Archive for February, 2012

Specialty food producers part of Ky. Crafted: The Market

Kentucky Crafted: The Market returns to the Lexington Convention Center this weekend and is open to the public Saturday and Sunday. In addition to fine art and crafts, the show features locally produced artisan foods. Kentucky Proud producers include Kentucky Specialty Sauces, Screamin Mimi’s Salsas,  Hillbilly Specialties, Shell-Bee’s Homemade Gourmet Sea Salts & Spices, The Sweet Shoppe, Mom Blakeman’s Candy, Ruth Hunt Candy, Elmwood Teas and Boone Creek Creamery. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. One-day tickets are $10, two-day, $15. Discount tickets are available online at 1.usa.gov/sn2Qou.

Events

Addie’s Restaurant & Bar at The Woodford Inn, 140 Park Street in Versailles, will have a fish fry at 5 p.m. Friday. The menu includes lobster bites, jumbo shrimp, fish fillet, clams, coleslaw, and hush puppies. The cost is $13 for choice of two, $15 for a platter. Call (859) 873-5600 or visit Thewoodfordinn.com.

Alfalfa Restaurant will have its second annual Casimir Pulaski dinner 5:30 to 9 p.m. March 9. Pulaski, after whom Pulaski County is named, was a Polish army officer who fought and died in the Revolutionary War. Alfalfa chef Paul Nowaki will prepare specials including Marksbury Farm Kentucky-made kielbasa, sauerkraut and house-made potato cheddar pierogies, stuffed cabbage and chicken Kiev. Polish beer will be served. Alfalfa is at 141 East Main Street. Call (859) 253-0014.

■ The Bleu Plate Confidential’s next tour will be March 10. The location, chef, food and all aspects of the dinner are kept a secret until two days before the event. The location is an unconventional spot and is never a restaurant or typical dining spot. “A local chef preparing a four-course meal in a location without a kitchen is quite a feat in itself,” said Bleu Plate Tours owner Laura Mize. “I strive to locate interesting places, and guests not knowing where they are going is a large part of the fun.”

Guests are sent an address, along with passwords that each guest is required to reveal for entry. Tickets are $85. Call (859) 893-1011 or visit Bleuplatetours.com.

WineStyles, 2535 Nicholasville Road, will host Pere Gomes from the Agricola Falset Marca winery in the Catalonia area of Spain on Friday. Gomes will have selections from the Priorat region of Spain and will discuss the wines from 5 to 8 p.m. The cost is $8. Call (859) 278-9463.

Specials

■ Weekend specials at The Julep Cup include osso bucco with fresh gremolata and risotto Milanese, and sole Milanese served with potato croquettes and roasted asparagus and bell peppers. John Hedger entertains on Friday and Bruce Lewis on Saturday. Call (859) 226-0300.

Rossi’s Restaurant, 1060 Chinoe Road, has nightly dinner specials and happy hour at the bar 5 to 7 p.m., and all day on Sunday. A glass of chardonnay or cabernet for $3, or any well liquor for $2.50. The Tuesday special is half-price bottles of wine. Call (859) 335-8788 or visit Rossis-restaurant.com.

New menus

Heirloom Restaurant in Midway has a spring menu that includes coconut yogurt mousse, eggs Heirloom, mache salad, sautéed chicken livers, crabcakes, beef tenderloin, pan-seared Chilean sea bass and duck. The Mary burger is named for chef/owner Mark Womble’s grandmother. Heirloom serves maple-bacon scones for breakfast 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. On Wednesdays, the feature is half-price wines, and there’s live entertainment on Thursdays. Call (859) 846-5565 or visit Heirloommidway.com.

■ The menu is going green at Greentree Tearoom, 521West Short Street, for March. The menu features potato leek soup; Irish oatmeal scone; hot brownette; salmon mousse, Benedictine and pesto chicken tea sandwiches; pistachio cupcakes; and grasshopper creams. Luncheon tea is served at noon Wednesday through Saturday. Call (859) 455-9660 or visit Greentreetearoom.com.

Menu at new Bluebird Cafe is locally produced

The menu at the new Bluebird Café in Stanford won’t be the same every time you visit, because the menu will depend on what local farmers are producing. Meats are from Lancaster’s Marksbury Farm; eggs are provided by Pike Valley Farm, also of Lancaster; JD Country Milk of Russellville provides the milk; and the cheeses come from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese of Austin.

In order to accommodate local farmers, the menu will change throughout the year depending on what is being produced, executive chef Bill Hawkins said. The menu is geared toward southern cooking, and the restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, with the option of private evening parties and catering. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Bluebird is at 202 West Main Street, Stanford. Call (859) 904-9089  visit Bluebirdnatural.com.

