Friday, January 23, 2015

Wigwam's Chef Hinojosa Shares What He'll Be Showcasing at The Taste of The NFL's Party With A Purpose Event

By: The Food Hunter

This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Hinojosa, Executive Chef at The Wigwam Resort & Spa, an Arizona landmark for over 80 years. Chef Rich’s passion for food, attention to detail and vast experience in both resorts and restaurants provides the foundation and leadership for The Wigwam’s talented culinary team. He has been recognized with several awards throughout his career and most recently was one of the top 4 restauranteurs in the valley to raise the most money during the city's "Flavors of the Valley" competition.

Nearly $60,000 was raised during the three month campaign as each participating Valley-based restaurant featured a special dining promotion with 100 percent of promotion proceeds benefiting  two local food banks. As a top fundraiser, Chef Rich and his team will join Chef Eddie Matney and his famed Eddie’s House in the “Flavors of the Valley” showcase, hosted by Valley GMC Dealers, at TNFL’s Party with a Purpose® held on the eve of Super Bowl XLIX on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at WestWorld of Scottsdale.  

In our conversation this weekend Chef Rich shared with me the recipe he will be preparing for the event. In anticipation of close to 4,000 attendees Chef Rich was looking for something that would come together easily and highlight local ingredients. His Beef Carpaccio below does just that. 

Beef Carpaccio
(Courtesy of Wigwam Executive Chef Richard Hinojosa)

Cleaned barrel of tenderloin-about 1-2oz per person
Fresh chopped thyme
Salt/ coarse black pepper

For Kabayaki:
3oz sugar
1oz water
8oz low sodium soy sauce

For pickled red onions:
do the day before serving
1 cup very hot water
½ cup rice wine vinegar
6 Tblsp sugar
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
1 red onion, sliced thin

For Potato Chips:
4 fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
¼ cup Karashi, or chinese hot mustard
4 stalks of asparagus
2 fully cooked king crab legs, thawed
3 scallions, sliced paper thin

For assembly:
Coarse black pepper
Sea Salt, such as murray river or maldon

For the beef:
Clean all silver skin off of your tenderloin, and dust all around with the salt, and pepper
In a sauté pan, heat canola oil over med-high heat, when very hot sear the exterior of beef all around. Quickly. Remove, sprinkle with fresh chopped thyme and let cool. When cool enough to handle, roll tightly in plastic wrap to help shape a good cylinder. Freeze until very cold, and firm but not frozen solid.

For the Kabayaki:
In a small saucepot, bring the sugar and water to a simmer, allow to turn into a dark amber caramel, be very careful not to burn. As soon as the caramel is dark amber in color, add the soy sauce, be careful, it will rise, so add 50% and swirl around, then add the remainder. Stir well, make sure all of the caramel dissolves, remove from the pot to cool, spoon off any impurities.

For the Crab:
Carefully squeeze excess liquid out of the crab leg, then cut the shell off with a sharp pair of scissors. Make sure to remove cartalidge from the ends of the leg, then slice into ½” discs. Set aside

For the Pickled Red onion: do the day before
Thinly slice the red onion, set aside. In a small container(Tupperware), add the very hot water, then the salt and sugar and mix well until they dissolve completely. Then add the vinegar, let cool slightly and add the onion. Cover and let sit overnight, or up to a week.

For the Asparagus:
In a saucepot, bring water to a rolling boil, add a generous amount of kosher salt, then add the asparagus, cook for about 20-30 seconds, just until barely tender. Remove the asparagus to a bowl of ice water. Let cool completely, then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and char quickly on a grill. Dice into small rounds.

For the chips:
Wash the potatoes, then slice very thin on a mandolin into water. Let them sit for about 15 minutes, remove from water, pat dry with a towel.
Fry in canola oil at 350 degrees until light golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil, season with salt, set aside.

