Cheryl’s Cuisine: September 2017

Cheryl's Cuisine

Sands Casino Executive Chef Victor Bock displays two dishes from Emeril’s Fish House he prepared at the recent Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival.

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Chatting with Sands Casino Executive Chef Victor Bock is truly one of the highlights for me during the annual Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival.  Bock oversees six restaurants and manages over 400 food and beverage employees.   I can’t even imagine what his daily routine consists of.    He arrived at the Sands after a  career which began at the Culinary Institute of America, Accomac Inn, Windows on Steinman Park in Lancaster,  Hotel Hershey, Greensboro Country Club, Bent Creek Country Club and Woodstock Inn and Resort.  Part of his culinary duties include not only overseeing the restaurants and food services, but also demonstrating his expertise during the annual festival.

This year Chef Bock highlighted some of the most popular dishes served at Emeril’s Fish House.  The menu at the Fish House offers a variety of chilled and raw seafood appetizers including Clams on Half, King Crab Legs and Tuna Poke Lettuce Wraps.

Now for the  dishes shared by Chef Bock during the event:

Asian BBQ Salmon Poke with Green Onion Pancake with Sesame:

Asian BBQ Salmon:
1/2 lb. wild salmon, cut into half inch cubes
1/2 cup green onions, minced
1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
1 tsp. ginger root, minced
2 Tbsp. white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp. lemongrass, minced
1 Tbsp. cilantro, minced

Combine all ingredients and allow to marinate for 1 hour.

Poke Dressing:
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/3 cup sesame oil
1 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 oz. hoisin sauce
1/2 Tbsp. dry chillies or red pepper flake
2 tsp. rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients.  Makes approximately 2 cups.

Green Onion Pancakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup minced green onion
1/2 cup and 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot water
1 Tbsp. vegetable or coconut oil
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, to fry

In a large bowl sift flour.  Add 1/2 cup and 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot water and stir until the ingredients are blended well.  Sprinkle flour over a kneading board or other appropriate kneading surface.  

When the dough is still hot, knead the dough for about 3 minutes or until it becomes soft and elastic.  Shape dough into a ball and place back in the bowl, covering with plastic wrap.  Let dough rest for about 30 minutes.  Place dough on lightly floured surface and cut dough into two sections.  

While making sure that the dough does not stick to  your kneading surface, roll dough into a 14″ circle.  Spread 1/2 Tbsp. coconut or vegetable oil on the dough.  Next, spread 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil.  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. salt.  

Finally, Sprinkle 1/3 cup chopped green onions on the dough.  Roll dough into sections and make each section into a spiral/snail shape.  Flatten spiral with the palm of your hand.  Roll it out into a 5″ disk.  Repeat with other 3 pieces.  

Heat 1 Tbsp. salad oil in a frying pan.  Put one of the pancakes in the pan and immediately flip it over to coat the dough with oil evenly.  Cover with a lid and cook each side about 3 minutes or until nicely browned.  (Makes approx. 2 cups).  Serve salmon on top of pancake and top with dressing.


Charred Octopus Salad:

2 cups cooked octopus tentacles
1Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. sliced smoked green olives
2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. celery leaves
1 cup charred cauliflower florets
4 fresh figs,  grilled, if possible
2 Tbsp. crumbled Greek feta cheese
2 cups arugula
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red pepper-curry emulsion

In cast iron skillet or grill, char the octopus, approximately 5-8 minutes, remove and hold warm.  In a mixing bowl, combine lime zest, lime juice, Dijon mustard, honey.  Drizzle in olive oil to emulsify.  Place red-pepper-curry emulsion on plate.  

Combine arugula, olives, figs, cauliflower, and octopus with lime dressing.  Arrange on plate and garnish with crumbled feta.


Pan-Seared Red Snapper and Tuna Bolognese:

Pan-Seared Red Snapper:

2 Red Snapper fillets (pin bones removed, skin on, approx. 6-7 oz. each)
4 oz. Ahi Tuna Belly, minced
3 oz. pancetta, coarse grind or  fine minced
1 oz. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 cups canned diced tomatoes with juice
3 oz. white wine
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grape tomato confit
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. whole butter or 1 oz. extra virgin olive oil (to finish)
Grilled lemon for garnish

Sear fish fillets in olive oil, skin side down first.  Cook 3-4 minutes.  Turn and cook 3-4 minutes or until firm.  Remove and hold.  To saute’ pan, add pancetta.  Cook until golden brown.  Add garlic, tuna, diced canned tomatoes.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add in grape tomatoes, oregano, basil.  Finish with butter.

Arugula Herb Fennel Salad:
2 cups Arugula
1/2 cup thin shaved fennel
1/2 Tbsp. basil leaves
1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Lemon oil
Kosher salt/pepper

Mix all ingredients together and serve with snapper.


5th Annual Dunmore Summer Festival Set for August 17th through 19th

Dunmore Summer Festival

The 5th annual Dunmore Summer Festival at Sherwood Park will be held Thursday August 17 through Saturday August 19. Shown in photo are officers and members of the Sherwood Youth Association at last year’s festival.

By Emily Fedor

For months, members of the Sherwood Youth Association have been preparing for the 5th annual Dunmore Summer Festival at Sherwood Park, and finally party time is right around the corner. This year, the festivities will take place from 5 to 11 p.m. on August 17 and 18, and from 4 to 11 p.m. on August 19.

The festival got its start when the borough of Dunmore celebrated its Sesquicentennial back in the summer of 2012. Ever since, the annual event has become a tradition for many in little old Bucktown a tradition filled with good food and good friends. And the cherry on top is that all that fun benefits a wonderful cause.

“The park’s mission is, and always has been, to keep the children playing,” said Sherwood Youth President Matt Fedor. “The proceeds from the festival will be used to upkeep and improve the park’s facilities.”

Every year, it seems more folks come out to catch up with friends and enjoy a bite to eat. The festival hosts a wide array of vendors, who offer all kinds of sweet, spicy and savory foods.

Villa Maria Restaurant has been a part of the summer festival since it first began five years ago. The American-Italian style eatery is based on Washburn Street in West Scranton, but the business first got its start in little old Dunmore back in 1982.  

Owner Joe Macciocco says he likes coming back to Bucktown each year to pay a visit to those who have helped make his business a success.

“It’s phenomenal. It’s a great time of the year. They raise money for the park, and there’s something for everybody,” said Macciocco.

Members of the Sherwood Youth Association also man a stand, from which they serve up beverages, potato pancakes, wimpies, pizza fritte, fresh-cut french fries, clams and more.

This year, homemade hot wing bites will also be on their menu.

“The success of the festival and the continued improvements at the park would not be possible without the association’s hard-working and faithful members, said Fedor.”  

Members of Keystone UNICO, the Dunmore High School Crimson Company and other non-profit organizations will also be part of the festival.

Another big part of the annual event is the musical entertainment. This year’s line-up features two new-comers and one returning act, who will take the stage at 7 p.m. each night.

Tony Bouselli, Mike Bertha and Dave Arneli make up the band known as Take 3. Together, the rock and roll trio will open the festival on Thursday, August 17.

On Friday, August 18, the Luongo Brothers Band will take the Show Mobile stage. The band features Pat and Nick Luongo, who are founding members of another area band called The Poets, as well as Alan Shields and Rich Marmo. They play a variety of hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The Fabulous Fortunes will return to the Dunmore Summer Festival for the fifth year to close out the festival on Saturday, August 19. The rock group has been performing for decades in Dunmore and beyond.

The Dunmore High School cheerleaders and marching units will also make an appearance at the festival on Friday, and gymnasts with the United Sports Academy will perform Saturday.

“There will also be a bounce house, horseback riding, face painting and lots of games for the kids,” said Fedor. “We hope the community comes out to support our festival and the park.”

Scranton Shakespeare Festival Ends Season with Cast Party

La Cucina pic

Paolo Lepri, seated at left, owner of La Cucina Restaurant, Dunmore, is shown with host John Hart and members of the Scranton Shakespeare Festival at a season-ending cast party.

La Cucina donated food to the event which followed a successful SSF season that included Measure for Measure, Two Gentlemen of Verona, the musical Damn Yankees, and two one-act original plays, Cheeks and Skin of the Teeth.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: August 2017

Cheryl's Cuisine photo

Dunmorean Food Editor Cheryl Sempa Radkiewicz displays Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin prepared by Chef Tyler Baxter, executive chef of Emeril’s Chop House at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem during the recent Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival.

When Tyler Baxter was a student at Northhampton Community College majoring in Culinary Arts, little did he realize he would be serving cuisine at some of the most popular Lehigh Valley restaurants, let alone  becoming the Executive Chef at Emeril’s Chop House at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.   

lvfoodwine-logoHis path began when he was chosen with two other graduates to be invited to New Orleans to cook with renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse in 2012. Upon returning to Pennsylvania, he went on to become the Executive Chef at Cosmopolitan, The Bayou and Grain.   Last year he was named Executive Chef of the upscale steakhouse.  

Emeril’s Chop House, located in the Casino, is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.  and offers some of the most delectable dishes.


During the recent  Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival, Baxter prepared the following specialty, which brought raves from everyone in the audience:

Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Crisp Yucca, Chimmichurri and Jalapeno:

Beef Tenderloin:

6 oz. center cut beef tenderloin

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Heat a large saute’ pan with the vegetable oil, and heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Season beef with salt and pepper on both sides. Add beef to the pan and sear on all sides until the internal temperature reaches  approximately 125-130 degrees. Let beef rest 5 minutes before serving.


1 Yucca

1 cup vegetable oil

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Peel yucca and slice thinly with a mandolin slicer.  Heat vegetable oil in a large pot with plenty of clearance for the hot oil to displace.  

Add yucca to the oil once the temperature reaches 325 degrees.  

Fry until the yucca starts to turn golden brown and transfer to a plate with a paper towel to drain.   Season with salt and pepper while still hot, and let cool completely.  Transfer to a container with a lid until ready to use.


1 bunch flat leaf parsley

1 bunch cilantro

2 medium shallots

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup olive oil

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Finely mince parsley, cilantro, shallots and garlic, and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add red wine vinegar and olive oil and whisk until combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

TO SERVE: Place a small amount of Chimmichurri on the plate, top with the seared beef tenderloin, add a few pieces of crisp yucca to the top of the steak and scattered around the plate.  Top with a few slices of jalapeno and a spoonful of Chimmichurri.


Other chefs featured during the festival  included  Sean Doyle, Executive Chef of the Savory Grille, who is also an active member of the community and sits on the board of the Culinary Advisory Team at Northhampton Community College and Lehigh Career and Technical Institute.

During his presentation, Doyle prepared  some of his favorites:

Gulf Shrimp with Quinoa Tabbouleh and Lemonade Cloud:

Panned Gulf Shrimp:

12 Large White Gulf Shrimp, cleaned, peeled and deveined

3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Plain-quinoa-fslSalt and pepper shrimp.  In a hot saute’ pan pour the oil and place the shrimp in the pan. Cook on each side for approximately 90 seconds.  Turn and cook for an additional 90 seconds.

Quinoa Tabbouleh:

1 bunch parsley, coarse chopped, stems discarded

2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

1 medium onion, small dice

6 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and diced

1 cup quinoa, cooked

6 tsp. fresh lemon juice

6 tsp. olive oil

Salt  and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.  Serve at room temperature.

Lemon Cloud:

4 oz. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. honey

Salt, to taste

1 tsp. soy lecithin

Place all ingredients in a 1 quart measuring device and whip with an immersion blender until light and fluffy.


Panned Jail Island Salmon with Red Beet Risotto, Arugula Pesto and Beer Blanc:

Panned Jail Island Salmon Fillet:

4 Jail Island Salmon Fillet, 6-8 oz. portions

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon fillet.  In a hot saute’ pan, pour oil and place the flesh side of the fish in the pan.  Reduce heat and cook until salmon is amber in color. Turn salmon filet onto the skin side and cook until desired doneness.

arugula-pestoArugula Pesto:

1 bunch fresh arugula

2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

1 clove garlic

2 Tbsp. Gran Podano cheese

6 Tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in an emulsion blender and puree’ until smooth.

Beer Blanc:

1/2 cup  pale ale beer

1/2 cup minced shallots

1 lemon, juiced

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

1/4 cup salted butter, chilled and cut in small cubes

In small saucepan add pale ale beer, shallot and lemon juice.  Reduce on low heat until almost dry.  Add heavy cream and reduce by half.  Add butter several chilled cubes at a time until all incorporated.  Strain and serve.

Red Beet Risotto:

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup red beet juice

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 small onion, minced

1 cup Carnaroli rice

4 Tbsp. butter, small cubes

1/4 cup Grana Podano cheese

In a hot saute’ pan place the olive oil and onion, cook until tender.  Add the rice and 1 cup of the chicken stock at a time.  Stir occasionally until chicken stock is absorbed and then add another cup of chicken stock.  

Continue cooking until all the chicken stock has been  used and then add red beet juice and continue cooking until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and incorporate the Grana Podano and butter.  Adjust the salt.