2014 Summer Menu

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Summer Lights

Glorious, delicious summer is here! We’re awash in fresh produce and local fish, and enjoying every minute of preparing and serving it!

For summer, our menu is light and unpretentious, allowing natural flavors to take center stage – no heavy seasonings or dressings required. These original, creative recipes – like my green bean soup with tomato and basil compote and shaved vegetable salad – spotlight a medley of colorful, seasonal vegetables and fruits that are grown by our sustainable partners. I’ve added some Epicurean Tips that we use in our kitchen to make your prep easy and fun.

So, open the kitchen windows, let the warm breezes in, turn on your favorite tunes and invite your family and friends over to prepare this delicious seasonal feast for a memorable summer evening.

—Chef Rey Hernandez,
Co-Founder and VP, Epicurean Group

  • Boigiatto Ranch Green Bean Soup with Heirloom Tomato and Basil Compote

    2 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
    4 tablespoons butter
    4 cloves of garlic, crushed
    1 yellow onion, diced
    1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
    3 ounces dry white wine
    1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock
    1 1/4 cups heavy cream
    Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepperFor the Compote:
    2 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes, washed
    1 bunch basil leaves, washed
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

    Finely dice the tomatoes and place in stainless steel mixing bowl. Chop the basil leaves until they just start to stain the cutting board and add them to the tomatoes. Add oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside and hold at room temperature.

    Green Bean Soup:
    Cook the green beans in salted, boiling water to al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

    Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the garlic, onion and rosemary. é over medium heat until onions are translucent. Deglaze the pan with wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Add stock and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the beans are tender. Remove the rosemary sprig and puree the soup to a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This soup may be served cold and can be chilled* at this point. Or, keep warm, if desired.

    To serve:
    Add cream to soup. If serving soup warm, bring to a low simmer for 5 minutes while stirring, then ladle into pre-warmed soup bowls.

    Add a dollop of compote to each bowl and garnish with a small sprig of rosemary. Serve immediately.

    Link to recipe: Boigiatto Ranch Green Bean Soup with Heirloom Tomato and Basil Compote

    • *Epicurean Tip
      Al Dente

      Al dente is an Italian phrase that translates as “to the tooth.” Al dente means to cook something – pasta, vegetables, etc. – firm to the bite.

    • *Epicurean Tip

      To deglaze a pan, add liquid and scrape bottom of pan until pan is clean and scrapings are incorporated into liquid. 

    • *Epicurean Tip
      Cooling Hot Liquids

      To cool hot liquids rapidly, pour from one saucepan to another of equal size. Continue this until liquid is at room temperature. Then, pour into a large casserole to expose more surface area, wrap tightly to keep a skin from forming on the surface, and refrigerate until the temperature is less than 40 degrees.

  • Ratto Ranch Shaved Summer Vegetables over Faurot Ranch Butter Lettuce with a White Balsamic Vinaigrette 

    1 piece kohlrabi
    4 jumbo asparagus spears
    1 poblano pepper
    1 red bell pepper
    1 small zucchini
    1 golden zucchini
    4 breakfast radishes
    1 large head butter lettuce, washed and leaves separated

    Peel the kohlrabi and cut in half. Slice each half thinly (1/8 inch) with a mandolin. Remove the fibrous end of the asparagus* and slice asparagus thinly with a potato peeler. Remove stems and seeds from peppers and julienne thinly. Remove each end of the squash and cut the squash into 2-inch lengths. Julienne the squashes skin side down on the mandolin until you reach the seeded center. (The centers may be saved for vegetable stock). Trim the radishes and slice thinly, lengthwise on the mandolin. Place all vegetables in a stainless steel bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.

    For the Dressing:
    1 bulb green garlic, finely chopped
    3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1/3 teaspoon chopped fresh lemon thyme
    8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

    Place green garlic, vinegar and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl. Add thyme and drizzle in oil while whisking until all oil is incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

    To serve:
    Remove towel from vegetables and add vinaigrette to the bowl. Toss the vegetables until well coated. Add salt and pepper if needed. Arrange lettuce leaves in 8 salad plates. Use tongs to evenly distribute the vegetables. Garnish with sprigs of lemon thyme, if desired.

    Link to recipe: Ratto Ranch Shaved Summer Vegetables over Faurot Ranch Butter Lettuce with a White Balsamic Vinaigrette 

    • *Epicurean Tip
      Easy Asparagus Prep

      Here’s an easy technique to find the point where the fibrous end of an asparagus begins. Hold the asparagus at about a third of the distance from each end with the thumb and forefingers of each hand. Place slow, constant, upward pressure with your thumbs and downward pressure with your forefingers. The spear will snap at the weakest point between the tender and fibrous part. Cut, or break, the remaining spears to this length. The fibrous ends may be used for soup or vegetable stock.

  • California Halibut with Jacobs Farm Shishito Peppers and Olives, served with Lemon and Pea Risotto and Oven-Roasted Capay Farms Summer Squash

    Lemon and Pea Risotto:
    4 tablespoons butter
    1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
    2 cups Arborio rice
    1 cup dry white wine
    6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
    3/4 cup fresh green peas
    2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    Fresh ground pepper

    In a large saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and cook while stirring until wine is absorbed. Add 5 cups of warmed stock and stir until combined. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Rice should be al dente. Add peas and 3/4 cup stock and stir in Parmesan. Cover the rice and remove from heat.

