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Culinary Corner, Week of January 30-February 4, 2023

Hello! Sorry for the missing entry last week, I was away but now I'm back.

Thanks as well to all who attended the Sip & Savor last Tuesday. We tasted four great wines from the Piedmont Region of Italy and had an all around good time. I believe there are a few bottles left of each wine, but they may go fast. Let Lora know if you are interested in having some with your dinner, my personal favorite was the Nebbiolo that we finished with, and it would be great with the Osso Bucco, the Pot Roast, or the Filet Mignon if you get the opportunity.

Enjoy our first Ginger Beer over ice with a lime twist!

Keep an eye out for this week's house-brewed offering called "Ginger's Heels", which is our take on a hard ginger ale. Remember, this is not an Ale at all but it definitely has a kick, I think a twist of lime would be a great accompaniment and I recommend it over ice. The name honors the great Ginger Rogers, who did everything Fred Astaire did only backwards and in heels. Next offering will be a Blonde Ale, then I think we will get back to the Stout that everyone is still talking about. We also have a Granny Smith Apple Cider, but I think we may have to add some honey, it's a bit tart.

On Thursday, come to The Social, where we will be serving Steak Chili with Cheddar, avocado, sour cream, and crispy tortillas. Lora is mixing up something called a Kentucky Mule, which I definitely need to is my job you know.

The soup of the week is Vegetable Beef, basically this is diced chuck roast and vegetables, stewed together in a beef broth. Gluten-friendly, not vegetarian.

We have Souvlaki Beef Tenderloin skewer this week, with a creamy cucumber and yogurt sauce. Now Souvlaki can mean many things but at it's most basic it is simply grilled meats on a skewer. Some versions of this dish include a pita wrap and fried potatoes, but since this is an appetizer we will keep it light.

Try the Smoked Gouda this week, with sweet gherkins and crackers. Gouda is one of the oldest named cheeses in western culture, dating as far back in Holland as the 12th century. The name comes from a town named Gouda that had exclusive rights to distribute this cheese, in the same way that another town named Edam had the same rights to its cheese. Personally I think they taste pretty similar but my Dutch forebears probably felt very differently. You don't need to know any of this to enjoy your cheese but I think it's fun. Try this one with the Ginger beer.

Also on offer is a cornmeal-crusted Pacific Rockfish this week, drizzled with basil-honey butter, and served over saffron rice with sautéed fresh spinach. Pacific Rockfish is also called Pacific Snapper because it is very similar in texture, but I don't like that name because it is misleading. It's not snapper, but it is pretty delicious and mild in flavor. There are many species of rockfish, and while it is considered a sustainable fish, that is due to some pretty careful regulation. Recently a large rockfish was caught in Alaska that is estimated to be around 200 years old! Ours are much younger, I'm sure. Ask Lora if she has any of that Gavi wine left from the Sip & Savor event because it would be phenomenal with this one.

Pot Roast

We are featuring slow-roasted Pot Roast this week, with vegetables and gravy served with butter and herb gnocchi. Now when you make pot roast at home, it's probably a 2-3 pound piece of meat, with wine, onions, garlic, carrots, celery etc. all simmered together and then served together. We do the same thing, only it's in batches of 30-40 pounds, and we will probably cook it at least three times this week. Other than that this is just good old fashioned pot roast, and a Chianti would be absolutely perfect with it.

I'm happy to suggest the Seared Duck Breast this week, with and orange and sour cherry sauce, grilled portobello mushrooms and crispy small potatoes. Duck is a very versatile meat, in this case it is seared-to-order so it will be more similar in texture to steak than roasted duck and will be served medium rare unless you request otherwise. It can be chewy if not cooked and sliced properly, so we will do our part, but if you like your meat cooked well-done this might not be the best choice for you. At any rate, either a light red like the Merlot or a full bodied white like a California Chardonnay would be a delicious complement.

Penne Pasta

The Pasta this week is Penne Pasta tossed with Smoked Chicken, garlic, spinach, olives, bacon, all tossed with pesto cream and served with garlic bread. any of these ingredients can be omitted if you desire. Penne is interesting in that is the only pasta with a specific date of birth. On March 11, 1865, pasta-maker Giovanni Battista Capurro in San Martino d'Albano filed a patent to cut pasta diagonally, with a new machine that would not crush the pasta when cutting it. The name means "pen" or "quill" and is supposed to resemble the tip of a fountain pen.

As a Vegetarian option, we have a Moroccan-Style Stew of Chickpeas and Vegetables, served over roasted acorn squash. This is seasoned with turmeric, garlic, cumin, paprika and other spices and would be a great cold weather choice even if you are not a vegetarian.

For specials this week, look for Fresh Fig Crostini, Shrimp Ceviche, Orange Roughy, Lamb Osso Bucco, Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon, Rabbit Coq au Vin (Lepin au Vin?) and Hoisin-Barbecued Ribs.

At lunch, we're pleased to feature Tacos al Pastor, Coconut Shrimp, Salmon Wellington, Veal Skirt Steak, and Lobster Macaroni and cheese

As always, I look forward to seeing you this Monday at the Culinary Corner meeting, and while it seems like January has already lasted a year, we will charge into February together!

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