Cheryl’s Cuisine: July 2019

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Chef Chris Wilson, Chef Emeril Lagasse and Chef Victor Bock work together during the recent 10th Anniversary Food and Wine Event. Wilson is Lagasse’s Culinary Director and Bock is the Executive Chef at the Sands (now Wind Creek Hospitality).

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

The Sands Casino in Bethlehem recently celebrated its 10th Annual Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival with three days of celebrity appearances by renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse amid news that the Casino has been sold and will undergo a massive expansion including hotels and adventure and water parks making it the Number One Resort Destination in the Northeast.  

The sale from Las Vegas Sands Corporation to an affiliate of Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians was finalized the day before the event and will be renamed Wind Creek Bethlehem. This news added to the celebration for not only Sands employees, but also to the “over capacity” crowd which packed the Event Center for the  Mardi Gras -themed celebration.

Festival Chairs lauded Chef Emeril Lagasse for his talent and generosity in working with the Sands, where he owns three restaurants,  (Emeril’s Chop House, Emeril’s Fish House, and Burgers by Emeril) and supporting students from the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program of Northampton County Community College.  Thus far, the festival has raised over $1.75 million to support the NCC Foundation. Scholarship winners each year are afforded the opportunity to do their externships at Emeril’s New Orleans’ restaurants, Emeril’s, NOLA, Emeril’s Delmonico and Meril.  

Chef Emeril held a cooking demonstration to a standing-room only crowd with some of his new favorite dishes.  Having never tried Vietnamese cuisine, it was my first and a delightful one, at that. If you’re ever offered the opportunity, don’t pass it up…you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Even though all were absolutely delicious, rave reviews were offered for the Fettucine Nero and Chayote Soup.  

Vietnamese Shrimp & Pork Spring Rolls:

1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc nam)

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Shown are Vietnamese Shrimp and Pork Spring Rolls, Vermicelli Noodles, Charred Chayote Soup with Adobe Shrimp, and Fettuccine Nero, three dishes demonstrated by Chef Emeril’s Lagasse at the 10th Anniversary Leigh Valley Food and Wine Festival in Bethlehem.

1 Tbsp. sugars 
Black pepper
8 cups water
1 lemon, halved
1 Tbsp. fine salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. concentrated crab boil
1 lb. large shrimp
3.75 oz. (1 pkg. fine rice vermicelli (bun)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
2 cups romaine lettuce, chiffonade
24 mint leaves
24 cilantro leaves
24 Thai basil leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce
Spring Roll wrappers
Nuoc Leo (Vietnamese Peanut Sauce) for serving

Place pork tenderloin in bowl with shallot, garlic, fish sauce, sugar and black pepper.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinate, turning occasionally, at least 1 hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator.  Preheat grill to high. Grill tenderloin, turning occasionally, until just cooked through, about 8-10 minutes (145 degrees internal temperature on thermometer).  Transfer tenderloin to plate and set aside to cool to room temperature before proceeding. Once cooled, slice tenderloin into 1/8″ thick slices and set aside, covered and refrigerated, until you are ready to assemble the spring rolls.  

 In medium saucepan over high heat add the 8 cups water, squeeze the lemon and add it to the pot.  Season with salt and cayenne pepper and the crab boil. Bring liquid to a boil. Add shrimp to the water and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer shrimp to an ice water bath until cool. Peel shrimp and slice in half horizontally.  

Prepare rice vermicelli according to package directions and strain in colander.  Run under cold running water until cool and set aside to drain.

Assemble rolls 1 at a time: Dip 1 spring roll rapper into lukewarm water and quickly transfer to a clean kitchen towel.  Wrapper will soften within seconds. Lay 4 shrimp halves in a horizontal line across the center of each wrapper and top with a few tablespoons of cooked (well-drained) vermicelli.  Top vermicelli with a handful of cucumber, 2 Tbsp. of the shredded romaine, 4 mint leaves, 2 sprigs cilantro, and 4 basil leaves. Place a few sticks of julienned carrots along the top of the filling ingredients and top with 2 slices of pork.   Spread 1/4 tsp. Hoisin on top of pork.

