Monday, February 29, 2016

Rosemary & Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Low in fat, this economical cut of meat is about as lean as it comes. The same prime cut as a filet mignon, Pork Tenderloin can be just as juicy and full flavoured but at a quarter of the price. Fabulous grilled on the BBQ in the summer or roasted indoors during the chilly months, this easy recipe can be prepared ahead of time by marinating the tenderloins in a fragrant mixture of citrus juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, mustard, rosemary and thyme, then left for a few hours, or even overnight, to do its culinary magic. Quickly seared to lock in its flavour, the pork is then finished off in the oven until it's just done. The results are a light, healthy and delicious low carb feast, especially when served over a bed of iron-rich steamed rapini, for truly Tuscan touch.

Rosemary & Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4-6

1 lemon, zest grated
1 orange, zest grated
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 4 to 6 lemons
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic, about 6 cloves
1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the sauté pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat registers 137°F at the thickest part. 

Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink and that's just fine! The thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Wolfgang Puck's 2016 Oscar Culinary Classics

For the 22nd year in a row, Wolfgang Puck will set the culinary stage with a Governors Ball menu inspired by vintage and contemporary Hollywood glamour, and will feature more than 50 imaginative dishes, from one-bite hors d’oeuvres to small-plate entrées that will be passed throughout the evening. Wolfgang and his team of 300 chefs will be cooking for 1,600 people on the night, with 600 waiting staff on hand to serve up the incredible feast to their A-List guests. As for the food? They will be preparing and serving 1,300 farmed oysters, over 20 pounds of farm-raised caviar, 300 Maine lobsters, 6,500 Oscar-shaped flatbreads and 2,400 bottles of Piper Heidsieck champagne to be served with a menu that includes braised short rib with cauliflower purée and golden raisin puffed Thai rice; rye berry risotto with peas and asparagus; tortellini with artichoke fromage; white grape almond gazpacho; poke, stone crab, made-to-order sushi and other raw bar treats floating atop illuminated ice blocks. There's also a selection of Puck’s signature favorites, such as his smoked salmon Oscars, chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, mini American Wagyu burgers with aged cheddar and array of elegant desserts such as pistachio crêpes with strawberry-Champagne foam and crumbled pistachio, plus a chocolate dessert bar featuring Puck’s sought-after 24-karat-gold chocolate Oscars. "We're going to top last year with delicious dishes, traditional ones that Adele and John Travolta love like the macaroni and cheese with truffles and chicken pot pie, and then new additions like Alaskan king crab, Chinese-style lobster and vegetarian dishes such as white grape almond gazpacho — "there will be something for everyone."

Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cones with Masago

Gold foil wrapped baked potatoes with sour cream and caviar 

Roasted Nuts with Rosemary, Cayenne, Sea Salt and Brown Sugar

Baby Beets, Cara Cara Oranges, Frisée and Arugula Mini Salads with Shallot Vinaigrette

Strawberry Cheesecake Lollipops with freeze-dried strawberry

Macaron Tower with Pistachio, Violet, Mango, Chocolate and Raspberry macaroons

Coconut Macaroons, Passion Fruit Mallomars, Kalamansi Pate de Fruit & Pistachio and Marzipan Pavés

5,000 chocolate Oscars have been created for guests

Smoked Salmon Oscar Matzos

Sushi, Shellfish and Poke Station

Mini Burgers with aged cheddar and remoulade

Marks Garden has been is the Academy Awards Governors Ball official florist for the past 22 years, creating inspired florals that include garden cut roses, hydrangeas, wisteria, birch and moss. This years Oscar Party theme - “the art of making film” - will feature 170 newly commissioned drawings of filmmaking legends, past and present, inspired from two of the most iconic restaurants for Hollywood celebrities: Sardi’s in New York’s theatre district, whose walls are lined with hundreds of celebrity caricatures, and The Brown Derby in Los Angeles, a restaurant shaped like a derby hat which has become synonymous with the Golden Age of Hollywood.

