Culinary knowledge just flows from her like river, and she loves sharing every bit of it in her classes. That’s what makes Chef Amy Barnes one of the best chefs at Sweet Basil Culinary Center. She started cooking classes as a child which set her up for a long career at The Hyatt’s in Scottsdale and Austin, Texas, The Princess Resort and The Impeccable Pig Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale. Chef Amy is a great story teller and loves to pay tribute to some of the upscale restaurants that helped to shape her career. This Chorizo Chicken and Corn Risotto pays homage to her years at The Golden Swan at The Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch, which she helped to open in 1986 and where she worked side by side with chefs from all over the world. It’s there that she says she was “Hyattized”, which means to carry high standards throughout her career. If you want to elevate, or “Hyattize” dinner this week, give Amy’s show-stopping dish a try!
When I first started to teach cooking classes a year and a half ago at Sweet Basil Culinary Center, I was introduced to a new cooking vessel that would change everything for me. It’s called a stove-top smoker and it works perfectly on the cook top, on the BBQ or in the oven. It’s fantastic for fish, vegetables and chicken, but it really shines when you throw a rack of ribs in, close it up, and 90 minutes later you have a succulent stack of ribs mopped with your favorite BBQ sauce! This recipe for Chili Rubbed Baby Backs with Espresso BBQ Sauce is one of my new favorites, given to me by a co-worker who knows I’m a rib fanatic. Even if you don’t have a stove-top smoker, these ribs and sauce will be a hit no matter how you prepare them! The dark beer (it really should be a Guinness!) and espresso powder combine to give the ribs a deep and rich flavor that melt together to create the umami you want in a rack of ribs! The recipe calls for a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce or if you have a homemade version, use that! (A few years ago we did a taste test of the country’s most popular store-bought BBQ sauces. Topping the list of brands were Stubbs, Rufus Teague, Sweet Baby Ray’s and Bone Suckin’ Sauce.)
Growing up Italian, homemade meatballs were a dinner staple enjoyed over pasta, in a sub roll or as savory appetizers before the main meal. But last week, while teaching a cooking class on Greek foods, I had to set my Italian roots aside and absolutely drool over Greek Meatballs known as Soutzoukakia. These morsels of magic have a wonderful combination of spices like cumin, cinnamon and oregano with a red sauce that completely enrobes them with even more flavor! Greek Meatballs are delicious with seasoned Orzo, rice or, dare I say, on a bed of Italian pasta?
Memorial Day BBQing is one of our favorite and most delicious pastimes! But America is not the only one that loves BBQ. Argentinean Asado is akin to the American barbecue; an outdoor cookout replete with salty slow-cooked meats, delicious red wine and a roaring wood fire. Considered the national dish of Argentina, asado is both a social event and a traditional method for cooking beef, pork and lamb.” For asado, the main course is all about the meat. (Flanken steak is one of the most popular cuts of meat for asado, which is found in Southwestern and Asian markets as well as most grocery stores.) Other favorites for the asado grill are chorizo, beef ribs and even grilled provolone. Never marinated or heavily seasoned with dry rubs, asado meat is seasoned only with salt which is rubbed into every nook and cranny, coating it entirely. Well marbled cuts like the skirt or hanger steak are popular choices as well as beef tenderloin or the tri-tip. I had a hankering for Skirt steak, so I fired up the grill and prepared the slather that would make this BBQ the best! While Americans love their marinades and rubs for grilled meats versus simply salting it, we have embraced the classic accompaniment to the Argentine asado—Chimichurri Sauce. This bright blend of herbs, oil and vinegar makes it the perfect paring for grilled meats, chicken and even shrimp. It’s the beginning of a long, hot summer and grills will be used aplenty! I think, you’ll enjoy this Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce recipe year round as a go-to finishing sauce!
This week the word is Brrrrr! That means it’s time to pull out your favorite chili recipe, grab a Dutch oven and get cookin! This yummy dish makes the cold weather almost welcome, and there isn’t a finer bowl of winter comfort food than homemade chili! This particular recipe has a fabulous twist—cinnamon sticks, which adds a subtle earthiness to the dish.(You’ll find many award-winning chili recipes have added cinnamon to the mix!) I’ve partnered with La Mesa RV to travel our great state, looking for fun adventures and cooking delicious dishes in all sorts of RV’s, and this week, it was time for a hot bowl of spicy beef and chiles! Grab a bowl full and devour!
This weekend a host of local broadcasters came together for our annual Christmas Concert to raise money for The House of Broadcasting. One year our fundraising efforts helped to create the House of Broadcasting Celebrity Media Cookbook. It’s a treasure trove of great heirloom dishes by your local television and radio personalities. One of the most delicious recipes in the book is an award winning chili recipe from Jack Clifford, the man who created the iconic Food Network. (More than 20 years later, about 90 million people agree that Jack’s idea was a brilliant one and changed forever the way we view food.) Jack’s scrumptious chili has won dozens of chili cook off awards. It kicks you with five different spices and yet has a smooth-as-silk finish on your palate. This chili’s base is a combination of beef chunks, ground beef and pork with plenty of onions and garlic! So, grab a big pot and get cooking, just in time for “chili” evenings!
If you’d like a copy of the House of Broadcasting Cookbook, visit www.houseofbroadcasting.com.
By the way, Jack used to say that the Department of Homeland Security had identified his chili as a WMID (Weapon of Mass Indigestion). But I say Clifford’s Chili it’s so good, it’s what the cowboys call MGS–Mighty Good Sop!
Watch my Video for Clifford’s Chili here!