recipe Archives

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If you’re searching for a crowd-pleasing July 4th appetizer, Andrew Tam of Old Town Scottsdale’s Drunk Munk has a recipe to share. “Coconut shrimp is always a party favorite,” he says. Tam says it’s hard to make a mistake with this dish, except overcooking the shrimp. “Burn the coconut and you’ll alter the flavor.” When trying this at home, he advises that you cook one piece and note how long it took before cooking the...

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Much like Brussels sprouts a few years ago, cauliflower is having its heyday, says chef de cuisine Alex Pasco of Enchantment Resort in Sedona. “For me, it’s about texture and versatility. It’s a really nice way to bring creaminess to vegan dishes and it takes well to seasonings, sauces and spices.” At Enchantment’s signature restaurant, Che Ah Chi, Pasco serves a dynamite roasted cauliflower dish that’s a customer favorite. He recently shared the coveted recipe...

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Braised beef short ribs with cheesy polenta cake. Photo courtesy Lon's at the Hermosa.
When there’s a fall chill in the air, executive chef Jeremy Pacheco of Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn prefers to eat his meals outdoors and his meats to be braised. “It’s comfort food and as it gets cooler, you want some heartier food.” Enter braised beef short ribs – a staple on Lon’s menu as well as on Pacheco’s home table.

When preparing the short ribs, Pacheco advises seasoning the meat generously so that it penetrates the beef. “It’s a fairly thick cut of meat and you can’t season the inside,” he says. Another tip: Be sure to use a hot pan to initially sear the meat because that will help seal in the flavor.

Until recently, Pacheco served the short ribs with creamy polenta, but this year he’s offering a cheddar polenta cake, which he says adds a nice texture. “You cut into the polenta and the cheese curds just ooze out once it’s cooked.”

You had us at cheese curds. Actually, you had us at braised meat.

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Josh Garcia, vice president of the family-owned Miracle Mile Deli in Central Phoenix, settles an age-old deli debate: Is corned beef more popular than pastrami? Pastrami wins by a lot, Garcia says. “We sell over 5,000 pounds of pastrami a month.”

But for the record, Miracle Mile also sells anywhere from 3,000-3,500 pounds of corned beef each month, which is not exactly small potatoes. And speaking of potatoes, Garcia has graciously shared the restaurant’s number one breakfast item: pastrami hash loaded with red potatoes.

Garcia likes the eggs to be cooked over medium because “they get a little crisp around the edge” and add texture to the dish. Most restaurants offer corn beef hash, but Garcia thinks Miracle Mile is the only restaurant locally to offer a pastrami hash. “It’s really phenomenal.”

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When you bring meatballs to the office potluck or neighborhood gathering, people always make a beeline to the Crockpot armed with wooden toothpicks for jabbing. Sometimes you have to jockey for position and the competition can be fierce. The ever-popular meatball has many preparations and some are better than others.

If you’re ready to up your meatball game, Paul Millist, executive chef of Lincoln Restaurant and Bar 1936 at JW Marriott Camelback Inn, has the recipe for you. The best news of all? It’s made with bacon, a food that Millist quips is “America’s favorite vegetable.”

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If you’re looking for a new way to get your marshmallow fluff fix, Fairytale Brownies co-owner Eileen Spitalny offers up Moonfetti Pie, a sweet concoction that marries a dreamy combination of chocolate, marshmallow fluff, caramel sauce and sprinkles – kind of like a whoopie pie meets brownie sundae. The recipe is the result of a collaboration between Fairytale Brownies and local candy maven Tracy Dempsey of Tracy Dempsey Originals.

When you melt chocolate in the microwave, be careful not to overcook because it will burn, Spitalny says. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler: “Just make sure you stir, stir, stir. That’s the key to melting chocolate.”

You can find Fairytale Brownies at AJ’s Fine Foods and Duck and Decanter or order them at brownies.com.

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Soup prep. Photo by Constance Bradley.
Now that fall is officially underway, it’s time to drag out your trusty stockpot to make some soul-satisfying soups and stews. Constance Bradley of Scottsdale Integrative Acupuncture shares a vegetarian soup recipe that will warm you during the chilly days (one can hope) and nights of autumn and winter.

According to Bradley, who is trained in Chinese nutritional therapy, soup is a good way to nourish the body and warm up the digestive system. “I was raised to think that there’s nothing better for you than a big, cold, raw salad and a big, cold smoothie, but in Chinese theory, cold foods impair digestion,” she says.

If you’ve never heard of kabocha squash, you’re not alone. It’s also known as Japanese squash and is available at most local grocery stores. “Kabocha is unique because you can eat the skin, so you don’t have to peel it,” Bradley says. “You scoop out the seeds and cook as is, throw in the blender and you have a nice soup within about 30 minutes.”

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For those who enjoy a hearty breakfast at home, this one’s for you. Matt Pool of Matt’s Big Breakfast shares the recipe for Chop & Chick that was once featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives several years ago. In the episode, host Guy Fieri chows down on the pesto marinated pork chop and deems it “fantastic.”

“We make everything from scratch the old-fashioned way,” Pool says. “The home fries remind me of something you’d have in your grandma’s kitchen.”

If you want to try the dish before attempting it at home, scurry down to Matt’s Big Breakfast and learn from the experts. But be prepared to wait. This place is hella popular.

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As a kid growing up in Texas and Louisiana, TEXAZ Grill owner Steve Freidkin now has fond memories of his mama’s mashed tater salad. So when he got tired of throwing away the leftover mashed potatoes at his popular Phoenix restaurant, he recalled the potato salad of his youth. “I thought, well, dang. It worked for my family. Maybe it will work here.”

The verdict? “Some people like it and some people are a little freaked out by it,” he says. “It’s a little different, but c’mon, it’s got bacon in it so it’s got to be good.”

Freidken uses russet potatoes with the skin on and makes the dressing separately from the salad. “It has most of the ingredients of a Southern-style potato salad, but it’s got a little Louisiana flair to it.”

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Pineapple-topped guac on chips from The Mission.

Earlier this month, 14 chefs gathered at The Camby hotel in Central Phoenix for the Rock the Guac competition in honor of National Guacamole Day and benefitting Free Arts of Arizona. Their challenge? Creating different guacamoles designed to stand out.

I know taste testing 14 different guacamoles may seem like a dream, but let me tell you that guac has the tendency to taste more or less the same after a few scoops. But in the name of journalism, I persevered.

The sweetest (perhaps weirdest) take was from Tarbell’s in Phoenix that whipped up a chocolate mousse dessert topped with an avocado mousse/puree. It was tasty but let’s face it, couldn’t pass as guacamole. I can’t say there were any competitors that I flat out didn’t like at all, but my favorite was The Market by Jennifer’s. I loved that the chef used focaccia instead of the hackneyed tortilla chip and how she managed to seamlessly blend many different flavors and textures together.

Below are four guacamoles that stood out, both to me and the official judges, plus a recipe for the first prize winner.

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To raise awareness and funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Chompie’s is partnering with Singleton Moms, an Arizona-based nonprofit organization that supports single-parent families affected by cancer.

During September, Chompie’s will donate $1 to Singleton Moms from each entrée ordered from the deli’s special three-item menu, which includes Josh’s Whole Grain French Toast, Classic Grandpa Ruby’s Reuben and the Fitness Omelet.

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