To toast the arrival of the glorious spring season and what we like to call “spring awakening”, Sara and I decided to celebrate with FOOD! We recently caught up with chef extraordinaire, Patricia Clark who we absolutely love working with because her food is as delightful and inspiring as she is.
Patricia is the owner and executive chef of the events catering company, Patricia Clark Cuisine. She has a classic French cooking degree from the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts program and incorporates traditional cooking techniques with a fresh, healthy and modern style. Patricia has catered parties across the US as well as in several major Euorpean cities, the French Indies, Mexico and North Africa.
To show her some love as fellow business woman, we not only picked her brain about all things food, but also got some great recipes to share with you so you’ll be inspired to cook something amazing for your spring awakening. Here’s what Patricia had to say.
How did your love affair with food begin?
My love affair with cooking probably began with my first bite of lemon meringue pie! My Grandmother, a lovely woman never seen without red lipstick, made a truly wonderful version! I loved our family occasions that centered around whatever she, or my father were making. It was always a pleasure to see smiling faces crowded around a table complimenting each other. I learned very early that food is love.
How does living in NYC inspire your cooking?
NYC allows me to create truly fusion style menus. Here, fresh and local means ingredients from all cuisines. I can buy shiso leaves and champagne grapes from long island, duck from the Hudson valley, Chinese eggplant from New Jersey, blueberries from the Berkshires. Each of my menus highlight the international world we live in every day.
What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten and where?
The singular best thing I have ever eaten was homemade paparadelli in with shaved truffles and truffle broth in Umbria. Second to that would be the lemon, escolar, shiso roll at Fuji sushi in San Francisco.
What is in your fridge right now?
Small amounts of all kinds of ingredients from various recent menus: hoisin, manchego, white truffle, saffron buttercream frosting, pine nuts, balsamic thyme butter, champagne…
What advice would you give to a young chef trying to break into the business?
Work for as many different people as you can and develop a very thick skin. You will screw up. You will get yelled at. You will be exhausted. You will create your own style, and you will eventually wow everyone you have ever known.
What do you know for sure about cooking?
The only thing I know for sure is that I will forever be a student of the craft. I will always be reading, experimenting and trying new ingredients and techniques because cooking encompasses many different worlds….I know I want to live among as many of those worlds as I can as long I’m still breathing!
So check out these delicioso recipes and get the cookin’! And of course, let us know when dinner is ready (kidding).
Ricotta and Grilled Apricot Crostini
1 medium baguette
8 ounces whole milk ricotta
4-6 medium ripe apricots
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
12 leaves fresh mint
1. Turn on your grill to medium heat. * You may also use a grill pan.
2. Wash and pat dry each apricot. Slice each apricot in half, remove the seed. Sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of olive oil of the halved apricots.
3. Slice the baguette into ½” thick slices. Brush the slices with the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
4. Once the grill (or pan) is hot. Lay each slice of baguette down for about 30 seconds, then gently flip each over with tongs. Let the flip side cook for an additional 30 seconds then remove all from the heat and set aside.
5. Lay your oiled apricot halves, flesh side down onto the grill (or grill pan). Allow to cook up to 1 minute, then immediately remove form heat and set aside.
6. Lay each baguette slice flat and spread with ricotta cheese until all the slices are covered.
7. Lay 1 grilled apricot half onto the ricotta.
8. Drizzle the apricots with balsamic vinegar and finish by sprinkling with the salt.
9. Garnish each slice with a fresh mint leaf and serve.
Herb Crusted Roast Pork
with warm cherries and citrus tapenade
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoon minced parsley
2 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon minced thyme
2 tbsp paprika
1/4 Cup grainy Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
6-7-pound boneless pork loin roast
1 lb cherries, pitted
½ cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon butter
1 orange, segmented and zested
Kalamata Olives (4oz pitted)
Gaeta or Nicoise Olives (4 oz, pitted if possible)
Manzanilla or Cerignola (4oz, pitted if possible)
1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. Pat the pork loin with flour. Heat a roasting pan over medium heat and sear each side of the pork loin until you get a natural crust.
3. Combine all additional ingredients and rub entirely over the pork loin. Place the pork in an oven roasting pan and loosely cover with foil.
4. Roast in the oven 1 hour. Baste the pork with pan juices and remove the foil. Meanwhile, pit cherries, and combine in a small bowl the orange segments, orange zest and all 3 kinds of olives chopped. Set aside.
5. Remove the pork loin and set aside tented with foil.
6. Place the roasting pan back on top of the stove and add the white wine, butter, and cherries. Cook the mixture over a medium flame until the liquid reduces by half and the cherries soften.
8. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and slice into 2-3” thick portions. Arrange the pork onto the serving platter.
9. Pour the cherry pan sauce over the slices, top each slice with a spoonful of tapenade and serve immediately.
Peach Amaretti Tiramisu
2 boxes savoiardi
2 cups amaretto
12 peaches, pitted and quartered
marscarpone (1 small tub)
whipping cream (1 pint)
½ cup sugar
1. Whip the cream until firm peaks form. Scrape from the bowl and set aside.
2. In the whipping bowl, add the marscarpone and whip until it is softened and airy.
3. Add the whipped cream in approximately ¼ cup increments continuously whipping to keep the light structure. Continue whipping until you have incorporated all the cream and marscarpone. Set aside.
4. Gather 1 deep sided serving dish, 1 clean dish towel and 1 mixing bowl.
5. Place the mixing bowl over the dish towel. Pour the amaretto into a small bowl.
6. Open the packages of savoiardi, but keep each portion separated. You will use one for the base and 2 for the middle layer.
7. Brush each savoiardi into the amaretto and lay flat into the base of the serving dish. Once you have arranged the entire base layer, lay half the cut peaches on top, then smooth 1/2 of the cream mixture on top.
8. Create a 2nd layer of the brushed savoiardi, then covering with the remaining cream and sliced peaches.
9. Place the serving dish in the refrigerator 1 hour or up to over night.
* Optional garnish includes candied orange slices, chopped candied almond bark, dried orange zest, or a few sprigs of fresh mint.
For more information about Patricia Clark Cuisine, visit her website at www.patriciaclarkcatering.com
Happy Spring and Bon Appetit!
Photo Credits -
Jonny Hunter, Flickr
Sifu Renka, Flickr