Kitchen Insider (Destinations Edition): Elote Cafe, Sedona

By Kathryn M. Miller

The award-winning Elote Cafe opened its new Sedona location in late July. Tucked off of Hwy. 89, the 4,800-square-foot location underwent a $2.5 million renovation to achieve the authentic Elote Cafe look and feel and is just over a mile away from the original Elote Cafe location. The new Elote Cafe opened with limited dine-in and patio seating via reservation only to start and take out, before expanding to its 130-seat capacity when it is safe to do so.

The opening is just another 2020 milestone for chef/owner Jeff Smedstad, which has included being a finalist for the James Beard Award Best Chef Southwest and releasing Volume 2 of his Elote Cafe Cookbook (available now at elotecafe.com/cookbook).

Elote Cafe is located at 350 Jordan Road in Sedona. For reservations or additional information, call 928.203.0105 or visit elotecafe.com.

We caught up with the chef to learn a little about him and the inspiration behind his cooking and his restaurant. He was also gracious enough to share his Elote recipe with us!

Please, briefly introduce yourself.
I am Jeff Smedstad, a chef, author, husband and motorcycle fanatic.

How did you get into the restaurant business/where were you trained?
I have worked in kitchens since I was 15 and started cooking while in the Coast Guard. I used my GI Bill to go to Scottsdale Culinary Institute and later trained in Oaxaca, Mexico at Seasons of My Heart Cooking School.

From where do you draw your culinary inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from the Southwest United States, as well as the entire country of Mexico.

How would you describe the flavor profile of your restaurant?
My flavor profile is bold yet nuanced as I try to coax the maximum flavor from all ingredients in a dish.

What are some of the interesting industry trends that you are seeing?
I am seeing a strong movement to local and sustainable.

Do you focus on sourcing local ingredients? If so, what is your philosophy behind that focus?
I use some local and foraged items such as blackberries and mushrooms foraged from Oak Creek Canyon. It gives my food a sense of place here in Sedona.

What is your favorite dish at your restaurant and why?
My favorite dish is our Lamb Adobo as I have been making it for 25 years and still love it.

What is your go-to dish to cook at home? Or do you let someone else take over the kitchen?
I love to make enchiladas for my wife on the weekend, low fuss, high flavor!

What are the elements that make for a memorable meal?
Elements for a great meal are when you look at a dish and layer flavors and textures to create a bigger sum. You balance texture with acid and richness and a dish becomes a star. |CST

ELOTE

What could bring to life the flavor of Mexico more than corn roasting and caramelizing over a grill? For that matter, these flavors would be at home in any backyard where there is barbeque going on. Typically, in Mexico this would be made with starchier corn, but I prefer the flavor of sweet corn; Silver Queen is my favorite and this dish always tastes better in the summer. —Chef Jeff Smedstad

6 ears of corn with the husk intact

1 cup of mayo

1 tablespoon Cholula hot sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon each of salt pepper and sugar

1/4 cup of chicken stock

1/4 cup cotija cheese ground

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Pure ground chile to taste

Over a medium hot grill roast the corn until the husks are well charred, about 5 minutes, turning them occasionally so as not to completely burn the kernels underneath. Set them aside to cool enough to handle then shuck them and cut the corn off the cob. When ready to eat, mix the mayo, hot sauce, lime juice and chicken stock and warm in a sauté pan with the corn. Pour into a bowl and garnish with the cheese, cilantro and chile powder. Serve immediately.


Photos courtesy of Elote Cafe

Kitchen Insider: Market Street Kitchen’s Chef Michael Hunn

chef-michael-hunnA Chicago native, Chef Michael Hunn learned to cook at his Italian grandmother’s knee, while his father taught him the ins and outs of the food service industry while working for Oscar Meyer and Kraft. Starting his culinary journey in “old school” Chicago kitchens such as the original Weber Grill, the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and Japonais, after a quick pit stop in Phoenix at Sam Fox’s Bloom Restaurant and Roy’s at the Marriott Desert Ridge, Hunn relocated to Las Vegas to work for acclaimed Vegas chef Brian Massie of the Light Group at five different MGM casino restaurants.

