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THE EATBEAT: Country Club's chef enjoys the freedom to be creative

Switch things around. Try something different. Otherwise, you might as well be eating all your food from cans. That was the message from Chef Cory Campbell of the Grand Forks Country Club, one of seven chefs of Greater Grand Forks who made presen...

Switch things around. Try something different. Otherwise, you might as well be eating all your food from cans.

That was the message from Chef Cory Campbell of the Grand Forks Country Club, one of seven chefs of Greater Grand Forks who made presentations at the annual Home Show.

Because he loves to experiment and create new dishes, Campbell has come up with a delicate Courgette Soup that is the answer for what to do with all that zucchini and squash that piles up every summer. The soup is his variation on the sturdy soup so common in France.

Along with the soup, Chef Campbell and a sous chef Pat Bugliosi served up samples of citron vinaigrette over a spring salad of greens that included crisp, sweet pieces of sugar snap peas.

Campbell is a self-made chef. His love of cooking began when, as one of 15 children in a family, he would watch his father making soup for the family. He said, "You open the refrigerator and in an hour and a half, you come up with a soup."

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Campbell is a good-natured, freewheeling chef who knows what tastes good. He has hopped around Grand Forks, and he worked five years at the Parrot's Cay.

"I love the business," he said. "I've been in it about 24 years since I started cooking when I was about 12." He said chefs around here make enough to pay their bills, but they don't get rich. Still, he likes the freedom to create that he gets in small establishments. He would not like the formula foods prepared in chain restaurants.

He has been at the Country Club for the past three years, working as executive chef for the past two years for Mike Delohery, food and beverage manager. He said the bacon-wrapped filet mignon with special seasoning is the No. 1 item on the Grand Forks Country Club dinner menu. Along with private dining, Campbell presides over meals for groups with as many as 250 people. Normally, he serves four to five banquets a month that feature entrees such as rosemary stuffed pork roast or walleye almondine. Whatever he serves, Campbell likes to do it with new twists. He said the key to cooking is to sample your own food. If you like it, then others will too.

And how do chefs keep from gaining weight? In his case, Campbell said it is running the stairs since the Country Club has a kitchen on two levels.

The Country Club served brunch to 300 on Mother's Day. Campbell is looking ahead to summer, when there are at least three golf tournaments a month at the Country Club. They call for boxed lunches and burgers from the kitchen as well as dinners, which often are prime ribs, steak or chicken.

Following are Chef Campbell's recipes.

Citron Vinaigrette

1 cup olive oil

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1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups white distilled vinegar

2/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 oranges, zested and juiced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

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1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper

With a scoring tool, scrape the rind or zest from the fruit and put in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice from the fruit into the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well with a wire whisk. Chill.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

2 cups fresh chopped pineapple

1 small chopped red pepper

1 small chopped green pepper

½ small red onion

2 limes, juiced

1 ounce fresh chopped cilantro

½ tablespoon chopped garlic

½ tablespoon kosher salt

2 ounces chopped jalapenos

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir and chill.

Courgette Soup

4 zucchini, chopped

4 yellow squash, chopped

1 cup chardonnay wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ small yellow onion

4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon basil

½ to 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot combine the onion and oil. Sweat the onion over medium heat until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the garlic, squash and zucchini and saute for about 3 minutes. Then, add chardonnay and basil. Cook off the wine until it is reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a low boil for about 10 minutes or until veggies are getting soft. Remove from heat and blend ingredients in a blender until smooth. Return to medium-low heat and slowly stir in half of the Parmesan until it dissolves.

Serve topped with remaining cheese.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or (701) 772-1055.

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