This year, after award winners receive their Oscar and disappear behind the curtain, they'll receive a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Rare Millésime 2002 to sip while their name is etched into their statuette. The official Champagne of the 88th-annual Academy Awards, only 1,000 magnums of Piper-Heidksieck's limited special-edition Oscars cuvée were made, and featuring a gold filigree label that spells “Oscars 88” that can be taken off the bottle to be worn as a gold tiara! Along with the menu of more than 50 dishes, this year Puck’s whipped up a special dessert to pair with the Piper-Heidsieck, a raspberry panna cotta with Champagne caviar and white chocolate.

The official Champagne of the 88th-annual Academy Awards, only 1,000 magnums of 
Piper-Heidksieck's limited special-edition Oscars cuvée were made

Anne Hathaway with her Oscar and glass of bubbly

Who could make eating pizza look so elegant?

Napa Valley's Sterling Vineyards will once again provide the featured wines for the Governors Ball with their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the Reserve Chardonnay 

Some of the films nominated for this years Academy Awards

Wolfgang Puck 2016 Oscar Menu
Pre Show - Tray Passed

Curried Chicken Salad on Walnut Raisin Toast 
Chinese Chicken Salad on Wonton Crisp
Roasted Red Hummus with Jicama Sticks 
Smoked Salmon Mousse on Cucumber 
Brioche Crostini with Seared Au Poivre Filet Mignon 
Tomato, Feta and Olive Skewer 
Shrimp Cocktail 
Mini Burgers with aged cheddar and remoulade
Assorted Pizzas 
Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cones with Masago
Root Vegetable & Homemade Potato Chips 

Wolfgang Puck 2016 Oscars Governors Ball Menu
Governors Ball - Passed Hors d'Oeuvres

Spicy Tuna Tartare, Sesame Miso Cone 
Mini Burgers, Aged Cheddar, Remoulade 
Smoked Salmon Oscar Matzo 
Vegetarian, Vegan and WP Assorted Pizza 
Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Roasted Tomato 
Avocado Toast with Radish, Sea Salt and Finger Lime 
Grilled Fig filled with Local Ricotta and Saba 
Pork Potsticker with Ponzu 
Taro Root Taco with Wild Mushrooms and Salsa Verde 
Crispy BiBimBap 

Table Platter

Homemade Pretzels, Pimento Cheese, 5 Year Aged Gouda  & Parmesan Reggiano 
Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika 
Roasted Nuts with Rosemary, Cayenne, Sea Salt and Brown Sugar 
Fleur de Sel Breadsticks & Seeded Lavosh 
Poke, Sushi & Shellfish 

Passed Small Plates - Hot
Baked Potato with Caviar 
Chicken Pot Pie, Black Truffles
Apple-Celery Root Soup with Black Truffle 
Baked Macaroni and Cheese 
Ancient Grain Risotto with Peas, Mushrooms and Pea Leaves 
Wagyu Shortrib, Cauliflower Purée, Golden Raisins and Puffed Thai Rice 
Artichoke and Fromage Agnolotti, Black Winter Truffles 
Dover Sole, Sweet Potato, Chili, Orange Miso Vinaigrette 

Passed Small Plates - Cold
Baby Beets, Cara Cara Oranges, Frisee, Arugula and Shallot Vinaigrette
Chopped Salad with Artichokes, Asparagus, Radicchio and Haricot Vert 
Chilled White Grape and Almond Gazpacho 

Chocolate Buffet
Caramel Oscars Lollipops 
Chocolate Chip Cookies 
Coconut Macaroons
Chewy Pink Cranberry Meringues 
Macaron Tower with Pistachio, Violet, Mango, Chocolate and Raspberry 
Crunchy Pearl Chocolate Dome
Raspberry Opera 
Strawberry Marshmallow 
Bubble Banana/Strawberry Cheesecake Lollipop Freeze dried Strawberry 
Rum "Baba Savarin" Raspberry Gelee 
Mini Yuzu Tarte Tropezienne 
Dark Chocolate Brownie 
Tiramisu Push Pop 
Assorted WP Chocolate Bonbons, Bars, and Barks
Strawberry White Chocolate Puffed Rice Rocher
Kalamansi Pate De fruit
Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Ring Dings
Passion Fruit Mallomars 
Lemon Meringue Tart Lollipop 
Vanilla-Raspberry Religieuse 
Chocolate Fountain

