Bay Area party-givers with a concern for sustainability issues have been happy to discover Hugh Groman Catering and Greenleaf Platters, both for the low environmental impact Hugh insists on maintaining throughout his operations and for the great food. “We do simple, classic dishes with traditional flavors,” says Hugh, speaking for himself and his executive chefs, the husband-and wife-team of David and Teresa Going. “It’s focused on quality, bright and colorful, and always carefully done.”
Hugh says that keeping a big event green is a matter of careful planning and vigilance, with the result that “very little goes into the dumpster.” He credits the Alameda County Green Business Program for what he learned while going through the process of getting their certification. “They hold your hand and show you how,” Hugh says.
In the kitchen, where the three chefs work their magic, ingredients are organic and/or local whenever possible, and menu choices are always seasonal. “If it’s not in season, we simply leave it off the list,” says Hugh, adding that they pay extra to work with the best suppliers, such as Veritable Vegetable and Monterey Fish, who are noted leaders in sustainable sourcing.
When Edible East Bay asked for stone fruit recipes to share with readers, Hugh, David, and Teresa came up with a list of over a dozen dishes, one sounding as mouth-watering as the next, making the job of choosing almost heart-breaking. But here are five to enjoy. Cook them up yourself or hire the pros to do it for you.
Info: Hugh Groman Group
Ginger Peach Martinis
- 4 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce peach nectar
- 1 ounce ginger syrup (see below)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 slices of peach for a garnish
- Superfine sugar for sugar rim (granulated will work)
Spread a small amount of sugar around on a flat plate. Wet the rims of 2 martini glasses with lime juice or water and dip the rim of the glass into the sugar. Combine vodka, nectar, syrup, and water in a shaker with ice. Shake until very cold and strain into 2 martini glasses. Garnish with a slice of peach dropped into each glass.
Ginger syrup: Combine 2 ounces of peeled, sliced ginger with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Let sit (overnight is good but not necessary) to maximize ginger flavor. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Grilled Pork Chops with Nectarine Avocado Salsa
- 1 medium avocado, diced
- 1 nectarine, diced
- ¼ red onion, diced
- ⅓ bunch cilantro, leaves picked and chopped, stems discarded
- Juice of 2 limes, or to taste
- ½ jalapeño pepper, chopped fine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 nine-ounce pork chops
- Salt, pepper, and olive oil for pork chops
For salsa, combine all ingredients (except pork chops) in bowl and stir to combine (can be made up to 4 hours ahead).
Season pork with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Grill about 3 minutes on each side or until pork is charred on the outside and slightly rosy in the middle.
Baguette Sandwich of Roasted Apricots, Fresh Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, and Butterleaf Lettuce
Serves 5, or makes 10 small sandwiches
- 6 apricots, cut in half and pits removed
- Salt, pepper, and olive oil for apricots
- 1 sweet baguette (about 18 inches long)
- 5 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 5 ounces Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
- ⅓ head butterleaf lettuce, leaves washed and dried
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (or to taste)
Toss halved, pitted apricots in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 375º until soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven and cool.
To assemble sandwich, slice baguette lengthwise and spread bottom half with goat cheese. Top with roasted apricot halves, prosciutto, and butterleaf lettuce. On top half of baguette, drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add top to sandwich. (If you have toothpicks or sandwich picks, secure the sandwich with 10 evenly spaced picks.) Cut sandwich into 10 pieces using a sharp serrated knife.
- 6 large eggs
- 7 tablespoons sugar
- 1¼ cups milk
- 1½ tablespoons vanilla
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
- 3 cups sliced plums
- Powdered sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 10-inch round casserole pan (or similar size: larger pans make a thinner clafoutis).
Mix all ingredients except the plums and powdered sugar together in a blender or with an immersion blender until combined and smooth. Lay the plums in the bottom of the casserole pan and pour the batter over the plums. Bake for about 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Cherry Financier with Macerated Apricots and Almond Ice Cream
For the Financier:
- 3 ounces cake flour
- 2 ounces almond flour
- 7 ounces powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces butter, cooked until brown and cooled slightly
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¾ cup egg whites (not whipped)
- 2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
- 8 ounces cherries, pitted
Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour individual tart molds.
Mix together cake flour, almond flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix with paddle attachment until combined. Add honey to brown butter and mix to combine. Add honey/butter mixture and egg whites alternately to flour mixture in three additions. Add kirsch if desired. Allow batter to cool and scoop into prepared pans.
Sprinkle cherries on the tops of the cakes cut side up. Bake about 20 minutes until firm and golden brown. Makes approximately 12 individual cakes with extra ice cream.
For the Apricots:
- 1 pound apricots, sliced into wedges
- ½ cup (or to taste) muscat or other dessert wine
- Powdered sugar, to taste
- Lemon juice, to taste
Mix apricots, wine, sugar, and lemon juice together and let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving.
For the Ice Cream:
- 2 cups almonds, toasted and chopped
- 9 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ cups milk
- 3 cups heavy cream
- ⅓ vanilla bean, scraped
Place sugar, milk, and cream in a saucepan. Cut vanilla bean open and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture, adding bean hull as well. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add almonds, and allow to steep about 20 minutes.
Return saucepan to heat and bring to near boil. Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl, and using a small amount of the hot milk mixture, temper the egg yolks and then gradually stir the rest of the milk into the yolks. Return mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the mixture reaches 180º. Strain immediately and place in an ice bath. When cold, freeze in an ice-cream machine.