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GASTRONOMY GOES FOR THE GOLD

When Tom Guinney left his surfboard behind in California to join the Gastronomy restaurant team in Salt Lake City, he never suspected he'd face a challenge of Olympian proportions.

But Guinney and his cohorts, Tom Sieg, Marco Schlenz, Will Pliler and Terry Gross, heroically accepted the responsibility of feeding the Utah Olympic delegation and their friends from the International Olympic Committee during the week before the bid announcement in Birmingham, England.That means Guinney's crew packed more than slickers and bumbershoots for their journey to Birmingham.

They also took mesquite grills, plates and silverware, strip steaks, shrimp and chipotle peppers. Supplies include more than 10,000 pounds of equipment and perishable and non-perishable items.

And then there are the cigars, wines and Teuscher chocolate truffles - amenities most of us have never heard of but are common in the lives of many voting delegates.

The culinary creations on the menu bear a stamp of Western hospitality, from the Utah beef and raspberries to the original Marriott family recipe for cole slaw.

"The challenge comes," according to Guinney, "in adjusting to the facilities and the time schedules. The Utah delegation, through the connections of Olympic volunteer Pam Joklik, a native of Birmingham, leased a manor house adjacent to the IOC headquarters hotel. The idea is to provide the voting delegates a relaxed getaway - a respite from the hubbub of the hotel. Our local committee members will invite guests for meals or snacks."

Guinney and his staff will operate on-call on a 24-hour-a-day basis during the week before the Olympic bid announcement. "Mr. Welch could call me and say, `I'll be over for dinner in 20 minutes and I'm bringing 22 people with me,' " Guinney explained. "Or a group of people could drop in for an afternoon drink and stay for dinner. We have no idea how many people we'll feed or when they'll arrive."

Facilities present an additional test of the Gastronomy ingenuity.

The manor house turned hospitality center boasts household equipment, not restaurant conveniences.

"The stove is family-size," reported Guinney, "so we may be steaming vegetables over the grill."

"The stove is actually an aga cooker, a European cooking system that functions somewhat like a furnace. It runs all the time, providing heat for the house as well as a cooking location," Joklik added.

Refrigeration may also pose a problem.

"I can see us with canvas and dry ice in the back yard," Guinney quipped.

But Joklik noted, "The British house has a larder, a cool room for storing bread, fruit or pies."

And cole slaw or corn salad?

The gastronomical performance by the Utah restaurateurs is geared to extend a serving of Western hospitality to the IOC delegates.

"A reprise of the West, complete with boots and hats," summarized Guinney.

A reprise of the Olympic theme song originating in mountain country and garnering the gold for Utah.

*****

Recipes

Black Bean Soup

2 cups black turtle beans

1 pound bacon, 1/4 inch pieces

1 cup onion, 1/4 inch pieces

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 pound ham, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 quarts plus 3 cups water

2 teaspoons chili powder

Saute bacon until lightly browned. Add onions and garlic; saute until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans, ham, water and oregano. Simmer, cover, and cook until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove 2 cups of mixture and puree in food processor or blender until smooth. Return puree to soup; add chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Granish with creme fraiche and fresh cilantro leaves.

Hot Shoppes Cole Slaw

Dressing:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3/4 teaspoon prepared mustard

3/4 teaspoons prepared horseradish

3/8 teaspoon celery seed

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon half and half

Salad:

4 cups white cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons onion, minced

Toss cabbage and onion together; mix with dressing and chill before serving.

Shrimp, Tomato and Corn Salad

1 pound cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

2 cups cooked fresh corn, cut from the cob

2 large tomatoes, diced

Several sprigs watercress

Lettuce

Dressing:

1 cup Bernstein's Italian dressing

1/4 cup tomato sauce

Toss above ingredients with dressing. Serve on a bed of lettuce; makes 4 servings.

Old Fashioned Corn Stix

1 1/2 cups coarsely ground corn meal

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients together in mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Beat buttermilk and eggs together and add to dry mixture, stirring only until combined. Heat cornstick pans in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spray with non-stick spray. Spoon batter into hot pans and smooth to even thickness. Return to oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn out of pans. Serve with jam or honey butter. Makes 12-15 sticks.

Mix dry ingredients together in mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Beat buttermilk and eggs together and add to dry mixture, stirring only until combined. Heat cornstick pans in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spray with non-stick spray. Spoon batter into hot pans and smooth to even thickness. Return to oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn out of pans. Serve with jam or honey butter. Makes 12-15 sticks.

Almond Shortcake

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar

Pinch of salt

2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons butter

5 egg whites

Scant 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted, cooked and finely chopped almonds Place the yolks, 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar and salt in mixer bowl and beat at highest speed for 10 minutes or until tripled in volume and light in color. Stop mixer and add cornstarch. Mix on low until combined, then increase to high and beat 2-3 minutes more. Slowly add melted butter and beat to combine.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until they begin to thicken. Add rest of sugar slowly and continue beating on high until whites hold stiff peaks.

Combine the egg yolk mixture with the chopped almonds and egg whites, folding lightly until well combined. Do not overmix. Spread in parchment-lined sheet pan and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until it pulls away from sides of pan and is lightly browned. Cool, cut into rounds and stack with fresh raspberries or strawberries and Almond Pastry Cream. Makes about 12 rounds.

Almond Pastry Cream

1 1/4 cups milk

Scant 1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

3 egg yolks

2 1/4 teaspoons cake flour

3 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

31/2 tablespoons milk

1-2 drops of yellow food coloring

5 teaspoons butter

1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract

3 egg whites

5 teaspoons sugar Combine milk, sugar, salt and gelatin; bring to a boil in a heavy pan. Combine egg yolks, cake flour, corn starch, 3 1/2 tablespoons milk and food coloring. Whisk yolk mixture, a little at a time, into milk mixture. Continue cooking until mixture thickens, whisking continuously. Remove from heat. Add butter and almond extract.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold in sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold hot mixture into egg whites and set aside to cool. May be thinned with whipping cream to spreading consistency prior to use.