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Taming the Beast with Ricotta Cavatelli

Today was a real watershed moment in my relationship with three year old son Beaumont. About two weeks ago we started bonding while cooking together at a small bed and breakfast on the Puget Sound. I was preparing food for an audition of a big TV show I am praying to get on and Beau was sitting on the counter, mimicking my every move.  Each time I added an ingredient he would ask for the same thing then add it to his creation….

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Italian Cooking Class

 

1

Watermelon and Tomato Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Chef François de Mélogue
Serves: 4
with Piquillo Sorbet, Parmesan Tuile
Ingredients
  • 1 small                         Watermelon, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick, cut into circles
  • 1 each                         Yellow Tomatoes, peeled, sliced ½ inch thick, cut into circles
  • 1 each                         Red Tomatoes, peeled, sliced ½ inch thick, cut into circles
  • 1 each                         Green or Black Tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick, cut into circles
  • 2 T.                               fruity Olive Oil
  • 1 T.                               Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 c.                              Reggiano Parmesan, finely grated
  • [br]Piquillo Sorbet
  • 1 T.                               Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 each                         Shallots, rough sliced
  • 28 oz. can                  Piquillo Peppers
  • 1 cup                           Simple Syrup
  • 1 t.                               Fleur de Sel
  • 1 T.                               Aleppo Pepper, or Espelette Pepper
  • 1 each                         Lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 T.                               fresh Thyme, chopped
Instructions
  1. Sauté shallots in olive oil.
  2. Mix shallots, Piquillo peppers, simple syrup, fleur de sel, Aleppo pepper, lemon juice and fresh thyme and puree in a blender.
  3. Freeze in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Reserve.
  4. Put small mounds of parmesan on a sil baking sheet and bake till melted, bubbly and lightly brown.  Let cool for a few seconds, then pick up and lay over a wine bottle.  Allow to cool fully retaining a rounded tile shape.
  5. Cut watermelon and tomatoes.
  6. Arrange tomato and watermelon circles on chilled plates.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and chill till you are ready to eat.
  8. [br]At Dinner Time:
  9. Drizzle with fruity olive oil, balsamic vinegar and season with fleur de sel and black pepper.  Put a scoop of pipérade sorbet in the center and top with a parmesan tuile.
Notes
Nature is the perfect Chef. Things that grow in the same region, in the same season tend to go well together, especially fruits.  The watermelon and tomato combo may sound odd but it will be an epicurean epiphany once you try it.  It is so refreshing and easy to make and perfect for your next Desert dinner party.[br][br]Try adding fresh mozzarella and basil or creamy Feta cheese.  They go amazingly well with watermelon and tomato.  Next time you make gazpacho add watermelon![br][br]Wine Notes[br][br]Dry rosés pair unusually well with summer produce. Rosés usually have wonderful watermelon flavors that do nothing but complement the flavors in the salad.  I would suggest a more robust rosé or perhaps a chilled light bodied red wine, such as a Gamay Noir.

 

 2

Gauzzetto of Wild Salmon, Mussels and Shrimp
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Chef François de Mélogue
Light Tuscan Seafood Stew
Ingredients
  • 2 oz.                             Olive Oil
  • 2 medium                    Carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 1 each                         Leek, cleaned, diced
  • 1 rib                             Celery, peeled, diced
  • 2 cloves                       Garlic, mashed
  • Pinch                           Saffron
  • 2 t.                               fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 T.                               Flour
  • 1 c.                              White Wine
  • 4 cups                          Fish Stock
  • 1 each                         Tomato, diced
  • ½ c.                             Tomato Sauce
  • Four – 4 oz. pieces        Wild Salmon
  • 24 each                       Mussels
  • 12 each                       Shrimp
  • 4 sliced                        Crostini
  • 1 T.                               chopped Parsley
Instructions
  1. [br]Mise en Place (before your party)
  2. Sauté carrots, leeks and celery in olive oil for about five minutes, or until tender.
  3. Add garlic and saffron and continue cooking till the aroma permeates the air and causes you to drool.
  4. Sprinkle flour and thyme and stir into vegetables.
  5. Deglaze with white wine and fish stock.  Bring to a boil and let simmer.
  6. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Check seasoning.  Chill.  Reserve.
  7. [br]Fire (when your guests are seated)
  8. Bring Gauzzetto to a boil.  Add seafood.  Cook about five minutes, or until seafood is cooked.  Spoon into four warmed bowls, garnish with chopped parsley and a crostini then enjoy!
Notes
Chef Notes[br][br]Leave the flour out if you are gluten intolerant.  The flour simply adds a bit of body.  Try adding a touch of chopped anchovy instead of salt.  The anchovies give it a more authentic flavor.  Try finishing with a splash of brandy.  Most importantly, use whatever seafood is absolutely freshest.  Remember recipes are simply guidelines rather than firm unbendable laws.  Cooking for family and friends is one of the best ways to express love and friendship.[br][br]’Whoever receives friends and does not participate[br][br]in the preparation of their meal does not deserve to have friends.'[br][br] [br][br]- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin[br][br]Wine Notes[br][br] [br][br]Ah, the age old question, white or red with fish?  Old wisdom would dictate a white but I think a light bodied red would work as well.  For white wines I would suggest a Viognier, Gewurztraminer or any other white varietal that has a touch of residual sugar to counterbalance the acidity in tomatoes and spice in the broth.  For reds, try a light Pinot Noir, Gamay, Sangiovese or Grenache.  Salmon and Pinot is always a fantastic combination.  If you can’t decide then default to Champagne.  Champagne goes with everything!

 

3 

Pistachio, Polenta and Olive Oil Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Chef François de Mélogue
Vanilla Ice Cream, Silk Road Cherries
Ingredients
  • [br]Pistachio Cake:
  • 50 grams fine Polenta
  • 200 grams ground Pistachios
  • 50 grams Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 125 ml. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 100 grams Butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 each Eggs
  • 200 grams Sugar
  • 1 each Lemon, zested
  • 1 each Orange, juiced
  • [br]Silk Road Cherries
  • 250 grams Cherries, pitted
  • 25 grams Butter
  • 75 grams Sugar
  • 25 grams Pistachios, ground
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • 1each Vanilla Bean, split and scraped
Instructions
  1. [br]Mise en Place (before your party)
  2. Mix polenta, pistachio flour, flour and baking powder together.
  3. Mix extra virgin olive oil and melted butter.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar till pale.
  5. Mix eggs into olive oil.
  6. Add wet to dry.
  7. Add lemon zest and orange juice.
  8. Butter and paper four – 4 ounce ramekins.
  9. Pour batter in and bake at 300 degrees till done, about ten minutes. Reserve.
  10. Melt sugar and butter together. Cook to light caramel.
  11. Add spices, vanilla, pistachio and cherries. Cook till liquid again. Reserve.
  12. [br]Fire (when your guests are seated)
  13. Unmold a pistachio cake unto a ten inch plate. Top with cherries, drizzle sauce around and garnish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Notes
You will have extra everything in this recipe. It is so good you probably won’t mind that fact. The batter for the pistachio cakes is better made one or two days ahead.

 

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