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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Five Star Recipes

I am briefly hijacking this blog from Janet, so I can share a pair of recipes from the Five Star Sensation this past Saturday in Beachwood. Five Star gathers top chefs from around the country for a fundraiser that benefits UH Ireland Cancer Center.

Tickets start at $300, but we've snagged you a couple of recipes that you can make for significantly less than that. Jonathan Waxman's lamb chop recipe is in today's (June 17) food section, so I thought it apropos to supplement his entree with a pair of sides.

Shawn McClain is the executive chef of Spring in Chicago. His lemongrass coconut soup is sweetly spicy. It is the only dish from Five Star for which I requested seconds.

Soup Ingredients:
2 oz grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 stalks lemongrass
2 oz ginger, peeled
2 oz galangal, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 oz red Thai curry paste
1 gallon chicken stock
3 cups coconut cream
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 cup fish sauce
3 limes, juiced

1. Thinly slice onion, lemongrass, ginger, galangal and garlic. Add oil to large pot and slowly sweat sliced ingredients. Once they are cooked down, about five minutes, add chopped tomato and Thai curry paste. Cook for about two more minutes, then add chicken stock, bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minuts, then add cocunut cream and return to simmer.
2. Pour entire contents of pot through large strainer in order to separate solids from liquid.
3. Mix equal portions of solids and liquid in a blender. Be careful not to add too much hot liquid to blender at once. Blend, starting slow and increasing to high speed, until solids have blended well with liquid. Pour contents of blender through fine, mesh bowl strainer. Discard solids that do not pass through strainer. Continue process until soup is blended.
4. Season soup with fish sauce and limes, and steep kaffir lime leaves in soup until chilled or about half an hour if soup is not to be chilled for serving.

Makes 10 servings

If that seems like too much work, I have a simple recipe from Frank Ostini, owner of The Hitching Post in Buellton, Calif., for grilled corn salad with cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette.

1 oz fresh ginger, minced
4 ears fresh corn, husked
1 medium red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1 oz fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 jalapeño, diced
1 cilantro bunch, most stems off
1/2 cup corn oil

Dressing: Combine ginger, vinegar and jalapeño in blender for 15 seconds. (Can also add lime juice for additional flavor.) Stop blender and add cilantro. Start blender adn slowly add corn oil. Set dressing aside.

Grill corn over open fire for six minutes, basting with butter and seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove and cut kernals from cobs. In a saute pan over medium heat, cook ginger and one Tablespoon corn oil for one minute. Add onion, stir and cook three minutes. Add red pepper, stir and cook two minutes. Add corn, stir and remove from heat. And dressing and let cool to serve.

-Jason Lea


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