Cheryl’s Cuisine

 

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

 

Generally, when married couples celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, it’s either with a huge party,  a dream cruise, or trip abroad.  Not so this past November when my husband and I celebrated our 25th…

We spent it at Savor Borgata, the foodie event at Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. A  cruise was definitely out as my seasickness experiences had me praying to die on the English Channel and the Greek Islands in younger years.  And, yes, I was medicated.

A trip abroad was nixed due to my husband’s inability to walk any distance since spine surgery. So what better celebration than a huge “Savor Borgata” party!  And, being the eldest child of workaholic parents, I knew I could get a great column for my readers….

Upon entering the event, I made a beeline for Wolfgang Puck’s booth.  Last year I stood in line twice for his fabulous lacquered duck. This year, not even knowing what he was serving, and not caring, I wanted to be one of the first in line.  

His dish was Armenian Grilled Lamb Leg Pita with Baba Ganoush and Green Harissa Aioli with Yalanchi Dolma.  Again, his food brought me to my knees.  The flavors…magnificent.  

Cheryl and Wolfgang pic

Dunmorean Food Editor Cheryl Sempa Radkiewicz exchanges pleasantries with Chef Wolfgang Puck shown with his leg of lamb during the recent Savor Borgata event at Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. (Photo Credit: Alex Resnik)

As usual, he and Bobby Flay had the longest wait lines… So it was on to Bobby Flay, who served Charred Beef Romesco with Pickled Brussels Sprouts topped with Calabres Blue Cheese and Octopus Taco with Sour Orange.  The beef was luscious.  I passed on the octopus.

Geoffrey Zakarian, Food Network Iron Chef host for “The Kitchen”  and culinary lifestyle consultant for The Water Club at Borgata, featured Boeuf Bourginon with White Polenta and Grated Horseradish.  This dish was also exceptional.  From among the guests who voted, it won the People’s Choice Award.

The Old Homestead Steak House served “The Duke,” a hearty mound of perfectly roasted prime rib soaked in house pan drippings, topped with pickled peppers, onions and horseradish sauce over an all-American crusty roll.  Each sandwich was cleverly accompanied by a large button of “The Duke, John Wayne.”

dessert table pic

Borgata staff help guests decide on dessert choices. The desserts. under the direction of Executive Pastry Chef Thaddeus DuBois, featured Chocolate Pot du Creme, Rice Pudding, Tarte as Citron, Linzer Torte, Palmiers, Gateau Opera, and Raspberry Fruit Tarte.

Thaddeus DuBois, Borgata’s executive pastry chef and formerly pastry chef at the White House, never disappoints. His fabulous display included Chocolate Pot de Creme, Rice Pudding, Tarte au Citron, Linzer Tarts, Palmiers, Gateau Opera, and Raspberry Torte.

Fornelletto Cucina and Wine Bar Chef Stephen Kalt served Taleggio Fonduta and Piedmontese Meat Ragu’ Over Focaccia.

Izakaya Modern Japanese Pub Chef Michael Schulson offered Tuna, Yellowtail and Garden Handrolls.

Other items served throughout the event included:  Bamboo Fish, Salted Crepe with Chicken, Mushrooms, Onions, Tomatoes, Spinach and Gruyere Cheese, French Fried Quail, Curried Lamb with Fries, Pickle and Hot Sauce, Roasted Banana Leaf Pork with Black Bean Ragout and Pica, Butterballen–Short Rib Meatballs with Whole Grain Mustard, Fritto Misto and Veggie Roti, Brooklyn Beef Taco and cheeses from around the world served with figs.

Besides the fabulous food, culinary demonstrations were highlighted.  Demos included:  Sausage Making by Chef Aram Mardigian; Pulled Sugar by Chef Thaddeus DuBois, Decorating with Fruits and Veggies by Chef Andrea Heinly, Mozzarella Making by Chef Mark Bruschi, Simply Sangria by Wine Manager Laura Turenne, How to Carve a Turkey by Chef Roseanne Gotta, Barista Demo by Illy Cafe’, Quick Tips for Home by Chef Christian Viale, Sushi Rolling by Chef Michael Schulson and Microwave Souffle’ by Borgata Executive Chef Thomas Biglan.  

