Monday, November 19, 2018

Insider's View Wine Dinner

By: The Food Hunter

I've said it before, and it still holds true, the Insider's View Wine Dinner at Different Pointe of View Restaurant is by far my favorite in the city.  Featuring top winemakers from around the world and amazing cuisine prepared tableside; the 12 person only event is an up-close and intimate food and wine experience.

The evening begins with an outdoor sunset wine reception hosted by a representative of the featured vineyard.  Guests are able to mix and mingle, while sipping wine, munching on small bites and admiring the fabulous city skyline.

The fun continues in the main dining room where Executive Chef Anthony DeMuro prepares a five-course dinner, entirely table-side. While watching Chef DeMuro perform his culinary magic guests are privy too insider stories from the wine representative.

On a recent visit we had the pleasure of dining with Sandy Walheim, winemaker from Francis Ford Coppola's Virginia Dare Winery. Every wine we tasted in the collection had a story which Sandy graciously shared with us through out the night.

The Insider's View experience consists of several courses which Chef DeMuro expertly pairs with a different varietal of the vinter's wine. The first course featured the fruit forward Virginia Dare Pinot Noir accompanied by chef's sous vide duck breast and golden lentils.

Up next was the bold and slightly spicy Lost Colony red blend, served along side an earthy mushroom risotto.

This was followed by a glass of Director's Cut Cinema paired with bison and smoked maple sweet potatoes.

The grande finale, which was my favorite of the evening, was a flat bread topped with a flavorful tomato reduction, thinly sliced beef, grated Parmesan and shaved truffles. Served with a glass of Eleanor this course was amazing!

If you are looking for a unique and delicious wine dinner in Phoenix I highly recommend the Insider's View Dinner at Different Pointe of View....Be sure to come hungry!!!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Pin-Wheel Style Beef Brasciole

By: The Food Hunter
Italian braciole is pieces of rolled and tied beef which are filled with various ingredients. Braciole is often cooked in "gravy" (Italian red pasta sauce) but can also be grilled like Mario Batali's recipe below.

The filling ingredients vary depending on who you ask. Though most include the basic mix of cheese, meat and herbs.

Pin-Wheel Style Beef Brasciole
(adapted from Mario Batali)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 ounces thinly sliced salami, cut into 1/4-inch-wide matchsticks
8 ounces Italian Fontina, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Cheese
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 10-inch-long beef tenderloin roast cut from the
tenderloin (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), butterflied
salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, add the garlic, parsley, salami, fontina, Parmigiano, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of olive oil, and mix well to combine. Set aside. 

Cut six 15-inch-long pieces of kitchen twine. Open out the beef, season on both sides with salt and pepper, and place it on a work so a long side is toward you. Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the beef, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the side farthest from you; press and gently pack the stuffing mixture onto the beef to keep it in place. 
Starting from the side nearest you, roll up the meat like a jelly roll, pressing any stuffing that falls out of the ends back into the roll, and tie tightly with the twine, spacing the ties evenly. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to make a compact roll, and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight. 

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Carefully unwrap the beef roll and, using a very sharp knife, cut it between the ties into six thick pinwheels. Brush gently on both sides with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently lay the pinwheels on the hottest part of the grill and cook, unmoved, for 5 to 7 minutes. Using a thick spatula, carefully turn each pinwheel over and cook for about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Smoked Gouda & Celery Root Pizza

By: The Food Hunter

Pizza fans everywhere, this extremely unique pizza is worthy of your time and taste buds. Warning....don't let the idea of a tomato-less pizza turn you away. The combination of smoked cheese and delicate luscious celery root is so amazing you may just abandon tomato sauced pie forever!

Smoked Gouda & Celery Root Pizza 
(adapted from

1/4 bulb celery root (celeriac), peeled, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for the baking sheet
salt & freshly ground pepper
8 ounces of your favorite pizza dough, room temperature
6 ounces your favorite smoked cheese, thinly sliced (I used smoked Gouda)
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon rinsed & drained capers, chopped
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 500°F. Toss celery root and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Gently stretch dough into a 16x12" oval and transfer to a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. (If dough springs back, cover and let rest 10 minutes, then stretch again, resting as needed.) Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and bake until dry and golden, about 5 minutes (this prevents dough from getting soggy once the toppings are added). Remove from oven; top with cheese, celery root, onion, Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon oregano.

Bake pizza, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until cheese is melted, celery root is tender, and crust is golden brown, 12–15 minutes.

Top with capers and more oregano; season with sea salt and black pepper.

Roasted Fennel with Charred Tomatoes, Olives, and Pecorino

By: The Food Hunter

Browsing the internet for a side dish, I ran across this fantastic recipe for Roasted Fennel with Charred Tomatoes, Olives, and Pecorino. The traditional Mediterranean flavors, of this easy-to-make dish, pair extremely well with most meats and fish. Try won't be disappointed.

Roasted Fennel with Charred Tomatoes, Olives, and Pecorino
(The Food Network)

2 large bulbs fennel, quartered
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 ounce piece pecorino cheese
4 plum tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Nestle the fennel into a skillet, baking dish, or sheet pan so that it fits in one layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, turning to coat all sides. Season with salt and pepper, then finely grate half the pecorino cheese over the top. Roast until the fennel is fork-tender, about 45 minutes.

Place the tomatoes, cut-side up, on top of the fennel. Turn the oven to broil. Broil the tomatoes until slightly charred and warmed through, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle the olives and crumble the remaining pecorino cheese over the top before serving. Garnish with the parsley.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Haystack Cookies for #Choctoberfest

By: The Food Hunter

It is near the end of the 2018 Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar, but I still have one more recipe to share. If you are looking for a unique sweet option, Forte Chocolate offers truly beautiful bars of chocolate that are unlike any other. I used both the Forte Aztec Soul and the Gusto Lemon & Pepper in the recipe below. Both varieties had a unique hint of spice from the different peppers that paired perfectly with the chocolate they are infused in.

Our friends at Forte Chocolate have this motto I could easily live by: "Celebrate Life Through Chocolate." Master Chocolatier, Karen Neugebauer is a true Artisan, creating stunning flavor combinations by blending chocolates with the finest ingredients available.

***If you want to try a few bars, Forte is offering Choctoberfest fans a cool discount here. ***

Haystack Cookies

1 bar of Forte Aztec Soul or Gusto Lemon & Pepper, melted
1/2 cup of toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spread the coconut in an even layer onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, stir and bake for an additional 3 minutes. Allow to cool

Melt chocolate bar in a double broiler. Mix cooled toasted coconut into the melted chocolate.
Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool.