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ON FOOD: Local chef’s cooking classes pack ’em in

January 21, 2010
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Brother Luck is like a rock star when he teaches classes at Chefs Catalog. He never lacks for a full class.
“I had enough on the waiting list to fill another class,” said Kathleen Weintraub, culinary specialist for Chefs Catalog who coordinates the classes.

It’s no wonder. Luck, the executive sous chef at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, has taken the local culinary scene by storm, winning several chef competitions. And he has introduced an exciting new à la carte menu at the resort.
The restaurant has had a great reputation for its buffets. Now it’s going to build a reputation for its order-off-the-menu option.

“That’s my baby,” Luck told the class, referring to the new menu. “Tonight, I’m going to show you some of the new dishes.”

The theme of the class was Colorado Fusion, the style of food he is preparing for the new menu.

“The fun part of the Colorado Fusion menu is it has lots of different spices,” he said.

Most of the recipes he taught us featured spicy chiles — Spicy Goat Cheese Dip, Poblano Cheddar Soup, Jalapeño Ice Cream. And there were enough cooking tips and interesting new ingredients introduced to keep foodies of all levels enthralled.

“One thing I want to be sure of is that you can go shopping and find all the ingredients I use this evening,” he said. “I had a man from a class call me, wondering where to find passion fruit puree. I don’t want that to happen again.”

The number-one tip for working with hot chiles, like jalapeños, he said, is to remove the seeds and white membrane inside the pod.

“Then chop the pepper very finely,” he said. “You don’t want to kill someone with a big bite of hot pepper.”
The first recipe he made was the ice cream.

“It takes the longest to get chilled, so it can be churned,” he said.

Then he whipped up the Spicy Goat Cheese Dip, possibly the best thing I’ve tasted in a long time. And why not? With three types of cheese zipped up with smoky chipotle in adobo sauce and heated until smooth and creamy, this dip is one recipe that I’ll be making often.

Another tip for the dip: Use Alouette herb cheese.

“You can buy it at any grocery store and it already has great flavor,” he said.

The next recipe, and one I adored, was the Poblano Cheddar Soup.

“Making soup is about building flavors,” he said.

And his tip for making sure the Cheddar cheese melts smoothly?

“Toss the cheese in cornstarch,” he said. “That will protect the fat so it stays creamy and smooth.”

He surprised us with a new-to-me ingredient: huitlacoche (wheet-lah-KOH-chay).

“It’s corn truffle in Mexico,” he said. “Farmers here call it smut.”

The nickname wasn’t surprising after he opened the can. Its contents were sort of disgusting looking: blackish gray and slimy.

According to inmamas, huitlacoche is the edible fungus on corn. It has an earthy, delicate flavor. Luck sautéed it with onion, garlic and some other spices to use as a coating on salmon. Whatever you want to call huitlacoche, I call it delicious. You can buy it at Hispanic stores.

Here are some recipes from his class. For a class schedule, visit Chefs, 5070 Centennial Blvd., or call 272-2700.

Poblano Cheddar Soup

Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1 cup thinly sliced poblano pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt, to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and poblano peppers and sauté lightly until soft. Add garlic and continue cooking another 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and allow soup to simmer at least 20 minutes before adding cream. Reduce mixture by half and puree with immersion blender.
2. Toss cheese in cornstarch and slowly whisk into hot soup. Strain before serving and season to taste.

Source: Chef Brother Luck, Cheyenne Mountain Resort

Spicy Goat Cheese with Flatbread

Yield: 6 large servings

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 pound cream cheese
6 ounces goat cheese
12 ounces Alouette herb cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
Kosher salt, to taste
1 pound flatbread

In small sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove garlic from pan. Add onions to oil in pan and cook until golden brown and caramelized. Remove from heat and cool.
2.Purée cooked garlic, onions and the chipotle peppers in food processor and reserve for later.
In food processor with paddle attachment, cream all cheeses together until smooth. Add pureed pepper mixture to cheese, along with oregano, onion powder, and cumin and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Scrape into medium-size saucepot and slowly heat dip. Serve with warm flatbread.

Source: Chef Brother Luck, Cheyenne Mountain Resort


Pan-Seared Salmon

Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 (7-ounce) salmon filets
Pinch each salt and pepper
Huitlacoche (see recipe, above)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.In medium-size sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Place salmon filets in center of pan and allow fish to slowly caramelize at least 5-6 minutes. Do not move until fish releases naturally.
3.Place huitlacoche mixture on top and bake 7-10 minutes. Allow to rest before serving.

Source: Chef Brother Luck, Cheyenne Mountain Resort



Yield: 2 servings

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup huitlacoche (found in Hispanic markets)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch salt
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Over medium-high heat, place oil in small sauté pan. Add onion and garlic and lightly cook until onions are translucent.
2.Add huitlacoche, cumin, onion powder, cayenne and salt. Continue to cook and reduce until dry.
3. Remove from heat, add chopped cilantro and cool.

Source: Chef Brother Luck, Cheyenne Mountain Resort

Farney appears Tuesdays on KOAA’s Comcast Channel 5 at noon.

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