Ouita Michel is a semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast

Ouita Michel, chef/owner of Holly Hill Inn in Midway, is in the running for the fifth consecutive year for Best Chef: Southeast, a 2012 James Beard Foundation award. Louisville chefs Anthony Lamas of Seviche  and Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia also are semifinalists. Visit James Beard.org.

Italian deli replaces Stanley J’s New York deli

Stanley J’s New York Style Deli closed in September to the dismay of many, but now an Italian deli has taken its place. ­Rosalia’s Old World Italian Deli serves authentic recipes from the Italian grandmother of owners and sisters Claira Reynolds and Noelle Rayan.

Rodney Reynolds and Khalid Rayan have joined their wives in helping them realize their dream of owning an Italian restaurant that has the flavor of their Italian grandmother’s kitchen on Sundays.

The women grew up in the restaurant business. Their father, John Mione,  owned several Mione’s delis in Southern California, but the love of Italian food was born at the table of their grandmother Catherine “Rosalia” Mione.

The menu includes corned beef, Reuben and pastrami sandwiches, soups, salads, cannolis and tiramisu. Coffee is 25 cents. The dinner menu offers spaghetti and lasagna. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call (859) 223-3354  or go to Rosaliasoldworld.com.

Special events

Jonathan at Gratz Park, 120 West Second Street, is having a wine dinner Tuesday featuring wines from Justin, a winery in Paso Robles, Calif., on the state’s central coast. Justin makes Bordeaux-style blends and single varietals, combining Old World tradition with New World techniques. Wines include Justin chardonnay, 2008; Justification, 2008; Isosceles, 2008; and Obtuse, 2009. The five-course dinner, at 7 p.m., is $75. Call (859) 252-4949  or go to Jagp.info,  or Justinwine.com.

Rodney’s on Broadway, 222 North Broadway in Georgetown, will have a wine dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday featuring wines from Austria, Australia and Argentina. A guest speaker from Winebow Imports will introduce each wine. The cost is $60. Call (502) 868-7637.

Hanna’s on Lime, 214 South Limestone, will celebrate Leap Day on Wednesday by offering turkey and dressing as the daily special for $7.95. Side dishes include mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, kale, green beans, ­macaroni and cheese, baked sweet potato, corn pudding, broccoli casserole, and lima beans. Delivery is available. Call (859) 254-6264  or go to Hannasonlime.com.

■ As part of the Community Table at Oliva Bella series, owner Lea Ann Vessels and guest Paolo Capretti will co-host “Eat, Drink, Learn Italian” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 7. On Wednesday evenings for four weeks, a different region of Italy will be featured and guests will learn about the food, wine, culture, and basic Italian language. Puglia is the first region to be spotlighted. The cost is $100. Oliva Bella is at 400 Old Vine Street. Call (859) 983-3567.

Specials

The Julep Cup, 111 Woodland ­Avenue, is offering ahi tuna sashimi with tempura rock shrimp; black ­grouper with mixed grains; and red curry lamb stew as weekend specials. Phil Copeland and Friends will entertain Friday and Bruce Lewis on Saturday. Call (859) 226-0300.

Thai Orchid Café, 1030 South Broadway, is having a seafood feast on weekends through Easter. The menu includes shrimp and coconut cream soup, Thai shrimp trio, salmon hot pot and seafood coconut curry. Call (859) 288-2170 or go to Thaiorchidcafe.net.

■ The Town Branch Market & Deli, 233 East Main Street, has expanded its deli menu to include breakfast biscuits and English muffins with sausage or bacon, egg and cheese. The store now sells donuts from Donut Days Bakery. For lunch, the deli is now preparing hot pressed sandwiches, chili dogs and 7-inch pizzas. Call ahead at (859) 280-2122, and your order will be ready when you arrive.

■ On Fridays through April 6, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is having Friday Night Fish Fry at the Trustees’ Office Dining Room. Hours are 5:30 to 8 p.m. The cost is $12.95. Call 1-800-734-5611, Ext. 360.

Rossi’s Restaurant, 1060 Chinoe Road, offers daily dinner specials and happy hour at the bar from 5 to 7 p.m. every night, and all day Sunday. Also featured are half-price bottles of wine on Tuesdays. Call (859) 335-8788  or go to Rossis-restaurant.com.

Detroit Coney Island is serving its fish sandwich for the Lenten season. Locations are 1301 Winchester Road in Eastland Shopping Center, (859) 280-9138; and 825 Lane Allen Road, (859) 278-3982.

Openings

■ Jeff and Kim Bullock, former owners of Friends & Co., are now back in the same location with The Secret Bar & Grill. The restaurant at 841 Lane Allen Road now serves some of the original Friends & Co.’s favorite homemade pies. New menu options include ­Calabash seafood. Call (859) 317-8673.

