Not so fast food for Auburn guitar guru

By: Susie Iventosch Special to Home &?Garden
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“American Pie,” ”Strawberry Fields Forever,” and maybe even “Peaches,” but no “Fast Food Song” for this rocker! Mark Miner maybe an electric guitarist, but he is definitely into slow home cooking. Growing up, his mom did the cooking and made basic comfort food, like spaghetti and casseroles, and the family always had dinner by 7 p.m. “My dad was not allowed in the kitchen, but we always ate together as a family,” Miner said. “My brother and I never went hungry, but we were not raised on a gourmet diet, either.” Miner, who teaches guitar at Encore Music in Auburn, didn’t always love to cook, but after he developed a penchant for watching the Food Network and perusing cooking magazines, he developed enough interest to give cooking a shot. “I just started really cooking in the last three to four years,” he said. “Everyone needs a hobby, and I love the creative element to cooking. Bobby Flay is my Eddie Van Halen of cooking!” They say music is the universal language, but Miner believes food plays an equally important role in bringing people together. “It’s one of those very few things that can break through cultural barriers,” he says. “And like music, the rituals around food are to be enjoyed.” Miner believes that mealtime is the time of the day when everyone gets to check in with each other. And, in his experience, when kids are asked to participate in the meal preparation, they even begin to try new foods. “If you give a kid a carrot to slice, then that very involvement alone may get them to taste the carrot,” he said. Since Miner has found his cooking niche, it is rare that the family dines out, but when they do, it is usually for some kind of new culinary adventure. “These dining experiences inspire me to try to make new dishes at home, such as curry, sushi or Thai food,” he said. Miner focuses on cooking, but says his girlfriend, Kelly, is the baking specialist in the family. “Baking is more methodical, scripted,” he said, “whereas cooking is more experimental and I love that!” Miner has been kind enough to share two of his favorite recipes: Asian Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa, served in a hollowed-out pineapple, and Clam Fettuccine. “How can you screw up something with butter, wine and garlic?” he asked. “And, here’s the deal, if you do, you just add more of one of those ingredients!” Reach Susie Iventosch at ---------- Mark Miner’s Asian Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa INGREDIENTS 1 whole fresh pineapple 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined (21-25 count) 1 small to medium shallot, diced 2 cups diced red bell pepper 1 jalapeño, seeded, diced 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger 2 tablespoons cornstarch 15 oz. canned pineapple chunks, packed in juice ½ stalk lemon grass 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon minced, fresh garlic Peanut oil Sesame oil 2 green onions, diced Pinch of red pepper flakes Pineapple Salsa 1 cup diced red or orange bell pepper ½ tablespoon seeded, diced jalapeño 1 can of pineapple chunks with juice (or you can use the pineapple chunks leftover from carving out the pineapple serving dish) ½ cup diced red onion 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar Combine all ingredients and refrigerate 30 minutes. Asian Shrimp Whisk together soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, lemongrass, ginger and cornstarch. Add shrimp and marinate in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade (discard marinade) and sauté shrimp in a large frying pan over medium high heat in 2 tablespoons peanut oil and splash of sesame oil for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside. To the same pan, add an additional tablespoon or two of peanut oil along with diced shallot, bell pepper, jalapeño (seeds removed), pinch of red pepper flake and garlic. Sauté vegetables with additional tablespoon soy sauce about 3 minutes, or just until tender. Remove from heat, return shrimp to pan with veggies. To serve: Cut pineapple in half and hollow out to make a “boat” for the shrimp and salsa. Fill pineapple with shrimp mixture and pineapple relish. Garnish with diced green onion. Mark’s Fettuccine with Clams (Serves 4) INGREDIENTS 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 shallots, minced 4 garlic cloves, minced Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 8 oz. can of chopped clams 1 pound fresh clams in the shell, cleaned 1/3 cup dry white wine 4 tablespoons clam juice 4 oz. low sodium vegetable broth 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 12 ounces fresh fettuccine salt & black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1/4 cup grated Parmesan DIRECTIONS In large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter. Add shallots and garlic. Sauté 1-2 minutes. Add red pepper flake, vegetable broth, clam juice, chopped clams, Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue to sauté for about 1 more minute. Add fresh clams and wine, cover and simmer cook for 3-4 minutes to steam clams. Discard any clams that do not open during cooking. Lightly stir everything together and remove clams in the shell. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning if desired. (I personally believe in “season as you go”.) Add fettuccine (linguini is an optional substitute) that has been cooked to al dente to saucepan with clam sauce and stir together about 1-2 minutes. Use tongs to plate and use fresh, steamed clams to top dish. Garnish with parmesan and parsley. ----------- Mark Miner, guitar instructor Encore Music Center 725 High Street Auburn, CA 95603 (530) 889-0514 Fast Food Song Lyrics