It’s harvest time – and we’re celebrating at festivals and feasts throughout Northern California! The “crush” is on, as grapes are picked and fermented to produce some of the best wines in the world. Pork is traditional fall fare and, in this menu, tenderloin is complemented with a sublime port and fig reduction. Crack open one of our excellent California zinfandels, and toast this glorious season!
—Chef Rey Hernandez,
Co-Founder and VP, Epicurean Group
Organic Potato and Leek Soup with Truffles
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced in rounds
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ounce black truffle, thinly sliced
In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and cook 1 minute more. Add stock and 3/4 cup cream and bring to a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add rest of cream. Keep warm.
Divide soup among bowls, top with truffle slices and serve immediately.
Link to recipe: Organic Potato and Leek Soup with Truffles
Frisée and Cabbage Salad with Ginger and Grapefruit
6 cups frisée, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
2 red grapefruit, supremed
1 white grapefruit, supremed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice, from 2 pieces of ginger
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Place frisée and cabbage into a large bowl. To get the supreme of the citrus fruit, use a sharp knife to peel the whole grapefruit, removing the white membrane as well as the peel. Then, use a sharp knife to cut just inside the membrane of each section. The supreme will fall out. Squeeze the juice from the membrane and reserve.
Finely grate fresh ginger, then wrap it in cheesecloth or a thin dish towel. Squeeze to extract the juice and discard the pulp. Reserve the liquid.
Pour oil, ginger juice and grapefruit juice over the frisée and cabbage. Add salt and fresh pepper and toss. Divide among 8 plates and top with grapefruit. Serve immediately.
Link to recipe: Frisée and Cabbage Salad with Ginger and Grapefruit
Natural Pork Tenderloins with Port and Fig Sauce
For the Tenderloin:
2 teaspoons ground fennel
Kosher salt and pepper
4 pork tenderloins, silver skin removed, washed and towel dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine ground fennel with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Thoroughly rub the pork with the spice mixture.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the tenderloins and brown for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Transfer skillet to oven and cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Remove skillet
from oven, transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover with foil to keep warm.
For the Sauce:
6 tablespoons butter
2 pints fresh figs, halved length-wise
2 cups port wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 sprigs fresh thyme 2 bay leaves
Return the skillet to stove on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons butter to coat the pan. Sprinkle the figs with salt and place cut side down in the pan. Cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to
remove the figs and place them on a cutting board. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Reduce heat on skillet to medium-low and add port, sugar, thyme and bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to remove all browned bits and simmer till the port barely covers the bottom of the pan. Strain sauce into a saucepan and slowly incorporate 4 tablespoons of butter. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Slice the tenderloin crosswise into thin slices. Arrange on plates, drizzle with port sauce and garnish with figs.
Link to recipe: Natural Pork Tenderloins with Port and Fig Sauce
Polenta with Mushrooms and Rosemary
12 cups vegetable stock
3 cups stone-ground polenta
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 pound crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt and black pepper
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Bring the vegetable stock to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and slowly pour the polenta into the water while whisking the mixture. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent lumps, for about 30 minutes until polenta is smooth and cooked.
In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and rosemary, then add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms start to release their juices, then add chicken stock. Season to taste and simmer briskly for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Divide the polenta into 8 plates, top with mushroom mixture and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Link to recipe: Polenta with Mushrooms and Rosemary
*Epicurean TipA Hot (Vegetable) Stock Tip!
Nothing beats flavorful, homemade stock. It’s easy to make your own and, if you do, all your recipes will be vastly improved. Here is my own recipe for a savory vegetable stock.
4 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
6 stalks celery, diced large
1 celery root, peeled and diced large
2 carrots, peeled and pencil cut
2 red bell peppers, stem removed, seeded, membrane removed, diced large
1 rutabaga, peeled and diced large
2 parsnips, peeled and pencil cut
2 bulbs fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme, left whole
Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, cored and leaves separated
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Kosher salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until tender. Add Brussels sprouts leaves and sauté until leaves are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pine nuts and stir until well mixed. Serve immediately.
Link to recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts
Chocolate Cream Puffs
For the Pastry Cream:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt and whip together until thick. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil, then remove from heat.
In a slow and steady stream add about 2 tablespoons of milk to the egg mixture, then, while whisking steadily, add the rest of the milk. Pour mixture back into the saucepan, return to medium heat, continue to whisk steadily. Bring to a boil then whisk until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate. Rest mixture off heat for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until pastry cream is smooth and silky. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic to prevent a “skin” from forming. Chill until cold.
For the Puffs:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 quarts vegetable oil
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, milk, butter, baking powder, salt and vanilla until smooth.
Heat oil to 375 degrees and drop teaspoonfuls of batter, 10 at a time and fry. Cook until puffed and golden (1 to 2 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.
Place pastry cream in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip. Insert the pastry tip into the center of each puff and pipe about 1 teaspoon into each. Lay out on a sheet pan.
Whisk together the 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder with the confectioners sugar and dust the finished puffs. Place 5 to 7 puffs on each plate and serve.
Link to recipe: Chocolate Cream Puffs