What a fun four weeks, but alas, all good things must come to an end. Friday’s Cooking at the Cascade finale was a blast, although a bit different in format from the previous three Fridays.
First, Linda Regan-Bott and Carl Bott (Linda’s main-man martini shaker), joined Brad Tillson of Tapas Downtown on stage for the cocktail demonstration portion of the evening, a teaser to Martinis With Santa, coming up Aug. 15 at the Cascade. (Maybe later we can get one of Linda’s martini recipes.)
The movie “Spanglish” was sweet and entertaining, followed by a double-header cooking demo. It began with Janis Logan of Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant and her on-stage demonstration of Tomato Basil Mozzarella Bruschetta, one of Vintage’s most popular items. (See recipe below.)
Meanwhile, James Fossen of Backyard Destinations was outside on the sidewalk near the Cascade’s marquee, barbecuing pork roast in his Big Green Egg.
At the evening’s end, James selected one name from a jar of pieces of paper filled with Big-Green-Egg wanna-be winners. Bob Cross won a Big Green Egg, so generously donated by Backyard Destinations.
For this final night, A News Cafe’s core team appeared on stage – in aprons – for introductions before they helped the Cascade ushers serve samples to the audience.
Heartfelt thanks to the incredible Redding businesses that so graciously provided chefs, bartenders, expertise, talent and samples: Pio Loco, Downtown Eatery, Tapas Downtown, Market St. Steakhouse, Maritime Seafood & Grill, the Airpark Cafe, Thai Bistro, Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant and Backyard Destinations.
Eternal gratitude for the wonderful Redding sponsors who made this series possible via donations, publicity and even the loan of an on-stage kitchen (Carmona’s): The Cascade Theatre, Jefferson Public Radio, Redding Radio, Enjoy magazine, Page’s and Carmona’s Appliance Center.
Shameless thanks to dear friends and teamies at anewscafe.com for their neverending support, coverage and for being one of the hardest-working, happy and helpful group of people I know.
Special gratitude to my honey Bruce, anewscafe.com’s business guy who also schleps, builds, picks up dropped balls and never gives me an ounce of grief about these wild and crazy projects.
Until next time, enjoy these recipes from Friday’s finale, compliments of Tapas Downtown and Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant.
Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant’s Tomato Basil Mozzarella Bruschetta
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
13 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
A handful of torn fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 thick slices sourdough baguette
2 garlic cloves, halved
Extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar reduction, for sprinkling
To make bruschetta, grill, toast, or pan-grill the bread on both sides until lightly browned or toasted. Rub the top side of each slice with the cut garlic, then sprinkle with olive oil.
Cover each slice of bruschetta with tomato and mozzarella. Salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and top with fresh basil leaves.
Tapas Downtown Mojito
6-8 fresh leaves of mint
3/4 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces light rum
1 ounce sweet and sour mix (see below)
Place mint leaves (the fresher the better) into a Collins or pint glass.
Add 1 large lime wedge and the simple syrup to the glass and carefully “muddle” – or crush the mint leaves and lime wedge into the syrup. (The object is to bruise the leaves to release the essential oils, and to press the juice from the lime, but not to shred the mint or lime peel.)
Add cracked ice or cubed ice to fill the glass. Add light rum, such as Bacardi. Add sweet and sour mix.
Stir gently and top with soda water.
Serve with a fresh mint sprig garnish.
Prepare as above, but eliminate rum. Increase sweet and sour mix to 1 ½ ounces.
Sweet and sour mix
2 parts simple syrup (equal parts superfine sugar and water; bring water to boiling, add sugar, and cool. Keeps almost indefinitely.)
1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 part fresh squeezed lime juice
Powder of lime
Powder of lemon
The powders add tartness and a bit of “zing” to the mix. As they may not be commonly available, they may be omitted with only a slight effect on flavor.