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Published September 29, 2010, 12:00 AM

Fundraiser helps feed area’s hungry

Dotty Curry is more than willing to share the recipe for the Fargo Country Club’s legendary candied bacon. “It’s brown sugar and bacon,” says Curry, the country club’s food and beverage director and an executive chef. “We cook it low, in a convection oven, and you have to stand there and watch it like a hawk. It’s 10 percent recipe and 90 percent technique.”

If you go

  • What: 13th annual Chefs’ Gala and Auction
  • When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 6
  • Where: Crystal Ballroom, Ramada Plaza Suites, Fargo
  • Info: $65, ticket; $130, VIP ticket, which includes valet parking, chef meet-and-greet and early entrance to gala. Buy tickets at www.fmchefsgala.org or by calling (701) 232-6219.

Dotty Curry is more than willing to share the recipe for the Fargo Country Club’s legendary candied bacon.

“It’s brown sugar and bacon,” says Curry, the country club’s food and beverage director and an executive chef. “We cook it low, in a convection oven, and you have to stand there and watch it like a hawk. It’s 10 percent recipe and 90 percent technique.”

For those who don’t wish to devote a weekend to fussing over pork belly, the Country Club will serve the salty-sweet appetizer at the Chef’s Gala and Silent Auction on Oct. 6 at the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo.

The annual foodie festival will showcase the signature dishes and drinks of 25 chefs, caterers, beverage purveyors and food-service professionals from around Fargo-Moorhead.

Ticket-buyers will pay $65 to $130 to graze on the Doublewood’s caramel brandied bread pudding, the smoked salmon from Minnesota State Community and Technical College culinary students, and Santa Lucia’s saganaki, a flambéed appetizer of breaded Kaseri cheese.

But even if the menu sounds a bit high-brow, the gala’s purpose is strictly salt of the earth. The event raises funds, to the tune of $50,000 per year, to feed the hungry, says Marcia Paulson, marketing and development director for the Great Plains Food Bank and Daily Bread programs of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota.

This provides a good portion of Daily Bread’s annual $125,000 budget, Paulson says.

Daily Bread collects unserved food from area restaurants, hotels, caterers, schools and hospitals, as well as produce and other foods from local supermarkets. Collected food is then delivered to charitable feeding programs in Cass and Clay counties. With every dollar received, Daily Bread can recover 10 meals, Paulson says.

“One in 11 people in our community will seek emergency food from Daily Bread, and 40 percent of those are children,” Paulson says.

Curry has participated in the event from the very beginning, when it featured just 14 restaurants and was held in the Country Club.

Today, the event has grown to fill one of the largest venues in the community. This year, 650 tickets are available – and organizers expect the event to sell out, as it typically does.

“It’s grown into this huge, wonderful campaign for stopping hunger,” Curry says. “With chefs, it’s all about feeding people. It’s like saying: Here’s my emotions on a plate. So if you think about people who have nothing to eat, and feeding people is what chefs do, it’s kind of a natural fit.”

The candied bacon recipe is too complicated to list here, but Curry did offer up a couple of favorite recipes, including an old family formula for Rhubarb and Dumplings.

Spiced Nuts

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Melt butter and mix in all ingredients. Heat mixture in saucepan. Toss with about 3 pounds of mixed nuts. Bake at 175 degrees, stirring occasionally, for about

20 minutes.

Rhubarb and Dumplings

Dumplings

1 cup milk

1 egg, well-beaten

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

Mix all together and set aside until rhubarb sauce

is ready.

Rhubarb Sauce

diced rhubarb

sugar

water

Curry says to adjust the amounts for the sauce strictly to your taste. There’s no exact recipe, but cooks should add about twice the amount of water you usually would because the dumplings will absorb some juice when cooking.

Bring rhubarb, sugar and water to a slow boil, then turn down to a slow simmer. Drop small amounts of dumpling batter into rhubarb sauce. Dumplings will grow three times in size so start small. Cover the pot and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes.

Uncover, turn dumplings and cook another seven to 10 minutes. If you prefer firmer dumplings, leave the cover off the pot for the first 5 minutes of cooking.

Serve hot or cold with a little cream.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525

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