Add some pizazz to the lowly taco

Herald-Leader photo by Mark Cornelison

When it’s taco night, the cook can relax. It’s easy enough to sauté chicken strips, ground beef, pork or fish — or buy all the ingredients already cooked at the supermarket — and add a handful of shredded lettuce and cheese, and a tablespoon or two of salsa for a quick and easy dinner.

Or, you can jazz up that humble Mexican street food with a variety of more interesting ingredients, and you can have taco night several times a week. A new taco cookbook can help.

“While eating tacos and other Mexican foods has become part of our everyday life, cooking Mexican food has not yet,” said Shelley Wiseman, above, author of Just Tacos (Taunton, $19.95). Her book concentrates on classic Mexican tacos, some with strong regional identities and many from the cosmopolitan melting pot of Mexico City, where she lived for many years.

Wiseman is a former Gourmet food editor and co-author of The Mexican Gourmet.

“Essentially anything can be enclosed in a tortilla,” Wiseman said.

Just Tacos has many fillings that sound exotic but are easy to make. Wiseman elevates ground beef and chicken with bold mole and poblano sauces, or adobo marinades. Beef chuck is slow-cooked in spices and a touch of Mexican chocolate for chili con carne tacos, which, Wiseman says, are served far more often in Mexico than ground-beef tacos.

No matter what type of filling you choose, you begin with a tortilla. Tortillas are available in ready-to-serve packages, but the taste doesn’t compare to that of freshly made corn or flour tortillas, Wiseman said, and she gives detailed instructions in her book on how to make them.

Energetic cooks can make their own, but let’s leave tortilla making to the professionals and spend our time creating interesting fillings.

RECIPES

Here are three recipes from Wiseman’s book that will help make taco night more adventurous.

Tacos with pork in green sauce

11/2 pounds tomatillos (15 to 18) husked and rinsed

2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, stemmed

1 teaspoon cumin seed

3 allspice berries

1 whole clove

3 medium garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

11/2 teaspoons salt, divided

3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a 3-quart saucepan, cover tomatillos and peppers with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer vegetables uncovered, turning occasionally, until tomatillos are tender and khaki-green all over but still intact, about 15 minutes. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Heat cumin, allspice berries and clove in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring the spices until they are fragrant and cumin seeds are a few shades darker, about 1 minute.

Put spices in a blender with 1 cup of the tomatillo cooking water, and blend until spices are ground. Using a slotted spoon, gently lift tomatillos and chilies out of the remaining cooking water and put them in blender along with garlic, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.

Pat pork dry, and season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in a wide, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat, and brown pork in batches without crowding, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes a batch.

Return all the meat to the pan and add tomatillo sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring to coat meat, then reduce heat. Simmer pork, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and sauce is thickened, 11/2 to 2 hours. If necessary, continue to cook uncovered to thicken sauce. Shred meat with two forks.

Make tacos with the accompaniments: warm corn tortillas, Mexican crema or sour cream, chopped white onion, chopped cilantro.

Chorizo and potato tacos

1 pound boiling potatoes

1 pound Mexican or Spanish chorizo

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Salt

Warm corn tortillas

Guacamole

Fresh tomato salsa

Peel potatoes and cut into ½ inch dice. Cook in a saucepan of boiling salted water until potatoes are just cooked through and still hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Drain. Remove casings from chorizo and crumble (the Mexican) or finely chop (the Spanish). Cook meat in a large skillet (adding a teaspoon of oil if using Spanish chorizo) over medium heat, stirring for 5 minutes. Add potato and oregano, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Make tacos with potatoes and chorizo topped with a favorite guacamole and tomato salsa.

Makes 4 cups filling, enough for 12 to 15 tacos.

Asian tuna tacos

Wasabi mayonnaise:

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared wasabi or 2 tablespoons powdered wasabi mixed with 1 teaspoon water

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons lime juice

½ teaspoon sugar

Tuna:

1 pound tuna steaks, about 1-inch thick

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unhulled sesame seeds

3 tablespoons mild olive oil

Flour tortillas

Chopped scallions

Radish sprouts or chopped cilantro

Sliced avocado

For the mayonnaise: Stir together mayo, wasabi, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

For the tuna: Pat the fish dry with paper towels, and season with salt. Put sesame seeds on a plate and press both flat sides of tuna steaks onto the seeds to coat.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add oil and swirl the pan to distribute, then add tuna steaks, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, and sear for about 2 minutes on each side, until just the outside ¼ inch is cooked but the center is translucent.

Transfer steaks to cutting board and slice. Make tacos with the tuna, mayonnaise, tortillas, scallions, radish sprouts or cilantro, and sliced avocado.


If you absolutely don’t have time to cook, Kraft has a new item, Fresh Take, that’s a blend of cheeses and seasoned bread crumbs, and its test kitchen staff created this fish taco recipe that’s ready in about 20 minutes.

