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 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!

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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

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