Saturday, April 19, 2014
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.
The recipe here for the caramelized pork shank is from the renowned Parisian chef, Alain Senderens who was part of the group of chefs who introduced nouvelle cuisine to the culinary world in the 1960s and 1970s.
I came across this method of preparation years ago when I bought his cookbook, The Three Star Recipes of Alain Senderens, published in 1982. In those years Senderens ran what was considered the most glorious restaurant in Paris, L’Archestrate.
The recipe itself could be considered country cooking at its finest instead of the austere, meticulous preparations for which nouvelle cuisine was known. It fit in perfectly in my Easter menu of the ham, the pureed sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese casserole, corn bread and buttermilk cake.
After an intense week of dining out at some of Portland’s most compelling restaurants, which will be the subject of future reviews, I spent the weekend cooking at home. Most of what I prepared for a Sunday dinner with friends were dishes that I plan to make for an Easter feast next month. It was a kind of a practice run.
The dishes for last night’s dinner were, however, a divergent mix of culinary sourcing. From renowned Paris chef, Alain Senderens, one of the founders of the nouvelle cuisine, I prepared his intricate method for a leg of pork served with braised cabbage and a puree of sweet potatoes cooked in an orange-lemon caramel. The pork was locally raised at Swallowtail Farm in North Whitefield.
With another visit to the Palace Diner under my belt, I had a blockbuster lunch where true diner fare was the main event. The lunch menu, however, is still fairly limited, without an expanded choice of more hot prepared dishes like stews and other hearty fare. But what’s there is very good.
Sandwiches like a classic grilled cheese, towering BLT’s (made with pork belly), tuna fish salad, Palace corned beef with Thousand Island slaw and cheeseburger and fries are the menu highlights. Sides include mac and cheese, sweet and sour slaw (vinegar based instead of creamy) and fries. The breakfast menu is available all day.
This chocolate pound cake is so big and so rich that you shouldn’t even attempt to make it unless you have a stand mixer. That’s the advice from singer and songwriter Emmylou Harris who describes her mother’s recipe for this phenomenal cake in cookbook author Ronni Lundy’s book, Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken.
The book is an incredible compendium of American regional recipes from the southern Midwestern states like Kentucky, Tennessee and farther south. And many of the recipes are from country western stars that the author knew.
This cake is a sensational mix of basic ingredients like mounds of sugar, butter, eggs and a bit of coco powder for that subtle touch of chocolate goodness.
How novel to go to a new restaurant that is so good fresh out of the gate. That is very much the case with the Palace Diner, the diminutive, big-as-a-booth 15-seat rail car that re-opened in downtown Biddeford last week.
The Palace Diner in downtown Biddeford