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.
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.”
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
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
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.
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!