Living in the Moment, PAZAZ™ Style!

living in the moment
Living In The Moment

Las Vegas has been described as an adult playground and I couldn’t agree more. Last night captured the essence of the “Las Vegas Experience” and dialed it up to the tenth degree.

I look around at this place I’ve called home for over seventeen years and I feel blessed to have come here as Vegas has transformed into a dining and entertainment capital of the world. No where else can you experience the kind of quality entertainment and food in such a contained area.

“The Strip” has become synonymous with world class culinary, music, and of course the genius of Cirque du Soleil. The “Cirque” shows include O, Ka, Mystere, Michael Jackson, Zumanity, Luxia, and of course The Beatles, Love.

As I was growing up I was a huge Beatles fan. My dad took me to see the movie “Help” in 1965 when I was but a small child. I remember the excitement generated by their first appearance on Ed Sullivan and watching the screaming girls jumping up and down and even sometimes fainting over the “Fab Four”.

Now, years later we’ve gone to see the Cirque du Soleil show, Love, many times. In addition to that my daughter has gone to Liverpool and taken the “Fab Four” taxi ride as she (through me) has become a huge fan of the band. Chelsea even bought me a coffee cup in Liverpool inscribed Strawberry Fields, “Nothing is real”, which I treasure as I live vicariously through her international experiences.

Last night Nancy, Chelsea and I left this planet and became a part of a parallel universe where ” Nothing is real”. The evening started with dinner at Jean George Steak House at the Aria. It just so happens that I work there but non the less the service, food, and wine were superb.

Our dinner at Jean George was the perfect introduction to an experience I will never forget. After dinner we navigated through the many obstacles (mainly people) to achieve our objective which was to see Paul McCartney at the T-Mobile Arena. Our seats were on the main floor and the concert was even more than I had hoped for.

The arena was buzzing with the anticipation of a performance from one of the greatest rock musicians of all time. With such a storied career Paul is not just a musician he is a legend. We sat with the energy around us increasing in velocity as the moment of Paul’s appearance grew closer.

At 8:30 Paul sauntered across the stage he knew this audience was ready for an epic performance. The evening started with “A Hard Day’s Night” and included such Beatles classics as “Hey Jude”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Something”, and “Back in the USSR”, among many others.

I can’t remember a concert that transported me back in time while I was living in the moment of an experience I will never forget.

I only hope that as I write these blogs our lives will center around the moment we’re in, blessed by the people we’re with, enriched by the experiences we share.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase these “AMAZING” kitchen tools which include the Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat , Heavy Duty Aluminum Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack.

Southern Utah… PAZAZ™ Style

The beautiful topography of Southern Utah captures the nuances of nature in the form of multi-colored rock formations that dance across canyons sculpted by rivers, streams, and creeks.

As the alpine glow transmits different brush strokes of color, the time and the direction of the sun wave a magicians wand to play with the optics transmitted by seasonal change.

Driving north of Las Vegas to this land of enchanted vistas you pass through the Virgin River Gorge located between St. George, Utah, and Beaver Dam Arizona. This long canyon is carved by the Virgin River in Northwest Arizona. The Virgin River rises on the Colorado Plateau creating both the Zion National Park and the Virgin River Gorge.

Each mile brings me closer to my favorite restaurant destination located in St. George Utah. This town was named in honor of Mormon apostle George A. Smith also known as the “potato saint” because he urged early settlers to eat raw, unpeeled potatoes to cure scurvy. Smith didn’t participate in the town’s settlement but chose the first pioneers to enhabit this area.

Besides the natural beauty there is one restaurant that stands far above the rest in consistent food quality high-lighted by spot on service. This restaurant,”The Painted Pony”, is a text book example of caring owners finding a formula and staying within the boundaries of their expertise.

A warm greeting begins the experience expedited by prompt service. Then, the server questions the direction the guest wishes to be taken through the land of culinary delights.

For me, one of the menu items that stands above the rest (in the appetizer category) is the organic beet napoleon. Organic beets topped with julienne crispy beets with a layer of goat cheese in between to create the desired napoleon affect. This dish is served with a balsamic dressing garnished with beet leaves and fresh herbs. This dish should be paired with a Sancerre (sauvignon blanc) from France.

The entree course is a Hawaiian fish called “ONO” which means “delicious” in Hawaiian. Place the “ONO” (a delicate white fish) onto the PAZAZ™ baking mat inside the PAZAZ™ cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees. The slow cooked fish should be in the oven no longer than 6 minutes to create the desired med-rare composition. The rest of the formula to compliment this fish that melts in your mouth consists of couscous with roasted Brussel sprouts in a citrus beurre blanc. The fish is then topped with an apricot chutney to complete this flavor explosion. I love to pair this dish with an Argentinian white wine varietal called Torrontes.