Carefully pull lower edge of the wrapper up and over the filling.  Fold the 2 sides inward over the filling and press to seal. Work carefully so as not to tear the wrapper.  Once both sides are folded inward over the filling, roll the spring roll upwards so that the filling is tightly contained and roll up to seal.  Set the spring roll aside on a plate lined with lettuce leaves, covered with a damp paper towel or damp clean kitchen towel, as they dry out very quickly.  Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Once you have assembled all spring rolls, serve immediately either at room temperature or slightly chilled, with Nuoc Leo (Peanut Sauce) for dipping.  Yield: 12 spring rolls, 4-6 servings.


Nuoc Leo (Vietnamese Peanut Sauce)

1 Tbsp. peanut oil

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 tsp. sambal olek (chile garlic sauce)
1 tsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup chicken stock or water
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish
1 fresh red Thai chile pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
Sriracha sauce for serving (optional)

Heat oil in small saucepan and when hot, add garlic, shallots, chile garlic sauce,  and tomato paste and cook until garlic and shallots are golden brown, about 30 seconds.  Add chicken stock, hoisin sauce, peanut butter and sugar and whisk to combine. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly before serving. Garnish sauce with peanuts, chile pepper and Sriracha sauce, if desired. Yield: 1 1/4 cups, enough for about 6 servings.  


Fettuccine Nero:

8 oz. fresh squid ink fettucine
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp.  thinly sliced garlic
2 tsp. thinly sliced Calabrian peppers (can substitute jalapenos)
1/4 cup pasta water
1 cup baby arugula, stems trimmed
8 oz. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over of shells and cartilage
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Bring medium-size saucepan of water to rolling boil and season with sea salt.  Add pasta to water and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until pasta is just tender. Drain and set aside.  In medium-size saute’ pan, over medium heat, add olive oil, sliced garlic, and peppers and gently cook garlic until it turns a pale or golden brown.  As soon as garlic begins to brown, add pasta water and bring to simmer. Add pasta to pan and toss to coat.

Add arugula, crabmeat and lemon juice and toss with pasta being careful not to break up the lumps of crab.  Cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Transfer pasta to serving platter or individual dishes and garnish with toasted almonds.  Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.


Charred Chayote Soup with Adobo Shrimp:

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 1/2 lbs. chayote squash (2-3 squash), peeled, halved and seeded
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp. adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1/2 cup diced yellow onions
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 qt. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Sour cream, for garnish, optional

Preheat grill or grill-pan to medium-high heat.  In large bowl, toss chayote with vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and the black pepper.  Place chayote on the grill and cook, in batches, if necessary, until slightly charred on both sides, 8-10 minutes per side.  Remove from heat, cut into 1/2″ dice and set aside.

Toss shrimp with 1/4 tsp. salt and the adobo sauce and let stand for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes.  Heat butter over medium-high heat in medium stockpot or soup pot. Add onions and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add reserved chayotes, cumin and crushed red pepper to the stockpot. Stir in chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until chayote is tender, about 8 minutes.

Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through.  Remove soup from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve soup immediately, garnished with sour cream,  if desired. Yield: 4 servings, about 2 quarts.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: August 2017

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Dunmorean Food Editor Cheryl Sempa Radkiewicz displays Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin prepared by Chef Tyler Baxter, executive chef of Emeril’s Chop House at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem during the recent Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival.

When Tyler Baxter was a student at Northhampton Community College majoring in Culinary Arts, little did he realize he would be serving cuisine at some of the most popular Lehigh Valley restaurants, let alone  becoming the Executive Chef at Emeril’s Chop House at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.   

lvfoodwine-logoHis path began when he was chosen with two other graduates to be invited to New Orleans to cook with renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse in 2012. Upon returning to Pennsylvania, he went on to become the Executive Chef at Cosmopolitan, The Bayou and Grain.   Last year he was named Executive Chef of the upscale steakhouse.  

Emeril’s Chop House, located in the Casino, is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.  and offers some of the most delectable dishes.


