young Life's annual fundraiser.
The annual auction, called the Sacramento Vine & Dine, benefits Downtown Sacramento Young Life, an organization whose mission is to help teenagers develop authentic spiritual relationships with themselves, each other and their community. Bringing together some of Sacramento's top food purveyors and winemakers from around our region, the Sacramento Vine & Dine is a wonderful opportunity to bid on creative and unique food events while providing life-changing opportunities to inner-city kids.
The cooks converge on a private home in East Sacramento during the late afternoon, armed with shopping bags loaded with fresh ingredients that will magically come together for a restauran-worthy dinner. These cooks pull out knives and cutting boards, and the sounds of chopping serve as a fanfare for the feast.
Photo 1: Smoked salmon with crème fraîche and dill atop grilled crostini
Photo 2: Roasted rosemary potatoes are carefully placed atop of a sprig of rosemary
Photo 3: Salad of roasted red and golden beets with warm pistachios and dressed arugula
Photo 4: Elk bolognese with hand-cut pappardelle pasta
Five earnest courses and wine pairings are the agenda. The kitchen crew, assembled out of friendship and favor, come together for the party as they cook alongside friends, moving in unison like ballet.
The service begins with hors d'oeuvres while guests arrive and begin to relax. Smoked salmon with crème fraîche and dill atop grilled crostini; breaded and seared abalone in a piccata sauce; domestic blue cheese atop water crackers with a drizzle of local blackberry honey and orange zest; and skewered fresh blackberries and pineapple tidbits with a creamy ginger glaze.
In the dining room, the table is set with fine china, silver flatware, crystal stemware and a garland of evergreens and fresh flowers. As the wine for the next course is poured, a salad of roasted red and golden beets with warm pistachios and dressed arugula is served. The next course is elk bolognese with hand-cut pappardelle pasta, followed by the main course: panseared and roasted beef tenderloin, marinated with a simple dry rub of organic lavender with salt and pepper. Roasted rosemary potatoes are carefully placed atop of a sprig of rosemary, giving each individual bite a lovely visual detail as well as flavor.
The meal is topped off with a slice of flourless chocolate cake accompanied by raspberry purée and a raspberry chantilly cream.
Spirits are high among guests and chefs while everyone reflects on the spirit of coming together in celebration of Sacramento Young Life.
The ninth annual Sacramento Vine & Dine Auction will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015. All tickets are sold before the event. For more information, please call 916-801-1903.
About Sacramento Young Life:
Sacramento Young Life is a vehicle for people who love teenagers. The 50+ volunteers enter the world of kids and focus on what matters to them: fun, adventure, friendship and a sense of significance.
Photo 1: Panseared and roasted beef tenderloin, marinated with a simple dry rub of organic lavender with salt and pepper
Photo 2: The kitchen crew assemble out of friendship and favor and move in unison like ballet.
Photo 3: Domestic blue cheese atop water crackers with a drizzle of local blackberry honey and orange zest
Photo 4: The table is set with fine china, silver flatware, crystal stemware and a garland of evergreens and fresh flowers