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Culinary Corner, week of April 10-15

Hello! Happy Easter to those who celebrate. I hope you are all joining us in the Dining room for a big holiday brunch with Ham, Salmon, Eggs Benedict, Crepes and lots more.

Thank you to all who attended the Social last week as well as the Happy Hour on Friday, we had a great time and are really looking forward to having events like this out of doors. The weather this week is looking beautiful, and I will begin visiting the bees.

For those of you who are curious, the bees survive the winter by eating their stored honey and pollen. They huddle together around the queen for warmth, flexing their flight muscles over and over to generate heat. The center of a beehive remains between 88 and 96 degrees all winter, and as long as they can access the food and have enough population to keep warm they will survive.

We started the winter with four active hives, and it looks like all four have made it through. Flowers don't really start blooming in earnest for another few weeks and so we will supplement their diet with sugar until then. One of the first beekeeping tasks will be to see which hives look overcrowded. When a hive feels too successful in spring they "swarm". What this means is that the workers take one of the new eggs and feed it Royal Jelly until it develops into a new queen. When this happens, the old queen and about half the population will take off en masse to start a new location. While this is natural and normal for bees, it can be quite startling to see a huge clump of bees settled into the crook of a tree or the eaves of a building and the beekeeper has to try to wrangle them into a box, where they can be transferred to a new hive. The best way to prevent this is to make an artificial swarm by separating the hive manually, which takes away the need for the bees to fly away and still gives us a new hive. More to come on that as the season progresses.

The Soup this week is Lentil with Pulled pork. Lentils are one of the earliest domesticated crops, and have stood the test of time with good reason, they grow quickly, replenish overused soil, are high in proteins, high in fiber, and taste delicious when properly seasoned. ours has slowly cooked pulled pork stirred in and has a wonderful flavor.

The Appetizer this week is a Cajun Crab Cake with creole aioli. These are made with claw crabmeat, bread crumbs, mustard and a it of heat. the sauce is our take on a classic remoulade, with tomato, pepper, garlic and mayonnaise.

The cheese this week is Oaxaca, folded into a fresh tortilla and grilled into a quesadilla. Oaxacan cheese is a stretched curd cheese similar in texture to mozzarella but milder. David is making a batch of Tepache to serve with it. Tepache is a traditional drink made in Mexico, and it's origins are pre-Columbian. Pineapple, sugar and water are combined with a touch of cinnamon to ferment quickly. The fermentation is open, meaning that no yeast is added, except that which is in the air or on the skins of the fruit. It brews quickly and should be drunk young, as it does not age well at all. The alcohol levels are very low, and it is very refreshing on a warm evening with a dish like this.

At dinner, look for Tilapia in Brown Butter, served with roasted broccolini and rice pilaf. Tilapia is a great fish, especially if you are looking for something mild in flavor. Try this one with the Gavi white wine.

We have Brie-Crusted Filet Mignon with mashed cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts and red wine reduction. Our Filets are cut from the best Beef tenderloin, 28 days wet-aged and hand cut right in our kitchen. Try this with Pinot Noir, preferably from Washington or Oregon.

We are offering Pork Marsala this week. Marsala is a fortified wine from the town of Marsala on the Italian island of Sicily. This wine was traditionally served as an aperitif, but today is mostly used in cooking of desserts. Our Marsala sauce is made with marsala wine, mushrooms, veal and chicken stock. The pork is dredged in flour and briefly sautéed, before being finished in the sauce. this dish is served with mashed sweet potatoes and baby carrots. Try this one with the La Crema Rose.

As a vegetarian special this week, try our Roasted Red Beets in a tangy blood orange sauce, served with sautéed spinach and potato gnocchi. Beets are really high in antioxidants and fiber, are naturally sweet especially when roasted and I really hope you enjoy this one.

The pasta this week is Penne with Salmon and Shrimp, tossed in sun-dried tomato cream and topped with shaved Parmesan. It's delicious with a Pinot Grigio.

For dinner specials try the Mussels Casino, Beef Tacos, Adobo Pork Chops, Korean Barbecued Ribs, the Vegetarian Wellington, and of course the Pot Roast.

At lunch, you'll love Chicken Stir Fry, Carved Beef Tenderloin, the Lobster Roll, Scampi and Grilled Ribeye steak.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Culinary Corner this week, and don't forget to set your calendars for the Titanic Dinner we are having on the 28th. More details to come.

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