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Culinary CPR: Cantaloupe Peanut Thai-Style Pork Tenderloin

Summary: Chef Luca Paris joins Dr. Mike to discuss their latest savory recipe.
Air Date: 7/27/16
Duration: 20
Host: Dr. Mike Fenster
Guest Bio: Luca Paris, Chef
Luca Paris wineGianluca Paris is the Executive Chef and owner of Luca’s Mediterranean Café, a fine dining restaurant, The Market at Luca’s, offering light bistro style fare and gourmet take out and Luca's Culinary Journey Catering in Keene, New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife Lindy and his two children. He is the recipient of many accolades, including “Excellence in Dining” and “Best Service/Wait staff” every year since 2002 from Market Surveys of America, along with “Best Mediterranean Restaurant,” “Best Fine Dining Restaurant,” “Best Caterer in New Hampshire,” and, for four years, “Best Restaurant in the Monadnock Region” from New Hampshire Magazine.

Luca, as he is known to everyone, had a dream of opening his own restaurant since starting as a busboy at a family style Irish pub in New York at the age of 14.  Having been born in Italy, it would have to be a Mediterranean style restaurant and he never lost sight of his dream. He graduated from Johnson & Wales University 1989, where he met his wife of 22 years.

He began his professional career at Doral Arrowwood, a hotel and conference center in Westchester County, New York, but his first experience with his own culinary business began at the age of 22 opening a gourmet store in New York City called Gianluca’s Salumeria. This business flourished and spun off a very successful catering business.  While owning his own businesses, he honed his restaurant skills as the Manager of a fine dining Italian restaurant in Westchester County, New York before moving to Keene, New Hampshire, in the heart of New England where his wife Lindy grew up, to pursue his dream of a Mediterranean style restaurant.  

Luca has always had a love for entertaining through his food so Luca has his own weekly talk radio show, What’s Cooking with Luca Paris, and has had such notable guests as Mary Ann Esposito, host of Ciao Italia and will be a featured chef on an upcoming episode of Ciao Italia. Luca has been a featured chef in the national culinary magazine Culinary Trends. He is a monthly guest on “Cook’s Corner” segment on ABC's WMUR Channel 9 in New England. Luca is also the host of his own cooking show, also titled A Culinary Journey with Luca Paris, locally produced for Cheshire TV, the local cable access station for Keene and surrounding towns and can be seen in the Manchester, New Hampshire area and around the country on cable access stations. His show is one of the most downloaded shows by cable access stations around the nation. Luca has created his own Culinary Journey You Tube Channel, where all the episodes from his TV show can be seen. Luca was also a featured chef on the Resort Network in 2008 and 2009 and is a Chef Ambassador and spokesman for Roland Foods, doing live cooking demonstrations and cooking features on the Roland Foods You Tube channel. Most recently, Chef Luca was selected to compete on the new Food Network show, Guy's Grocery Games, which aired in December 2013 and he won! In 2011 Luca was selected as a New Hampshire Celebrity Chef and nominated for Restaurateur of the year. Luca loves to entertain while teaching about culinary arts. His philosophy is that food should be fun and entertaining and some of the best dishes come from the mistakes! He begins filming his new show, Kids in the Kitchen with Luca Paris, in January 2014.

In addition to his culinary accomplishments, Luca is a serious community supporter and an advocate for charitable organizations. He was on the board of directors of the Keene Chamber of Commerce, and was instrumental in promoting several local restaurants in a special week-long television segments on the local ABC affiliate. He was a founder of the “Keene Snow and Ice Festival” and the reinvented “Taste of Keene” event which supported Meals on Wheels for the elderly. In 2011 and 2012, Luca organized Keene Restaurant week, bringing local restaurants together. Luca has also taught adult culinary courses and has been a guest lecturer at Keene State College. He supports a culinary scholarship that he created, “The Culinary Journey Scholarship Fund,” to help a local high school student going to hospitality or culinary school. He will be teaching classes at the famed Stonewall Kitchen in Maine in the summer of 2014.

Luca was awarded the top honor of New Hampshire Chef of the Year from the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association for 2013.

Luca feels he has just begun his culinary journey and enjoys sharing it with guests and audiences everywhere and is looking forward to his next adventure.
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Culinary CPR: Cantaloupe Peanut Thai-Style Pork Tenderloin
In this segment, Chef Luca Paris joins Dr. Mike to discuss their latest adaptation for Culinary CPR: Cantaloupe Peanut Thai-Style Pork Tenderloin.

  • 1-pound pork tenderloin cut into ~4 ounce portions
  • 1⁄2 ripe cantaloupe plus another 1⁄4 for garnishing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine or sake
  • Juice of 1 lime plus zest
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek (more for greater heat)
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 portions Soba noodles
  • 1⁄4 cup diced garlic scapes or 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves separated from stems
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1⁄4 inch on the bias
  • 1 can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 8 ounces drained baby corn
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil

For the Peanut Sauce
  • 3/4 cup fresh peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Red Chili & Garlic Sauce
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Sriracha Chili Sauce (more according to your desired heat level)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or cilantro oil (check out recipe below)

For the Cilantro Oil
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and white pepper

For the Pork Tenderloin:

In a large bowl or container, add the 1⁄2 cantaloupe. Using a potato masher, crush the fruit into a puree. Add the garlic cloves, wine, lime juice, zest, salt, pepper, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, sambal oelek, coconut milk, honey, and vinegar. Allow the tenderloins to rest in the mixture overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack. Remove the tenderloins and pat dry. Heat some neutral oil in a medium skillet until smoking. Quickly sear the tenderloins on all sides; 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the tenderloins to the oven to finish cooking; approximately 15-20 minutes depending on thickness until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F is reached.

While the tenderloins finish, in the same pan or another medium pan heat some neutral oil over medium heat. Add the scapes, Swiss chard stems (cut into 1⁄2 inch bits), carrots, water chestnuts and baby corn. Cook until tender, but not soggy; approximately 7 minutes. Add the leaves (torn into bite sized bits) and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In boiling, salted water prepare the soba according to directions. Remove, drain and coat with sesame oil. Mix in 1 Tbsp of sauce for each serving of soba.

For the Peanut Sauce:

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, red chili & garlic sauce, Sriracha, brown sugar, and lime juice and hot water in a blender. Puree until it is smooth. Pour the sauce into a nice serving bowl and garnish with the chopped cilantro or drizzle cilantro oil.

For the Cilantro Oil:

Prepare a small pot of water boiling on the stove. “Blanch” the cilantro by adding it to the boiling water for about 10 seconds, making sure the leaves are in the water the whole time.

“Shock” the cilantro by removing it from the boiling water and adding it to an ice and water bath. Drain the cilantro and pat dry. In a blender add your cilantro, salt, white pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Blend until it is smooth on medium speed for about 2 to 3 minutes. Store this mixture overnight in your refrigerator so the herb pieces that weren’t fully pureed can settle and still add flavor overnight.

The next day filter the oil through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator until needed.

NOTE: When using extra virgin olive oil, you will find that it thickens when refrigerated. Allow the cilantro oil to come to room temperature and it will regain its regular viscosity. This and other herb oils will keep up to two weeks without losing too much of its color and flavor. You can use this same method for numerous herb oils

To Serve:

Place a layer of soba topped with vegetables. Place the sliced tenderloin on top. Slice the remaining cantaloupe into 1-inch long matchsticks and garnish. Drizzle the sauce over and serve.

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