Garden to table and piri-piri


This is Caitlin Mateo, chef at Square 1682 restaurant in Rittenhouse Square, doing a cooking demonstration in Room 204C, the Garden to Table room, at the show. The set is really nice this year, thanks to Organic Gardening magazine. (See the box of fresh herbs out front. And OG editor-in-chief Ethne Clark moderates nicely - helpful, not intrusive.

Caitlin, a former fulltime gymnast who worked as sous chef under Chef Marcy Turney, is all about the freshest ingredients possible - herbs, lemons, vegetables, meat, olive oil, the works.

At her session this week, she made roasted acorn squash and French green lentils with a homemade hot sauce and roasted white beech mushrooms. She roasted the squash halves with thyme, star anise, clove, bay leaf and a cinnamon stick on them, cooked the lentils with diced yellow beets, carrots and shallots, and mixed up what looked to be one of the hottest hot sauces I've ever seen - piri piri - 8 rehydrated red chilies, 3 jalapenos, 8 cloves of garclie, red wine vinegar, water, olive oil , lemon juice, butter and stock, and smoked paprika.

This all had to be strained, as you can imagine. Without that important step, diners would have to go to the ER.

Caitlin then roasted the mushrooms, seasoned and seared them, and placed them on top of the lentil-filled squash/sauce. Serve this with a nice pinot noir. (No problem.) Caitlin says this is her go-to dish. I would like to go-to her restaurant.

You can tell I was paying attention.

Cooking demos every day at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., Room 204C