Cheryl’s Cuisine: August 2018

Cheryl's Cuisine

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Vice President and General Manager Kim Scarpone, Jason Lonigro, general manager of Emeril’s Chop House, and Sands Casino Executive Chef Victor Bock, pose for a photo during the recent Food and Wine Festival at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Thousands of guests packed the 9th Annual Food and Wine Festival at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem over the three-day event. The Grand Tasting offered signature dishes from the Lehigh Valley’s best restaurants in addition to wines from around the globe.     

Menu items and restaurants included:  Beef Carpaccio , 1774 Grille & Tap; Chicken Makhani, Cumin Basmati Rice and Chana Masala , Aman’s Bistro; Cake, Truffle and Cookies, Amy’s Creative Cakes;  Cheesecakes and assorted Kiffles, Aunt Wendy’s Kiffles; Mini Cheese Ravioli and Limoncello Cream Puff, Buddy V’s Ristorante; Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Banh Mi, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milkshake, Burgers by Emeril;  Chocolate Fountain and Truffles, Chocolate Works; Seared Duck and House-Made Olive Oil Gelato, The Dime.

One of the event’s presentation featured Casino Executive Chef Victor Bock  along with Kim Scarpone, Vice President of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Pennsylvania, and Jason Lonigro, general manager of Emeril’s Chophouse.    Lonigro, a native of Louisiana, offered a history of “Punch”, noting that at one time it was a drink of the “upper crust” and included something strong (rum), sweet (sugar), weak (water), sour (citrus) and spices (nutmeg, etc. from the East India Company).

Do you know what the Number One Alcohol consumed in the world is?   Sake’, according to Ms. Scarpone, due to its pure spirit and refinement. Both Scarpone and Lonigro addressed pairing alcohol with dishes.  

Let’s start with Lonigro’s recipe for Mississippi Punch, a favorite among restaurant-goers:

Mississippi Punch:

oleo-saccharum3/4 cup superfine sugar
Peels of 7 lemons
16 oz. black tea
16 oz. bourbon
1 cup dark rum
1 cup cognac
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
24 oz. water

Prepare an oleo saccharum by combining the sugar and lemon peels in a large bowl. After being tossed, place into a mason jar or vacuum seal and let sit for 24 hours.

Combine this oleo saccharum and black tea, and make sure that any remaining sugar is fully dissolved reserving the lemon peels as garnish. To the bowl, add the tea mixture, lemon juice, cognac, bourbon, rum and water and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or so. Add a block of ice to chill, and continue to add smaller pieces of ice for desired dilution.

Garnish with lemon wheels or reserved lemon peels and freshly grated nutmeg. Ladle into cups and lightly top each glass with champagne.


Chef Victor Bock’s Lamb Shoulder Ragout: 

1 lb. lamb shoulder, boneless, cut to 3/4″ cubes
Kosher salt/pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. rosemary, minced
1/2  cup red wine
4 cups diced tomatoes, (San Marzano with juice)
Chicken Stock  (add as needed to allow lamb to become tender
1 1/2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
1 Tbsp. mint, minced
Cornstarch (to thicken, if needed)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a thick bottom sauce pot, heat oil.  Add seasoned lamb cubes. Sear on all sides until golden brown and caramelized.  Add shallots, garlic. Saute’ until tender. Add rosemary, red wine. Reduce by half and add tomatoes with juice.  Reduce heat ad simmer until tender. Remove from heat and stir in mint and parsley.


ricottaHomemade Ricotta Cheese:

2 gallons whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
2 tsp. salt
6 oz. fresh lemon juice

  Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine mesh) cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.  

Slowly bring milk, cream and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.   Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

Pour mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour.  After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered. It will keep in refrigerator 2 days.


Duck Fat Fries:

3-4 quarts duck fat
3-4 russet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ sticks
Sea salt
Black Pepper
Truffle oil (optional)

Melt and heat duck fat in  fryer to 325 degrees. Cook potato sticks in small batches for 5-7 minutes. Remove to napkin to drain. Increase heat on fryer to 375 degrees. Return par-cooked potatoes to fryer. Cook for approximately 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove on to napkin and immediately sprinkle with sea salt, milled black pepper and perhaps truffle oil.  Serve immediately.


Steak and Foie Gras Empanadas:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. sirloin steak (small dice)
1/4 cup onion, minced
classic-terrine-of-foie-gras2 tsp. garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. green chilis (canned, minced)
1/2 lime, zested
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
3 oz. foie gras (medium dice)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 puff pastry sheets
Egg wash, to seal

In saute’ pan over high heat, heat oil and sear steak pieces. Add onions, garlic and cook until tender. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Lay out puff pastry (4×4″ squares) take large spoon and scoop meat/foie gras mixture into puff pastry. Brush with egg wash and seal. Trim edges. Fry in duck fat fryer until golden brown. Serve with Corn-Chorizo-Avocado Salsa.


Corn Avocado Chorizo Salsa:

2 sweet corn (cooked and cut off cob)
6 oz. chorizo (small dice)
1 jalapeno pepper, optional
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Adjust seasoning. Serve with Crema.

1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Adjust seasoning.

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