During the recent  Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival, Baxter prepared the following specialty, which brought raves from everyone in the audience:

Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Crisp Yucca, Chimmichurri and Jalapeno:

Beef Tenderloin:

6 oz. center cut beef tenderloin

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Heat a large saute’ pan with the vegetable oil, and heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Season beef with salt and pepper on both sides. Add beef to the pan and sear on all sides until the internal temperature reaches  approximately 125-130 degrees. Let beef rest 5 minutes before serving.


1 Yucca

1 cup vegetable oil

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Peel yucca and slice thinly with a mandolin slicer.  Heat vegetable oil in a large pot with plenty of clearance for the hot oil to displace.  

Add yucca to the oil once the temperature reaches 325 degrees.  

Fry until the yucca starts to turn golden brown and transfer to a plate with a paper towel to drain.   Season with salt and pepper while still hot, and let cool completely.  Transfer to a container with a lid until ready to use.


1 bunch flat leaf parsley

1 bunch cilantro

2 medium shallots

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup olive oil

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Finely mince parsley, cilantro, shallots and garlic, and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add red wine vinegar and olive oil and whisk until combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

TO SERVE: Place a small amount of Chimmichurri on the plate, top with the seared beef tenderloin, add a few pieces of crisp yucca to the top of the steak and scattered around the plate.  Top with a few slices of jalapeno and a spoonful of Chimmichurri.


Other chefs featured during the festival  included  Sean Doyle, Executive Chef of the Savory Grille, who is also an active member of the community and sits on the board of the Culinary Advisory Team at Northhampton Community College and Lehigh Career and Technical Institute.

During his presentation, Doyle prepared  some of his favorites:

Gulf Shrimp with Quinoa Tabbouleh and Lemonade Cloud:

Panned Gulf Shrimp:

12 Large White Gulf Shrimp, cleaned, peeled and deveined

3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Plain-quinoa-fslSalt and pepper shrimp.  In a hot saute’ pan pour the oil and place the shrimp in the pan. Cook on each side for approximately 90 seconds.  Turn and cook for an additional 90 seconds.

Quinoa Tabbouleh:

1 bunch parsley, coarse chopped, stems discarded

2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

1 medium onion, small dice

6 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and diced

1 cup quinoa, cooked

6 tsp. fresh lemon juice

6 tsp. olive oil

Salt  and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.  Serve at room temperature.

Lemon Cloud:

4 oz. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. honey

Salt, to taste

1 tsp. soy lecithin

Place all ingredients in a 1 quart measuring device and whip with an immersion blender until light and fluffy.


Panned Jail Island Salmon with Red Beet Risotto, Arugula Pesto and Beer Blanc:

Panned Jail Island Salmon Fillet:

4 Jail Island Salmon Fillet, 6-8 oz. portions

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon fillet.  In a hot saute’ pan, pour oil and place the flesh side of the fish in the pan.  Reduce heat and cook until salmon is amber in color. Turn salmon filet onto the skin side and cook until desired doneness.

arugula-pestoArugula Pesto:

1 bunch fresh arugula

2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

1 clove garlic

2 Tbsp. Gran Podano cheese

6 Tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in an emulsion blender and puree’ until smooth.

Beer Blanc:

1/2 cup  pale ale beer

1/2 cup minced shallots

1 lemon, juiced

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

1/4 cup salted butter, chilled and cut in small cubes

In small saucepan add pale ale beer, shallot and lemon juice.  Reduce on low heat until almost dry.  Add heavy cream and reduce by half.  Add butter several chilled cubes at a time until all incorporated.  Strain and serve.

Red Beet Risotto:

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup red beet juice

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 small onion, minced

1 cup Carnaroli rice

4 Tbsp. butter, small cubes

1/4 cup Grana Podano cheese

In a hot saute’ pan place the olive oil and onion, cook until tender.  Add the rice and 1 cup of the chicken stock at a time.  Stir occasionally until chicken stock is absorbed and then add another cup of chicken stock.  

Continue cooking until all the chicken stock has been  used and then add red beet juice and continue cooking until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and incorporate the Grana Podano and butter.  Adjust the salt.