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Culinary Corner Week of February 28-March 5

Happy Mardi Gras!! Laissez les bons temps rouler! [Let the Good Times Roll!]. This year instead of a separate party for Lifestyles we have combined forces and will have a big party in the Dad Clark Bar. I am getting a sack of live crawfish to boil, we will have fresh Beignets coming out of the kitchen and Laura will be pouring the best Hurricanes in Colorado. Zydeco music will be played, and there will be plenty of beads, masks and fun for all. The Dining room of course is still open, look for Gumbo, Blackened Redfish, King Cake and Pecan Pie. I will be there (without a cocktail of course), and I am looking forward to having fun with you all.

The soup this week is Turkey Noodle. Just as it sounds like, this has turkey meat in a rich broth with Vegetables and noodles. Not gluten-friendly, but very good.

The Appetizer of the Week is Teriyaki Grilled Salmon Skewers. We thread salmon meat onto skewers and marinated in teriyaki. It is then grilled and served with a chilled dipping sauce made with soy, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, and herbs. The sauce is kind of salty, and the fish will be a little sweet.

Parrano Cow's Milk Cheese from The Netherlands

The cheese this week is Parrano. This Dutch Cow's milk cheese is similar to a Gouda in texture, but with a more Parmesan-like flavor. We are presenting this with fresh strawberries and Prosciutto ham, along with crackers. This one is new to me too, I am looking forward to tasting it.

The fish this week is Pan-Seared Cod with a Black Garlic-Miso Sauce. The garlic is a fermented product, robust and slightly sweet on flavor. Miso is of course fermented soybeans with a pronounced salty flavor, this rich sauce will be served alongside lo mein noodles and snap peas sautéed with sesame seeds.

Beef Tenderloin Country-Fried Steak

We have a Beef Tenderloin Country-Fried Steak on the menu. I always laugh at this one, Country Fried steak is usually made with some rather cheap cut of meat that is pounded into submission, before breading and frying to make a crispy fritter that is great with a creamy pan gravy. Years of trying this recipe at Vi led to frustration, no matter how much we tenderized the steak we would get complaints. Finally I just gave up and pounded out a Filet Mignon-the most expensive cut of beef, and voila, everyone loved it, so now we make this down-home country dish with high-end Certified Angus Beef. Whatever it takes, right? This is served with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Buttered Corn. Not the most dietetic dish we will serve this week but probably the most popular.

We have our classic Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin at dinner this week. This is one I have been doing for since we opened, it was a signature dish of mine at a restaurant that I worked in years ago, sort of a deconstructed Porchetta. The bacon is laid out in overlapping layers in a row, then the seasoned pork is laid across and rolled up. The bacon renders as it crisps to baste the lean Pork, keeping everything moist and delicious. Fresh blueberries and guava are simmered into a sweet and sour jam, and this is served with our quinoa pilaf and sautéed spinach.

The vegetarian special this week will be a Spinach and Artichoke Cannelloni, with a cream sauce made with pesto and Brandy. A cannelloni is basically a sheet of pasta wrapped around a filling and baked. this one is served with a side of cherry tomatoes sautéed in fresh basil and garlic.

The Pasta this week is Pappardelle tossed with Roasted Duck in a Wild Mushroom Sauce. Pappardelle is a flat wide noodle, that should be a good carrier for all that sauce. This is finished with fresh thyme and served with garlic bread.

For dinner specials, look for Creamy Shrimp and Sausage over Grits, Grilled Ahi Tuna, and Carved Rack of Lamb.

Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Po'Boy

At lunch we have a Crispy Soft Shell Crab Po' Boy. The original poor boy sandwiches were typically fried potatoes, gravy, and spare bits of roast beef on French bread. The name originated in 1929 during the streetcar strike at Martin Brothers’ French Market and Coffee Stand in New Orleans. The poor boy sandwich was created when the Electric Street Railway employees went on strike, and the market gave away sandwiches to the strikers. Whenever a striker would walk into the restaurant someone would shout, “Here comes another poor boy!” Our Po' Boy is a whole soft shell crab fried and crispy, on French bread with lettuce, tomato, and remoulade-a kind of mayonnaise with a secret blend of spices, pickles and capers. This dish is served with waffle fries, and I plan to enjoy it all week.

image courtesy of Sloppy Joe's Bar, Key West FL

Just as good, but with a much murkier history we have a Sloppy Joe Sandwich at lunch this week. Sioux City, Iowa lays claim to this one, as a lunch counter cook named Joe added tomato sauce to his loose meat sandwiches in 1930. Sounds plausible, the loose meat sandwich is a Midwestern classic. Not so fast though, as Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West Florida claims to have created this one. The bar with Joe as its owner was not known for its cleanliness, (hence the name) but for its good food and cold beer-even during Prohibition, with none other than Ernest Hemingway as its biggest supporter of the claim. As a frequent patron of that bar in my youth, I personally always went with this one... But wait, the city of Havana also claims that "Sloppy José" himself was from Cuba, where he served Ropa Vieja sandwiches long before defecting to the Keys. Whatever the origin, this one is a crowd pleaser, come on in and have one with steak fries this week.

We have a Turkey Reuben on the menu this week. Not surprisingly, this classic sandwich has even cloudier origins as two different Reubens from New York and one from Nebraska lay claim to this sandwich usually made with Corned Beef from the early twentieth century. I can't keep up. Ours has lean sliced turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread and we will be serving it with our house made potato chips.

For Lunch Specials look for Bourbon Glazed Ham, Crawfish and Crab cakes, Coconut Crusted Tilapia and Carved Beef Tenderloin.

The Collection Red Blend, California

The Wine this week is "The Collection" a red blend from California, which would be absolutely great with the Pork at dinner and Laura is pouring a Peach Bourbon Cocktail that sounds delicious.

As always I thank you all for all the support. We really do want to be the best in the business of senior living, so please let us know what we can do to make things better. call me, email or please just show up in person to the Culinary Corner meetings on Monday at 10 am in the Dad Clark Bar. I look forward to seeing you there.

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