Last weekend, Terrazza at Newtown Square hosted six area chefs as part of its “the Palate & the Brush” culinary and art event. Alas, a nasty sinus infection kept me from the festivities and cooking demonstrations, but I did score a handful of menus so that you can get all artsy in your own kitchen. What I wasn’t able to get my hands on, though, were photos of the completed dishes, so you will have to trust your own judgment on how good a job you do.
I’d love to hear how things go: Please feel free to send me an e-mail with the results—good or bad—and any adjustments that might be beneficial to fellow readers/home cooks.
Mio Pomodoro, Jenkintown
Soft Parmesan Polenta with Mushroom Ragout
• 1 box quick polenta
• 6 large cloves garlic, chopped
• 3 medium to large shallots, chopped
• 2 tbsp. freshly chopped thyme
• 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
• 1 cup oyster mushrooms, sliced
• 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
• ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, julienned
• ¼ cup fresh basil, julienned
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 2 tbsp. demi-glace (optional; a fortified veal stock that is available at some specialty markets like Whole Foods, made by D’Artagnan)
• Extra virgin olive oil
• 5 tbsp. butter
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmigianno-Reggiano
• Salt and pepper
• Begin by sautéing your mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until golden brown. Be sure to season them with salt and pepper. Set aside.
• Next, make your polenta by loosely following the instructions on the back. I say “loosely” because they will tell you to use only water, salt and pepper, and a little butter. Instead, you will sauté half of your garlic, shallot and thyme in extra virgin olive oil in a medium sauce pot until transparent.
• Add salt and pepper (you will need more than you think because you will be seasoning all this bland cornmeal, but still add judiciously so as not to over-season). Then add in the prescribed amount of liquid per instructions; but rather than water, add chicken stock and a little heavy cream.
• It is OK to add additional liquid: This polenta will be sitting on low heat while you make your mushroom ragout, and will continue to absorb liquid and solidify (it should be the consistency of thick oatmeal or cream of wheat). Make sure you have additional chicken stock to add to keep the polenta soft.
• Finish polenta by stirring in Parmigianno-Reggiano.
• Sauté the remainder of shallots, garlic and thyme in a large sauté pan (large enough to accommodate all of the mushrooms). When transparent, add sautéed mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Add half a cup of chicken stock and demi-glace, if using, and bring to a boil. Add in parsley, basil and butter. Allow chicken stock mushroom mixture to reduce a little and for butter to incorporate, then check seasoning.
• To serve, divide soft polenta between four serving bowls in the center of each. Top with mushroom mixture, and dinner is served.
Birchrunville Store Café, Birchrunville
Goat Cheese Soufflé
(Makes 18-20 individual soufflés)
• 1 log (2.2 lbs.) of French goat cheese
• 5 eggs
• Butter 18-20 two-ounce ramekins. Set aside.
• Blend goat cheese in an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, until creamy. With mixer still running, add 4 yolks (keep egg whites) and 1 whole egg. Continue mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated and smooth.
• With a hand-held electric mixer (or you can whisk by hand), beat the 4 reserved egg whites until you have soft to slightly firm peaks. Fold whisked whites into the goat cheese/egg mixture.
• Pour batter into buttered ramekins. Pour batter to the very top of ramekin.
• Bake soufflés in a water bath at 425 degrees F until raised and slightly brown on top, approximately 20 minutes.
• Carefully remove soufflés from ramekins, plate them, top with sun-dried vinaigrette (recipe below), and serve with mixed baby greens.
Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette
• 3 cups olive oil
• 1/2 tsp. mustard
• 1 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 cup re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes
• Pinch of garlic
• Blend all of the above ingredients in a blender.
Diver Scallop Soufflé
(Makes 10 portions)
• 1 lb. diver sea scallops, preferably (regular scallops may be substituted)
• 6 oz. heavy cream
• 1 egg yolk
• 5 egg whites
• Salt and cayenne pepper (to taste)
• In a food processor, puree the scallops until very smooth. With the processor still running, add the salt and cayenne pepper. Once the scallops are seasoned and very smooth, add 2 ounces of the heavy cream and the yolk, and blend until incorporated. (It is very important that the scallops are very smooth before adding the cream and yolk, or the texture will be lumpy.)
• With a rubber spatula, remove the scallop mixture from the processor and place in a large stainless steel bowl. With a hand-held whisk, fold in the remaining 4 ounces of heavy cream.
• In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until you have semi-firm peaks. Fold the egg whites into the scallop mixture.
• Fill ramekins to the top with the mixture, and bake in a water bath at 425 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes.
• Check soufflés. The soufflés are done when they have doubled in size and the tops are light brown. Remove from oven. Let soufflés sit for a few minutes, removed from ramekins. Plate and serve.
Coriander Crusted Scallops with Maia Lemon Jam
(Makes 4 portions as an appetizer)
• 8 pieces each U10 day boat sea scallops
• 1 tbsp. coarsely ground coriander seed
• Sea salt
• Ground white pepper
• Clarified butter for searing
• Dry the scallops on a clean kitchen towel, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with coriander.
• In a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, add 2 ounces of clarified butter and heat until it just starts to smoke. Add the scallops and cook for 1 minute on each side. Serve right away with the lemon jam (recipe below).
