Good Eats This Week: Aaargh, So Many Favorites!

THE RANCH RESTAURANT & SALOON  opened in Anaheim a few weeks ago (on the ground floor of the six-story Extron Electronics building).

The stunning restaurant feels intimate, with elegant lighting and remarkable acoustics. And the food and drink? Irresistible.

DRINK IT: Selections from the 14,000 bottle wine cellar (assembled by wine guru, Master Sommelier Michael Jordan) pleased my Pinot-loving palate.

Also I happily sipped a Sagebrush Martini:  Hangar One Mandarin Blossom Vodka muddled with fresh sage leaves, plus fresh lemon juice, splash of fresh orange juice and a hint of agave nectar. Not too sweet, really nice.

HAND CRAFTED SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI: Order it for my last supper? Yup, this dish is so good I would die happily with it on my lips. The orange-hued gnocchi team with braised Petaluma rabbit, maitake mushrooms and San Manzano tomato sugo.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi creates these incredible gnocchi with dark fleshed sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, egg yolks, Parmigiano-Reggiano, AP flour  and kosher salt.  He learned how to make them while working for a year in Italy (1998) from Chef Bruno Barbieri.

COLORADO GRASS-FED LAMB: Can you see how thick and juicy this baby is?

There are 8 bones on a rack of lamb. Chef Rossi cuts the generous chops so that 3 bones are eliminated, leaving 5 extra-large, equally-sized thick chops.

Marinated in roasted garlic puree, Dijon mustard, fresh thyme and toasted pecans, the succulent cooked-to-perfection meat is served with pecan spatzle and sweet potatoes. Yum.

(Bring your dancing boots if you’d like to do some Texas two-steppin’ next door.)

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THE COCOA LOUNGE, ISLAND HOTEL, NEWPORT BEACH

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Through March 3, from 6 to 10 p.m. (closed Sundays & Mondays) the Palm Terrace’s Cocoa Lounge Dessert Buffet will be serving up chocolate decadence galore. It’s an all-you-can-eat chocolate extravaganza.

 

Executive Pastry Chef Michael Owens offers scrumptious creations that include Banana Chocolate Mousse Cake, White Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake, Triple Chocolate Cupcakes, Double Chocolate Fudge S’mores, Manjari Obsession in Chocolate Cups, plus lollipops, peanut caramels, port chocolates and coconut almond bars, and much more – served among displays of chocolate statues and chocolate velour.

Price: $24 per person, tax and gratuities not included.

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TRADITION BY PASCAL, CLOSING FEBRUARY 15

(Pascal’s dishes will  live on at his Epiceries (Newport Beach and Santa Ana), Cafe Jardin at Sherman Gardens (Corona del Mar), and Brasserie Pascal (Fashion Island)

I’ve celebrated so many important milestones at Pascal’s. Birthdays ending in zeros and my daughters’ school graduations. Plus those too-darn-fun Bastille Day galas.

Pascal has trained many of OC’s finest chefs in this restaurant’s kitchen.  I stopped by for one last meal. ‘Got teary over some of the stories I’ve written about Pascal that hang on the outside wall of that illustrious kitchen.

Dishes that are old friends …

PASCAL’S SALADE MAISON: Green heaven = butter lettuce + tasty croutons + poached egg + warm lardons + perky vinaigrette.

PASCAL’S BRAISED RABBIT WITH MUSTARD SAUCE AND ROASTED POTATOES: A wrascally wabbit, indeed. A just-right amount of creamy sauce naps the lean, tender rabbit.

Oh how I love the warm cheesecake souffle. Here’s the recipe:

PASCAL’S CHEESECAKE SOUFFLE
Yield: 9 servings
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided use
Peel of 1/2 orange (zest), finely minced or grated, colored part only
9 eggs, separated, divided use
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
Garnish: vanilla ice cream
Garnish: raspberry coulis (sauce); see cook’s notes
Garnish: powdered sugar
Cook’s notes: To make raspberry coulis, place 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen raspberries in syrup (thawed) in food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until pureed. Strain through a sieve; discard seeds. Place puree in a small saucepan. In a small bowl combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Bring puree to a simmer over medium heat; stir in cornstarch mixture and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool. You will have 2 1/2 cups; you will need about 1 cup for this recipe. Leftover sauce can be stored, well-sealed, in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Use it over ice cream, pound cake or pudding.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. On medium speed, beat until smooth. Add orange zest and beat on medium until blended. Add egg yolks 3 at a time, beating until blended between additions. Add lemon juice and beat on medium speed 5 minutes.
3. In a separate large bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 3/4 cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating about 30 seconds between additions. Beat until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture with a large, rubber spatula.
4. Pour into 9 oven-proof soup bowls (8 to 9 inches in diameter). Mixture will be about 1-1 1/2 inches deep. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes. Serve souffles warm but don’t worry if they deflate a little. If you need to reheat them, bake 4-6 minutes at 425 degrees. Presentation: Place one scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of the warm cheesecake souffle. Drizzle with raspberry coulis. Place powdered sugar in a small, fine sieve. Shake over the tops of the desserts to dust lightly with powdered sugar. Add fresh berries if you like.
Source: Pascal Olhats

                                                         cathythomascooks.com

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