Friday, October 24, 2014

Angel Hair With Corn, Feta & Fresh Tomato

By: The Food Hunter

While pasta is a weekly staple at our house; what we make with it constantly changes. We have our favorites of course, but I am always trying to find something a little different to keep dinner interesting.

Michael Symon's Angel Hair with Corn, Feta & Tomato pasta fits the bill for being different; as it was certainly a combination I had never tried. I made this recipe a few weeks ago for my family and it has quickly become a new favorite in our house. Even though we are well into fall you can't help but notice how fresh and summery this dish tastes. We will definitely make this again and again.

Angel Hair with Corn, Feta & Tomato
(recipe adapted from Michael Symon 5in5)
(printable recipe)
1 pound dried angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups frozen corn
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh oregano
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1. Bring 5 quarts water to a boil. Add salt. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, about 1 minute less than the package directions. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil and corn, spreading the kernels out into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Let the kernels cook, without stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, oregano, and a good pinch of salt. Cook about 1 minute.

3. Stir in the red pepper flakes, add the reserved pasta water, and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the cooked pasta to the pan,stirring. Remove from the heat and toss in the tomatoes, additional olive oil and feta. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hens with Artichokes

By: The Food Hunter

Even though I have tons of cookbooks I will often search online for recipes from my favorite chefs; which is how I found the Mario Batali recipe below. His recipe originally called for quail but I used game hens instead, since they were easier to find at my local supermarket. I imagine chicken would work equally as well.

This savory one pot meal takes a little bit of advance planning to marinate the fowl, but the results are so worth it.

Hens with Artichokes
(adapted from Mario Batali)
8 quails, cleaned and boned(I used game hens)
1 cup balsamic-honey marinade, recipe follows
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 slices prosciutto
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
8 artichokes, tough outer leaves and choke removed, cut into wedges and held in acidulated water
2 cloves garlic, crushed flat

Marinate meat in balsamic honey marinade for 1 to 2 hours.

Season each quail inside and out with salt and pepper and wrap each one in a slice of prosciutto, securing with toothpicks. In a 14 to 16-inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the quails, a few at a time, and brown over high heat, adding some of the wine with each batch of quails. When the last batch is browned, return all to the pan and add the artichokes and garlic. Add more wine if necessary to maintain moisture in the pan, and cook, covered until the quails and artichokes are tender.

Balsamic-Honey Marinade
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon black peppercorns

In a bowl large enough to hold both the marinade and the quail, mix all the ingredients together.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Eating Whole Foods: Roasted Marinated Veggies

By: The Food Hunter

If you haven't tried roasted marinated veggies yet you are missing out on one of my favorite healthy condiments. This versatile mixture is a quick way to add flavor to your meals. Serve them as an appetizer with crusty bread, tossed in salads, on top of pasta or eat them straight from the jar.

They will keep refrigerated for several weeks in a mason jar; but trust me they won't last that long. The recipe below is a great base recipe but I encourage you to get creative. Change up the vegetables you use or the herbs.

****Scroll down to enter the Whole Foods Market Giveaway***


Roasted & Marinated Veggies
(printable recipe)
2 zucchini, sliced into 1/2" rounds
3 bell peppers, cut into 1" strips
2 Japanese eggplants, sliced into 1/2 " rounds
1 banana pepper, cut into strips
8-10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 sprigs fresh oregano

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat oven to 475°. Place zucchini, eggplants and peppers, skin side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Roast until tender, 15-20 minutes. Zucchini and eggplant will need to be turned half way through. Let vegetables cool slightly on pan; remove skins from peppers.

Whisk garlic, vinegars, and remaining tablespoons of oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Adjust taste by adding more sherry vinegar if you want a bit more sweet. Add vegetables and oregano; toss to coat. Place in mason jars for storage. Cover and refrigerate.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Chicken With Snow Peas & Red Pepper Flakes & A Cookbook Giveaway

By: The Food Hunter

I constantly hear from friends, family and followers how they don't have time to cook, especially on weeknights. So I was happy when I received a review copy of award winning chef, restaurateur and TV personality, Chef Michael Symon's 5 in 5 cookbook. The premise behind this collection of recipes is they all use 5 ingredients and can be ready in 5 minutes. I'll admit the 5 minute part may not be totally accurate but the recipes are very quick none the less.

