Italian sauces based on tomatoes or cream and an Egyptian-style falafel are among the offerings planned for a May 16 fundraiser in Grass Valley to benefit Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
Bear River Pasta Co. in Grass Valley and Emily’s Catering and Cakes in Nevada City are among six western Nevada County restaurants transporting visitors to foreign tables for “Passport Around the World,” an event raising money for an oncology simulator at the hospital’s Cancer Center.
Italy: Bear River Pasta Co.
Husband-and-wife team Carl Brenner and Theresa McGuire will showcase their snow crab ravioli under a sauce of sun-dried tomatoes in cream. Their porcini mushroom ravioli (that’s por-CHEE-nee) is topped with putanesca sauce – a robust tomato-based concoction of fresh garlic, basil, parsley, yellow bell peppers, olives and capers; chili flakes will be served on the side. (In Italy, ladies of ill repute are colloquially called putas, so this hearty sauce evokes a, well, certain sauciness.)
Tasters can soak up the sauces with pesto bread: Sourdough loaf halves spread with butter, topped with the couple’s award-winning basil pesto, sprinkled with mozzarella, and toasted until golden.
Try their Castelvetrano olives: Grown in Sicily, these olives are spring-green in color, their texture is al dente, and their flavor is bright, buttery and surprising.
For dessert, McGuire and Brenner plan miniature cannoli filled with a mixture of both firm and soft ricotta cheeses “made by an Italian family in New Jersey,” McGuire said. She adds “a little vanilla extract, hazelnut, chocolate chips and powdered sugar... It’s not too sweet, and the flavor of the ricotta comes through.”
Egypt: Emily’s Catering
A bride who grew up in Egypt wanted ta’miyya for her reception, so Emily Scott-Arbaugh experimented with garbanzos, spices and sesame to get a taste she likes and a patty that would work in her American kitchen.
“It just sounded like an interesting recipe… We went out on a limb,” Scott-Arbaugh recalled.
It’s been on her menu ever since.
She and husband John Arbaugh make everything from scratch for their business while juggling the demands of a young family. For “Passport,” they’re planning to stack ta’miyya patties on their homemade pita bread and top them with cucumber-yogurt sauce, fresh sprouts, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. (See recipe for their pita bread).
Scott-Arbaugh also might whip up her tomato-honey jam, adding a sweet-sour-savory touch to the Egyptian stackers. “It’s a unique mix, adding acid and a little bit of salt,” she said.
Wife and husband both grew up in the area, and the local hospital is among their favorite causes.
“We’ve been able to start our business here, just like we wanted, so we’re happy to give back,” Scott-Arbaugh said.
Bil hana wish shifa’!
Grass Valley resident and freelance writer Trina Kleist may be reached at email@example.com or 530-575-6132.
By Emily Scott-Arbaugh, Emily’s Catering and Cakes
8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon active yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons salt
4 cups water
2 Tablespoon olive oil
Caterer Emily Scott-Arbaugh writes: “This recipe is great because it can be easily be prepared without any special equipment, it’s ready in two hours, it can be made ahead and it keeps well for a few day
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined, using your hands or a wooden spoon. Transfer to a well-oiled container that is large enough for the dough to double in size. Oil the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit out in a warm area to rise for two hours. Make sure the dough is wrapped well or sealed in a container. The dough can be used at this point or put in the refrigerator for use within three days.
When ready to make your flat breads, portion the dough into ½-ounce pieces. Pull the sides under tightly to form a ball with a tight skin. Place on an oiled cookie sheet with a sprinkle of cornmeal. Finish all the balls and allow them to rise until they are fluffy, about 10 minutes in a warm kitchen. Lightly press into a 1-inch circle, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and sesame seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.