Saturday, March 23, 2013

Emilys and Rick Strole


I went out to hear my friend Rick Strole playing tonight at a place that just opened on the north west corner of Pinnacle Peak and Pima in north Scottsdale.  I try to go see people that I know when they have a gig, to support Acoustic Music here in the valley and Rick is a real treat.  He has the rare ability to play a very complex rhythm while singing a totally different melody line.  His timing is fantastic and he has a great feel for the music.  He focuses on the early 60’s and tosses in a few hits from the 70’s.  The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield, Neil young and the lovin Spoonful to name a few are covered with dedication and taste. 
As I sat listening to Rick I noticed these beautiful plates coming by.  So I asked for a menu.  This is, perfectly executed, light and fresh Café dining, with a French twist.
The salads are just the right size and the baked goods and pasta are made fresh daily.  I had eaten before going out, but called my wife Chef Kathy and told her we need to drop by for breakfast in the next couple of days.  
Husband and wife team, Kathy and Adam Wenda, are the proprietors and they have really done their homework.  As they call it, “Feel good food,” is what you get and in a beautiful setting.  They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  
Trust me you don’t want to miss this new little gem at 8700 e Pinnacle Peak Rd. Ste 107 in north Scottsdale.  480 513-2000.

Spicy Asian Ginger Beef Skewers

Spicy Asian Ginger Beef Skewers

It's just about time for some great backyard pool parties. Try this beef marinade, add your favorite veggies on kabobs for a big backyard hit.

1 3- 4 lb. thick sirloin steak, cut into strips across the grain
1 C Soy sauce
1 12oz. bottle Asahi Black, Japanese beer
2 TBL Peanut oil
2 TBL Sesame oil
1-1/2 TBL Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 BUNCH Cilantro, chopped fine
2 TBL Brown sugar
1 TBL Chopped fresh ginger
3 Thia Chiles, chopped fine
3 CLOVES Garlic, minced
Bamboo skewers soaked in water for 4 hours

1. Whisk soy sauce, beer, both oils, and rice vinegar together.  Pour into a large glass or non-reactive  mixing bowl, and add cilantro, ginger, chiles, garlic, and sugar.  Whisk well, add steak strips, and marinade for at least 4 hours, turning every couple of hours.  I usually marinade over night.
2. Thread meat onto skewers and grill until cooked all the way through.
3. Makes about 10 skewers.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The House Smells Like Grandma’s Cooking Herbed Pork Roast

The House Smells Like Grandma’s Cooking Herbed Pork Roast

Short on time? This fantastic recipe takes five minutes to get ready for the oven.  I like to make it before family comes over.  The delicious aroma sets the tone for a memorable evening! 
3-4 Lb.  Pork loin roast with ribs
1 Tbl.fennel seeds
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
 3 Tbl. Sweet butter
1 ½ Tbl. Olive oil
8 cloves garlic, skin left on
1 handful fresh rosemary, leaves picked
4 bay leaves
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1/2 (750 ml) bottle Chardonnay

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). If the exterior of the pork roast isn’t moist get your hand wet and rub a little water on the outside.  Set the roast bone side down and sprinkle liberally with fennel seeds Kosher salt and pepper.  Melt half the butter and a little olive oil in a heavy iron pot like a Dutch oven (One with a lid).  Brown the meat for a couple of minutes in until nice and golden.
Toss in all other ingredients and bake with the lid on for one hour then about forty five minutes with the lid just cracked open, until an inserted meat thermometer reaches 192 degrees F (Depending on your oven about one hour to one hour and forty five minutes). Remove the pot from the oven and set the meat on a plate to rest. Then, immediately remove all the garlic fennel and herbs from the still hot pot, leaving the sauce and drippings.  Swirl in the last one and a half tablespoons of butter with a heat-proof rubber spatula working the bottom of the pan to incorporate any caramelized drippings off the bottom.  Cut the meat away from the bone and slice.  (The rib meat is delicious.). Serve drizzled with the wine sauce
 Serves 4-6

Garden Update

Well the garden is in, but I still need to get the cucumbers, asparagus and sunflowers!

My sweetie and business partner Chef Kathy got this nice, little, sign a few years back!


Marigolds to please the eye and fight the bugs!

Blackberries in honor of my sainted grandmother Rose, who made the world's best Blackberry Cobbler.