This summer, Hunn returned to the Valley as executive chef at Market Street Kitchen (MSK). He will oversee the award-winning restaurant and lounge in North Scottsdale. Classically trained in French and Italian cuisine, and utilizing Japanese-influenced discipline in the kitchen, Hunn’s favorite part of each day is talking shop with his fishmongers, produce farmers and his “meat dude.” A lover of comfort food and regional American cooking, the chef’s focus at MSK is a market driven menu and rotisserie cooking. Chef Hunn lives with his fiancé in Anthem and has three children, who are his favorite food critics.

Market Street is located at DC Ranch, 20775 North Pima Road. For more information, call 480.278.7044 or visit www.marketstreetkitchen.com.

marketstreetkitchen_capresesaladChef Hunn’s Recipe for MSK Brocolli Caprese Salad

Ingredients:
4oz Burrata
¼ lb. Brocolli di Ciccio
½ lb. Heirloom Tomato
1 pinch Pickled Red Onion
2 tbsp. Blood Orange Balsamic Reduction
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pinch Micro Basil
Sea Salt
Pepper
Fresh Grilled Baguette

Method:
Blood Orange & White Balsamic Reduction: Juice 3 Blood Oranges and Combine with 2 Tablespoons of White Balsamic and 1 tablespoon Sugar. Reduce by half with whole peppercorns. Cool immediately.

Assembly: Have fun plating this dish as we can place the beautiful vegetables at random. The most important aspect is to season each ingredient with salt and pepper and then to dress with extra virgin olive oil and blood orange-balsamic reduction.

Fun Food Fact: Brocolli di Ciccio is a heirloom broccoli green that has an intense broccoli flavor with a pleasant after taste.
This dish is a fun play on a seasonal caprese salad that was inspired by the love of broccoli and cheese.


Photos courtesy of Market Street Kitchen

Kitchen Insider: Chef Lisa Levinson’s The Bakery PHX

Lisa-LevinsonThis month, step into the kitchen of Lisa Levinson. Her recipe for Salted Caramel Cheesecake would make a perfect Father’s Day treat.

Chef Lisa Levinson was introduced to baking at a very young age at her grandmother’s house in Montreal. It immediately sparked a passion for baking that she didn’t know she had. As the love and passion grew, she would see different pastries and have the desire to recreate them in her own kitchen. Though she’s been baking all her life, Lisa’s professional baking career began 10 years ago. But, it wasn’t until five years ago that The Bakery PHX came to be. She began treating customers with delicious, fresh baked goods at the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market.

bakeryphxIn August of 2014, she officially opened her brick and mortar store. Even after opening her own bakery, Levinson continues to be inspired by lots of things every single day. She’s always watching for the new up and coming food trends and enjoys creating culinary masterpieces with interesting combinations of ingredients.

“I love how people are becoming more adventurous in their tastes; it makes it fun to be able to create new fun desserts!” Levinson says.bakery-phx-2

From mini-pies to chocolate chip cookies and almond croissants, all orders at The Bakery PHX are baked fresh from scratch every day.

The Bakery PHX is located at 1528 Bethany Home Road in Phoenix (next to Luci’s Healthy Marketplace). For more information, call 480.499.0211 or visit www.thebakeryphx.com.

SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE 

 

Ingredientssalted-caramel-cheesecake2

Crust

½ cup butter
⅓ cup brown sugar
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs

Filling

2 lbs cream cheese softened
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup caramel sauce
2 whole large eggs (room temp)
1 large egg yolk (room temp)

Topping

1-¼ cup caramel sauce
Fleur de sel

Instructions

Crust

Preheat the oven to 350F. Melt butter, add brown sugar and graham crumbs, mix well. Pat into bottom of pre buttered springform pan. Bake 10 minutes, let cool.

Reduce oven to 300 and place baking dish full of hot water on the bottom rack to create moisture (leave this in while baking).

