Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
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MORSELS

30 top chefs to cook for Veggie U event

If this keeps up, people are going to forget Thomas Edison.

Milan, Ohio, has been known as Edison's birthplace pretty much ever since he was born there, even though he did go on to be called "The Wizard of Menlo Park" for all that time he spent in New Jersey.

But what does Milan care? Soon it may be known as the center of the culinary world.

Milan is home to an array of mighty good produce, including the Chef's Garden specialty farm and its associated Culinary Vegetable Institute, which houses what they call Veggie U. It's a place for chefs to have a little R&R, do some culinary research, and hobnob with their fellow chefs. And every so often, it is a place for them to cook up a storm.

July 16 is one of those days. Thirty of the country's top chefs will gather there to churn out food for as many as 1,000 sublimely happy guests. Among the big names are chefs Aaron Sanchez, Govind Armstrong, and Amanda Freitag, writer Michael Ruhlman, ice cream queen Jeni Britton Bauer (of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams), and culinary adviser and former Top Chef contestant Lee Anne Wong.

Not to mention Toledo's own Marcel Hessling, a caterer and president of the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

Other chefs are coming in from Chicago (Rick Gresh from David Burke's Primehouse), Cleveland, Walt Disney World, and the Grand Cayman Islands, including Luis Luhan from Eric Ripert's Blue at the Ritz Carlton.

On the liquid side is master sommelier Serafin Alvarado, who will give a wine class.

It's the sort of event you don't want to miss if you're seriously serious about food and you have money to burn. How much money? If you make reservations before June 1, tickets are $125, with a VIP rate -- you get to mingle with the chefs at a reception -- of $400. After June 1, the price jumps to $145 and, ahem, $500.

The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m., with the VIP reception beginning at 4 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.veggieufoodandwine.com or call 419-499-7500.

Submit

Do you have a recipe that is worthy of inclusion in a cookbook? Is your rhubarb pie so good you want everyone to know about it? Do you make a turkey tetrazzini to die for?

A local cookbook is looking for you.

The staff at Maumee Pediatric Associates wants to put together a cookbook and give the profits to the Progeria Foundation. Progeria is a rare disease that causes premature, rapid aging in children. There is no known cure, and patients usually die by their early teens. The affliction is rare, striking one in 8 million children, but Maumee Pediatrics has a patient who has it.

The staff would like to have the cookbook ready for sale by October, when the Progeria Foundation usually has a fund-raising walk in the Monclova area.

If you'd like to submit a family favorite recipe or two (or more) for the cookbook, you can send it to Maumee Pediatrics, 520 West Sophia St., Maumee, OH, 43537, Attention: Deb DeBrosse. Or, you can submit it through the Web page maumeepeds.com or via e-mail at maumeepediatrics@yahoo.com.

Gluten-free

With the widespread increase in cases of celiac disease, more and more folks are eating a gluten-free diet.

Want proof? In a couple of weeks, Pamela's Products, which makes gluten-free foods, is holding its Sixth annual Gluten-Free Recipe Contest.

The contest is looking for recipes that are convenient, quick, and easy to make for people on the go. Foods that can be reheated later are one possibility, along with meals that can be frozen before cooking, or just snacks or meals that can be quickly assembled. The grand prize winner will get a $200 gift certificate; two runners-up will receive a $100 gift certificate to a kitchen supply store.

At least one Pamela's Products product must be used as an ingredient; all ingredients must be listed in the order of their use, with exact measurements; any special gluten-free items that are not readily available must be described; step-by-step directions for preparing the food (including pan size, cooking time, and temperature) must be provided, and the size and number of servings must be listed.

There is no limit to the number of recipes you can enter, though no illegible, incomplete, forged, or altered entries will be accepted.

Beginning June 1, you can start submitting recipes to www.pamelasproducts.com. The contest runs through Aug. 15.

Curry favor

Asparagus is at its peak right now, which means there is an abundance of the stuff available everywhere, and usually for a good price.

But what to do with it all, once you've bought it?

You could make up a big batch of Curried Asparagus Soup, an easy and exotic recipe that takes the asparagus -- so comforting and familiar -- and takes it into new territory with an unexpected array of flavors.

Curried Asparagus Soup

2 pounds asparagus

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoons canola oil OR other vegetable oil

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 can coconut milk

3-4 cups chicken broth OR vegetable broth

Salt and pepper, to taste

Snap asparagus at tender point. Saute asparagus, onion, and garlic in canola oil in a large soup pot, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add potatoes. Stir in curry and brown sugar and cook until fragrant. Add coconut milk and broth, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree until smooth in batches in a blender. Return to pot, heat just until hot, but do not boil. Season to taste.

Source: Morning Glory Farm, via Loulies

Yield: 4 servings

Items for Morsels can be submitted up to two weeks before an event to food@theblade.com.

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