|Golden & GreenSince 2019, we’ve had the pleasure of celebrating team members who have a consistent positive impact on others, plus commitment, and empathy; and honor them with a Golden Spoon award. Winners are applauded by our team at a luncheon, and documented in a caricature that is displayed on our Golden Spoon wall. This quarter’s winners both have a significant tenure at The Classic Catering People and represent the values of the Golden Spoon:|
Big Hearts- Caring about othersCourage- Listening to their inner voice, and taking the right actionHumility- Helping others without expecting something in returnPerseverance- Committed to a complete and excellent outcomeGenuine- Sincere in their words and actionsPositive OutlookAppreciation for the Team
Maria Fenwick has been a leader on our hospitality team for over twenty years, and is as familiar to many of our clients as our green trucks. She is an event manager known for putting her family first (both Classic’s and her own) and has been a key component in many successful celebrations.
Gerson Barrera is our CTG Expeditor; however, you’ll also find him on the road for both full service and Classic To Go events, working on our garden, executing repairs and even behind the grill in our kitchen. He is truly a jack-of-all-trades and assists in making our operations run smoothly with an eye for making it better than before.
We are grateful to have the chance to thank these team members and love to be able to celebrate each other and the values of Classic.Travel TreatsIt could be argued that Acaraje is the most popular street food in Bahia Brazil. Soaked black eyed peas, minced onion and salt are pounded with the back of a wooden spoon against a pot until a somewhat smooth paste is formed. Fritter sized balls of the paste are fried in dende (palm) oil until golden. These are split open and stuffed with toppings, like shrimp, or vatapa (shrimp, peanut and coconut milk paste). Tomato salad and hot pepper sauces can also be added.
Filling, fast and delicious.
Coxinha is another popular fried treat found on the streets and in the restaurants of Brazil. The dough is filled with shredded seasoned chicken and requeijao, a loose ricotta like cheese, then shaped like a pear, breaded and fried. The name coxinha translates as little thigh and its shape is compared to a chicken drumstick. The origin stories of the snack are the usual tales linking it back to the French chicken croquette or the whims of a spoiled royal child; or as a cheap fast food alternative. Whatever the case, it is well ensconced in the here and now. One can even find vegan jackfruit options.
Empanadas enjoyed anywhere in Argentina could be a cause for celebration. While empanadas are easily found in the States, eating them in Argentina outshines most of the domestic ones I have tried. Prepared in every region of Argentina, the recipes and fillings vary from province to province, household to household. Fried or baked, savory or sweet, traditional or unique, hot or cold, there is no limit to the filling possibilities. Some of the more traditional varieties are minced or knife-cut carne (beef, we are in Argentina!), ham and cheese, cheese and onion, chicken, Caprese (like a pizza), greens and Roquefort. Around Easter and closer to the Patagonia coast, it is common to serve fish empanadas. In Cordoba, the empanada might have cut beef, raisins, potatoes, olives and hard-cooked egg. While in Tucumana, one might squeeze lemon juice onto the empanada and in noncoastal Patagonia lamb, chili and coriander is a common filling.
Sealing empanadas is an artform in itself. The repulgue is the seal and folding of the edge which can be scalloped, braided, or twisted into many styles and shapes, which is also the key to knowing what is inside. Most shops have a detailed signboard which helps in sorting out one’s order, which inevitably covers a lot of the choices because they are all so inviting.
