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Culinary Corner week of April 25-30

Welcome to spring everyone! I know its a month late but it seems like we are finally into nice weather. I hope my saying that doesn't trigger a blizzard. Spring vegetables are starting to arrive now, some seasonal items like fiddlehead ferns, ramps, and morel mushrooms are becoming available and we will find ways to work them into menus where we can.

Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddleheads are the sprouts of the Ostrich Fern found in the Northeast and the Northwest. The flavor is not surprisingly similar to asparagus, but richer and more complex. Fiddleheads need to be washed very thoroughly to remove any dirt, and can sometimes be bitter if not served properly. The bitterness comes from tannins, which are found in many foods but best known to us in red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. To account for this natural bitterness, I always make sure to serve them with either olive oil or butter, as fat greatly softens tannins, much like cream softens the bitterness of coffee and red meat softens red wines. Look for them in this weeks Flights of Fancy menu as well as the Sip and Savor.

There is quite a bit happening this week;

On Monday night for Movie Night we have been asked to repeat the pizzas we served a few weeks ago. There will be various pizzas made in house available, as well as caprese salad, and garlic rolls. Make sure and attend this, there are only a few weeks left and so many people really enjoy it. Tell Bob you want free wine too.

Sip and Savor this week is four different red wines from Paso Robles, located on the central coast of California. This town and region are becoming one of the more important wine areas in the state, and focus mainly on Zinfandel and Cabernet blends. The event is at 2 pm on Tuesday the 26th. I will be presenting each wine, talking about the background and characteristics of the varietal or blend and pairing with foods that I hope will complement it. If you can't make it or if you just want to try it again, we are offering the same selection for our weekly flight menu.

Chronic Cellars Dead Nuts Zinfandel [image courtesy of Chronic Cellars]

Anyway.....The soup of the week is Turkey Noodle. Roast turkey breast diced and simmered in broth with celery, onions and carrots. Noodles are in the broth.

For a cheese this week we have Parrano, a firm Italian cheese with a flavor somewhere between Parmesan and Gruyère. This is served with fresh strawberries and prosciutto.

We have Sausage-Stuffed Mushroom caps this week with house-made marinara. This is served hot, and garnished with shaved Parmesan.

Walleye Pike

For dinner this week, look for Broiled Walleye in a very light lemon cream sauce. Walleye are a freshwater species, members of the Pike family. The flesh is lightly flavored, but has a distinctly buttery feel to it, and is very good broiled or fries. When we broil fish, we cover it with white wine, salt, pepper and butter or olive oil, then put it under a broiler until cooked through. This keeps the flesh very moist, and we are serving this with mashed cauliflower and steamed baby carrots.

We have Pot Roast on the menu at dinner. For our pot roast we use a cut of beef called the Chuck Flap, which is located very close to the ribs, and has good flavor and not much gristle. We slowly cook it with red wine, celery, carrots, and onions until very tender, and then strain the cooking liquid to make a sauce for it. We are serving this with crispy fried zucchini, and corn whipped potatoes-mashed potatoes with creamed corn whipped into them.

We have Seared Airline Chicken Breast, with a sauce of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh roasted peppers. Airline chicken simply refers to a chicken breast with the first section of wing still attached, and the skin still on. We are serving this with Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes.

As a vegetarian special this week we have Moroccan Chickpea Stew served over roasted acorn squash. It also contains garbanzos, tomatoes, eggplant stewed with cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and other spices. This one is absolutely delicious, and your doctor will be pleased if you tell them you tried this plant-based meal.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry Lo Mein

We have Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry this week, with lots of ginger and garlic over lo mein noodles and served with a crispy spring roll on the side.

For dinner specials throughout the week look for Herb-crusted Lamb Chops, Shrimp Fajitas, Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Homemade Lasagna, and Brazilian Fish Stew.

At Lunch this week, look for Beef Sliders topped with Brie cheese, Beef tacos, Crispy Catfish, Bourbon-Glazed Ham and Beef Burgundy.

Don't forget we have Steamed Lobster Tails, and be sure to ask your server what the Cook's Special of the Day is.

For desserts, I am looking forward to the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake on Monday, the Pear and Berry Cobbler, and of course Turtle Cheesecake.

As always, please join me on Monday for the Culinary Corner at 10 am in the Dad Clark Bar. I look forward to seeing you!

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