Read the "Nightline" profile of chef George Mendes HERE.
Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon PureeServes 4
1 butternut squash
¼ cup melted butter
½ cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup smoked bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces, rendered
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1. Set oven to 375 degrees F. Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place cut side up into oven-proof pan.
2. Melt butter over medium high heat along with all the spices and brown sugar Continue cooking over low heat until spices let off their aroma and butter is slightly browned
3. Season the squash with salt and pepper and brush with the melted butter/ spice mixture. Pour remaining butter into bottom of pan
4. Bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until squash is very soft.
5. Discard the spices from surface and scoop squash flesh only along with juices in pan into robot coupe with blade attachment. Its important to do this step while squash is warm to hot. Process squash until smooth. Add the rendered bacon fat (use bacon for garnish) and the banana pieces. Process for another 30 seconds. Adjust seasoning and serve. Can be made up to 2 days ahead
White Button Mushroom and Tomato Stew
4 cups white button mushrooms, washed and quartered
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 fresh thyme sprigs
2 parsley sprigs
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 cup tomato puree, from vine-ripened tomatoes
1. Heat 1.5 quart capacity sauce pan over medium-high heat. add ¼ cup of the olive oil and the mushrooms and season lightly with salt. Cook over medium high heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and all moisture they have let off is cooked down. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Add the additional olive oil and the sliced onion, garlic and herbs. Cook until translucent. Add the smoked paprika, mix well, then add the tomato puree.
3. Return the mushrooms to the pan and cover with lid or parchment paper. Cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes until mushrooms are cooked through
Seared Shrimp With Garlic and Cilantro
16 shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp pimenton
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons lager Beer
1. Place sauté pan over medium-high heat . Season the shrimp with salt and fresh ground pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan. Sear the shrimp 1 minute on each side. Remove from pan. Add the rest of the olive oil alond with the garlic. Lower the heat slightly and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add the pimenton, mix well and then return the shrimp to the pan. Raise heat to medium and then add the beer. Cook for 30 seconds and then finish with the chopped parsley, cilantro and the lemon juice. Serve hot.