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July 2009
Recipes Contributed by:
Jacksonville Mercantile

Dear Fellow Foodies:

It’s not too soon to start thinking about Xmas and the upcoming holidays. Don’t forget the Jacksonville Mercantile can send your foodie friends and clients gourmet gifts or make baskets for you so you will look like a hero this holiday season. We can also ship cooking or baking goodies to you for your dinner parties or gatherings you will have in the near future. Just go to

I just recently was the guest Chef for a charity dinner to help the Britt Festival at Schmidt Family Vineyards and the following is the appetizer I created for this event. Since I am a fan of Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, I was inspired by an appetizer of his using a savory tapioca. You eat the tapioca first as you dig into this dish (the "pearls") and the "swine" is the crispy pancetta pieces. Thus the silly name. This is a layered appetizer that can be prepared ahead and just reheated in a low oven until you are ready to serve. This does take a little time to make, but the elements can be made ahead of time and just reheated and assembled quickly. This pairs well with Pinot Gris or Viognier.

Pearls Before Swine
Creamed Spinach
Chilled Creamy Cucumber Soup
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“Pearls Before Swine”
- makes six 4 oz. servings

Parmesan Tapioca

1 Cup Whole Milk
½ cup Small pearl tapioca – soaked overnight
2 cloves Garlic - mashed
1 Shallot – minced very fine
1 small package 1.5 oz. demi-glace (I used lamb demi in this dish since the entrée was lamb)
6 oz. finely grated parmesan cheese (you may substitute Asiago)

To make the Tapicoa:   Heat the milk with the garlic, shallot and demi-glace.  Heat this until the demi-glace melts completely.  Add the tapioca that was soaked to the hot milk mixture.  Cook until tapioca is creamy and thick and no longer raw in the middle (approximately 7- 10 minutes).  Add the cheese and mix until melted.  Reserve.

Crispy pancetta

2 packages Pancetta – cut into small pieces and cooked until crispy – place on paper towels to drain excess fat

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Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

2 T butter
2 T all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 package frozen chopped spinach – thawed and drained
2 cloves garlic – mashed
sea salt and pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup Pernod (you may substitute Ouzo)

Make the creamed spinach:  Melt the butter, add the flour to create a roux.  Heat the butter/flour mix until just bubbling.  Add the milk and whisk until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Add the garlic, cayenne and spinach.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes to cook out the flour taste.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Add the Pernod and mix.  Reserve.

To serve:  Place small amount of pancetta on bottom of ramekin, cover with small amount of creamed spinach and then top with the Parmesan Tapioca.  Garnish with fried leeks.  Serve hot.

Okay, since the first recipe was not as simple as usual, here is a cucumber soup you can whip up in your blender in no time.

We are very fortunate to have such great grower’s markets in Southern Oregon and summer means fresh, crunchy cucumbers.  This soup is made without heating anything.  Just use your blender and voila, you have a creamy, refreshing soup!

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Chilled Creamy Cucumber Soup  Serves 4

Chilled Creamy Cucumber Soup  Serves 4

4 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded – cut into small pieces
1 tub Greek Yogurt or 6 oz. Crème Fraiche
1 cup Chenin Blanc wine or other dry, crisp white wine
3 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
1 small bunch fresh Basil – chopped fine
5-7 leaves fresh spearmint – chopped fine
sea salt
white pepper
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Put the cucumbers into a blender with the white wine, sherry vinegar, sea salt, white pepper and blend until smooth.  Add the basil and mint and blend to incorporate.  Add the Greek Yogurt or Crème Fraiche to the soup and blend until mixed.   Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve Cold.  You can sprinkle additional chopped basil and mint on top if desired.

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