Farmers Market

I had a great time today at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market Annex. I did a demonstration as part of the Farmers Market Tour.  I prepared a Summer Ribbon Salad of cucumber, yellow squash, zucchini, and cantaloupe .

I’m always searching for new ways to use summer squash which are completely taking over my garden at this moment. This is a great summer recipe because the veggies all maintain their freshness, no cooking is involved, it’s quick to prepare and you only need one tool…a good vegetable peeler. This salad is great on it’s own or served with grilled lamb or marinated grilled firm tofu.

Summer Ribbon Salad of Cucumber, Melon, and Squash
Serves 4

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8  teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 yellow summer squash, unpeeled
1 zucchini, unpeeled
1 cucumber, unpeeled
1 ½  tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 large cantaloupe, rind removed
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

1. Combine yogurt, lemon zest and juice, salt, cumin, coriander and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate 20 minutes.

2. Using a vegetable peeler shave squashes and cucumber into wide ribbons, stopping when you reach seeds. Toss with vinegar and salt. Cover, and refrigerate. Shave cantaloupe into ribbons, and refrigerate.

3. Just before serving, gently squeeze the cucumber and squash ribbons, and toss with cantaloupe. Drizzle with dressing and chopped mint.
If you use Greek yogurt you may want to thin the dressing with a little water so it is not too thick and heavy.

TV Dinner

If you are like me, I’m sure you spent some time grilling this past Memorial weekend.  Nevertheless, I ended up doing a live cooking segment on the Fox 9 morning show.

Pork chops in Marinade

I prepared Grilled Pork Chops with a Rhubarb Pink Peppercorn Sauce. It was with out a doubt the fastest 5 minutes of my life possibly because of how nervous I was.

Rhubarb Pink Peppercorn Sauce

In fact I totally forgot to talk about the upcoming National Pork Taste of Elegance, in Baltimore on June 14th. Stay tuned for more info on that. In the meantime check out the recipe and let me know how you like it.

Award Winning Pork Recipes

As promised here is the link to all 16 recipes from this year’s Taste of Elegance, including mine. The dish can be duplicated, although the technique will take some time.

Here’s the scoop on all the other contestants that placed. I have to hand it to the other competitors because all their dishes were all great plates.

My favorite was “Four Little Pigs”  Chef Tuan Nguyen – Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington. He was docked points by the judges for using shrimp in a pork themed competition which is too bad. The flavors in his dish were spot on.

From MN Pork Board:

David Vlach, sous chef at Heidi’s Minneapolis, received first place, chef par excellence, at the 2010 Minnesota Pork Board’s Taste of Elegance competition. Judges awarded Vlach first place for his recipe, Spiced Slow-Cooked Pork Shank with Gremolata and Black Beluga Lentil Tomato Stew.

The 22nd annual Minnesota Taste of Elegance competition took place Jan. 19 at the Minneapolis Hilton. The pork competition is hosted by the Minnesota Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff on behalf of Minnesota’s pork producers. The event showcases the versatility of pork, the creativity of chefs and promotes the inclusion of pork on restaurant menus.
Vlach’s pork entrée highlighted slowly braised pork shank seasoned with gingerroot, lemon zest, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne and fennel seed. Vlach plated the pork shank with complimentary-seasoned black beluga lentils, which are small beans that resembles beluga caviar after cooking, and a showy original gremolata recipe flavored with chopped raisins, capers, shallots, parsley and mint.
Vlach received $1,500 in prize money and will represent the Minnesota Pork Board at the National Taste of Elegance this spring in Baltimore, Md.

Tom Kavanaugh, co-owner and chef of Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort, East Gull Lake, earned second place, superior chef, and $1,000 in prize money, for his original pork recipe, Uova Con Pancetta E Salsiccia Di Fegato Di Maiale (Bacon and Eggs with Pork Liver). This entrée utilized pork belly, pork shoulder and pork liver.

Serge Devesa, executive chef for Hotel Sofitel, Bloomington, placed third, premium chef, to earn $750 in prize money. Devesa prepared Duo of Maple-Glazed Pork Belly and Sweetbread Roulade Calvados Reduction and Crackling. The plated dish showcased pan-seared pork belly cut into squares and roulade prepared with pork loin and prosciutto.

The People’s Choice Award went to Derek Black, an executive chef for Sodexo at the St. Paul-based company Ecolab. After sampling all the pork entrées, the 500 guests at the evening award’s program selected Black’s deliciously fun recipe, Carnitas with Cones and Lemongrass-Scented Rice and Kimchee, for the People’s Choice Award. Black received $750 for his recipe featuring15 seasonings and pulled pork prepared from pork butt.
Tim Cockram, executive chef and director of food and beverage operations at the Owatonna Country Club in Owatonna received the $250 best table display award.

This year’s judges were Dr. Brian Bergquist, a professor in the hotel, restaurant and tourism management program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout; Stephan Hesse, last year’s Minnesota and National Taste of Elegance winner and executive chef at Kona Grill, Eden Prairie, and Charlie Torgerson, a National Pork Board Celebrated Chef, restaurant consultant and restaurant owner. The judges based their decisions on taste, appearance and originality of the pork dish.

Taste of Elegance Update

You may not be able to attend the event, unless you are in the Pork Congress (seriously there is one) but you can order a recipe book containing the recipes for all the entrees. Just email your name, address, and telephone number to:

Here’s the link to there site for more info: