Friday, November 6, 2009

Yesterday, Michael Symon was in New York for a cooking demonstration and promoting his new book, “Michael Symon’s Live to Cook.”

Michael told the audience that his mom was of Italian and Greek heritage who loved to cook, always from scratch. His dad’s roots are from the Ukraine. So, his cuisine has a Greek, Italian, and Slovakian flair. (The Slovakian explains his expertise at pierogi, I guess). He is a supporter of cooking with salt and more salt, pork, and fresh ingredients. He made a breaded pork chop with a side of fresh greens dressed in a lemon vinaigrette.

After his demo, I chatted with Michael as he signed his book for me. Also, I had brought along the brochure from the Scottsdale Celebrity Chef Golf Invitational which was held at Greyhawk Golf Club (Phil Mickelson’s place) in April 2003. Michael was one of the celebrity chef golfers playing in that tournament.
We rode together in the van transporting the golfers, chefs, and spectators (I was the latter) from the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch to the golf club. I had always remembered Michael’s deep laugh and that he had a restaurant in Cleveland. Back then, I had “no clue” who he was and the only celebrity chef’s name that I recognized was Bobby Flay, so I followed his foursome. (Tom Colicchio also played in that tournament and had a full head of hair at the time). Again, this event happened way before Top Chef, Iron Chef or Chef of the Future (well, Chef of the Future is from the old Honeymooners). Anyway….getting back on track. Yesterday, I learned that Michael “took all of Bobby Flay’s money that day.” He smiled as he told me that while signing the golf brochure. I also learned that Michael has a nine handicap in golf. I followed Bobby’s foursome for several holes, and now I know “why” Michael took all of Bobby’s money that day.

So, after the book (and golf brochure) signing yesterday, I perused the golf brochure some more which featured recipes from each Chef who participated in the tournament. Michael Symon’s recipe for Lobster Pierogi is in the golf brochure.

Lobster Pierogi

½ cup sour cream
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbs. minced chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large Yukon gold potato (1/2 pound)
2 Tbs. half-and-half or heavy cream
4 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into 1/4 –inch pieces

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream with 4 Tbs. butter, egg, chives, 1 Tbs. of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Using your hands work in the flour. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape dough into two 6-inch disks. Wrap in plastic and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, boil potato in water until tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Peel and press through ricer or sieve into medium bowl. Stir in remaining 2 Tbs. of butter and half-and half, then add the lobster meat. Season with salt and pepper and cool.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 piece of dough to a 15-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Using 3-inch biscuit cutter cut out 12 to 15 rounds. Brush each with water and spoon 1 scant Tbs. of lobster filling in center. Fold dough over to form half moons, pressing out air; press and crimp edges to seal. Arrange on baking sheet with wax paper.

Bring pot of salted water to boil. Drop sealed pierogies into boiling water. Remove once they float. Saute’ boiled pierogies in butter until golden brown.

Garnish with chopped chives and sour cream.

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