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Culinary Corner Week of March 6-11

Hello! Welcome to the first full week of March! The sun is setting later, there are very tiny buds on the trees, and I am so ready for spring that I'm already planning the garden and window shopping for plants.

Cotija cheese

The soup of the week is Chicken Noodle, Very simple and delicious, in a rich broth seasoned with oregano and celery seed.

The Appetizer this week is a Quesadilla made with house-made tortillas and Cotija cheese topped with our own salsas and guacamole. This is one of my favorites, you don't realize how awesome fresh tortillas are until you have them. Cotija is similar to feta cheese, but less salty and milder in flavor.

The Cheese the week is Manchego with fresh figs and tart cherry crackers. This Spanish cheese is made from sheep's milk, and aged in woven grass molds which give not only it's characteristic herringbone pattern but a subtle herbaceous aroma. Ours is aged 12 months, enough to develop tiny crystals as it develops.


The crystals are formed as the bacteria in the cheese break the lactose (sugar) down into lactic acid, which crystalizes with calcium. When you taste a cheese that has a slightly crunchy texture like this, it indicates that it is properly aged and that the flora and fauna that add flavor and aroma are developed. Remember, good cheese is a living thing, and has a life cycle much like yogurt or sauerkraut. These living organisms are also part of our own ecosystem, and a robust population of microbes also keeps us healthy.

At dinner, we have Crispy Tilapia with Lemon and Garlic Aioli, sautéed baby Kale, and Parmesan potato wedges. Tilapia is a firm-textured, very mild fish, it's one I always recommend to people who are wary of seafood. A good Pinot Grigio would be great here.

Chicken Picatta is on the menu, with boneless, skinless chicken breasts dredged in flour and then topped with a sauce made from white wine, lemon, capers, butter and lots of garlic. Now the origins of this dish are murky, but it seems like it was created by Italian immigrants in America sometime around the 1930's. It was originally made with veal, which used to be much cheaper than chicken and was pounded to make it tender. Ask Lora for a good Sauvignon Blanc with this one, we are serving it with angel hair pasta and baby carrots.

We have a Pork Tenderloin marinated in Beaujolais and fresh raspberries, and it is served with a apricot-ginger glaze, buttered peas, and quinoa pilaf. The bright, fruity flavor of Beaujolais is nice with pork, and the tannins are low so it won't overpower. Try this with Chianti or Beaujolais.

Pizza Margherita

As a vegetarian offering this week, we have a Margherita Pizza. This pizza was introduced in 1889 in honor of Queen Margherita of Italy, and with the colors of the Italian flag to celebrate the unification of the country. Fresh mozzarella, and fresh tomatoes are served over our house pizza dough and finished with fresh basil.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

The pasta is simple Spaghetti and Meatballs, with garlic bread and parmesan cheese. ours is made with pork and beef.

At Dinner look for Ginger and Anise marinated chicken, Steak Raviolis, Orange Chipotle Ribs, Seared Scallops, Beef Wellington, and Meatloaf.

At Lunch look for Mushroom and Swiss burger, Carved Ham, House made Corn dogs, Tacos, Grilled Cheese and Lobster Tails.

On Thursday, the Social will feature a build your own taco bar, and Lora will be serving Palomas. The Paloma is often overshadowed by it's popular cousin, the Margarita and this is a shame. It's origins are murky, but here in America it is made with Tequila, Grapefruit and Lime juice. Try one this week, I think this cocktail is the next big thing.

On Friday, we are having the Sip and Savor event again. We are exploring the wines of the Rhone region of France, but may try a Rhone style blend from California or even South America to compare. Rhone blends are one of my favorites, so come have fun with us and tell us what you think. Remember that these events are only fun if you participate, believe it or nit I do get tired of hearing myself speak. Here is a great article on the blends and how they are interpreted in the New and Old world if you want to read up on it.

As always, I look forward to seeing you at the Culinary Corner on Monday, 10 am in the Dad Clark Bar. Enjoy your day!

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