By Joy Summers
For being a modest-sized, neighborhood restaurant in Minneapolis’ hip Kingfield neighborhood Corner Table has a lot going on. From the bi-weekly classes to a newly added Sunday breakfast and rumors of a possible beer garden, chef and owner Scott Pampuch doesn’t slow down for a moment. Constantly moving and whipping up comforting, locally sourced meals for diners, he’s added another interesting service to his six and a half year old restaurant’s repertoire. This spring he introduced his take on the CSK concept. A Community Supported Kitchen, the idea runs parallel with the more common Community Supported Agriculture share. On a weekly, monthly or one-time basis customers can purchase a box of items prepared by Pampuch and staff, all locally sourced from the collective of farmers they work with. Through the restaurant’s website you can order a box for $75 each (or more for weekly shares) and chose a desired retrieval time. Contained within are a selection of meats, sometimes jams, pickles or sauces, some bread from Sun Street Bread – enough food to provide a couple of easily prepared dinners to a family.
Excited about the prospect I set out about creating an “Iron Spork” competition — something akin to the food TV-style battles (without the dramatic sound effects). My culinary talented friend Eric and I would prepare a dinner for two friends using only the ingredients in the box, our wits and perhaps a couple of pantry items.
Our box featured half a paprika spiced chicken, a small container of baked beans, red potato salad made with garlic-snappy ramps, a hunk of bacon scallion studded cornbread, a few ounces of pulled pork, two kinds of BBQ sauce, half a dozen eggs and a pile of cracked wheat buns. What was I supposed to do with… this? With a ready-made backyard barbecue requiring only assembly and I was determined to muddle with it.
The night of our party upon us, Eric and I settled into a flurry of chopping, dicing, heating and tasting. I toasted the cornbread, topped it with a poached egg and some bacon I candied with a bit of maple syrup and balanced that on top of the perfectly cooked egg.
Eric took the next course mixing the rich pork with tomato based barbecue sauce, onion and green pepper and shredded Gouda before tucking it into a little pocket of pizza dough.
For our final dish I flattened the chicken on my grill pan, smushed it with my cast-iron skillet and cooked it on medium high, turning once until the skin was crispy and the juices ran clear. I served the chicken atop the potato salad with some greens dressed in Meyer lemon juice and a drizzle of the balsamic- based barbecue sauce.
The result was a somewhat disjointed dinner that was delicious, if odd. The verdict was that the small box would be best utilized simply feeding two people for a couple of more balanced meals. Lesson learned, leave the muddling to the professionals.