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Cooking a decadent dinner and dessert at home

Chef Reto Biaggi brings his global catering experience right to your own kitchen.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Chef Reto specializes in small events during this socially-distant time. He and his team are happy to help you plan a curated menu for a responsible, delicious occasion. You can find out more about his weekly family meals, catering menu, summer camps, and cooking classes by visiting his website here.

Strawberry Sponge Cake
Serving Size: 6    
Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE:
4 eggs -- whites & yolks separated
9 1/2 tbsp  granulated sugar -- sifted once
3 tbsp milk -- room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
14 tbsp cake flour (equals 12 tablespoons flour mixed with 2 tbsp cornstarch)
2 tbsp butter -- melted
1 cup strawberries -- sliced

FOR THE STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM:
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 tsp cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" cake pan. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and egg whites and beat with whisk attachment until stiff and glossy.

Gently add the yolks, one at a time, to the egg white mixture until all is incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the stand then gently fold in milk, vanilla extract, and cake flour (in that order) with a spatula until combined. Gently fold in the melted butter.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake is golden brown. When pressed, the cake should spring back.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire cooling rack completely.

While the cake is cooling, make your stabilized whipped cream.

In a small pot, sprinkle the gelatin over the 4 tsp. of cold water and let sit for 5 minutes. Do not stir. Once it's been 5 minutes, you may stir it and put it on low heat, constantly stirring, to dissolve the gelatin. Once dissolved, set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until it has thickened. Then, slowly add in the gelatin mixture and beat until fluffy.

Once your cake has cooled, you may begin assembling it. 

Poke holes in cake.

Top with sliced strawberries and their juices.

Top with whipped cream.

Beef Tenderloin tips with creamy cognac and mustard sauce
Serving Size: 4  

Ingredients:
FOR THE BEEF TENDERLOIN TIPS:
2 pounds  beef tenderloin tips -- cut in 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup water -- for deglazing between batches

FOR THE HERB MUSTARD SAUCE:
1/4 cup  Cognac -- to flambe
1 teaspoon beef stock paste, better than bouillon or similar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard, Maille
salt and pepper -- to taste

Directions:

Cut beef in nice 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes, set in a colander over a bowl to drain.

Mix salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Have your water ready to deglaze the pan, and a bowl to reserve the cooked meat and cooking juices,

Heat both 12-inch nonstick skillets over medium-high heat until a droplet of water vaporizes in 1 or 2 seconds, about 1 min.

(If the water skitters around the pan and doesn’t evaporate, the pan is too hot; take it off the heat for about 30 seconds to cool.)

Add the oil, swirl it around the pan.

Add a small number of beef tips to the pan, without crowding and leaving space between the pieces of beef.  

Adjust heat as needed to brown the meat quickly, but without burning it (between medium-high and high).

Cook without touching for 30 seconds, season with salt and pepper as they cook.

Using tongs, flip beef tips over.

Cook the second side for 20 seconds.

Remove to a bowl.

After 2 batches, deglaze the bottom of the pan with a little water, scraping bottom, then add this to bowl.

Off the heat, add the Cognac, and then return the pan to medium heat.

Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any browned bits until the Cognac stops flaming.

Quickly add beef stock paste, thyme, cream, and cook for a minute to reduce a little and dissolve the stock paste.

Add mustard, stir well, and remove from the heat.

Transfer to bowl with beef and mix everything together to blend juices and sauce.