Some cooking tips:Chill the fillings before assemblingThe scalloped edges go upward to avoid juice from leakingLet the empanadas rest before bakingIf baking, use a hot oven. They are amazing out of a wood burning oven.Practicing the folds is fun and even the blunders look and taste great
|It’s a nut. It’s a fruit. It’s a drupe?How fortuitous. First night in Bahia Brazil, first food find. Cocktail made with Cajui, the cashew fruit. What? The cashew fruit? Native to tropical areas of northeast Brazil, the tropical evergreen trees are part of the Anacardiaceae family, the same as mangos. Cashew apples are called false fruit because they do not encase the seeds of the plant. At first glance it reminded me of a surreal painting; the cashew apple is a bell shaped appendage that is attached to the actual fruit, the shell that contains the cashew seed, which we know as a nut. Not at all what I was expecting. The seed or cashew nut develops first and then the plump apple develops later. The apple has become a secondary product, often left behind. Commercially it is not a viable product primarily because of its short shelf life and fragile nature. We looked for opportunities to taste this tropical treat and gained a deeper appreciation for the cashew “nut”as well.|
The aromatic cashew apple has an astringent taste and is commonly made into juice. If consumed raw, the apple is thinly sliced and sprinkled with salt to balance the flavors. In addition, it is made into jams, chutneys and sauce and even candied. As first noted, the juice is a natural in a cocktail or in smoothies and partners well with mango, coconut, and cinnamon. High in vitamin C and good fiber, one might say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Saúde!From Our Library, Harriet’s Pick: Six California Kitchens: A Collection of Recipes, Stories and Cooking Lessons from a Pioneer of California Cuisine by Sally SchmittSix California Kitchens: A Collection of Recipes, Stories and Cooking Lessons from a Pioneer of California Cuisine chronicles Sally Schmitt’s life, kitchen to kitchen. She compares her life to ascending and descending a ladder, each rung a different kitchen environment replete with its own set of opportunities. Photos, red margin notes with Schmitt’s comments or a friends observations, memorabilia, recipes with suggested variations and occasional drawings recreate decades dedicated to a chef’s life inside California kitchens and shared with generations who valued Schmitt’s life work.
Not surprisingly, the first rung on Schmitt’s ladder is her mother’s kitchen in the Sacramento Valley where the family moved when she was five and her love of cooking and flavor was ignited. Fruit trees, a vegetable garden, chickens, rabbits and even a Guernsey cow provided a partial larder for their homestead and her early cooking memories start with standing up on a stool stirring chocolate pudding and peeling potatoes with a paring knife; and continue to her first night with full responsibility for cooking the family meal. The first recipe of the book, mustard potatoes, is composed with few ingredients and floods the author with warm childhood memories and the moments which set her on a culinary path of preparing simple, local and impeccable ingredients with few gadgets. Schmitt resisted “trendy stuff” her entire career and stayed low tech, preferring a sharp knife, wooden spoon, whisk and her hands.
The second kitchen is The Vintage Café in Yountville which would become Sally and her husband Don’s home for the next 30 years. In the third kitchen, the Chutney Kitchen, she expanded her repertoire with chutneys, the cuisines of Native America and Spanish-Mexican America, and Friday night seasonal suppers; and also gleaned organizational tips and the importance of stopping to appreciate life from Hal Stone, its former owner.
Schmitt asserts that she reached the ladder’s apex during the years of the fourth kitchen, where she co-founded the celebrated French Laundry, years before the area was known for its good food. Indeed, in Thomas Keller’s foreword he calls her a food pioneer. Schmitt shares her love of food through teaching at the fifth kitchen on the Apple Farm and by cooking for her husband Don in their retirement in the Elk Cottage. Sally Schmitt passed away about a year ago at age 90, a few weeks before her thoughtful book landed on bookstore shelves. Her legacy will continue not only through her words and recipes, but by a style of cooking that we now take for granted, and by all the people she positively impacted through her kitchens.From our Kitchen: Beef Bolognese
Chef Joe Burton
This recipe is something I’m very proud of as it was a collaboration with Chef Giada DiLaurentis during my time working for her at Giada’s at Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore. I had made Bolognese many times before but the quality of the ingredients and techniques that I used with Chef DiLaurentis was something I’d never done before. For example, using 24 month aged Parmesano Reggiano rind and cutting the vegetables brunoise (finely diced) was key to give it a consistency that is smoother than normal and not as chunky, leading to a nicer mouth feel.Ingredients:
1 carrot, brunoise
1 rib of celery, brunoise
1 yellow onion, brunoise
6 cloves garlic, minced
2# ground beef, 80/20 blend
1 cup milk
1 cup red wine
1 piece parmesan rind
1 can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
As needed Salt/pepper
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2tbs tomato paste
3 tbs flour
Method:1. Heat a Dutch oven with a little olive oil and brown beef until fully cooked breaking it into fine pieces while cooking.
2. Add celery carrots and onions to the beef and cook for 3-5 mins.
3. Add tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes.
4. Add flour and incorporate by stirring.
5. Deglaze with red wine and cook until just about dry (5-6 mins).
6. Add milk and cook until meat has absorbed the milk.
7. Add crushed tomatoes, parmesan rind, bay leaf and thyme then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 35-40 mins until beef is tender. Click here to print the recipe.Classic Comicsby Katelyn West
March 1, 2023
March 2023: At Home & Abroad