Tilapia tacos

1 package (6 ounces) Fresh Take chili lime and panko recipes cheese bread crumb mix

6 fresh tilapia fillets (11/2 pounds)

2 cups shredded purple cabbage

½ cup pineapple salsa (see note)

12 corn tortillas (6 inch), warmed

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine Fresh Take ingredients according to package directions. Moisten fish with water; place in cheese mixture bag, 1 piece at a time. Lightly press cheese mixture onto both sides of fish. (Fish will not be completely coated.) Place on prepared baking sheet; top with remaining cheese mixture.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Meanwhile, combine cabbage and salsa. Cut fish fillets in half; place on tortillas. Top with cabbage mixture.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: Any fruit salsa may be used.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog:flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/02/15/2069756/add-some-pizazz-to-the-lowly-taco.html#storylink=cpy

Stella Parks named one of Food & Wine’s best pastry chefs

 

Stella Parks

After tasting desserts across the country, Food & Wine editors have named five Best New Pastry Chefs, including Lexington’s Stella Parks from Table Three Ten on Short Street.

Only professionals who have run a restaurant pastry kitchen for five years or fewer were eligible. The winners and their recipes will be featured in the May issue of Food & Wine on newsstands April 13.

“We’re thrilled to find so much talent in so many regions of the country — from a Kentucky pastry chef who creates fun, whimsical, homey desserts to a New York City pastry chef who prepares exquisite versions of French classics using molecular techniques,” Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin said in a press release.

Best New Pastry Chef Winners are:

■ Shawn Gawle, Corton, New York City

■ Bryce Caron, Blackbird, Chicago

■ Laura Sawicki, La Condesa, Austin

■ Stella Parks, Table Three Ten, Lexington,

■ Devin McDavid, Quince/Cotogna, San Francisco

As part of the Best New Pastry Chefs program, Food & Wine announces that Chris Ford of Wit & Wisdom in Baltimore is the winner of  The People’s Best New Pastry Chef 2012  award, selected by the dining public in an online poll presented by Godiva. Danica Pollard of Lidia’s in Kansas City and Francis Ang  of Fifth Floor in San Francisco are the regional finalists in Central and West, respectively. For more on The People’s Best New Pastry Chef winner and finalists, visit Foodandwine.com/the-peoples-pastry.

Stella Parks

At 3, Stella Bussey Parks was making biscuits from scratch with her father; at 21 she was creating baked Alaskas at Emmett’s Restaurant, and at 30, she is one of Food & Wine’s Best New Pastry Chefs in America.

Dana Cowin, editor in chief at Food & Wine, called Parks “a Kentucky pastry chef who creates fun, whimsical, homey desserts.”

Parks, who is pastry chef at Table Three Ten on Short Street, started her career in restaurants at 14, and went to culinary school straight out of high school. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in 2002, worked for Emmett’s, and when Chris and Ouita Michel opened Wallace Station, she joined their team. “I wrote the original pastry menu at Wallace Station. The danger brownies are my babies,” she said.

Then, Parks had what she calls “a quarter life crisis.” “I needed some adventure in my life.” She cashed out her savings and moved to Tokyo. The CIA has a work-abroad program, but first Parks wanted to learn the Japanese language and studied two semesters in Shinjuku. After the second semester she met future husband John Parks, and decided marrying Parks and being a pastry chef was exactly what she wanted to do.

When she returned home, Parks worked for a year at Bluegrass Baking Company, and then with the Michels again. This time at Holly Hill Inn. “Ouita is everyone’s inspiration. She’s amazing,” Parks said.

Parks left Holly Hill hoping to start a family, but ended up with another job offer and not having children.

While shopping at Wine + Market, Parks had become friends with owners Krim and Andrea Boughalem, who were renovating an old building on Short Street to open a restaurant. “When we opened Table Three Ten, I knew we needed a very strong dessert department. I had known Stella for a few years and saw she had the experience and spirit to become a great pastry chef. Johnny Shipley, our chef, and I have the same idea and commitment to season, freshness, and simple ingredients in food, Stella matched this philosophy perfectly. She had a certain romanticism when it comes to desserts,” Krim Boughalem said.

“It was the offer of a lifetime,” Parks said. “I have no restrictions. They’re tremendous employers. I’m 100 percent in charge of my domain.” “Familiar,” “comfort,” “nostalgic,” and “satisfying” are words Parks uses to describe her creations. “I trained in classical French technique, but I’m not interested in making high brow desserts, I have a great appreciation for that, but I want people to really feel something when they eat the dessert. I don’t want them to merely say this was delicious or this is very interesting. I want them to feel like a kid again and say these animal crackers are like I remember.”