To assemble:
Thinly slice the firm beef on a slicer if you have one, if not, carefully with a sharp knife. Lay the desired number of slices on a plate. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little sea salt. Randomly drop circles of kabayaki, and hot mustard, lay one or two medallions of crab on top of the beef, sprinkle the asparagus, stand a few chips up on the beef, and finish with slices of pickled red onion and thin sliced scallion. Serve.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hearty Italian Pork & Pasta

By: The Food Hunter

Fork tender pork that melts in your mouth is the base of this hearty Italian inspired meal flavored with fresh herbs. A cinnamon stick and some anchovies are also added to the simmering liquid, giving it yet another tasty dimension. The stew is perfect for those cold winter nights we are all experiencing right now. Serve it over pasta for a comforting family dinner.

****Enter below to win a Whole Foods Market Gift Card****

Italian Pork & Pasta
(inspired by Taste of Home)
 (printable recipe)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 cup water
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-3 anchovies, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1-2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 lb pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Dredge pork in flour and shake excess. In a Dutch oven, brown pork in 3 tablespoons oil in batches. Remove and keep warm.

2. In the same pan, add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, water, bay leaves, cinnamon, tomato paste, vinegar, anchovies, herbs, salt, pepper flakes, pepper and pork; bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley. Cover and cook 30-40 minutes longer or until meat is tender. Discard bay leaves and cinnamon.

4. Serve over cooked pasta; sprinkle with cheese.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Green Chile Chicken Rolls Perfect for Super Bowl

By: Brandi O'Neil

It's mid-winter and I am ready for some heat. So I was thrilled to get my hands on some authentic New Mexican green chiles from The Hatch Chile Store. Chiles aren't in season right now, but these are roasted, peeled and then flash frozen so with a quick defrost in cool water, I had fresh and flavorful hatch green chiles in no time.

The biggest football game of the year is almost here giving me the perfect reason to try a new appetizer featuring the green chiles. The Green Chile Chicken Rolls below were much easier to prepare than I had initially planned and my taste testers enjoyed them much more than I anticipated. I served them with a tomatillo sauce but they are quite delicious on their own. Whether your favorite team wins or loses these stuffed chicken rolls are sure to be a score with your guests!

Green Chile Chicken Rolls

One package of Phyllo Dough
olive oil
2 chicken breasts, grilled & shredded
1 cup Colby Jack cheese
1 cup medium green chiles (the medium have a good amount of heat, not mild, not too hot)
One egg (optional - used as a wash for appearance purposes)

Prepare the phyllo dough according to package directions. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the chicken, cheese and green chiles and set aside. Lay the prepared phyllo sheet down on a large cutting board. Lightly brush with olive oil. Repeat process with a second sheet. The oil makes the dough easier to work with. Be gentle as the phyllo is quite temperamental.

Cut the phyllo lengthwise in half so that you have 2 evenly sized rectangles of dough. Spoon a heaping tablespoon towards the end of one of your phyllo rectangles. Fold over twice and then tuck in each side to seal the roll, using oil to make the dough more pliable and agreeable. Brush the top with some more oil and the egg wash if using. Place on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Chef Beau Mac's Ham & Jam Sliders

By: The Food Hunter

As Super Bowl XLIX  gets closer, die-hard football fans everywhere are in search of the best game day recipes. Executive Chef Beau MacMillan of Arizona’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, shared with me one of his favorite recipes, Ham and Jam Sliders.

A step up from what is usually served on Super Bowl Sunday, these bit size fresh ham sliders are served on homemade cheddar biscuits and topped with a tangy red pepper jam.

Ham & Jam Sliders

Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. salt
1 cup + 2 Tbs. buttermilk
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped green onion, including tender green tops

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper and kosher salt until well mixed.
Mix in butter until pea sized. Add cheddar cheese and green onion and stir and toss lightly to combine.
Stir in 1 cup buttermilk until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball.
With lightly floured hands, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Form each portion into a rough ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Space the balls about 1-inch apart. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk.
Bake at 350˚F for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Red Pepper Jelly
3 large red peppers, seeded and sliced
3/4 cups cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 package Certo liquid pectin

Place peppers in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped, but not pureed.
Place chopped peppers in a large bowl with cider vinegar, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well.
Put mixture in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add Certo and continue to cook at a slow rolling boil for 35 to 40 minutes, until you can "drag" a spoon around edges of pan or until it passes the jelly test coating the back of the spoon or dripping from spoon very slowly.