Filling

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 30-60 sec. While beating on low add the caramel sauce. Scrape the bowl, beat 45 sec more making sure there are no chunks of cream cheese. Lightly whisk the eggs and yolks together and add to cream cheese mixture. Mix on low speed until they are incorporated and the batter is velvety, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and mix until just combined. Pour the filling over crust, bake on the center rack about 1 hour. When done, give the pan a little wiggle, if only the center, 3-4 inches, jiggle, it is done. Chill the cheesecake overnight, before serving, pour the rest of the caramel over the top and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Kitchen Insider: Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Urbano

ChefSilvanaThis month, step into the kitchen of James Beard nominated chef, Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café and Barrio Urbano. Her recipe for Chilaquiles is a classic morning dish to spice up any weekend.

An authority on bold, regional Mexican cooking, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has earned a gilded reputation since first opening her original Barrio Café on 16th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix in 2002.

Known for her elevated cooking approach as much as her colorful bravado and fiery point-of-view, her latest vision, Barrio Urbano, is located inside The Yard Phoenix. Here, chef Esparza takes aim at a wider stage of her notable cooking style, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course, a serious cocktail program.

Barrio Urbano picks up where Esparza’s Barrio Café left off, pushing and blending the boundaries of what authentic Mexican cooking can be, with personality. From house-made everything, to incorporating exotic varieties of imported Mexican chile, Esparza continues to deliver bold flavors.

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Esparza grew up in nearby Merced, surrounded by the largest agricultural growing region in the world – the San Joaquin Valley. Raised in a family whose rich ancestral heritage dates back to medieval Spain where her family held court as the official pastry chefs for the country’s royal family, the Esparzas eventually emigrated to the New World, to Mexico, in the 1600s, and generations after, California. It was in the Los Angeles area that Esparza’s family legacy of cooking and pastry cemented again, becoming prominent local bakers.

Eventually finding her path to Arizona, Esparza herself took the family’s culinary baton, serving elevated Mexican cuisines with a flair all her own, now considered one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city.

Barrio Urbano is located at 5632 North 7th Street in Phoenix. For more information, call 602.287.9000 or visit http://www.barriourbanophx.com.

CHILAQUILESBarrioUrbano_Chilaquiles
Servings for 2

Los TOTOPOS (tortillas)
6 ea      corn tortillas cut into 8 pieces per tortilla
vegetable oil

Pan fry tortilla chips until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to help absorb the excess oil. (Can substitute high quality store-bought tortilla chips if needed.)

La SALSA (sauce)
10 ea    tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
2 ea     jalapeños
1 ea     garlic clove
¼ ea     onion
salt to taste

You can cook your tomatillos and jalapeños by grilling them or placing them in a 400 degree oven until lightly charred. Remove stems and seeds from jalapeños (you can leave some seeds if you like your salsa spicy). Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Adjust salt to taste.

Los CHILAQUILES (assemble)

In a hot sauté pan, add a drizzle of oil and heat. Add los totopos and la salsa, continue to sauté until the totopos have absorbed the salsa, approximately 3 minutes.
Top with a fried egg (over easy is best!), garnish with sliced avocado and crema Mexicana.  (Can substitute sour cream if needed.)

Kitchen Insider: Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

ChefCastroThis month, step into the kitchen of Executive Chef Keith Castro of Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill. His recipe for Grilled Artichoke is a perfect for a weekend get-together.

Keith Castro has been a food service professional and corporate chef for more than 30 years. His culinary commitment is to provide an eclectic variety of multi-cultural cuisines with an emphasis on local ingredients, bold flavors and scratch recipes for every dining experience at the Thirsty Lion.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill is excited to announce its second Arizona location at Scottsdale Fashion Square, following the success of the first Valley location that opened in the Valley, at Tempe Marketplace, in 2011. The gastropub will open its doors to the public in February of and will feature 8,500 square feet of interior seating, handcrafted food, dozens of craft beers on tap, signature cocktails and over 1,500 square feet of prime patio space for enjoying the great weather.