Lemon Coriander Jam
• 12 each Meyer lemons
• 1 large red onion
• 2 tsp. kosher salt
• 2 cloves garlic
• 3 oz. extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp. coriander seeds
• 2 tbsp. pink peppercorns
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 6 oz. honey
• 1 oz. champagne vinegar
• Wash the lemons. Take four of them and thinly slice them on a mandolin, then remove the seeds. Make a syrup with 4 ounces of honey and 4 ounces of water, then boil the syrup and pour over the lemon slices. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain and re-boil the syrup, and repeat the process three times.
• While you are doing that: dice the onions and sweat them in olive oil with the salt on med-low heat until they are very soft; slice and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes, add the coriander seeds (coarsely grind them first), and cook for 2 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 2 ounces of honey and let the mixture cook down until its very thick. Add the vinegar and let it cook down again.
• While that is cooking: Peel the remaining lemons, and section the pulp; remove the seeds. Combine with the lemon slices after they are done, then add the onion coriander mixture and a little of the leftover syrup from the lemon slices.
• Take the pink peppercorns in a clean dishtowel and rub the skins off of them. Add only the skins, not the seeds of the peppercorns, to the jam. Store in airtight jars in the refrigerator for a couple of days before serving. It goes well with firm cheeses like aged pecorino, or with Brussels sprouts and striped bass.
Shemogue Oyster Stew
(Makes 4 portions)
• 20 pieces each Shemogue oysters, shucked
• 1 cup small leeks, diced
• 2 each Yukon gold potato, cut into a small dice
• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 sprig thyme
• 1 small bunch chives, minced
• 1 cup dry vermouth
• 2 oz. butter
• Salt and white pepper
• In a saucepan, melt butter and sweat the leeks and shallots with salt and pepper; add the sprig of thyme and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the vermouth and simmer until reduced by half. Add the cream and bring to a boil; simmer until slightly thickened. Finish with chives and, at the last minute before serving, add the oysters. Serve with good, crusty bread.
• 3 cups Japanese rice*
• 3 cups water
• Sushi vinegar (to taste)
• 8 each nori (seaweed)
• 8 oz. Big Eye Tuna
• 8 oz. King Crab
• ¼ each cucumber
• ¼ each avocado
• Pinch sesame seeds
• Pinch scallions
• Julienne carrots
• Pickled ginger
Spicy mayonnaise (to taste):
• 8 oz. mayonnaise
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• 1 tsp. lime juice
• 1 tbsp. sesame oil
• 1 tbsp. Tobanjan (Chinese chili paste or Sriracha)
*Japanese rice is short grain, which makes the texture easier for sushi.
• Cook rice for 30-40 minutes (3 cups of rice to 3 cups of water). A rice cooker is the best option to use.
• Make spicy mayonnaise mix in a mixing bowl; stir well.
• Put rice in a separate mixing bowl. Add 4 ounces of sushi vinegar to rice. While hot, use a flat wooden spoon or spatula to stir in a slicing motion. Let rice cool down, and put a wet towel over it to keep it moist.
• Spread approximately 4 ounces of rice evenly on a sheet of nori. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
• Flip over nori, facing up. Put 2 ounces of tuna or crab. Add avocado (approximately 2 slices), pinch of scallions and julienne carrots to fit. Spread spicy mayo to liking.
• Roll the nori by hand. Use bamboo matt to tighten (mold) the roll. Cut the roll into six pieces.
• Add pinch of ginger and pinch of wasabi to liking.
Note: Feel free to mix different fishes, proteins and vegetables.
Warm Kobe Beef Carpaccio
• 12 oz. Kobe beef* (or any good-quality beef)
• Pinch garlic. grated
• Pinch ginger, chopped
• Pinch chives, chopped
• Pinch salted kelp
• 4 each shiso leaf, chopped
• 70 ml soy sauce
• 30 ml lemon juice
• 30 ml lime juice
• 90 ml extra virgin olive oil
• 10 ml sesame oil
*Kobe beef is a high-quality Japanese beef. Domestic Kobe beef (Japanese cattle integrated with American cattle) is from Snake River, Idaho.
• Make citrus soy and carpaccio oil first.
• Slice Kobe beef as thinly as possible (a slicer or an electric knife will work).
• Spread lightly the soy sauce to cover beef (you may not use all of the soy sauce).
• Heat up oil in a frying pan; bring oil to a smoking point.
• Carefully spoon oil over beef (oil will be hot enough to turn the beef white in color).
Scottish Salmon Ceviche
• 12 oz. salmon
• ½ each red onion
• 12 each grape tomato
• 1 each orange
• ¼ each jalapeno pepper
• Chervil (herb garnish)
Ceviche sauce (to taste):
• 1½ oz. hot yellow pepper sauce
• 1½ oz. soy sauce
• 4 oz. orange juice
• 4 oz. lemon juice
• 2 oz. rice vinegar
• Pinch salt
• ½ oz. garlic
*Salmon should be cured. To cure salmon, cover with salt and leave at room temperature for 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly with water, and then rinse quickly with white vinegar.
• Make the ceviche sauce first. Place the following items above in a blender on high speed for 15 seconds.
• Slice salmon as thinly as possible, approximately a ¼-ounce each.
• Slice onion thinly, cut grape tomato in half, peel whole orange and cut in slices.
• Mix salmon, sauce and vegetables together (do so gently so to not break up the salmon).
• Place in a martini glass or dish of choice, garnish with chervil, and serve.