Withall was born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley region, exposing him to the best farm fresh ingredients near his home. “I grew up eating family cooked meals made with love by my grandmother and mother, deeply influenced by our Italian roots. However, New England cuisine also plays a big role in my culinary expertise”, said Withall. Beginning his professional career at the Culinary Institute of America-Hyde Park, he later found himself on the Emerald Coast through his school’s externship program and fell in love with the area. After 10 years of cooking in many of the top Panhandle restaurants, Withall has found a new home as the Executive Chef of Highlands House Bed & Breakfast. “We utilize farm grown ingredients and the highest quality seafood that the Gulf can offer. Highlands House has a magical aura and gives me the opportunity to create a one of a kind experience for our guests, as well as our local residents,” said Whithall. Make sure to visit Highland’s House on Saturday and Sunday too, as they serve one of the best brunches on 30A from 10am to 2pm.
Cooking Demo, Tuesday November 10, 6pm
Braised Pork Cheeks
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds pork cheeks, silver skin, fat, and cartilage removed
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1 leek, white part only, sliced
1 head garlic, cut in half
3 tablespoons honey
2 cups red wine
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cups veal or pork stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bunches baby mâche
To make the pork cheeks, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork cheeks and sear until well caramelized on all sides, about 4 minutes each side. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the celery, carrots, onions, leeks, and garlic and sauté until tender and browned, about 10 minutes. Add the honey and mix well. Return the pork to the pot and stir. Add the red wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Add the stock and return to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and braise until the meat is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside. Strain the braising liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by a little more than half, about 10 minutes. Skim the fat from the top. Return the pork to the liquid and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm over a very low flame.
Parsnip Potato Puree
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Special equipment: a potato ricer or a food mill fitted with medium disk
Cover parsnips and potatoes with cold water by 1 inch in a 6- to 8-quart pot, then add 1tablespoon salt and bring to a boil, partially covered. Reduce heat and simmer vegetables, partially covered, until very tender but not falling apart, 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring cream, butter, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat.
Drain vegetables in a colander. Force warm vegetables through ricer into cream mixture, then stir to combine well.
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup filtered water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp peeled,sliced fresh ginger
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp whole juniper berries
1 each cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 each bay leaf
3 Granny Smith apples
1 tbsp brown sugar
Bring all ingredients, except apples in a sauce pot and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring often.
Core the apples, cut into quarters and then thinly slice, creating half moons, place in a heat safe container, bring the pickling liquid to a rolling boil and carefully transfer to the container, covering the apples completely, put a tight fitting lid on the container and let the apples steep in the pickling liquid overnight, transfer to the refrigerator and store.
Note: I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday night at the Le Creuset location of 1076 Emerald Coast Parkway West, Suite 125 in Miramar Beach! Please call (850) 654-5900 to give them a heads up if you do plan to attend! You do not need to be present to win the 3.5 Quart Cast Iron Braiser.
To Enter: you will need to enter the Rafflecopter below and then leave a comment on what you would like to cook in the Le Creuset Braiser. And, for an extra entry, stop by and like or comment on 30AEats Facebook page about the contest. You must also have a U.S mailing address. The winner will be chosen by random and contacted on Sunday, November 15 at 6pm CST.