Passed Small Plates - Dessert

Chocolate Passion Layer Cake
Chocolate Biscuit
 Banana Ice cream 
Sweet Taco,
Pistachio Lady Finger
Market Cherries
Raspberry Panna Cotta
Champagne Caviar
White Chocolate Décor
Vanilla Bean and Hot Fudge Sundaes

Glamour Shot
Serves 4

4 oz Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Cream Liqueur
2 oz Goldschläger Cinnamon Schnapps
Edible gold flakes, for garnish

Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled shot glasses rimmed with edible gold flakes.

Wolfgang Puck’s Mini Cheese Burgers with Aged Cheddar 
Makes 12 mini burgers

3/4 lb ground beef
1/4 tsp Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz aged cheddar cheese, sliced
6 slices Brioche bread, punched out with a 2-inch ring cutter or 12 mini buns
Arugula leaves
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 cornichons, sliced

Remoulade Sauce:
2 cups heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3/4 cup of brunoise of red onion
1/2 cup of brunoise of red bell pepper
1/2 cup of brunoise of yellow bell pepper

For the remoulade sauce, combine the heavy cream, garlic, rosemary and paprika in a medium saucepan, and reduce by half. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a sauté pan, heat the peanut oil. Sweat the onions, red and yellow bell pepper until glossy. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat a grill or grill pan. Put the ground beef in a bowl and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands to combine. Take about 2 tablespoons of the ground beef and roll it in the palm of your hand like you are making meatballs. Flatten the top slightly and put the mini burger patties on a side plate. Drizzle the burgers with oil and season the tops with salt and pepper. Turn the burgers over and season the other side.

Place the burgers on the hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn them over with tongs. Put about 1/2 ounce of aged cheddar cheese on top of the burgers, allowing it to melt. While that’s cooking, put the brioche circles or mini buns on the grill. Let them toast slightly on both sides, about 2 minutes total time.

To put the burgers together: Put the toasted brioche circles or bun halves on a platter. Top each with a small spoonful of Remoulade. Put the burger on top, cheese side up, followed by an arugula leaf, a slice of tomato and a slice of cornichon. Top with other half of the brioche or buns, and secure with a decorative pick.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sautéed Pork in Mushroom Masala Cream Sauce

This simple recipe transforms pork medallions into a luxurious dish, served with a rich and creamy mushroom marsala sauce. Served over buttered noodles or with sautéed new potatoes, the medallions are first seared until golden brown, then set aside while the sauce is prepared in a matter of minutes. Chopped shallots and sliced mushrooms are sautéed until golden, then sprinkled with a little flour and jigger of sherry to thicken and flavour the sauce. Chicken stock is added and cooked until reduced by half, then the cream, Dijon mustard and parsley are stirred in along with the browned and juicy pork medallions. Served in a large serving bowl with a flurry of chopped parsley, this dish is an easy, elegant and delicious meal, perfect for a mid-week dinner but also impressive enough for serving family and friends. 

The pork medallions are lightly pounded, seasoned and sautéed 
until they become nicely browned, then transferred to a plate and set aside

In the same pan, chopped shallots are sautéed for about 10-15 seconds

Sliced mushrooms are added to the shallots and sautéed 3-4 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are golden

A tablespoon of flour and half cup of sherry or marsala is added to the sauce

Chicken broth is then added and cooked for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by half

Cream, Dijon mustard and chopped parsley are then added to the sauce

The browned medallions are returned to the sauce and cooked a further 4 minutes

The pork should still be a little pink in the middle and the sauce thick and lovely