Tropical fruited, soy glazed Salmon fillet with Habanero

We have been trying to incorporate more fruits in our diets.  We’re trying to get to at least three servings of fruit a day.  A serving being a medium piece of fruit or a half cup.  Unlike my parent’s generation and their parents, my generation and my kids don’t naturally reach for the fruit.  Many people under 50 only think about fruit as a cooked dessert food.  The combination of fruit and meat, poultry or fish seems odd, so younger people shy away from those dishes. 
If you’re trying to add fruit to your daily diet, try a snack of buffalo mozzarella and sliced apples.  Another is fresh melon slices wrapped with a thin slice of prosciutto.  Either is a great, light, summer snack. 
The following recipe is a home run as far as summer time eating.  It’s cooked outside on the grill, so you don’t heat your house up.  It’s also a good way to start enjoying the combination of fruit and protein.  I came up with this recipe about a decade ago and it’s now one of our favorites.  Due to the fact that it’s such a dominant flavor I’d serve it with something understated like white rice or even a good baguette.  I’d also serve it with a good crisp white wine.  Enjoy!

Tropical fruited, soy glazed Salmon fillet with Habanero
In the freezer section of your grocery store they sell frozen fruit juice combinations.  This recipe works well with about any of them but the Apple, Mango and Passion fruit takes this recipe over the top.  And whatever you do, do not omit the lemon juice and dill it really ties the flavors together. 

1-2 Lb. Salmon fillet, skinned
2 tsp. White pepper
vegetable oil spray
¼ cup Frozen apple, mango and passion fruit juice concentrate, thawed
¼ cup coarse grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbl. Soy sauce
2 tsp. Your favorite habanero sauce, use more for extreme heat
1 fresh lemon
1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped
Light the grill.  Remove any pin bones from salmon fillet.  Rinse under cold water quickly and pat dry with a paper towel.  Cut fillet into 6 to 8 individual steaks.  Sprinkle both sides with white pepper.  Spray both sides with vegetable oil spray.  In a small mixing bowl stir together the fruit juice concentrate, mustard, soy sauce and habanero sauce. Turn grill to medium.  Place the salmon steaks on the hot grill with the side that had the skin up.  After about 10-15 seconds gently lift the salmon fillet up from the grill surface and set back down (This keeps the fish from sticking).  After 2 minutes gently turn the steaks and once again gently lift them to prevent sticking.  Spoon the glaze over the fish reserving some for the other side.  Depending on your grill you will need to cook the fish for about 8 more minutes.  The rule for grilling fish is 10 minutes of grilling for each inch of thickness…. more or less!  So after 8 more minutes turn the fish one more time spoon on the remaining glaze and let cook for 30 seconds and remove from grill.  Plate, drizzle a little lemon juice and top with fresh dill.
Serves 6-8

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wraps quick and easy

 Wraps are quick and easy and you can usually use some leftover bits of this and that to make a delicious meal.  And kids love them!

Wraps:  All wraps 3oz. Meat a smear of cream cheese & 2 slices of cheese.  Find some variations below or make your own.

Italian Hoagie Wrap:
Genoa salami, mortadella, provolone, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato slices, red onion slices, roasted red peppers, olive oil mixed w oregano

Black Forest Ham & Apricot Wrap:
Black Forest Ham, Cream Cheese, Baby Swiss Cheese, Apricot Preserves, Honey Mustard, Lettuce and Tomato slices

Roast Beef Serrano Wrap:
Roast Beef, Provolone, Cream cheese, thin slices of Serrano Chile, Cilantro, Lettuce,
Tomato slices

Turkey Cranberry wrap:
Turkey Breast, Baby Swiss cheese, Cream Cheese, Cranberry sauce, lettuce, Tomatoes

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Garden

Well the new garden is ready for plants.  It's 20 ft by 6 ft.  We are going to plant Tomatoes, Chiles, Zucchini, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Lettuce, Artichokes, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Marigolds, and Sweet Alyssum.  My sister Suzie reminded me to pit a few teaspoons of Epsom salts under each tomato to encourage root growth thus creating a larger plant

Sauteed Broccoli Raab

Sauteed Broccoli Raab.  One of the best things to come from the garden.  Perfect for an elegant night of fine dining or just a light supper!
Try this unusual vegetable. It's very popular in Italy.

2 LB Broccoli Raab, cleaned and trimmed
6 CLOVES Garlic (large), scored
1/4 C Extra virgin olive oil
1 TSP Crushed red chile
Salt and fresh-ground pepper

1. Some recipes require blanching the raab before sauteing to reduce bitterness; you may want to do it as a precaution.
2. Saute garlic, over medium heat, in olive oil until golden brown. Discard garlic and saute raab about 8 minutes, until crisp-tender.
3. Remove from heat, add red chili and season.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fried Sandwich with Peanut Butter and Banana ala Elvis Presley

This Sunday I played "Velveeta Elvis" by the great American Singer Songwriter Sparky Robinson.  It got me thinking about the "King" and food the following comes to mind;
Photo from Sonoran Living 2002 on Elvis's birthday

Fried Sandwich with Peanut Butter and Banana
This was Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich.  He was reported to eat up to six of them at a time.  These are delicious but you may want to talk with a heart surgeon first.

