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A&E >  Food

What Cat Cora cooked at CdA Casino

Cat Cora, left, shown in a 2012 photo, recently presented a cooking demo at the Coeur d’Alene Casino. (Diane Bondareff / Associated Press)
Cat Cora, left, shown in a 2012 photo, recently presented a cooking demo at the Coeur d’Alene Casino. (Diane Bondareff / Associated Press)

Celebrity chef Cat Cora was in Worley for the first time this month as part of the Celebrity Farm-to-Fork Series at Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel.

The longtime regular on “Iron Chef America” presented a three-course cooking demonstration. Here, she shares those recipes along with a quick Q&A.

SR: Is this your first time to Worley or North Idaho?

CC: Yes, it is.

SR: What are you looking forward to most?

CC: Cooking. And also working with local products.

SR: What are a few easy ways home cooks can incorporate the farm-to-table (or farm-to-fork) philosophy in their meal planning, especially for individuals or families on a budget?

CC: Using local and in season is always cheaper.

SR: Why is the farm-to-table (or farm-to-fork) philosophy or movement important?

CC: It’s important to use local farmers, farm fresh local ingredients and seasonal products.

SR: If you lived here, what ingredients would you celebrate?

CC: Salmon, Idaho trout, huckleberries, buffalo/bison, elk, deer, local beef, wheat, lentils, peas, barley, Washington apples, Washington hops, local wine, Idaho potatoes and water potato (special to this area).

SR: What are five or 10 of your pantry staples?

CC: Citrus, garlic, spices, extra-virgin olive oil, assorted vinegars and sea salt.

SR: Will you have a chance to visit any farmers markets or restaurants while you’re here, and if so which ones are you hoping to try?

CC: Chinook (at CdA Casino) was delicious.

SR: Anything else people should know about your visit or the farm-to-table (or farm-to-fork) philosophy?

CC: Just to support your local farmers!

Basque Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri

For the beef

1 whole beef tenderloin (3 1/2 to 5 pounds)


Freshly ground black pepper

For the Basque Blend

1 tablespoon dried orange rind

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

For the Basque-style Green Sauce

6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

3 dried bay leaves

1 fresh poblano pepper, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in

1 fresh Serrano chile, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in

1/2 tablespoon sea salt

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

Rub the tenderloin with salt and pepper first so that it stays on the beef. Then rub the beef with the Basque Blend until well coated. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

While the beef is absorbing the rub, make the green sauce by combining all the ingredients in a blender along with just a teaspoon or so of the vinegar. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the parsley, oregano and basil. Whisk in the rest of the vinegar and olive oil until well combined. Set aside.

Place the meat on the hot grill and sear on all sides until caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes. Place the beef on a rack in a roasting pan and slide it into the hot oven for 20 minutes for medium-rare meat.

To serve, slice the beef into 1/4-inch slices, and spoon the green sauce over the beef and serve.

Yield: 8 servings with a 3 1/2-pound tenderloin or 10-12 with a 5-pound tenderloin

Tricolore Salad with Beets, Pistachios and Vinaigrette

For the salad

2 cups salt roasted-beets, about 2 beets (can substitute golden or chioga), see below

1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios (can substitute almonds or hazelnuts)

2 yellow endive

4 cups arugula/radicchio mix

1/2 cup shaved Pecorino

For the vinaigrette

1/2 cup white wine vinegar (can substitute white balsamic or champagne)

1 1/4 cups light pure olive oil

1 minced, medium shallot

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional 1/2 teaspoon in toss

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus additional 1/2 teaspoon in toss

Pinch of sugar

Place washed, but not trimmed or peeled beets on top of 1 cup salt on a baking sheet, and roast in a 350-degree oven for 1 ½ hours, or until fork-tender. Let cool. Wearing gloves or holding with a piece of plastic wrap, cut off stems, and peel. Cut each beet in half, cut in ½-inch slices, then medium dice by cutting in the opposite direction.

Toast nuts in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, tossing once.

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients, mixing well, adding nuts when cool.

Trim the end of the endive, cut in half, separating the leaves for each half, but reforming each as ½ a head of endive. For each salad, place ½ cup beets, 1 cup arugula, a ½ endive on a plate. For each salad begin with 1/3 cup vinaigrette, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Toss each of the three components, separately in the vinaigrette, making sure to toss the beets last.

Top with 1/8 cup of shaved Parmesan.

Repeat for remaining three salads. Serve immediately. Reserve leftover dressing.

Yield: 4 servings

Bittersweet Chocolate and Ancho Chili Budino with White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Crème Anglaise, Sour Cherries and Gold Leaf

1/2 pound high-quality bittersweet chocolate, such as Callebaut or El Rey

3 large eggs, plus 3 large yolks

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ancho chile pepper, ground (or more/less to taste)

1/2 teaspoon roasted cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

White Chocolate Candied Ginger Crème Anglaise (recipe below)

1 can of sour cherries, mostly drained but save some of the liquid for garnishing the plate

Gold leaf foil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease or spray two 12-cup muffin tins with vegetable or canola oil. (You can also use just one tin and bake the batter in two batches, or bake a single cake in a 9-inch round cake pan.) Wipe out excess oil with a paper towel. Set the tin aside.

Melt softened butter in a large bowl set over a saucepan of hot water (bain marie or double boiler) over very low heat. As the butter is melting, grate the chocolate or chop it into small shards with a chef’s knife or a serrated knife. (It’s easiest if you begin at a corner, particularly if the chocolate is very thick. Take it slowly and keep your fingers safe.)

Once the butter has melted, place the chopped chocolate in the bain marie and allow the chocolate to melt slowly, stirring until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely incorporated. Remove the bowl from the hot water and set aside.

In a separate bowl, gently whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, chili powder and flour. Mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

Slowly temper the sugar/egg mixture into the chocolate/butter mixture, stirring vigorously until well combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 11-12 minutes, if using the muffin tins, or 18-20 minutes if making one large 9-inch round cake. The edges will have just begun to pull away from the pan, and the top of each budino should still look moist and shiny at the center. Remove tins from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. While the tins are still warm, place a baking sheet over the top of each muffin tin and invert it. Carefully lift the muffin tin to release cakes. Transfer the cakes to a serving platter or individual dessert plates. Budino is at its best if served warm, but is also delicious at room temperature. Serve with warmed candied ginger white chocolate crème anglaise poured over the top, some sour cherries around the base of the cake as well as right on top, and sprinkle with some gold leaf foil as garnish.

Yield: 12 small cakes or one 9-inch round cake

Candied Ginger White Chocolate Crème Anglaise

1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream

4 ounces high quality white chocolate bar, broken into squares

3 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar

In a small heavy saucepan bring cream, white chocolate and candied ginger just to a simmer over low heat, about 10 minutes. Do not bring to boil.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together yolks and sugar until smooth and evenly combined. Add hot cream mixture little by little, whisking continuously, and transfer custard mixture back to saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated/covered, but bring to room temperature before serving.

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