Everything Parks makes is done by hand, including marshmallows, animal crackers, and sprinkles for the cupcakes.

Parks has other talents besides making outstanding pastries. She writes about food for SeriousEats.com and Gilttaste.com, and her own blog, BraveTart.com. She started blogging in 2010, not long after professional photographer Rosco Weber started following her around with a camera. Whatever Parks baked, Weber photographed it. “Making pretty dessert is my job, but those desserts always lived and died undocumented. Seeing them in a photo really energized me,” she said.

Weber and Parks talked about writing a cookbook, but decided on a blog. “BraveTart became a home to Rosco’s food photography and my recipes and ramblings,” she said.

Recently Parks researched and wrote “The Unknown History of Red Velvet Cake” for Gilttaste.com.

BraveTart, Parks said, “looks like Table Three Ten in the rearview.” Readers can find recipes for the desserts she has created at the restaurant on her blog. You also can follow her on Twitter @thebravetart.

Here are two of Parks’ dessert recipes.

 

Sweet potato panna cotta

1/4 ounce gelatin

1 1/2 ounces milk

10 ounces cream

7 ounces milk

1 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds reserved for vanilla layer

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

1/4 ounce fresh ginger, grated

4 ounces peeled and cubed sweet potato

4 ounces brown sugar

1 ounces sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Arrange eight 3-ounce plastic drinking cups (like Dixie) on a baking sheet. Grease lightly with cooking spray. Alternatively, make and serve the panna cotta in champagne flutes or other glassware, which don’t require spray.

Place the gelatin in a medium bowl and add the 1 1/2 ounces milk. Mix with a fork to ensure no lumps of undissolved gelatin remain. Place a mesh sieve over this bowl and set aside until needed.

In a small pot, bring the cream, milk, vanilla bean and spices to a simmer along with the cubed sweet potato. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch, until the sweet potato cubes are fork-tender. At that point, remove from the heat, cover and set aside for one hour.

When the hour has elapsed, fish out the vanilla bean pod and cinnamon stick. Use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to puree the sweet potato into the cream mixture. Combine the sweet potato cream puree in the pot with the sugars and salt. Whisk, over medium heat, until dissolved. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, strain the hot liquid into the bowl of gelatin. Use a rubber spatula to help pass the mixture through. Discard any lumps or stringy bits that won’t pass through the sieve.

Whisk the puree and gelatin together until the gelatin has melted completely. Transfer the warm panna cotta to a small pitcher or measuring cup with a pour spout, and pour the mixture evenly between the prepared cups.

Refrigerate until the mixture has cooled. Once cool, cover the cups with plastic (if covered while the panna cotta is still warm, condensation will form on the plastic, drip back on the panna cotta, and create an unpleasant film on the surface); continue refrigerating until the gelatin has fully set, about 12 hours. The finished panna cotta will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about one week. Serve with maple syrup, bruleed brown butter marshmallows and homemade animal crackers.

Brown butter sage marshmallows

1.5 ounces gelatin

8 ounces cold water

3/4 ounce fresh sage, chopped as finely as you can manage

11 ounces corn syrup

8 ounces water

28 ounces sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 ounces unsalted butter (or 4 ounces prepared brown butter, melted)

Powdered sugar for dusting

Unless you have a supercharged motor on your hand mixer, it probably won’t survive this recipe. Use a stand mixer if at all possible.

Lightly grease a 9- by 13- pan and set aside. Combine the gelatin and water together in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl. Set aside.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, combine the sage, corn syrup, water, sugar and salt. Set over medium heat and stir gently, taking care to not splash liquid (and thus sugar crystals) up the sides of the bowl. Once the mixture starts to simmer, stop stirring and let it cook undisturbed until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. Shut off the heat and let it stand until it cools to 210 degrees. This is important; if the syrup has not sufficiently cooled it will prevent the gelatin from setting up properly.

Meanwhile, prepare the brown butter. In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Turn the heat to medium low and cook the melted butter until it simmers, bubbles, stops bubbling, and begins to brown. Once the butter has turned a nice golden brown, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside until needed.

Once the marshmallow mixture has cooled to 210 degrees, pour it into the mixing bowl with the awaiting gelatin. Fit the bowl with the whisk attachment and crank it up to medium speed. Keep whipping until the mixture has more than doubled.

Now drizzle in the browned butter, a tablespoonful at a time. At first, it will resist incorporating and a buttery barrier will form between the marshmallow stuck to the bowl and the marshmallow caught in the whisk attachment. Just keep mixing. It will all come together and incorporate in the end. Once you’ve added all the butter, including any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet, crank the speed up to high for a few moments, just to make sure the whole mixture has evenly whipped.

Once you’ve shut off the mixer, scrape the marshmallow goo into the prepared pan. Lift up and smack the pan a few times against the counter to dislodge any air bubbles and help it level out.

