By Cheryl Radkiewicz
The Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival recently celebrated its 10th year. The ballroom at the former Sands Casino in Bethlehem, now Wind Creek Bethlehem, was jammed over three days with thousands of guests savoring the best of the valley’s restaurants. Imagine entering a vast expanse surrounded by restaurants and wineries.
I remember the first time I attended a food and wine event many years ago. Overwhelmed by my surroundings. I distinctly remember calling my sister and saying, “Barb, this must be what heaven is like.” I guess for a “foodie,” this is heaven.
The Lehigh Festival did not disappoint, it never does.
I’ll walk you through just some of the dishes served to guests: Emeril’s Chop House: Goat Cheese Beignets, Roasted Pork Loin and Taco “al Pastor”; Hellertown Bakery: Lemon, Blueberry Ginger Trifle; Steel Club: Shrimp Gumbo and Banh Mi Taco; Hampton Winds: Hatfield Pulled Pork Sliders, Southern Peach Tea and Mudslide Cookies; Buddy V’s: Spinach and Roasted Garlic Ravioli with Miniature Grandma’s Meatballs and Orange Pistachio Cannoli; Paxos: YellowFin Tuna Tartare and Orange Chocolate Tulip with Gianduja Mousse; Emeril’s Burgers and More: Chicken Fried Steak, Bourbon Brownie Milkshake; Emeril’s Fish House: Seared Gulf Shrimp with Kimchee and Fried Rice and Coconut Cream Pie in a Cone; Greene Marketplace: Red Wine Meatballs and Strawberry
Bruschetta Toast; Maxim’s 22: Negroni Ice Cream; Passanante’s Home Food Services: Cilantro Lime Chicken; Revel Social: Tropical Braised Short Ribs and Tender-Roasted Pork Belly; Sette Luna: Sardinian Fregola with Grilled Wild Ramps and local Spring veggies; Sodexo: Shrimp in White Wine Sauce over Homemade Pasta; Steelworks: Bacon Mac and Cheese and Creole Seafood Gumbo.
Chef Chris Wilson, Culinary Director of Emeril Lagasse’s Homebase in New Orleans, who oversees culinary operations at all of Lagasse’s restaurants as Chief Culinary Officer, delighted guests with his cooking demonstration and sense of humor.
It was standing room only for his program where guests were treated to tastes of his delectable dishes. They were absolutely luscious and I would be remiss if I didn’t share them with my readers, so ENJOY!
Pork Schnitzel with Creamy Shitake Mushroom Sauce:
1/4 cup milk
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 lb. pork loin cutlets, pounded to 1/8″ thickness
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground white pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
5 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
1/2 lb. shitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
1 cup leek, fine diced, white part only
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2/3 cup white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
4 lemon wedges
Dab of mustard
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Combine eggs and milk, whisk to combine. Place bread crumbs in a separate dish. Season pork cutlets with 1 tsp. salt and white pepper. Dredge cutlets in the egg
and milk mixture, let excess drip off. Dredge in the bread crumbs and set aside. Heat oil in 14″ saute’ pan over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and heat until foam subsides. Add 1/2 of the breaded cutlets ( do not overcrowd the pan) and cook until cutlets are browned on both sides, approximately 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain; transfer cutlets to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining cutlets. Repeat with an additional tablespoon of butter and the remaining cutlets.
Discard any oil remaining in the skillet when done and wipe skillet to remove any browned bits. Add remaining 3 Tbsp. butter to the pan and when foam subsides, add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until mushrooms are golden brown and liquid has evaporated. Add leeks and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until reduced by half. Add heavy cream, chicken stock and thyme. Reduce slightly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, approximately 2-3 minutes. Season with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and black pepper and a dab of mustard. Stir well.
Divide schnitzel between four plates and spoon mushroom sauce over each portion. Garnish with chopped parsley and a lemon wedge to serve immediately.
Duck Breasts with Cherries and Rosé Sparkling Wine Reduction
4 boneless skinless duck breast halves (6 oz. approx.)
Salt, black pepper
Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots or yellow onions
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup Brut Rose Sparkling Wine
1/2 cup duck or chicken stock
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp. toasted, skinned, chopped hazelnuts, as garnish
Score the fatty side of the duck breasts and lightly season with salt, pepper and Essence on both sides. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add duck breasts and sear on the fatty side for 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 2 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from skillet and cover to keep warm.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add wine, stock, cherries, honey and thyme and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Cook ;until cherries are plump and liquid is reduced to a thick sauce, about 4 minutes. Add butter in pieces, stirring constantly to incorporate. Adjust seasoning to taste. Return duck breasts to pan with any accumulated juices and cook over low heat until warmed through, about 1 minute.
Transfer to 4 serving plates and spoon sauce and cherries over each portion. Garnish with toasted nuts. Add additional ingredients and serve.
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 lb. Bing cherries, pitted
1 orange, juice and zest
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup Cherry Brandy (Kirsch)
1 pint Vanilla Ice Cream
Melt butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Stir in sugar and cook until dissolved. Add orange juice, zest, vanilla and cook until syrup thickens slightly, abut 2-3 minutes. In a small cup, stir cornstarch and water forming a slurry. Stir slurry into cherry mixture and cook until thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (2-3 min.). Pour brandy over cherries. Place pan back on heat and carefully shake pan to ignite the pan. Use a match to flame cherries (if needed), cook until alcohol evaporates and sauce thickens.
Divide ice cream between four bowls. Spoon cherry mixture over ice cream and serve.