So from this event, I’m happy to share some of the chef’s favorite dishes:

 

FETTUCCINE CACIO E PEPE 
Fornelletto

20 oz. fresh cut fettuccine noodles
2 cups grated aged Pecorino cheese
1 Tbsp. butcher grind black pepper
2 cups heavy cream

 Bring water (at least 2 quarts) to a rolling boil in a large casserole dish or Dutch oven.  As water is heating, in a large saute’ pan, warm the cream without boiling on a low flame.  When water starts to boil, add enough salt for it to taste like the sea, i.e., salty.  Drop in your pasta and cook for approximately 3 minutes, stirring to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together.  While the pasta is cooking, add half of the grated cheese and all of the pepper into the pan of warmed cream and stir.  Carefully, with gloves or towels, lift the hot pot of cooked fettuccine and drain in a colander in your sink.  Add the cooked fettuccine to the warm cream, cheese and pepper mixture.  Raise the flame to medium-high, add the rest of the cheese and a touch of salt and using a set of tongs or a large fork, incorporate the pasta and cream mixture completely.  Serve on a large plate or in a large bowl.  Serves 4.

***

CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Izakaya

3/4 cup fish sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup blended oil
1/2 cup mirin
1/8 cup fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/8 cup garlic, finely chopped
1/8  cup red chilis, finely chopped
2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered

Chop ginger, garlic, chilis very fine.  Combine all ingredients except Brussels sprouts together and blend with immersion blender to combine.  Deep fry Brussels sprouts until crispy and browned.  Toss sprouts in a bowl with 1/4 cup sauce or desired amount.  Serves 8.

***

PUMPKIN SOUP
Wolfgang Puck

1 small to medium onion
4 oz. butter
1 whole butternut squash
1 whole kabocha squash
Sage, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, fresh ground
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Sugar, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 quart chicken stock or water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With a chef knife cut the squashes in half.  Place in a roasting pan and season with salt, pepper, sage, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Pour 2 cups of water at base of pan.  Cover squash with parchment paper and foil.  Place in oven  and roast for 45 minutes.  Squash should be tender.  Scrape squash meat from skin.  Puree’ meat in food processor, reserve.

Over a medium flame in a 2 quart sauce pot, add butter, melt to just browned.  Add onion, cook onion until translucent in the butter.  Add squash, cook for 10 minutes, stirring until completely hot.  Add 2 cups heavy cream and 1 quart of chicken stock or water.  Add salt, white pepper, sugar, cardamom powder and ginger powder.  Stir constantly and bring to a boil and strain through fine strainer.  To adjust the consistency, add more or less liquid as desired.  Serves 8.        

***

LOBSTER MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Geoffrey Zakarian for The Water Club

12 oz. Arborio rice
8 oz. cooked lobster meat (small dice)
2 quarts lobster broth
6 oz. shitake or crimini mushrooms
1 oz. olive oil
4 oz. yellow onion, minced
1 shallot, medium size, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsely
4 oz. dry white wine
6 oz. Parmesan Reggiano, grated
4 oz. butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced chives

In large saucepan, heat olive oil over low heat.  Add onions and sweat for 2-3 minutes until softened.  Add garlic, shallots, mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, then add Arborio rice, saute’ briefly to toast the rice.  Add wine, stir and allow wine to reduce to almost dry, then add 1/3 of lobster broth, keeping at a simmer and stirring every minute.  Allow most of broth to be absorbed.  Add another 1/3 of broth, continue stirring.  Check rice until it is tender.  

If more cooking time is needed, add 1/2 the amount of broth left.  Continue stirring, until broth is absorbed but still creamy.  Add lobster, cheese, butter and parsley and stir together.  Toss with extra virgin olive oil and minced chives on top of risotto.  Serve and enjoy!

Cheryl’s Cuisine

Dunmorean food editor Cheryl Radkiewicz chats with Bobby Flay during his recent book signing at Savor Borgata.  Flay's book, "Brunch at Bobby's", features 140 recipes for the best part of the weekend.

Dunmorean food editor Cheryl Radkiewicz chats with Bobby Flay during his recent book signing at Savor Borgata. Flay’s book, “Brunch at Bobby’s”, features 140 recipes for the best part of the weekend.

Recently, I attended the annual Savor Borgata 2015 where Bobby Flay and his new book, “Brunch at Bobby’s” were highlights of the annual “foodie feast.”