Dust the top of the giant marshmallow with some powdered sugar, cover in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

To cut the marshmallows, prepare a cutting board by dusting it generously with powdered sugar. Take your pan of chilled marshmallows and literally reach your fingers between the marshmallow and the pan, and pull out.

Dust the exposed bottom of the marshmallow with more powdered sugar. Use a chef’s knife to cut the marshmallows into about 13, 1-inch strips. You’ll have to stop periodically and clean your knife under hot, running water. Always dry your knife thoroughly after this step. Once the strips are cut, roll them in some powdered sugar so none of the sides are sticky.

Now use the knife to cut each strip at 1-inch increments. The marshmallows are probably close to 2-inches tall, so they won’t be perfect cubes, but rather rectangles. Toss these cut pieces in more powdered sugar to prevent them from sticking.

Store in an airtight container or a big Ziploc bag. They’re essentially nothing but sugar, so they have a terrific shelf life, weeks at room temperature, months in the fridge, indefinitely in the freezer.

Note: Be sure to chop the sage into the most tiny pieces you can. If the sage pieces have any length to them whatsoever, they’ll wrap themselves around the whisk attachment, clump together, and essentially remove themselves from the marshmallows in the process. As an alternative, you can grind the sage into the sugar in a food processor. This gives the marshmallows a nice pale green hue and a slightly stronger sage flavor. This is Parks’ favorite method, but not everyone has a food processor, and a knife gets the job done too if you’re willing to take your time.

Fat Tuesday celebrations

Restaurants are celebrating Fat Tuesday with parties and cajun specialties. It’s the day when people eat all they want of everything and anything as the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a long fasting period for Christians. The events listed take place on Tuesday, unless otherwise noted.

A la lucie, 159 North Limestone, is serving cajun favorites such as jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, and king cake. The prixe fixe menu is $35. Call (859) 252-5277.  Sour Mash Jug Band will entertain.

Bayou Bluegrass is having its 14th annual Mardi Gras celebration at the Red Mile, 200 Red Mile Road. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and cost is $15. The menu includes fried catfish, red beans and rice, chicken and sausage gumbo, cajun smoked brisket, chicken creole, and bread pudding.

Dinner seatings are at 5:30, 7, and 8 p.m. and the menu includes boiled crawfish, fried alligator, shrimp etouffee, crawfish pie, king cake, and Na’wlins pralines. Cost is $28. Reservations are necessary. Call (859) 233-0814  or e-mail amfalcone03@earthlink.net.

Bourbon n’ Toulouse, 829 Euclid Avenue, will begin its 7th annual Fat Tuesday party at 11 a.m. with king cakes, and Ale-8-One will be giving away drinks and promotional items. Starting at 6:30 p.m., 750 pounds of boiled crawfish will be served. The Tall Boys will be playing at 7:30 p.m. next door at The Chevy Chase Inn. The Beer Trappe will also open at 11a.m. for extra seating. Carry-out orders are available. Call (859) 335-0300 or e-mail Kevin@bntlexington.com.

Gumbo Ya Ya, 1080 South Broadway, will be holding its 9th annual celebration and its menu features alligator sauce piquant, crawfish etouffee, crawfish creole, and free slices of King cake. Call (859) 252-9292 or go to Gumboyayaky.com.

The Julep Cup, 111 Woodland Avenue, is serving a New Orleans style menu for the weekend, as well as on Tuesday. Included are chicken and andouille gumbo; sole almondine with stewed tomato and okra and crab jambalaya; roasted pork loin with andouille and crawfish etouffee; and New Orleans style beignets with chicory chocolate sauce. Call (859) 226-0300.

■ Don your Mardi Gras costumes for Ramsey’s Diners’ 23rd annual Fat Tuesday parties. “Once again we will be going to New Orleans to bring back live, and thus cooked to order, crawfish to accompany our homemade seafood gumbo and red beans and rice with fresh baked French toast,” owner Rob Ramsey said. Hours are 11 a.m. “till there ain’t no more.” Locations are at Ramseysdiners.com.

Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, 4595 Bryan Station Road, will serve popcorn crawfish with remoulade, oysters on the half shell, crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice, cajun burger, and gumbo. Dinner specials also include crispy stuffed soft shell crabs with shrimp and andouille, and fresh amberjack griddle-seared with cajun spices. The Pawpaw Pickers will entertain. Call (859) 294-9338 or go to Windycornermarket.com.

Events

Thai Orchid Cafe and Seedleaf are having the first “Soups In” fundraising series from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Participants will help prepare Thai Orchid’s roasted butternut squash and coconut soup using fresh local produce from Seedleaf. Cost is $35 a person or $50 a couple. Thai Orchid is at 1030 South Broadway. Call (859) 288-2170.

