Thursday, January 19, 2017

Venison Fennel & Lentils Topped with Baby Beet & Feta Relish

By: The Food Hunter

It's been a few weeks and my mom is still talking about the amazing Christmas dinner she had at our house (her words). This year, once again, we decided to deviate from the traditional ham and turkey and cook a venison strip loin I received from Marx Food as part of their Game Meat Sampler Kit.

I have to admit that this time mom is right; our Christmas dinner was stellar. Rich in flavor and extremely tender, this cut of meat is known to be one of the most delicious cuts of venison you can get.

We prepared the meal using a recipe found online by Al Brown: Oven Roasted Venison with Fennel, Lentils and Beetroot, Feta Relish. I initially wasn't sure about the combination of flavors but must tell you it all meshed together perfectly.

Venison Fennel & Lentils Topped with Baby Beet Relish

For the baby beets, feta & basil relish
1 bunch baby beets, leafy tops trimmed off
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, torn
1/2 cup feta, coarsely crumbled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the beets in a small ovenproof dish and pour the olive oil and water over. Cover with tinfoil and roast for 1 hour or until the beets are soft. Remove from oven, peel and chop into small dice.

In a medium bowl place the vinegar and sugar then whisk in the olive oil. Add the beets along with the basil and feta. Stir to combine, season with sea salt and pepper, and reserve at room temperature.

For the caramelized fennel & lentils
1/3 cup olive oil
2-3 fennel bulb, finely diced (reserve the fronds)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 tablespoon ground fennel
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup lentils
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place a frying pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the oil then the fennel, onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to low, and fry gently for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden. Season and reserve.

In a medium saucepan place the lentils and chicken stock. Place on the stovetop and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils have absorbed all the stock and are just soft to the bite (about 30 minutes). If they are still too hard and there is no stock left, add a little water and continue to cook until just soft.

Remove the lentils from the heat. Stir in the fennel and the olive oil. Add the reserved fennel fronds. Season to taste. Keep warm.

For the venison
1 venison striploin
1 cup beef demiglaze
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°C. Bring the venison to room temperature. Place the demiglaze in a small saucepan over low heat to bring up to a slow simmer.

Season the venison liberally. Place an oven proof skillet on high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add a little oil followed immediately by the venison. Cook for 1-2 minutes on all sides until browned then transfer the dish to the oven.

Finish cooking in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Rest the venison in a warm place for 5 minutes.

To serve
Spoon some of the lentils onto the center of 6 warm plates. Slice the venison into thin slices and arrange 3 pieces on each plate. Top with the relish, and pour a little demiglaze on each.

I received product &/or compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chef Dahl's Ahi Poke Parfait at The James Beard House in NYC

By: The Food Hunter

On January 18th, Chef Lisa Dahl, of Arizona, will return to the prestigious James Beard House, to cook a 5 course Latin-Italian Fusion dinner. The menu celebrates her newest Sedona restaurant, Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill, while paying homage to her classic Italian fine-dining restaurants, Dahl & Di Luca and Cucina Rustica.

The already sold-out event, will begin with a canape reception in the garden and transition to the second-floor dining room where Chef Dahl will guide diners through a delicious tasting menu. The evening will conclude with a question-and-answer session with Dahl.

One of the appetizers Chef Dahl is planning to serve that evening is her Ahi Poke Parfait, a fresh and flavorful dish featuring ahi tuna with a mango salsa & avocado coulis.

Ahi Poke Parfait
Recipe courtesy Chef Dahl
2-4 Servings

For the Avocado Coulis Sauce
1 large or 2 small Avocados Chopped
Juice of ½ Lime
1T pickled ginger
½ T pickled ginger Juice
2 T Scallions
2 T Cilantro
1 t Serrano Pepper
Salt to taste

In food processor add avocado first then add all other ingredients, pulse til smooth. Reserve.

For the Ahi
8 oz. fresh ahi or yellowfin tuna ¼ in dice.
6-8 Butter Lettuce Leaves
½ C Grapefruit segments chopped

For the Mango Chili Salsa
1 Mango Diced, Peeled and Pitted
1 t Fresno Chili Pepper finely minced (more if desired)
1 T Red Onion finely diced
2 T Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit or Lime Juice
2 T Cilantro finely minced
Pinch of Salt to taste

Gently combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together, adding Cilantro last.

To Assemble

Make a butter lettuce cup stacking the leaves. Begin by putting a dollop of avocado coulis in the well of the lettuce leaf, add some grapefruit chunks followed by a generous amount of tuna to make a mound. Follow by a drizzle of avocado coulis and top with a generous sprinkling of mango salsa. Garnish with grapefruit slices if desired.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Epicurean Experience at Deseo

By: The Food Hunter

One of the most desired seats for dinner on Thursday evenings is at "the rail" at Deseo restaurant, located within the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.