At Thirsty Lion, a seasonal fresh sheet will focus on the changing season’s offerings, featuring unique ingredients including fresh seafood, quality meats and local vegetables and fruits. The bar will feature 24 craft beers on tap, many of which will be local, offering a beer on hand for every plate and every palate. The gastropub also features unique craft cocktails that utilize combinations of fresh fruit purees, juices and premium liquors, as well as 25 different wines by the glass.

For more information, call 480.284.7292 or visit http://thirstyliongastropub.com/scottsdale.

Grilled Artichokeartichoke

1 Artichoke, Steamed

½ wz. Herb Butter

¼ tsp. Seasoning, Thirsty Lion

1 ½ fz. Lemon Thyme Aioli

Garnish

1 wz. Fried Onion Strings

1 Lemon, Wedge

1 Parsley, Sprig

Procedure

  1. Cut steamed artichoke in half
  2. Cut out inside core & thorns.  Score heart and stem section
  3. Butter flat edges with herb butter and seasoning salt
  4. Place artichoke on a low heat area of the broiler
  5. Turn to create diamond marks.  Cover with a lid.
  6. Butter and season exterior leaves, then turn over and continue to heat under the lid.  Do not burn leaves.
  7. Place finished artichoke on a plate at 10 & 2 o’clock.
  8. Place ramekin of aioli at 12 o’clock.
  9. Place fried onion strings at 6 o’clock.
  10. Garnish with lemon and parsley sprig.

Kitchen Insider: elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Chef BeauThis month, step into the kitchen of Executive Chef Beau MacMillan of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. His recipes for Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese and Ham and Jam Sliders are a perfect way to class up any Super Bowl party.

As Executive Chef of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and its signature restaurant, elements, Beau MacMillan inspires his staff with his passion for fresh ingredients.  His ingenuity in the kitchen is stimulated by his belief that food should not be overworked, but rather appreciated for its simplicity and natural perfection. This philosophy is evident in MacMillan’s innovative seasonal menus that focus on fresh, local ingredients procured from a network of artisans and organic farmers.

Chef MacMillan was recruited to Arizona in 1998 to develop the cuisine at The Ranch on Camelback, which later became Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.  He and former Executive Chef Charles Wiley opened elements restaurant in March of 2001, and MacMillan took the helm in 2004.  Since then, he has brought elements national recognition and acclaim.

Chef MacMillan has cooked at The James Beard House and regularly conducts cooking classes for the guests of Sanctuary.  Every year he leads the resort’s famed “Lunch & Learn” program, inviting masters of the culinary world – from star chefs to wine makers and TV personalities – to join him and guests for a weekend of cooking, conversation, and camaraderie.

The chef’s 2006 appearance on Food Network’s hit series Iron Chef America (during which he claimed victory over Iron Chef Bobby Flay in “Battle American Kobe Beef”), led to a 2010 starring role in Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, and many subsequent Food Network shows since, in addition to multiple appearances on NBC-TV’s Today Show to showcase a variety of recipes, be it festive holiday dishes, upscale comfort foods or Super Bowl specials.

With Arizona’s Super Bowl XLIX right around the corner, die-hard football fans in search of the best game day recipes are in luck: Chef MacMillan shares his two favorite recipes, Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese and Ham and Jam Sliders, which are sure to be a touchdown for any Super Bowl bash.

Lobster Mac ‘n CheeseLobsterMac-sm

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole lobsters 1 lb. each
  • 1 lb. Gemelli pasta cooked
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 3 oz. butter
  • 1 whole shallot chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh green peas
  • 8 oz. lobster broth (recipe below)
  • 4 oz. Mascarpone cheese
  • 4 oz. Fontina cheese
  • To taste salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz. bread crumbs
  • Dish is garnished with chopped parsley and shaved black truffle

Preparation:

  • Boil lobster in salted water for 5 1/2 minutes. Remove lobster and submerge in an ice bath.
  • Cook pasta in boiling salted water for 8 minutes. Strain pasta onto a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and let cool at room temp.
  • Remove lobster meat from shell, set claws aside and roughly chop remaining meat. Reserve lobster shells.
  • Place large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add 2 oz. butter and sauté shallots lightly. Add fresh peas and lobster meat. Once lobster and peas are warm, add pasta and deglaze with 8 oz. lobster broth. Allow 3 to 4 minutes for sauce to come to a simmer. Sauce should start to coat the pasta.
  • Add mascarpone cheese and Fontina cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for flavor – more sauce can be added based on personal desired consistency.
  • Place Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese in a buttered casserole dish and cover lightly with bread crumbs. Bake in the oven at 325˚F for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with shaved black truffle and parsley.

Lobster Broth
Yields 12 oz.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole lobster shells, meat removed
  • 32 oz. cold water
  • 8 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 each red ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 2 whole carrots chopped
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 1 oz. tomato paste
  • ½ bunch fresh tarragon

Preparation:

  1. Place a medium sized sauce pan on high heat and add olive oil, lobster shells and tomato paste. Cook for a minute and half, shells should turn dark red.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, carrots, and tarragon. Deglaze with cold water. Bring water to a simmer and cook until water is reduce to 1/3. Strain shells and reserve liquid.
  3. Add heavy cream and reduce to a desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Ham and Jam SlidersHamandJam-sm

Yields 12 servings

Cheddar Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbs. buttermilk
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion, including tender green tops

Preparation:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper and kosher salt until well mixed.
  2. Mix in butter until pea sized. Add cheddar cheese and green onion and stir and toss lightly to combine.
  3. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball.
  4. With lightly floured hands, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Form each portion into a rough ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Space the balls about 1-inch apart. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk.
  5. Bake at 350˚F for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Red Pepper Jelly
Yields 2 1/8 quart

Ingredients:

  • 3 large red peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 3/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 package Certo liquid pectin

Preparation:

  1. Place peppers in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped, but not pureed.
  2. Place chopped peppers in a large bowl with cider vinegar, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well.
  3. Put mixture in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add Certo and continue to cook at a slow rolling boil for 35 to 40 minutes, until you can “drag” a spoon around edges of pan or until it passes the jelly test coating the back of the spoon or dripping from spoon very slowly.

Snake River Farms American Bone in Ham 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Snake River Farms American Bone-in Ham

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 275˚F. Place ham in a roasting pan and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Heat for approximately for 12-15 min. per pound. When center of ham reaches 125˚F allow the ham to rest for 15-30 min. Keep covered with foil while resting.

Assembly

  1. Slice biscuits in half and rub with a generous portion of red pepper jelly. Slice ham thinly and place in between biscuit halves. Enjoy!

Kitchen Insider: Chef Christopher Costantino – Costantino’s Kitchen


Christopher Costantino_smThis month, step into the kitchen of chef Christopher Costantino of Costantino’s Kitchen. His recipe for Classic Lasagna brings together the flavors of family tradition.

Originally from Wyoming but an Arizona resident for over 20 years, Christopher Costantino has always had a passion for food since learning family recipes as a child. After his move to Arizona and a successful sales and management career, Costantino left corporate America to pursue his culinary dreams full-time and in 2011 opened Costantino’s Kitchen, a product line of Italian pasta sauces, infused garlic oils, hot sauces, home-style soups and herb and spice blends.

Featuring his Grandma Angie’s famous tomato basil recipe, and other Costantino family recipes dating back five generations to Italy, Costantino’s Kitchen has grown from online sales to now also being available in AJ’s and Sprouts statewide and various Whole Foods throughout the greater Phoenix area.

The chef recently released two new flavors to its line of pasta sauces, Crimini Mushroom with Roasted Garlic and Artichoke with Sun Dried Tomatoes.

“While my Grandma Angie’s Tomato Basil sauce is a crowd pleaser, there are so many other sauce recipes our family has used over the generations,” says chef/owner Christopher Costantino.

The savory crimini mushroom sauce features a blend of San Marzano style tomatoes with fresh and roasted garlic, earthy crimini mushrooms and porcini mushroom powder to provide an extra boost of “umami.” Whereas the Artichoke with Sun Dried Tomatoes offers an almost sweet vegetable flavor with a blend of San Marzano style tomatoes with fresh garlic, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes.

For more information, visit www.costantinoskitchen.com.

Classic Lasagna

Makes 8 servingsLasagna_sm

SAUCE:

2 tablespoons Costantino’s Kitchen Garlic Oil {Mild}
½ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings discarded
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground veal (or pork)
2 jars Costantino’s Kitchen Tomato/Basil Pasta Sauce
salt and pepper to taste

FILLING:

1 pound ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup Italian parsley, minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

ASSEMBLING:

16 no-boil lasagna noodles
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ pound mozzarella, shredded

MAKE SAUCE: Brown sausage, beef, and veal in garlic oil, breaking up larger pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add pasta sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is heated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

MAKE FILLING: Combine all ingredients well.

ASSEMBLE: Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 375ºF. Spread a thin layer sauce on the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping, over sauce, then spread one third of the ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over ricotta, then spread one fourth sauce over Parmesan. Repeat noodles, ricotta, parmesan, sauce two more times. Top with remaining 4 noodles, then spread with remaining sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake for

40 minutes. Remove foil and bake until top is bubbling and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Kitchen Insider: Chef James Ducas – Hermosa Inn

James-Ducas-sm

This month, step into the kitchen of executive chef James Ducas from The Hermosa Inn. His recipe for Steak Frites brings the flavor of Argentina to the Southwest.

For Executive Chef James Ducas, his love of cooking started at a young age. With humble beginnings as a dishwasher in New York at the age of 14, it was the atmosphere, tastes and aroma coming from the rich culinary scene that enticed him to his chosen career path. From that point forward, his dedication, ambition and passion for food allowed him to rise the culinary ranks, and now hold the title of executive chef of The Hermosa Inn’s two restaurants, LON’s at the Hermosa and Last Drop at the Hermosa.

From washing dishes at age 14 to creating his own menus as Executive Chef, Ducas’ culinary journey is one of great dedication and displays the love he has for his craft. Without any traditional schooling – simply by learning from culinary greats – Ducas honed his skills in the kitchen, worked his way up the culinary ladder and in 2000 left New York to become executive chef of Pacific Café in Asheville, North Carolina. Shortly thereafter in 2003 he became a partner and executive chef at Savoy in Asheville, North Carolina, followed by his move to Arizona, when he started working for The Hermosa Inn in 2007.Hermosa-2

After six years, and working under the tutelage of two high profile chefs, Ducas is now the one in the spotlight as he takes the resort’s artful American cuisine to a new level, with his bold ideas, unique flavor profiles and cutting edge techniques.

“The most inspiring things for me are having new seasonality of ingredients, farm fresh products and fresh cuts of meat,” says Ducas. “New produce, especially from our garden, brings what we do in the kitchen to another level because our culinary team is able to have a deeper connection to the food we serve when the ingredients they planted are now being harvested to use on the menu.”

When not in the kitchen and dreaming up the next tasting menu, Ducas can be found camping, fishing and enjoying the outdoors, alongside his two German shepherds.

The Hermosa Inn is located at 5532 North Palo Cristi Road in Paradise Valley. For reservations at LON’s, call 602.955.7878. For more information, visit www.hermosainn.com.