His new book is full of great ideas for brunch.  Do you ever run out of fresh ideas for breakfast and brunch?  I do.  Honestly, I’m even tired of the old scrambled eggs, frittatas, omelets, cereal, toast, French toast, Eggs Benedict, etc.  

This book opened a whole new world of brunch excitement for me.  The book itself will not only make a great holiday gift, but will also offer fresh ideas for brunch parties and breakfasts throughout the year.

Chapters include:  Coffee, Tea & Cocktails, Spreads & Syrups, Pancakes, Waffles & French Toast, Egg Dishes, Pastries & Breads, Sandwiches, Fruit Dishes & Fruit Salads, and Savory Side Dishes.  Tips include how to set up Bellini and Bloody Mary Bars.

Let me give you a sampling of some dishes I’m anxious to try:

Fresh Dill Cream Cheese:

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. dill pickle juice
Pinch of fine sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Stir together the cream cheese, dill, pickle juice, salt and pepper in a bowl until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours to allow flavors to meld.  Makes about 1 cup.  Perfect on bagels or stirred into scrambled eggs.

***

Black Pepper Popovers:

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Generously brush a 6-slot aluminum popover pan with softened butter.  Put pan in the oven to heat for 5 minutes while you make your batter. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, eggs, milk and melted butter until smooth.  The batter will be thin.  Fill the popover pan less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes.  Do not open the oven while the popovers are baking.  Remove from the molds and serve immediately.  Serves 6.

***

Croque Madame:

7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warm
3 cups grated Gruyere cheese (12 oz.)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
12 (3/4″) thick slices white Pullman bread, lightly toasted
6 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
12 thin slices baked ham
6 large eggs

Heat 3 Tbsp. of the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 6-8 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the grated Gruyere and the Parmesan and whisk until smooth. Season the bechamel sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Heat the broiler. Put 6 slices of the bread on a baking sheet and spread 1 Tbsp. mustard over each.  Top each with 2 slices ham and then distribute the remaining 2 1/2 cups Gruyere over the ham.

Broil until cheese begins to melt, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Top with remaining 6 bread slices and then pour a generous amount of bechamel on top of each sandwich.  Broil until cheese sauce is bubbling and evenly browned, 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 3 of the eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny.  Transfer to a warm plate and then repeat with the remaining butter and eggs.  Serve each sandwich topped with a fried egg.  Serves 6.

***

Tomato Strata:

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for the dish
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 medium French baguette, cut into 1/2″ diced pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs. ripe beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
6 large eggs
1/4 cup lightly packed thinly sliced basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil.  Put 1/2 cup of the oil and garlic cloves in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat and cook garlic until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes.  Add bread cubes and salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread cubes are lightly golden brown on all sides, 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, sugar, and red pepper flakes to the pan and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool.

Whisk eggs in a small bowl and add to the tomato mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and add to the tomato mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and add the basil,   Pour into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with the cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Bake until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Note:  Delicious served hot or at room temperature with poached or scrambled eggs.  Serves 4-6.

***

Rosemary Home Fries with Pancetta, Parmesan and Parsley:

4 large russet potatoes (4 lbs.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil (plus more if needed)
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1-1″ thick slice pancetta, diced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put the potatoes in a pot and add enough water to cover by two inches.  Season the water with salt, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook the potatoes until a skewer inserted into the center of each meets with just a little resistance, 20-25 minutes.  Drain well, let cool slightly, and then cut into 1″ dice.

Meanwhile, combine the oil and rosemary in a blender, season with salt and pepper, and blend for one minute.  Let the oil sit for 30 minutes before straining through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl.   

Heat rosemary oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until lightly golden brown, 2 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.  Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon to the plate with the garlic.

Add more oil to the pan, if none remains.  Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown and crusty on all sides, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the red pepper flakes, cheese and parsley; transfer to a platter; and top with the garlic slices and pancetta.  Serves 4-6.

***

Maple-Mustard Glazed Canadian Bacon:

1/3 cup pure grade B maple syrup
1 heaping Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. sliced Canadian bacon

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk together the syrup, mustard, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Put the bacon on the baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes.

Turn the bacon over, brush with some of the glaze, and continue baking until golden brown and slightly crisp, brushing once more with the glaze, about 7 minutes longer.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.  Serve warm.  Serves 4-6.