September 1, 2023
September 2023: Maryland Marvels
September 2023: Maryland Marvels
A Sweet Way to Horse Around
Since its inauguration in 2021, The Classic Catering People has had the good fortune to be a part of the multi-day international equestrian event, Maryland 5 Star. We’ve made it an annual tradition to provide the catering for the riders, trainers, spectators (& even horses!) The event is comprised of three phases, dressage, cross-country and show jumping and is an opportunity for men and women to compete alongside one another.
5 Star has a sponsoring partner who we think is pretty sweet, Mars candies! The MARS Equestrian™ sponsorship by Mars, Incorporated is the link between their iconic brands and the equestrian community. “Horses are deeply rooted in MARS history dating back to the 1930’s. Frank C. and Ethel V. Mars’ Milky Way Farm in Tennessee was well known for producing Thoroughbred racing champions, including the 1940 Kentucky Derby Winner, Gallahadion. The SNICKERS® Bar was named after one of their beloved horses.”
With this partnership comes lots of candy and our pastry chefs are developing new recipes to incorporate the many brands of Mars into the desserts that will be served throughout the events (Think M&M macarons like we featured last year or LifeSaver infused dessert shots). It’s a great way to collaborate and showcase the partnerships around 5 Star and we love the opportunity to play with our food with the additions of these iconic candies.
To get an idea of the full menu you’ll just have to see for yourself! Tickets are on sale now, pick a day and explore the grounds, purchase a hospitality package or gather some friends and enjoy the views with a tailgate party.

Fried Frivolities
All over the United States, the transition between easy-going summer days to back to school prep is marked by the State Fair.  Rides, 4-H competitions, a gaggle of friends and outrageous food is a summer’s end ritual for many families, spanning generations. 
A quick survey of the audacious offerings includes humor, daring and a glut of calories. With a lens on fried food our investigation yielded the gamut.
Maryland: deep fried watermelon, a Filipino snack
Minnesota: a standout of possibilities including:
Walleye fritter pops, smoked walleye, dill pickle relish and cheese offered with comeback sauce – a reunion of condiments and Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick with marinara sauce
Texas: Deep Fried Pho-Noodles, beef, herbs, bean sprouts, broth
              Served with pho dipping broth, jalapeño, sriracha and cilantro
Wisconsin: Deep Fried Garlic Gator Toes ?
Arizona: Deep Fried Scorpion
South Carolina: Fried Pepsi
Montana: Fried Butter Balls
Florida (the outlier with the February fair): Cubano Funnel Cake- traditional Cuban sandwich, 2 funnel cakes, topped with doughnut glaze
And when the fried foods no longer call out their siren song, one might opt for Galabao made by Chef Vang from Union Hmong Kitchen at the Minnesota Fair.  Having heard Vang’s story first hand, I know this dish is cooked with love and pride.  The recipe is Vang’s mom’s.  The tapioca, rice and wheat flour bun is stuffed with ginger garlic pork and hard boiled egg. Hot pepper sauce is optional as are the rides.
Chesapeake TreasuresLike lots of buried treasures, the Hayman sweet potato has a storied past. To lay hands on it one has to dig a little and be in the right place at the right time.The storied past: The first Hayman sweets landed in Elizabeth City, North Carolina in 1856.  They were aboard a ship captained by Dan Hayman trading coffee from Brazil and fruits from the West Indies. A Methodist minister obtained a few of the potatoes, propagated them and soon with the help of a network of ministers they were planted along the Atlantic Coast.  By the time of the Civil War, the Hayman sweet had become a staple in Eastern Shore homes as well as the Outer Banks.The treasure: The Hayman is a little smaller than other varieties and has potato-like skin and a white interior. When cooked, it turns pale green which for the uninitiated could take a leap of faith to trust all is well. After harvesting, the potatoes cure for three weeks which allows the starch to convert to sugar. Hayman connoisseurs know it has been cured well by the thick black fluid that is released when ready.Changing times: With the exception of the Eastern Shore and the Outer Banks, the Hayman’s popularity began to wane in the early 1900s when the culinary world and homemakers chose the showier bright orange flesh sweet potato.  Especially with the advent of pie competitions, looks mattered and the sweeter deep red orange varieties were the preferred choice in much of our nation.Right Time Right Place: Maryland and Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the fall is the X on the map if one wants to locate the well-loved heirloom sweet potato.  There is a renewed effort to promote this treasure and to increase production to meet the demand. Securing them is no small feat. More small farmers have started to grow them and one grower even utilizes the smaller ones for a Hayman potato chip. The Hayman sweet potato pairs well with lots of flavors especially apples, curry, maple syrup, rum and whiskey.  Our state may be small, but its culinary traditions and treasures are grand. Happy hunting.