STEAK FRITES

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients (In Order)       Quantity

Bavette steak                                       4 each

Wild baby arugula                               1.5 lbs

Cherry tomatoes                                  1/2 lb

french fries                                          24oz

chimichurri                                          2 cups

meyer lemon oil                                  4T

lemon juice                                          2T

parmesan cheese                                 2oz

salt                                                       taste

pepper                                                  taste

vegetable oil for frying                        1/2 gallon

Procedure:

  1. Using 1 cup of chimichurri marinate the steaks in chimchurri for about 12 hours.

    Steak Frites

    Steak Frites

  2. Meanwhile cut the tomatoes in half and place in a 250º oven on a greased wire rack for about 2-3 hours. When the tomatoes are done remove them from the oven and place in the refrigerator until you are ready for them. 
  3. In a large sauce pot, fill about 1/3 of the way up with vegetable oil and bring to 350º.
  4. Heat the grill to hot, and grill the steaks for about 2-4 minutes on each side.
  5. While the steaks are cooking carefully add the French fries to the hot oil, being very careful not to splash oil on yourself, and cook until golden brown. When they are done drain the excess oil off and season with 1/2 cup chimchurri, salt & pepper. 
  6. In a mixing bowl combine the arugula, tomatoes, cheese, lemon oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  7. Remove the steaks from the grill and serve with the fries, and salad.
  8. Drizzle the rest of chimichurri on the steaks just before serving.

 

SPECIAL SEASONAL OFFERlast-drop_zombie-cocktail_v3

With a history dating back to the 1930’s, beginning with original owner Alonzo “Lon” Megargee’s heyday in the Old West; celebrity guests, including John Wayne and Clark Gable; multiple owners; a fire in the 1980’s; and a complete renovation making it the 34-room luxury boutique resort it is today, it’s no wonder The Hermosa Inn has a few ghost stories.

“All of the spirits that guests and staff have encountered appear to be friendly, so many guests will often visit in hopes of having an experience of their own,” said Managing Director Michael Gildersleeve.

From October 1 – November 3 and starting from $296/night, guests are invited to book a Hermosa Hauntings package, which includes an overnight stay, two Zombie cocktails upon arrival and a guided ghost tour of the property.

To book a Hermosa Hauntings package throughout the month of October, call 602.955.8614 (toll free at 800.241.1210) or visit www.hermosainn.com.

Kitchen Insider: Chef Deborah Schneider – SOL Cocina

ChefDebThis month, step into the kitchen of executive chef Deborah Schneider from SOL Cocina. Her Cactus Pear Ceviche offers a light and flavorful transition into fall.

Dubbed by Bon Appétit magazine as “the reigning queen of San Diego chefs” and nominated for a coveted 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for her second of five cookbooks, chef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as executive chef and partner of Mexican restaurants SOL Cocina (Newport Beach,and Scottsdale) and solita (Huntington Beach). Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and more than 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the wonderful tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula.

Schneider’s passion for Baja was stoked by countless surf trips down the Peninsula. There, at small street stands and on pristine beaches, she discovered flavorful, healthy cuisine, rich with fresh seafood and inventive preparations that are at the heart of her restaurants.
In August 2012, Schneider released her fifth cookbook, The Mexican Slow Cooker: Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork, and More Favorites. Packed with Schneider’s favorite south-of-the-border recipes, the cookbook delivers sophisticated meals and complex flavors, all with the ease and convenience that have made slow cookers enormously popular.
Schneider began her culinary career while traveling through Europe in the early 1980s. While living in Athens, Greece, Schneider spent a year working as a chef on a succession of luxury charter yachts and later worked as a yacht chef in Florida and the Caribbean before switching coasts and settling in San Diego in 1983. San Diego is where Schneider made a culinary name for herself.

SOL Cocina Scottsdale is located at 15323 North Scottsdale Road. For more information, visit www.solcocina.com.

CACTUS PEAR CEVICHE

Serve on a square blue plate

 

3 oz fish dicedCeviche
¼ teaspoon salt
2 limes
1 ½  teaspoons minced serranos
2 purple scoops diced cucumber
1 purple scoop small diced jicama
1 tablespoon diced onion (no cilantro)
2 tablespoons cactus pear puree
8 very thin slices – red and orange sweet fresno chiles
¼ Hawaiian papaya, ½-inch dice (about 1/3 cup)
1/8 avocado, diced
PLANTAIN CHIPS
CHILE CON LIMON

