As the executive chef of Restaurant L in Boston, Pino Maffeo is one the city's hottest celebrity chefs. His creative cuisine was recognized on a national level this year when Food and Wine magazine named him one of the country's top ten "Best New Chefs."
As The Saturday Early Show's Chef on a Shoestring, he turned fall's freshest fruits and vegetables into a three-course meal for four on a budget of $40.
Buttercup Squash Soup
Sea Scallops with Swiss Chard and Parsnip Puree
Cinnamon and Cashew Brule of Apples with Vanilla Ice Cream
BUTTERCUP SQUASH SOUP
1/4 cup Canola oil
½ cup Yellow onion, small dice
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
1T Ginger, peeled and minced
1T Lemongrass, minced (white part only)
4 cups Buttercup Squash, peeled and large dice
1 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1 Qt. Water or Chicken Stock
1T Dark Brown Sugar
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves
Limes, juiced, to taste
Fish Sauce, to taste
Roasted pumpkinseeds for garnish
1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapenos, ginger, and lemongrass and cook until translucent. Add squash.
2. Add coconut milk and brown sugar; simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock or water and kaffir lime leaves; cook until squash is soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. When soft, puree the soup in blender. Puree small batches at a time; you will not be able to puree it all at once.
5. Return to heat and season with fish sauce and lime juice to taste.
6. Divide among bowls and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.
ROASTED SCALLOPS / SWISS CHARD / PARSNIP PUREE
1/2 lb Parsnips
2 tsp Salt
1 cup Swiss chard, blanched
Sea Scallops, 8 each if large or 3 each if small
3T Canola oil
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1 sprig Thyme
1. Peel parsnip and cook in boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt until soft.
2. Meanwhile, put 3 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan and cook slowly over low heat until it starts to brown.
3. Drain parsnip and place in blender along with browned butter and a pinch of salt. Puree.
4. For the Swiss chard, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in pan, add crushed garlic and sauté chard until soft. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
5. Add remaining canola oil to saute pan and heat. Add scallops and brown slowly. Go ahead and add remaining butter to the pan and baste scallops with the melted butter as they cook. Cook scallop about two minutes on each side.
6. To serve, smear parsnip puree on plate, pile Swiss chard in center of plate and top with scallops.
CINNAMON AND CASHEW BRULEED APPLES WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM
2 Native apples, cored and cut into eights
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
2 T Cashews, chopped and roasted
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream (3 oz. each)
1. Place apple slices on metal sheet pan.
2. Sprinkle apple slices with sugar and brule (the non-skin sides) with a kitchen torch. If you don't have a torch, place under the broiler until browned.
3. Add chopped roasted cashews to apple mixture. The nuts will stick to the hot sugar.
4. Sprinkle apple slices with cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. Divide apples among 4 serving dishes and accompany with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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