From Our Library, Harriet’s Pick: A Middle Eastern Pantry: Essential Ingredients for Classic and Contemporary Recipes: A Cookbook by Lior Lev Sercarz

I am a Lior Lev Sercarz fan.  His new book, A Middle Eastern Pantry, Essential Ingredients for Classic and Contemporary Recipes, solidifies my infatuation.  Lior Lev Sercarz is a classically trained chef, writer and owner of La Boite, a destination spice atelier which opened in New York in 2006.  He grew up in a kibbutz in Northern Israel, is world traveled and has a passion for sharing his knowledge of spices and other cupboard ingredients, their origins and their applications.
A Middle Eastern Pantry is both a reference book and enticing cookbook.  The author focuses on staples that are shelf stable and non-refrigerated.  He notes that in the United States, seasonality refers to fresh food, while in the Middle East the season often refers to what can be preserved for the future months.  Lior includes the history, the production, description, source and storage notes and traditional uses for each pantry item.  Ninety traditional and contemporary recipes complete the chapters and if the headnotes and ingredients don’t have you wishing you could serve the recipe for dinner, the stunning photography will seal the deal.  Top of my list is Baharat lamb keftas, hawayej white coffee and goat cheese, grape and walnut salad with grape molasses dressing.  A few Middle Eastern guest chefs add their suggestions on how to use an ingredient. In addition, a couple of products and their producers are lovingly highlighted, including Lior’s father Moshe and his fine olive oil.

From our Kitchen: Pan Fried Diver Scallops with Charred Pineapple Lobster Pilaf

Chef Jerome Dorsch

This dish has a lot of sentiment since it’s the first dish I created and ran as a sous-chef at the Polo Grill. It was initially introduced as a weekend special but was so popular that it became a part of the regular menu. It was the first opportunity I had to execute a dish from start to finish and was one of many that I would create on my way to becoming an Executive Chef at the Polo Grill.

30min Lobster Stock
3 tbsp olive oil1 clove garlic1 onion (chopped)1 carrot (chopped)1 celery stalk (chopped)3-4 lobster heads 3 cups chicken stock or water1 cup white wine 1 cup tomato juice

In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat add garlic, onion, carrot, and celery and sauté for 10 minutes. Add lobster heads and simmer until almost dry (dissolved) add the chicken stock and white wine and simmer for 2 minutes before adding tomato juice. Simmer for 20 minutes then strain and hold.

Charred Pineapple Pilaf 
2 cups water1.5 cups basmati rice 3 tbsp olive oil.5 bunch scallions (chopped)1 red bell pepper (chopped) 1 yellow bell pepper (chopped) 3 plum tomatoes (chopped)1 cup grilled pineapple chunks (medium to large dice)

In medium saucepan, add water and boil. Add the basmati rice, reduce heat and simmer until rice is ALMOST done. Remove from heat, strain and set aside. In another sauté pan, heat oil, add scallions and bell peppers and sauté until translucent, add cooked rice and stir. Add tomatoes and grilled pineapple, stir to combine; simmer 2 minutes, season and set aside.

For the Lobster Pan Sauce 
2 tbsp butter1.5 cups lobster stock1.5 tbsp chili paste2 tbsp basil (chopped)2 tbsp chives (chopped)salt & pepper (to taste)

In medium sauté pan, melt butter, add lobster stock and simmer until reduced by half add chili paste, basil and chives. Stir. Remove from heat and hold.
 For the Lobster & Scallops
3 tbsp olive oil or clarified butter2-3 Maine lobster tails and any claws all removed from shell (boiled and diced)15-24 ea Diver see scallops 
In medium sauté pan, heat oil, season and sear scallops until golden brown on outside and remove from pan then add lobster meat. Transfer lobster tails to a cutting board and thinly slice. 

To Serve 
Place rice pilaf on center of plate and fan some lobster slices around rice. Place 2-3 seared scallops on top of pilaf and spoon lobster pan sauce over the scallops and around plate. Garnish with chives, leeks and chervil.  
Click here to print the recipe.