Pork Medallions in Mushroom Marsala Cream Sauce
Serves 2

1 pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch thick medallions and lightly pounded
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 medium shallots, finely diced
12 oz cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp flour or cornstarch
1/2 cup dry Marsala or Sherry
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Season the pork medallions on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick sauté pan over high heat. When the butter is melted and foaming, add half of the medallions and sear until they're nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. The pork should be golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan. Add the shallots and sauté for about 30 seconds, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium-high and sauté until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, sprinkle with the flour and add the sherry. Once the wine has almost completely evaporated, add the chicken broth and reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, cream and parsley, return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pan, and cook, flipping the medallions once, until they're firm to the touch and still a little pink in the middle, about 3 to 4 minutes. 

To serve, place the medallions on a serving platter and spoon over the mushroom marsala sauce with a final garnish of chopped parsley for show. I like to serve this dish with buttered noodles or sautéed new potatoes and steamed or sautéed rapini.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thai Massaman Beef Curry: A Culinary Classic

Massaman Curry is a Thai dish of Muslim origin, which according to one theory, originated in central Thailand at the court of Ayutthaya in the 16th-century through a Persian envoy and trader. According to another theory, it originated in southern Thailand due to contacts with Arab traders. In light of the recipe's Muslim roots, this coconut-based curry is most commonly made with beef, but can also be made with lamb, duck, tofu, chicken, or even pork. The flavouring for the curry usually includes coconut milk, potatoes, and roasted peanuts or cashews, in addition to a range of other aromatic ingredients which include ginger, garlic, lime leaves, lemongrass, cilantro, chilies, onions, cumin seeds, cardamom, palm sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste and tamarind sauce, however lime juice works just as well. I prefer to make my own paste and sauce rather than using a store-bought version, as it produces fresher more vibrant results.

2 pounds of stewing beef, beef stock, smashed lemongrass, chopped onions and Kaffir lime leaves are simmered, partially covered for 80 minutes

Massaman Beef Curry is fragrant and flavourful. Although the list of ingredients may seem long, the sauce is very easy to make. Just toss them all into the curry as you prepare them and cook gently with the meat. Tra­ditionally, this dish is slowly simmered for about 2 hours, to thicken the co­conut milk and intensify the flavours, but it’s definitely worth the wait. In the meantime, you can sit back and relax while the curry simmers away, the beef turns meltingly tender and the intoxicating aromas fill the kitchen. Ranked as being one of the 'World's 50 Most Delicious Foods', Massaman Curry was quipped as being "the king of curries — spicy, coconutty, sweet and savoury, its combination of flavours has more personality than a Thai election!"

An array of dry aromatic spices, chopped cashews, garlic, red chili flakes, lime juice, 
brown sugar, shrimp paste and fish sauce are added

The spices are all blended in, and the diced potatoes added

Coconut milk is added...

...and stirred in

The mixture is brought to a boil and then simmered uncovered for another 30-40 minutes

The curry reduces and the flavours become richer and more complex

 Chopped cilantro is added at the end

The Massaman Curry is then served with extra cilantro, some dried red chilis 
and a few star anise

Massaman Beef Curry
Serves 4-6

2 lb beef, cut into cubes 
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1/3 cup diced onion
2 stalks lemongrass, smashed
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves

Curry Sauce:
1 thumb-piece ginger, grated
4-5 cloves garlic, slivered
1/2 tsp chili flakes 
1/4 cup chopped cashews
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cardamon
6 star anise
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp shrimp paste 
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 14 oz can coconut milk

Place stock in a large pot over high heat and add the the beef, onion, lemongrass and lime leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to low. Partially cover and simmer 60 to 80 minutes, stirring occasionally until meat is tender.

Add all the curry sauce ingredients plus the potatoes, stirring with each addition, holding back a few tablespoons of the coconut milk for serving, if desired. Return to a boil, then continue to simmer uncovered for 30 more minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the curry to a serving bowl or individual dinner bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro and some additional nuts if desired. Drizzle with reserved coconut milk and serve with Thai jasmine rice.