December 18, 2017

Today’s menu at Martha Stewart

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Starstruck Catering served up lunch for 125 people today at the Martha Stewart show. Just another day in the world of film and television catering.

  • Mixed greens with red and green grapes
  • Baby spinach with blue cheese, walnuts and cranberries
  • Caesar salad with Parmesan croutons and vine ripened tomatoes
  • Bucatini with mussels in a white wine and red chili broth
  • Roast beef with fennel pollen and sea salt rub
  • Chicken with lemon and artichoke hearts
  • Italian Mac n Cheese with spinach and truffle oil bechamel (Vegetarian)
  • Baked ziti with roast vegetable tomato sauce (Vegetarian)
  • Toscano cassoulet with cannellini beans, garlic, zucchini and tomato (slow roasted 6 hours) (Vegan)
  • String bean Almandine with a red grape and currant vinegar redux (Vegetarian)

A competing caterer had offered up a lame boring menu of glazed salmon fillets, hanger steaks, smashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, whole wheat pasta, zzzzzzz…….  They lost me at “smashed.”  Where’s the love?  Ya have to wow them folks!

I like to provide a family-style meal that is comforting and satisfying.  A signature dish or two that they won’t soon forget.  When I cook, I like to play and get creative. I want to surprise myself, and that way I’ll also surprise people who enjoy my food.  Rule # 43: With a core understanding of cooking techniques,  you can play and riff on basic dishes from around the world.

Roast beef is roast beef but it’s the chef’s job to think a little and make it something extraordinary. When I was in Tuscany, I never forgot the perfumed aroma coming from the oven whenever a butcher friend cooked beef. In his region, butchers always used fennel pollen, sea salt and black pepper as a meat rub. Rule # 11: One small tweak to a basic recipe can make a world of difference.

These days you need to offer vegan, not just vegetarian food options so we go the extra mile and give them something really special.  The Toscano bean recipe is a favorite side dish in Italy. I make it an entree by loading it up with lots of chunky veggies and and layers of sliced tomatoes. The final product is very hearty and creamy.

Rule #14: Always have one crazy over the top fattening dish on the menu. In this case it was the spinach truffle mac n cheese.  A dish like this is as an opportunity to go overboard so I added Mozzarella, Parmesan and truffle oil to the bechamel.  Everyone will try this type of dish.  It’s too good to pass up and they will love you for it.

Since this has turned into a treatise regarding my style of cooking let me finish by saying that BORING = BORING.  Take a simple food idea and run with it.  People will eat it up, literally.  Now go cook something.


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