Geared to the busy person that wants quality, fresh food, fast the book offers 120 solid recipes in the following categories: Pasta, On A Stick, Between Bread, Packet Perfection, Eggscellent, Man With A Pan, Let's Grill and I Scream, You Scream. There are no hard to find ingredients or crazy cooking techniques required. Straight up easy, home cooked meals that can be on your table in minutes.

One of the recipes I tried and loved is the Asian inspired Chicken with Snow Peas & Red Pepper. The sauce is a refreshing and light combination of orange juice/zest and crushed red pepper with a small pat of butter added at the end to give it a silky finish.

Thanks to the kind folks at Bluestar Cooking I have one copy of this awesome book to give away! 
***See below for details on how you can win.***

Chicken With Snow Peas & Red Pepper Flakes
(courtesy of Michael Symon)
(printable recipe)
1/2 cup all-purpose floor
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (4-ounce) boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, pounded to a 1/4 inch thickness
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 pound snow peas, thinly sliced (3 cups)
2 tables unsalted butter

Put a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat

Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.

Pour the oil into the pan. Add all 4 pieces of chicken skin-side down and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the chicken, add the garlic, sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt, and cook for 30 seconds.

Add 1/2 cup water and deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to get up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 1 minute. Add the orange zest and juice and red pepper flakes, cover the pan, and cook for 1 minute. Add the snow peas, cover, and cook until slightly tender, about 1 minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, swirling it around in the pan until fully melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and black pepper as needed. Serve immediately.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

District American Kitchen & Wine Bar An Urban Culinary Destination in Downtown Phoenix

By: The Food Hunter

Downtown Phoenix has undergone a major revitalization in the 12+ years that I’ve been here. Starting in 2008 with the building of the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, the first new hotel built in the area since 1976, it’s continued to expand every year with new restaurants, hotels, and chic living options.

The Sheraton’s main restaurant, District American Kitchen and Wine Bar is one of many urban culinary destinations in the sprawling downtown Phoenix area. District specializes in American comfort food showcasing local products and herbs grown in their rooftop garden. Conveniently located in downtown and within walking distance of several art venues, District is a great place to enjoy a pre-event dinner.

When it comes to group dining District has several options. Besides two private dining rooms, there is also a communal table in the main dining area that seats 12 and an oval wine room for larger parties of 30-75. They offer open air patio seating for those mild Phoenix nights and live entertainment which plays in the evenings throughout the week in their bar.

The menu is a nice mix of sophisticated yet accessible options that are reasonably priced and exceed the expectation of typical hotel food. We started our dinner with the golden calamari, which is lightly coated in tapioca flour and served with a Siracha and citrus aioli and a refreshing house made chimichurri sauce. Both of which were equally delicious.

We also sampled the sweet potato soup with roasted poblano crema. A relatively new item on the menu, the soup is reminiscent of the holidays with hints of cinnamon & nutmeg. Silky smooth and extremely rich, think comfort food at its finest.

My husband chose the Nimbus Nut Brown Ale short Rib Stroganoff, another new menu item, as his entrée. It was a delicious combination of short ribs with various organic mushrooms in a creamy garden herb sauce over pappardelle pasta.

I ordered the Hudson Valley Duck breast, which was cooked to perfection and very tasty. It was served with a few cocoa gnocchi, pearl onions and spring peas. My only caveat was there was not enough green on the plate for my taste.

Of course that was easily overlooked when dessert arrived. Both the wild blueberry cobbler with cheesecake ice cream

and the S’mores chocolate crème brulee with mesquite graham cracker strips were amazing. If neither of those options appeals to you, and I’m not sure how they couldn’t, you can always hold out for the mound of cotton candy that comes with your check.

The next time you are in downtown Phoenix, be sure to stop in at District American Kitchen & Wine Bar; whether it’s for a delicious meal or to just grab a drink at the bar you will be happy you did.

District American Kitchen & Wine Bar
340 N. 3rd Street,
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Cuisine Type:
American comfort food with a twist
Price Range: $9-$30
Atmosphere: comfortable yet metropolitan setting featuring local artwork and live music most nights.
Additional Information: Happy Hour is Mon-Sat. from 3-7 p.m. and Reverse Happy Hour starts at 10 p.m. We have live music several nights a week and have half price bottles of wine all day on Sundays. We feature local products from around Arizona. Our wine and spirit list features only American made products and our beer list features only Arizona taps. Find a beer you like? Take it home with you in one of our 64 ounce growlers for just $20. Also, join our 3rd Street Beer Club and get your membership card punched every time you enjoy a pint. After 12 punches you can receive a free growler!

Can also be seen on Arizona Weddings Magazine.

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