    When ready to serve, remove lid from rice and stir in remaining stock, butter, lemon juice, zest, chive and parsley. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

    Oven-Roasted Squash:
    Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

    2 pounds, mixed, green pattypan squash, sunburst squash and baby zucchini
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

    Cut pattypan and sunburst squash in half through the middle. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Place all in a stainless steel bowl and add oil, salt and pepper. Toss until well-coated. Spread evenly in a roasting pan and place in oven. Cook until al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off oven and keep warm.

    8 halibut filets, 6-7 ounces each, skin removed
    6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    2 cups julienned red onion
    2 cups Shishito peppers, washed and drained
    4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
    1 sprig marjoram, coarsely chopped
    1 sprig thyme, coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup dry white wine
    16 Kalamata olives, rinsed and pitted
    16 Picholine olives, rinsed and pitted
    3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
    1 1/2 cups shrimp stock
    6 tablespoons butter, divided, 4 at room temperature

    Wash and pat dry the halibut. Season with salt and pepper and hold in refrigerator.

    Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan until oil just begins to ripple. Add onion, peppers, garlic, and herbs. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent. Deglaze the pan with the wine and scrape the bottom. Add olives, capers and stock and bring to a boil. Drop the heat to a simmer and reduce to one-third of volume. Set aside and keep warm.

    Remove the halibut from the refrigerator and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of butter over medium to high heat in a large sauté pan. When the oil starts to ripple, carefully add* the halibut. Cook the fish until browned, about 2 to 4 minutes per side until all fish is done. Set on a platter and keep warm. Bring the sauce back to heat for 2 minutes. Remove from flame and incorporate remaining room temperature butter. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

    To serve:
    Place sauce on each plate and a filet on top of the sauce. Garnish with a lemon twist. Serve with risotto and roasted vegetables on the side.

    Link to recipe: California Halibut with Jacobs Farm Shishito Peppers and Olives, served with Lemon and Pea Risotto and Oven-Roasted Capay Farms Summer Squash

    • *Epicurean Tip
      A 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.

      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

    • *Epicurean Tip
      Julienned Vegetables

      Julienne is an attractive way to prepare vegetables for a special meal. Also called a “matchstick” cut, a julienne is 1/8 x 1/8 x 2-3 inches in length. To prepare a julienne, trim the ends and sides of the vegetable to make a rectangular shape, then make uniform-size cuts at 1/8 inch intervals. Trim the julienne to the desired length and compost the remaining small ends, or use them for stock.

    • *Epicurean Tip
      Avoid the Burn!

      When adding room temperature or cold items to hot oil, use tongs to place the bottom edge of the item into the pan and carefully, but quickly, lower the item in the direction away from you. The chef who taught me this tip used to say, “Burn the back of the stove – not yourself, or the person working next to you!”

  • Medina Berry Farms Blackberry Tart

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees

    For the Tart Crust:
    Note: The crust should be made one day in advance.
    1 large egg yolk
    1 tablespoon heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    2/3 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 teaspoon table salt
    8 tablespoons butter cut in 1/2 inch cubes, chilled

    Whip together yolk, cream and vanilla in mixer bowl. Add flour, sugar and salt and mix at low speed for 1 minute. Add butter cubes, a few at a time, while mixing at low speed. Continue at low speed until the butter is just incorporated. Turn dough into plastic wrap, press into a disc and refrigerate overnight.

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator and keep at room temperature until needed. Remove the plastic and dust both sides of the dough with flour. Place between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll into a 12-inch round. Dust sides with more flour as needed to prevent sticking to the paper. Carefully remove the paper and place into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough onto the fluted sides. Run a rolling pin over the pan to remove extra dough. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 1/2 hour. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the pan. Spray one side with non-stick cooking spray and press the sprayed side of the paper down into tart pan. Fill the pan with baking weights and bake until the edges of the crust are just browning, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and bake a bit more until lightly and evenly browned. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

    For the Filling:
    6 tablespoons butter
    1 large egg, and 1 egg white
    1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
    1/4 teaspoon table salt
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    2 tablespoons heavy cream
    1 pint blackberries, picked clean

    Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to brown. Remove from heat and place in a ceramic bowl and hold. Whip egg and egg white in mixing bowl on low speed for 1 minute. Add cane juice and salt and whip on high speed for 1 minute. Drizzle in butter while mixing and continue to mix until well-combined. Lower mixer speed to medium and add vanilla, zest, lemon juice, flour and cream.

    Layer berries in cooled tart shell and pour filling over the berries. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the filling is set and the surface is a light golden brown. Remove from oven and place tart on a cooling rack to cool and rest for at least 2 hours.

    To serve:
    Pop bottom out of tart pan and, with a thin cake spatula, separate the tart pan bottom from the tart. Cut into wedges and serve.

    Link to recipe: Medina Berry Farms Blackberry Tart

    • *Epicurean Tip
      No Pie Weights? No Problem!

      Unless you are a professional baker, you probably don’t have pie weights in your kitchen. For an inexpensive and readily accessible substitute, use lentils, rice or beans. After baking the crust, remove your “pie weights” and store them in a plastic zip-lock bag for reuse.