Bone in Ham
1 large Bone-in Ham

Heat oven to 275˚F. Place ham in a roasting pan and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Heat for approximately for 12-15 min. per pound. When center of ham reaches 125˚F allow the ham to rest for 15-30 min. Keep covered with foil while resting.

Slice biscuits in half and rub with a generous portion of red pepper jelly. Slice ham thinly and place in between biscuit halves. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Remington's Restaurant Features Flawless Cuisine In An Upscale Relaxed Atmosphere

Scottsdale’s locally owned and operated Plaza Resort has been welcoming guests for nearly 39 years. The hotel has a variety of accommodations made up of: 170 Villa, Patio, and Bi-level suites, 10 executive lodge suites and 224 spacious guestrooms, all with a touch of rustic, Mediterranean flare. There are several dining options on the property including its signature fine dining restaurant Remington's which has an adjacent lounge featuring a full bar and live jazz.

My husband and I recently stayed at The Scottsdale Plaza Resort and had the pleasure of chatting with Remington’s new Executive Chef, Steven Fowler. Fowler, who was brought on less than 6 months ago, is already making exciting changes to Remington's decades old menu.

Though regulars may miss some of their favorite dishes, Fowler's plan is to have something for everyone, while creating a more relaxed yet still sophisticated dining environment. Fowler believes eating should be an event not just a meal, and has designed a refreshing new menu from his travels and past food experiences, giving diners something to enjoy and talk about.

Wood beam ceilings, candles on every table and flickering fireplaces throughout the large back dining room sets the stage for a romantic dinner for two at Remington’s.  The brightly lit painted ceilings and open feel of the front room is more appropriate for larger crowds. There's also an intimate outdoor patio were guests can enjoy incredible views while sipping on a glass of wine from the restaurant's exclusive collection.

Reading the menu descriptions was enough to make my mouth water and the complimentary house made pretzel rolls added to the sensation.

We started our meal with a bowl of the Portobello & Porcini soup, which was served with a sour cream and chive foam and porcini & beet mushroom shaped meringues. The intense earthy flavor from the porcini and its velvety texture made this one of the best mushroom soups I've ever had.

Up next was the Sambuca Flambéed Wild Boar Belly served with grilled Asian pears, a house-made cinnamon goat cheese, and micro arugula. The unique mix of flavors and textures of this dish was outstanding.

For my main course I selected the Mesquite Grilled Lamb T-Bone Steak served with cinnamon scented cous-cous and sautéed ginger tomatoes drizzled with a savory/sweet basil vinaigrette. The lamb was a wonderful dish that was cooked to perfection and beautifully presented.

My husband chose the Mesquite Grilled Dry Aged NY Strip Steak served on top of Rosemary Potato Anna, a classic French dish of thinly sliced layered potatoes, and roasted baby heirloom carrots. The melt in your mouth texture and nutty flavor of the meat was superior to any I have tasted before.

For dessert we tried the made-to-order doughnuts served alongside a cup of chili infused chocolate sauce and the Pionono, a sponge cake roulade filled with vanilla bean cream crowned with burnt sugar.

While talking with Chef Fowler, and enjoying some of his house made lemoncello, he explained that the Pionono, was his re-creation of a dish he tasted in Spain. Both of the desserts were decadent and delicious and left us quite content.

Remington's is certainly a restaurant I would return to, whether for a dinner in the main dining room or cocktails while enjoying music in the lounge. Chef Fowler's fresh approach to the long standing menu promises exciting new things for diners.

Scottsdale Plaza Resort
7200 N. Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, Az 85253

Cuisine Type: American with a trace of French influence
Price Range: $31.00 to $50.00
Atmosphere: We offer many diverse settings, from our upbeat lounge with live jazz floating through the air, to our warm and inviting dining rooms with flickering fireplaces or dine al fresco on our patio.
Additional Information: Summoning the feel of an old world Spanish estate- we offer live entertainment most nites- exclusive collection of regional wines.

This meal was provided complimentary. However, all opinions and comments are my own.