2  Slices of white bread

2 TBL Peanut Butter

1  Medium-sized banana, cut into thin slices

4  Slices of bacon, fried crisp, reserve a little of the drippings for frying the sandwich (the king said this was very important)

2 TBL Butter or Margarine

  Romaine Lettuce leaves, sweet and sour pickles or corn-relish for garnish

1. Spread peanut butter on both slices of bread.

2. Place banana slices on one of peanut butter covered slices of bread.

3. Place the fried bacon on the banana slices and cover with second slice of bread, and press together lightly.

4. Butter the bread and fry until golden-brown and the banana and the peanut butter start to get soft.

5. Cut diagonally and serve garnished with lettuce leaves, corn relish and bread and butter pickles.

Toasted Sesame Spinach

Were getting our garden going.  There's nothing like fresh greens right out of the garden.  And fresh spinach in a salad, or on a sandwich, or lightly cooked is unbelievable.

Toasted Sesame Spinach
Try this delicious dish the next time your tossing a rib eye on the grill.  Remember, spinach reduces in volume dramatically when you cook it.

1 Sprinkle of Japanese chile powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 10 oz. bunches spinach, trimmed and washed
3 TBL White sesame seeds
2 TSP Dark sesame oil

1. Just before sautéing rinse the spinach well and placed it in a large pan with the water still clinging. Cover and cook on med-high for about 3 minutes, until the spinach just wilts. Place in a colander and allow to cool enough to handle, but not until cold.
2. While the spinach is cooling toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan by shaking back and forth over medium heat until they begin to change color and you smell that toasting smell. Immediately remove from heat.
3. Go back to the spinach and squeeze as much of the cooking liquid out of the spinach as is possible. Chop the spinach and stir in all other ingredients.
4. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Monday, March 18, 2013


This is a Traditional Native American treat that is served both sides of the Mexican border. 
It’s so easy to make and the flavor is out of this world! Although shown here with a little sweet corn which is delicious, also try it with out, which has a more earthy flavor!

1/4 medium white onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbl. corn oil
1 medium tomato, chopped fine
1 Jalapeno chile, chopped fine or 1 roasted, peeled Poblano chile
4 medium zucchini (about 1 Lb.) chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
a pinch of Mexican oregano
salt to taste

Fry the onion and garlic over medium heat, in hot oil, until just translucent but not browned.  Add the tomato and jalapeno and continue frying for about 5 more minutes.  Add the zucchini, salt and cover.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove lid and continue frying, stirring constantly, until excess juice in absorbed.
serves 6

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Traditional Cabbage and Irish Bacon with Irish Parsley Sauce

There's a great scene in the 1997 movie 'The Devil's Own', Brad Pitt is eating with an American Irish family, They're having Corned Beef and Cabbage.  When asked what he thinks about the dish he says, "It's delicious but I've never had it before!" In Ireland, traditionally they eat Irish Bacon.  Corned Beef is a New York dish!

Traditional Cabbage and Irish Bacon with Irish Parsley Sauce

Ah, a traditional Irish delicacy. You must try the cabbage with this bacon in it.

1/2 LB Irish bacon, sliced
1 HEAD Green Cabbage, roughly chopped
12-15 Small new potatoes
2 TBL Sweet butter
Irish Parsley Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Cover the bacon with cold water, in a large saucepan, bring to boil and drain.
2. Cover with fresh cold water again and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then bring to a simmer.
3. Add the cabbage and potatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Drain water (set water aside for Irish Parsley Sauce), remove bacon and slice or cut into bite-size pieces.
5. Meanwhile cover cabbage and potatoes to keep warm.
6. Add bacon back to saucepan, season with salt & pepper and top with butter.
7. Gently stir and serve warm with Irish Parsley Sauce.

Irish Parsley Sauce

Serve with corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.

1/4 C Sweet butter
2-1/2 TBL All-purpose flour
1/2 C Cabbage stock
1 C Cold milk
1/2 C Finely chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the flour in the butter for two minutes creating a light beige roux. While stirring add cabbage stock, and then milk. Bring to a low simmer and stir well. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, salt and pepper.
2. Makes 2-1/2 cups.