The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

January 5, 2013

COOKING WITH SIMON: Food for thought

By SIMON WEBSTER
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — As I gaze into a nice warm fire and contemplate this week’s column I am remembering all of the great food that was enjoyed at Sabor a Pasion in 2012. And during this first week of the New Year I find myself filled with ideas that will make things bigger and better in 2013.

The typical New Year’s resolutions are usually about exercising, losing weight, organizing your home or getting back in touch with old friends. I can’t help you with the first few but when it comes to good times with friends and family – Sabor a Pasion is known for memorable experiences.

As I dream of events to come, and new parties to plan, I am reminded of my school days when my report card would say, “Simon would get better grades if he stopped looking out the window and dreaming.”

Yes, I am guilty of spending my time dreaming of new things to do, but sometimes dreams become a reality. As for Sabor a Pasion it was once a dream but with hard work it’s now here and very real. And the events planned for this year will make even more dreams come true.

From weddings to casual get-togethers, special events, dinner parties and cooking classes. Seeing people smile and getting excited about the food they are eating makes all of the hard work worth the effort.

So the dreams continue in 2013 with plenty of dinners around the Tuscan table, pizzas in the wood-fired oven, concerts in the vineyard, grape picking at harvest, cooking classes in the dining room, and receptions and dancing in the ballroom. Sabor a Pasion is a place where dreams become real and are enjoyed by all.

Here are two recipes to tempt your taste buds that everyone loved at last year’s Tuscan dinners.  The Tuscan dinners will be back this spring. So start planning now for a spot at this special table. And stay tuned right here as I share even more great things coming out of my kitchen in 2013.



Honey Almond Semifreddo



INGREDIENTS

2 cups sugar

5 egg yolks

5 egg whites

1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

2 cups whipping cream

1 cup slivered almonds

honey, for drizzling



DIRECTIONS

In a double boiler over medium heat combine the sugar and egg yolks. Whisk for about five minutes until the egg mixture begins to drip off the whisk in ribbon-like strands. Remove from heat and set aside. With a mixer, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Set aside. Whip creams to stiff peaks. In a large bowl carefully fold together the egg yolk mixture, whipped egg whites and whipped cream.  Line two loaf pans with plastic wrap. Pour in the combined mixture and with a spatula smooth the top. Sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with honey. Place in the freezer for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from the molds by carefully pulling the plastic wrap. Remove the plastic and slice.



Roasted Leg of Lamb & Mint Sauce



INGREDIENTS


5 pound leg of lamb

Olive oil

Salt

Cracked black pepper

1 bunch rosemary

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch of mint

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons very hot water

1/4 cup malt vinegar



DIRECTIONS

Roughly chop the rosemary. Rub the leg with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Roast for about 2 hours, depending on the size of the leg, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of meat registers 140 degrees.

For the sauce:

Pull mint leaves off of the stems. Place on a cutting board and chop finely. Sprinkle the sugar over the mint and continue to chop. Place the mint and sugar in a small bowl. Cover with the water and allow to steep for a couple of minutes. Add the vinegar and salt to taste.

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Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.