Visalia Country Club’s Fresh New Take on Weddings

Lifestyle is excited to welcome Karl Merten (former Café 225 owner) back to the community's culinary scene. Now head chef at the Visalia Country Club, he shares his craft with us this month, sous-vide style.

Recipes by Karl Merten, Visalia Country Club | Photos by Frank Miramontes, DMI Agency

Lifestyle is excited to welcome Karl Merten (former Café 225 owner) back to the community’s culinary scene. Now head chef at the Visalia Country Club, he shares his craft with us this month, sous-vide style.

Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for “under vacuum”) is a method of cooking in which food is placed in a plastic pouch and cooked in a water bath for longer-than-usual cooking times (up to 7 hours, in some cases) at a low, accurately regulated temperature. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and that the item retains moisture. Once cooked, the item can be seared or grilled as the final preparation.

Whitney’s Wild Oak Ranch: Country Elegance with Homespun Flair

AIRLINE PESTO CHICKEN

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Airline chicken breasts
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons white wine
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place chicken breast, thyme, olive oil, garlic, white wine, salt and pepper into a vacuum bag. Evacuate the air and submerge in water bath at 145 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from water bath and vacuum bag; grill or pan fry to brown and serve. Duplicate recipe in separate vacuum bags (one breast per bag) while cooking in the same water bath.

Visalia Country Club’s Fresh New Take on Weddings

SUN DRIED TOMATO & ROASTED RED BELL PESTO

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (preferably packed in oil)
  • 1/4 cup roasted garlic (1/8 cup fresh garlic may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts or any other nut (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor or blender, grind all ingredients until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To assemble the entrée, place roasted vegetables on center of plate, top with chicken breast, and drizzle the presto on top and enjoy.

OVEN-ROASTED VEGETABLE MEDLEY

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup small button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup large red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1  1/2 cups zucchini, diced
  • 1  1/2 cups yellow squash, diced
  • 3 cups fingerling potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For uniform roasting, I recommend blanching the potatoes for 5 minutes in boiling water, drained and slightly cooled.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat with seasoning and herbs. Once evenly coated, place mixture on a cookie sheet and bake until tender, approximately 15-25 minutes. Adjust for seasoning before serving.

FETA, CRANBERRY & CANDIED WALNUT SALAD

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 6-8 cups baby greens
  • 2 ounces dried cranberries
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta
  • 4 ounces candied walnuts
  • 4-8 ounces creamy balsamic vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until well mixed. Divide into fourths, plate and serve.

CANDIED WALNUTS

  • 1 egg white
  • 2-3 cups walnuts
  • Ground cloves and nutmeg, to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, mix thoroughly and pour onto baking sheet; bake at 350 degrees until crisp tender, approximately 10 minutes.

CREAMY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or fresh garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a blender, emulsify balsamic vinegar, water, Dijon mustard, garlic, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Slowly add oil in steady stream. Adjust flavors to preference and it’s ready!

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