The "rail" wraps around an open kitchen where Chef Derek Biazo and his staff cook and plate dishes while as they educate diners on what they are about to eat. There are only twelve seats available each week for this intimate perspective into the Deseo kitchen, and they are the most sought after.

Though the menu changes weekly, each experience starts with a series of ceviches, which are prepared up close, and served with a muddled cocktail.

The cocktail and ceviche is followed by a three course meal of the diners choosing.  At $75 per person a seat at the rail is not only a unique experience but also an economical way to feast at Deseo.

My favorite of the three ceviches we were given was the millionaire taco, which included, lobster, ahi tuna and Japanese hamachi served in a house-made yuca taco. I'm not sure where the name of this dish stems from other than you feel like a millionaire eating this decadent creation.

As I mentioned above dinner is a choice of any salad or soup on the menu followed by your entree selection. My husband and I both decided to try the white bean & chorizo soup, which was drizzled with cream and topped with pepita. The taste of this soup was like nothing I have had before and left us both with a warm comforting feeling.

While most of our group went with meat I decided to give the big eye tuna encebollado, the chef's take on the classic Ecuadorian dish, a try. I was served two nice size pieces of cumin crusted tuna in a light tomato broth, which were accompanied by yucca dumplings. I have never eaten yucca dumplings before but would most certainly order this tasty dish again.

My husband ordered the braised wagyu short ribs and was impressed with how well the flavors melded. Served with black beans and farro I couldn't resist sneaking a few bites from his plate, when he wasn't looking.

Dessert was the restaurant's signature chocolate cigar ensemble; chocolate cake and cappuccino gelato topped with a chocolate foam. We've eaten this on previous visits to Deseo and have loved it every time.  You really can't go wrong with chocolate desserts.

The next time you find yourself looking for a unique dinner experience I hope you will consider the "rail dinner" at Deseo. on a Thursday night

6902 E. Greenway Parkway
Scottsdale, AZ 85254

This experience was provided complimentary, all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Power Your Performance With Potatoes

By: The Food Hunter

Being a regular exerciser, I've found that it's hard to achieve peak performance on a low- carbohydrate diet, which is why I've made potatoes a staple in my meal plans. When boiled, baked, or eaten alone, potatoes are a fat-free food containing more potassium than a banana (13% of daily value). They also have 30% of your daily value of vitamin C and contain vitamin B6, magnesium and dietary fiber. Potatoes are also energy-packed, and provide electrolytes that aid in muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function.

The key to consuming potatoes to fuel your active lifestyle is knowing how to prepare them. When cooking you get the most nutritional value if you leave the skin on. A healthy way to enjoy potatoes is to bake them. Pairing the baked spuds with your favorite protein, such as chicken, tuna, beans or Greek yogurt allows the carbohydrates to be broken down slowly making you feel more energized, for a longer period of time.

With so many varieties including: Russets, reds, yellows, whites, purples, fingerlings, and petites, it is easy to keep meals interesting. And since they are cost effective and can be served at any meal they shouldn't be overlooked. Everything in moderation is key and that includes one of my favorite carbs, potatoes.

For more information on how potatoes can power your performance visit:

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic
(adapted from Mario Batali)

3 large yellow potatoes
4 cloves garlic, in paper
1 bunch rosemary
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Bring 4 quarts water to boil. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. Remove and drain. Place in a bowl and add garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Stir to combine. Season with salt and fresh pepper and place on a roasting pan. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and serve immediately.

I have received product and/or compensation for posts featuring PotatoesUSA. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Cheesesteak Bruschetta #SundaySupper

By: The Food Hunter

A new year means a new beginning and I'm excited to get back into the Sunday Supper Movement events that are hosted every Sunday by various taste-makers around the web. This week the group is featuring lean beef recipes. Beef often gets a bad reputation as an unhealthy food, but lean beef can make for some healthy and delicious recipes. 

Growing up in Philadelphia, I'm no stranger to the Philly cheesesteak and though I don't eat them often I do enjoy the taste every now and again. Not being able to find the perfect roll to host this particular sandwich is the reason I came up with serving the thin beef smothered in caramelized onions bruschetta style.

Cheesesteak Bruschetta

For the Steak 1/2 lb rib-eye steak, sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 lb sharp provolone cheese

Season rib-eye with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the beef and cook until brown, shredding the beef with tongs or a spatula as you go. Remove from heat

For the Onions
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 large red onion, sliced thin 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned in spots, about 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Bruschetta
1 loaf bread, sliced
1/4 lb sharp provolone cheese

Top bread with steak and sprinkle with provolone cheese. Put in a toaster oven or broiler just long enough that the cheese begins to melt. Remove top with onions and serve.

Looking for additional #SundaySupper ideas: 

Appetizers, Soups, and Salads

Lean Ground Beef Recipes


Sandwiches and Wraps


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.