Seedleaf nourishes communities by growing, cooking, sharing, and recycling food to increase the amount, affordability, nutritional value, and sustainability of food available to people at risk of hunger in Central Kentucky.

Heirloom Restaurant, 125 East Main Street in Midway, offers half-price wines on Wednesday and the wines are from Spain. Heirloom has live music, tapas specials, and wine flights on Thursday. Call (859) 846-5565 or visit Heirloommidway.com.

■ The monthly Greek dinner at Greek Orthodox Church, 920 East High Street, will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Entrees, priced from $10 to $14, include lamb, slow cooked with bulgur, vegetables and raisins; shrimp, sautéed in wine, olive oil, onions and bay leaves; and penne pasta with white wine, seasonal vegetables and Greek spices. A la carte items are available. Wines provided by Wight-Meyer Vineyards of Shepherdsville.

Wines on Vine, 400 Old Vine Street, will have a wine tasting on Wednesday with guest speaker Tom Kenefick, owner of Kenefick Ranch Winery in Napa. He will present four of his wines from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m.

On Tuesday, the topic for the monthly wine class will be how glassware affects the taste and quality of wine. Cost is $20 and includes a magnum level Riedel glass to take home. Hours are 6 to 7 p.m. Call (859) 243-0017.

Stella Parks in running for best pastry chef

Herald-Leader photo by Pablo Alcala

Stella Parks, pastry chef at Table 310, at 310 West Short Street, is a nominee for Food & Wine’s “The People’s Best New Pastry Chef.” You can vote for Parks online at foodandwine.com/the-peoples-pastry-east#stella-parks, until midnight Feb. 14.

“Food & Wine has done the ‘Best New Chef’ awards for 25 years, but have never nominated a Kentucky pastry chef before. The restaurant scene here has changed a lot in the last ten years alone and I think this nomination is an acknowledgment of that. I feel proud to see my desserts, Table 310 and my hometown in a list dominated by big city chefs and restaurants. Whether or not I win The People’s Best New Pastry Chef, it’s a win for Lexington,” Parks said.

Parks is up against a “chef’testant” on Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts; a former biology major fusing art and science in the kitchen, and a Thomas Keller protégé. You also can get friends to support Parks also on Twitter. Use #peoplespastry.

“There is so much innovation in the pastry world right now, and we are excited to have the chance to celebrate it,” said Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin in a press release. “Our new pastry awards allow us to spotlight cooking pros who don’t generally get the same recognition as the executive chefs for whom they work.”

The finalists and the winner of The People’s Best New Pastry Chef award will be announced on Foodandwine.com on Feb. 15. The winner will be profiled in the “Hungry Crowd” column of the May issue of Food & Wine,  on newsstands April 13, and will attend the 30th anniversary of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 15-17.

Restaurants planning specials for Valentine’s Day

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and bakeries, chocolatiers, and restaurants are offering special menus, pricing, and goodies for your sweetheart. Here’s a selection.

Specials are for Valentine’s Day, unless otherwise noted.

815 Prime, 131 East Main Street in Midway. A Valentine’s dinner will be served 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Tuesday with live music and champagne specials. (859) 846-4688.

Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant at Fayette Mall, 3395 Nicholasville Road. Fajitas for two plus free dessert for $29.99, and a prime rib special will be served Friday through Tuesday. (859) 971-0922. Abuelos.com.

BabyCakes Cupcakes has moved from Patchen Drive to 1616 Liberty Road, at the corner of Henry Clay Boulevard. A dozen cupcakes, $22, are decorated with retro heart candy, pink and red swirled icing, and sweet fondant pink, white and red hearts. (859) 317-9619. Bb-cakes.com.

Casanova Italian Restaurant, 855 South Broadway. Regular menu will be served, plus two specials: lobster pappardelle in vodka sauce and lamb osso buco. (859) 309-3313.

Heirloom, 125 Main Street in Midway. Three-course menu, for $50 a person, includes New York strip and pan-seared diver scallops. Celebrate early with breakfast 7 to 11 a.m. (859) 846-5565. Heirloommidway.com.

Holly Hill Inn, 426 North Winter Street in Midway. On Friday and Saturday, a four-course menu with optional hors d’oeuvres will be available for $40. Brunch will be served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday, a multi-course dinner will be served 5:30 to 10 p.m. The cost is $75 a person. (859) 846-4732. Hollyhillinn.com.

Le Deauville, 199 North Limestone. A three-course dinner for $49 a person will be served 5:30 to 10 p.m. (859) 246-0999.

Old Kentucky Chocolates stores will have chocolate-covered strawberries and grapes, and a new item, chocolate-covered potato chips and caramels decorated with pink sea salt. Locations are at 450 Southland Drive, (859) 278-4444; 3385 Tates Creek Road, (859) 268-4711; and 410 West Vine Street, (859) 252-2639. Oldkycandy.com.

