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Culinary Corner, week of May 8-13





Well, May is in full swing now. Trees are green, flowers blooming, pollen count rising.

We have some fun events this week, including a Sip & Savor tomorrow and on

Wednesday, we have Dinner and a Movie with Angie. Yours truly will be manning a build-your-own-pasta station.


Last week in The Food Committee, we were discussing heart-healthy options. On every menu there are selections that are naturally light in saturated fats fitting this description, but sometimes there is an item which is perfectly heart-healthy but for a sauce or maybe the vegetable. How do we label that? I am going to try to start identifying these items but sometimes it will take input from you to make it that way. if you would like an item with no sauce please ask and we will make it so! If you prefer your vegetables cooked in olive oil, that's no problem. I urge you to take an active role in your nutrition, attend our Monday Culinary Corner meetings and ask how things are cooked and what can be substituted. Please do ask for certain items to be included on the menu, tell us what you liked and don't like. Keep in mind that our approach to the menu is collaborative, no that doesn't make it a democracy but the menus are shaped by input from residents and what is ordered most and least on a menu. Not everything can be changed, and not everything will appeal to everyone individually but the more we talk, the better it gets.


The Soup of the week is Steak and Potato. Basically, we grill steak- in this case beef tenderloin and add it to broth with vegetables and potatoes. Sort of like a beef stew, but lighter and not as thick. this is seasoned with fresh thyme and roasted garlic.


The Appetizer of the week is Pork Tenderloin Skewers marinated in red wine and herbs, grilled and served with cucumber-yogurt sauce and toasted pita. Sort of a light, Mediterranean style, great with a glass of Assyrtiko wine that I just know Lora has stashed in her hiding place.


Port Wine Derby [image courtesy of Belton Farm]

The Cheese this week is a lovely Port Wine Derby from Belton Farms in the United Kingdom. Derby is very similar in texture to Cheddar, but this one in particular adds port wine to the curds before pressing, giving the cheese a fruity flavor and beautiful marbled color. This will be served with dates and crackers, and would be really awesome with a glass of Zinfandel.


At Dinner, try the Broiled Sole with a light lemon cream sauce, steamed broccolini and fingerling potatoes. This dish is already nice and light, but if you are looking for a heart-healthy option, simply ask for it with no sauce and without butter. We will broil the fish in white wine with lemon and fresh herbs-- no problem. Either way, try this with Sauvignon Blanc, you will be happy with the pairing.


We have a new item this week: Grilled Marinated Denver Steak. The Denver steak is a cut taken from the shoulder area of the animal, specifically a section underneath the shoulder blade bone. Even though the shoulder is not the most tender cut, this muscle doesn't get used much by the animal making it more tender. Think of it as somewhere between a New York strip and a ribeye. Denver steaks are rising in popularity as an alternate cut of meat, as cuts from the loin get larger and more expensive. Ours is served with roasted beech mushrooms, and Brie-mashed potatoes. This one with a glass of Tannat would be heaven.


Chicken Picatta is on this week's menu by request. This is a boneless, skinless cut of chicken breast sautéed and served with a sauce made from white wine, lemon, capers, butter and garlic. No heart-healthy option here, but maybe live a little? Anyway, we serve it with baby carrots and angel hair pasta and it is always good with Chardonnay.


The week's Vegetarian option is a new one too. Ravioli d' Ouvo is a large single ravioli filled with an egg, and gently steamed. we serve this with roasted asparagus, tomatoes, and light Parmesan cream. I'm looking forward to this one, as our talented Sous Chef David Meraz will be leading the way and trying a new technique. No pressure David... anyway, try this with a glass of Chianti and if you like it, please let us know!


Finally on the weekly Dinner menu we are offering Black Pepper Linguini tossed with Italian Sausage, tomatoes and fresh herbs. I will be having this for dinner Monday night for sure.


For nightly specials, look for the Pan-Fried Scallops, Sesame Chicken, Pesto-Crusted Salmon, Seared Duck Breast, Chipotle Short Ribs, and Carved Beef tenderloin.

At Lunch, you'll find Carved Ham, Chili Glazed Salmon, Beef Tacos, Korean Pork Tenderloin, and Grilled Steak Macaroni and Cheese.


At the Social this week, try the Crab and Pea Shooters, Zucchini Fritters and Tuna Wontons. At The Social, we will introduce the weekly beer, an old-style Saison called "Brigade". Saison is much more than a style of beer, it is a family of traditional beers from Belgium and France. Meaning “season” in French, Saison was brewed at the beginning of winter and conditioned in time for farm hands to quench their thirst during summer field work. Saisons were traditionally "farmhouse " ales, that would vary from farm to farm as the flora and fauna of the environment would affect the sourness and clarity of the beer that was served to farmhands. Now we don't have a farm, but we do have a crew of thirsty cooks and chefs, and I was thinking of their dedication and hard work as a classic Brigade (Executive Chef, Chef de Cuisine, Sous Chef, Chef Tournant, Chef Garde Manger, etc.) as we were preparing the Titanic-themed menu. I do have a soft heart for these guys even if I can't give them beer during their shift. I hope you enjoy it.

As always, please join me at the Culinary Corner this Monday at 10 am to discuss this menu and more.








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