METHOD
Combine fish, lime, salt, serrano, cucumber, jicama and onion
Stir in cactus pear puree
Spread out on small blue glass plate
Top with sliced peppers
Top with diced papaya and avocado
SPRINKLE WITH CHILE CON LIMON
Serve with: Plantain chips

PLANTAIN CHIPS
Peel plantains  (ripe but firm plantains )
Cut in half
Thinly slice
Deep fry

Kitchen Insider: TapHouse Kitchen

 

Executive Chef Patrick Karvis from TapHouse Kitchen

Executive Chef Patrick Karvis from TapHouse Kitchen

This month, step into the kitchen of executive chef Patrick Karvis from TapHouse Kitchen in Scottsdale. His Grilled Salmon is one of the restaurants most popular dishes and perfect for something light and savory during the summertime.

Executive chef Patrick Karvis began his career in Florida as a dishwasher at The Fish Market. Karvis knew right away that he wanted to cook. The opportunity came one night when the chef asked him to fill a position on the line. Karvis accepted and the rest is history.  He started his culinary journey in 1992 at the O’rangie, now known as Wright’s at the Arizona Biltmore, as pantry and hot appetizers chef and made his way to kitchen manager in a little over a year.  Later accepting a sous chef position at Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn under chef Michael DeMaria, chef Karvis learned organizational skills, which is critical to being successful in the culinary industry.

In 1996 Karvis took those skills and joined chef Eddie Matney at Eddie’s Grill in Phoenix and later at Matney’s restaurant.  In 2001 Karvis was hired as executive chef for the Talking Stick Golf Club’s Wildhorse Grille.  During that time, Karvis has redeveloped the menu, instituted regular wine dinners and built a solid reputation for himself in Arizona.  With his energetic personality and open-minded approach to cooking, Karvis has made himself well known in the Arizona Culinary community for his phenomenal menus and large following at the Wildhorse Grille.

Now at the forefront of the newly opened TapHouse Kitchen, Karvis committed to serving only the finest, freshest ingredients while partnering with purveyors that use sustainable growing methods and organic hormone free feed. TapHouse Kitchen’s signature dishes include Creek Stone Beef Sliders & Creek Stone Burger Salad, Jerked Chicken Salad, Walleye Pike Fish and Chips, Drunken Shrimp, Beef Short Rib and Grilled Scottish Salmon. For dessert people can tempt their taste buds with the Manhattan Pecan Tart served with kitchen made Brandy Alexander ice cream.

TapHouse Kitchen is located at 6137 North Scottsdale Rd, Suite 108, at Hilton Village. For more information, call 480.656.0012 or visit www.taphousekitchen.com.

Grilled Salmon with warm baby kale, arugula, hydro watercress with lemon, garlic, fennel and red chimichurri

Serves 4

4 ea. 6oz. portions of Scottish salmonTapHouse Kitchen - Salmon Entree-sm

For the Chimichurri

3 ea. Red pepper small diced

2 ea. Red Fresno chili small diced

.5 red onion small diced

1 tsp. chipotle pepper in adobe sauce

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. chopped oregano

1 tsp. chopped Italian parsley

Splash of red wine vinegar

1 oz. olive oil

1 tsp. smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan sauté the peppers, garlic, and onion with a little olive oil and cook on low heat until the mix becomes soft. Let cool for about 5 minutes the puree in a food processor with the remainder of the ingredients. Should be salsa like consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve salmon.

For the Kale Mixture

1 handful of baby kale

1 handful baby arugula

1 handful hydro watercress

1 bulb of fennel thinly sliced on a mandolin

1 tsp. minced garlic

Juice from one lemon

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

To begin the dish, season the salmon with salt and pepper. Grill on a hot grill…about 4 minutes on each side. Sauté the fennel in a medium hot pan with the olive oil, cook this for about 2 minutes then add the kale, arugula, watercress, garlic and cook this for another minute or until wilted. Finish with lemon and salt and pepper. Place the kale mix onto a plate and top with the salmon and serve with the red chimichurri sauce. Enjoy!

Photos by Anthony TerBush
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