Rossi’s Restaurant, 1060 Chinoe Road. A special four-course dinner is offered. (859) 335-8788. Rossis-restaurant.com.

Saul Good Restaurant & Pub’s new dessert for Valentine’s Day is the chocolate wine glass, a mix of Belgian chocolate and wine. Guests can select any glass of red wine from the menu and for an additional charge of $1.49, the outer rim of the glass will be hand-dipped in chocolate. Locations are at 3801 Mall Road in the Plaza at Fayette Mall, and 1808 Alysheba Way in Hamburg. (859) 317-9200. Saulgoodpub.com.

Stella’s Kentucky Deli, 143 Jefferson Street. Seatings are at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. for the five-course dinner. The cost is $35 a person. (859) 255-3354.

Three Suns Bistro, 298 East Brannon Crossing. The restaurant will have sweetheart specials Friday, Saturday and Monday. The Valentine’s menu on Tuesday will include Angus prime rib au jus and filet mignon medallion with lobster bouillabaisse. (859) 245-0048.

Wallace Station Deli and Bakery, 3854 Old Frankfort Pike. Valentine’s lunch specials will be served Saturday through Tuesday. (859) 846-5161. Wallacestation.com.

Windy Corner Market, 4595 Bryan Station Road. Lunch and dinner specials will be served Saturday through Tuesday. A sweetheart brunch will be offered Saturday and Sunday. (859) 294-9338. Windycornermarket.com.

WineStyles of Lexington, 2535 Nicholasville Road. A Valentine wine pairing event will be 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Wines will be matched with artisanal cheeses, fresh fruit and dark chocolates. Tickets are $38 a couple. (859) 278-9463.

Bluegrass Pride has partnered with Bellini’s Italian Restaurant and Natasha’s Bistro & Bar to hold candlelit dinners on Valentine’s Day as a way to raise awareness and promote energy efficiency in Fayette County. The restaurants will light their dining rooms with candles rather than relying solely on overhead lights. Call (859) 266.1572 or visit Bgpride.org. Bellini’s is at 115 WestMain Street. Natasha’s is at 112 Esplanade.

Events

Akielo Temple, No. 128, Daughters of the Nile, will have its annual bean soup dinner 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Oleika Shrine Center, 326 Southland Drive. The menu includes white or brown beans, corn bread, dessert and a drink. The cost is $5 for adults, and $2.50 for children younger than 12.

Farmers market report

The Lexington Farmers Market, open Saturdays at Victorian Square, will have beef, kale, turnips, cabbage, beans, eggs, chicken, and turkeys. Students from the University of Kentucky will be at the market 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to record oral histories of market vendors and visitors.

Off the shelf: Finally, a Glitz cookbook

 

After having lunch at The Glitz, guests often come away with the desire to re-create the appetizers, entrees and desserts served at the restaurant at Irish Acres Antique Gallery in Nonesuch.

For the past 23 years, “a day did not pass” that a customer did not ask co-owner Emilie McCauley: “When are you going to write a cookbook?”

“In 23 years of serving lunch at The Glitz, we decided not to let another year go by without honoring their requests,” McCauley said. She and her sister Jane DeLauter also wanted to share their parents’ vision for the business and the stories that went along with it.

Lunch at The Glitz is filled with recipes served at the restaurant in Woodford County, plus family favorites. But two of the most popular recipes – the spice apple refresher and the poppy seed dressing – are not included. Those items are bottled and sold. And a recipe isn’t needed for the signature dessert, the Nonesuch Kiss, which is a baked meringue shell with jamocha ice cream, hot fudge sauce, toasted almonds, whipped cream and a cherry.

McCauley has included in the book seasonal menus designed after the three-course luncheons served in the restaurant, which is in the basement of the historic 1930s schoolhouse that houses three floors of European and American, and high-end French antiques.

The book is available at Irish Acres Gallery in Nonesuch, which reopens on St. Patrick’s Day. To order, call (859) 873-7235 or go to Irishacresgallery.com. In Lexington, copies are available at Olde World Interiors, 400 Old Vine Street.

Here’s a recipe from the book.

“It’s the very first soup we served at The Glitz,” McCauley said.

Herbed tomato soup

4 large white onions

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 cups diced tomatoes in juice

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

16 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

Cut the onions into halves. Slice into long thin strips with a mandoline or food processor. Heat the oil in a heavy stockpot. Add the onions, and sauté until tender. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor, until slightly crushed but still a bit chunky. Add the tomatoes with juice to the pot, and simmer 20 minutes. Add the bay leaves, sugar, salt, thyme, pepper and cayenne, and simmer. Add the stock, and heat through. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Makes 20 servings.

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