Chef Dave Ciminelli “Davo” of AuRants (our favorite place to eat in the valley) recently made Roasted Chicken & Smoked Gouda Alfredo on PA|homepage’s show on Channel 28 WBRE. His recipe follows, as does a preview of the newest gadget in our kitchen, but first a little history of how we came to this place and why we keep coming back.
In September/October 2009, M and I started to hear stories about a new interesting place to eat less than 2 miles from our house. Whisperings of ostrich and bison dishes followed us around Duryea (gossip travels fast in a small town) until we finally broke down and went at the end of October. A former bar and pizza joint that I remember from my childhood, AuRants looks very unassuming from the outside. If ever there was a case of “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” this place is it. The bar is small and lovely and, most importantly, stocked. They have so many imported and obscure beers, they require a front and back menu page! The dining area is modern but mellow, featuring art by locals (for sale!). My menu favorites include the chicken garlic cheese steak (roasted chicken in garlic butter with sweet onions, garlic & fresh mozzarella, lemon garlic aioli, tumbleweed onions & toasted Philly roll) and smoked kielbasa kebabs (locally smoked kielbasa segments, wrapped in bacon, roasted, skewered & plated over jalapeno remoulade with blackened candied cashew fragments). Some of our favorite sides include: spinach garlic & artichoke heart sauté,bacon smoked Gouda mac & cheese, and duck fat roasted fingerlings & onions scented w/ truffle. They have heaps more to choose from and the menu changes daily, though the items I listed here are pretty constant.
A typical evening’s selection of dinner proteins (usually priced between $18 and $48) reads as follows: free range European style semi boneless chicken, Florida coast swordfish fillet, braised Angus oxtail joints, New Guinea game hen airline breast, sashimi grade Indonesian yellow fin tuna loin, prime premium reserve pork mignon, maple leaf farms white Peking semi boneless duckling side, Hawaiian Kona kampachi “jack fish” fillet, New Zealand lamb rack chops, prime premium gold Angus center cut filet mignon, Pennsylvania farmed ostrich fan filet, milk fed black Angus veal porterhouse chop, 4-week dry aged premium gold Angus cowboy cut rib eye, and monster prime premium gold Angus porterhouse chop.
Choices in preparation of said proteins are pan roast style (seasoned w/ mild spices & herbs, pan roasted & finished w/ port wine butter sauce & waffle cut potato chip garnish), spinach pesto Parmesan (seared & baked w/ ginger coriander blend, basted w/ truffle scented spinach walnut pesto & torched Asiago), east vs. west (1-side sesame seared, 1-side blackened, plated w/ wasabi wing sauce, maple mustard, siracha & dual crispy garnish), au poivre Diane clash (pepper tarragon rubbed, plated onDijon peppercorn sauce w/ caper pods, poached garlic, aged Asiago & set afire), and Mediterranean style (seasoned w/ caraway & dill, pan seared & plated over Zinfandel remoulade w/ cucumber dill sour cream, shaved asiago & sardine olive tapenade).
Seriously. That is just 1 side of the menu, folks. The other side is a selection of amazing and unusual soups, appetizers, and sandwiches. It’s so decadent for your taste buds. Dave was kind enough to share a recipe and video (if you want to see Dave cooking in all his tatted-up, pierced glory, and believe me, you do!) on Pahomepage, so good luck, and enjoy!
Keep in mind, steps 5 through 8 are pretty much made up from memory. The video in the link cuts off, and I believe he had 2 more segments and the website is no help. Luckily I saw the episode when it aired, not so luckily is the fact that I have a terrible, terrible memory. I did, however, get to eat this dish the next weekend when it was on the menu, so I know what it’s supposed to taste like…cheesy, chicken-y, noodle-y Heaven (with little pops of surprise sweetness with each bite of corn and onion).
Now for the preview…The married Valentine’s gift exchange went very well for all parties involved. I got him what I’m calling a starter mandolin. I’ve never seen a man look at me with love in his eyes and say, “I want to slice potatoes.” He got me a luxurious white fluffy robe, by the way, which I now live in. Life is good.
…An Addendum: Apparently, fries were made today while I was work, using the aforementioned mandolin, but I didn’t get home in time to enjoy them. Thanks, Valentine. 😉