The Low Carbon Holiday Menu Part 2: A Tale of Two Coasts

Continuing our series from Bon Appetit Management chefs, is a visit to the West Coast for seasonal salads, brightly colored with pomegranate and persimmon over lush green arugula. No wonder the rest of the country gets a bit green with envy over the steady diet of local salad all year.

My personal answer is a CSA farmer with a few greenhouses, a trend I hope catches on. Until then, we can all have visions of persimmons dancing in our heads with this menu from Chef Melissa Miller, Café Bon Appetit at SAP Corporation in Menlo Park, CA.

Over on the opposite coast, fish is local and the dishes from Chef Michael Aquaro at Duke University in Durham, NC, include Oyster Stew, Cumin Crusted Petit Poussin, and Southern “Pecan Pie” Braised Greens. Recipes for the Oyster Stew and Dried Cranberry Oatmeal cookies are included in this post.

Recipes follow the jump.

West Coast

Menu by Chef Melissa Miller, Café Bon Appetit at SAP Corporation in Menlo Park, CA. Ingredients were sourced as follows; Celery Root from Ratto Brothers Farms in Modesto, CA, White Wine Vinegar from Sparrow Lane Vinegars of Napa CA, Sasuma Mandarins and Seville Oranges from Rising C Ranches in Reedley, Arugula from Earthbound Farms in San Juan Bautista, CA, EVOO from Bariani Olive Oil, Sacramento CA.

Celery Root Salad
(Great as side for any braised winter menu)
2 large peeled Celery Roots- sliced into julienne strips (hold in water and drain just before dressing)
½ C  Mayo
1/4C  Stone Ground Mustard
1 sprig Thyme, chopped fine
1 TBL white wine vinegar
1TBL  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Drain and pat dry celery root strips, combine with the remaining ingredients, chill and serve.  May be made hours earlier.

Fuyu Persimmon and Spicy Greens with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
(Combined for great seasonal colors and tastes)
6 Fuyu (apple shaped) Persimmons, peeled and sliced into thin wedge shapes
1 large pomegranate, seeded
Handful of toasted walnuts
1 pound arugula or any seasonal spicy green, frisee, escarole or mixed greens
1 bottle (8oz) POM pomegranate juice, reduced to 1/3 cup
½ shallot, peeled and fine diced
2/3C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

Toss salad ingredients together, and dress, lightly, not too wet.  Garnish with toasted walnuts.
If fuyu persimmons are not available, sub mandarins for the persimmons and orange juice for the pomegranate.

East Coast

Chef Michael Aquaro at Duke University in Durham, NC prepares a North Carolina feast. Ingredients were sourced from; Adams Oyster House- Topsail, NC, Chapel Hill Creamery- Chapel Hill, NC, Ashley Farms- Winston-Salem, NC, Eastern Carolina Organics-Pittsboro, NC, Zydeco Moon Farm- Grassy Creek, NC, Timberwood Organics- Efland, NC, Eastern Carolina Organics- Pittsboro, NC, Atkinson Milling Co.- Selma, NC

North Carolina Oyster Stew
3  ½  tablespoons butter, divided into 2 ½ tbps and 1 tbsp
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup uncooked black barley (U.S. Grown)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chopped watercress
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 pint whole shucked oysters, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Watercress for garnish (optional)

  1. Melt 2  ½ tablespoons butter in a pressure cooker and sauté the onion and celery until lightly colored, 5 to 10 minutes. When tender, add barley and stir well for 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and pressure cook for 7 minutes. Let cool, then puree with a blender, food mill or food processor until smooth. Set aside until shortly before you are ready to finish the stew.
  2. When ready to serve, return pureed barley mixture to a medium saucepan, add milk and bring to a simmer. In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat and add the watercress and green onions. Toss several times and cover tightly to steam until just wilted and still bright green, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add oysters to the soup and cook them at a simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until the edges curl. Do not boil. Add salt and pepper, quickly stir in the watercress and green onions, and serve immediately. Garnish with watercress, if desired.

Dried Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3  ½  Tbsp butter
¾ cup applesauce
1 egg
2 Tbsp fat free milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup dried cranberries

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; mix well. In large bowl, beat sugars and butter until well blended. Add applesauce, egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir in flour mixture; mix well. Stir in oats and dried cranberries well. (Dough will be moist.)
  3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered

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