Completing this meal is a classic bread pudding in a creme anglaise paired with an ice wine from Niagara-on-the-lake in south eastern Canada called Inniskillin.

When you find yourself in Southern Utah don’t forget to stop at this amazing destination restaurant, “The Painted Pony”, fueled by the expectation of a meal produced by chefs that care, expedited by professional servers in an environment that calms the spirit and enhances the experience.

This post is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase the amazing Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Aluminum Cookie Sheet, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack. Bring PAZAZ™ into your life!!!

 

Father’s Day, Forever and Beyond

Father's Day Forever and Beyond

Those of you lucky enough to have your fathers alive and well, enjoy the day, and remember how fleeting life is.

The best part of life is spending time with your family and friends on these very special holidays. Trips, work, and anything else that aren’t family and friends are just the minutiae in-between the memories we hold so dear.

For me there are so many fond memories with my father, which is a great sign that he was a very special dad. One of my favorite things he used to do was when he put me on his knee and would sing “This is the way the little boys ride, the little boys ride, the little boys ride so early in the morning” Each phrase would intensify the velocity of the bounce on his knee until he almost bounced me off his knee when he got to “This is the way the cowboys ride… etc. so early in the morning”.

Another wonderful time was when I was really small and he would hoist me up onto his feet and walk me around the house. Simple but lasting memories that captured my heart and connected me with the simplistic joy that comes from unbridled laughter.

Hunting for Easter baskets, Christmas rituals, Halloween costumes my parents made, Thanksgiving dinners, and the very special birthdays were all presented with a love that fostered a connection that will live on until there is no life in me.

One of the funniest moments was when my dad (whom never stuttered) attempted to explain the birds and the bees. He stuttered through a rendition that was part vaudeville and part Leonard Nimoy “In Search Of”. I kept a straight face until he hastily retreated to the safety of our house in which case I kept my muffled laughter to myself. I appreciated the courage it took to address such an issue and wondered if I would someday be placed in the same uncomfortable situation. As fate would have it I wasn’t placed in that position since I had a daughter and that explanation was up to her mom.

Sometimes in junior high, high school, and even college my dad would entertain those that came over to the house. He would play the piano from his repertoire of vaudeville and burlesque comedy a series of very funny songs such as “Don’t go in the Lions Cage Tonight”, and “I left my Hair in San Francisco”. The introduction to “I left my Hair in San Francisco” started with him explaining the only time he could play that particular tune was when he had a piano that was a “Baldwin”.

No matter how many times I heard those tunes I would laugh uproariously until I nearly convulsed. His timing, inflection, and skill set created the “perfect storm”. My friends were laughing too and that is when I knew that although my dad didn’t know much about sports or cars he provided entertainment that most dads couldn’t… and there in lies the gift.

There isn’t one day I don’t think about my dad. The compassion, love, and understanding from my dad prepared me to be the father I am today. It is with that spirit and connection I honor my father today… and for as long as forever is.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to pazazshop.com to purhcase these amazing products which include the following:

Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack.

Summer Recipes – Part 2 – PAZAZ Style!

summer recipes pazaz style
Summer Recipes – Pazaz Style

This recipe will bring to you a sense of relief as you prepare it. The reason is because this recipe can morph into different variations as you broaden your culinary horizons.

You can add a protein to this salad if so inclined. This will expand your repertoire into several different possibilities based upon the protein you choose.

Whichever protein you choose you should place the product on my PAZAZ Silicone Baking Mat and then place on top of the PAZAZ baking sheet pan inside the oven. Then, you should cool the product (outside the oven) with the PAZAZ steel mesh cooling rack which integrates circulation technology with the latest in oven tested dynamics. These amazing kitchen products will bring “The Magic of Cooking” into your kitchen.

“Organic Strawberry & Beet Salad with a Strawberry Balsamic/Garlic Vinaigrette”

Serves 4

    • 4 oz strawberries
    • 3 organic beets
    • 1 organic corn
    • 4 organic mulit-colored carrots
    • 1 organic honey crisp apple
    • 6 oz organic butter lettuce
    • 4 oz goat cheese
    • 3/4 cup of pistachios

Take 3 small organic beets and par boil them in sea salt water until slightly soft but still firm. Then let cool in fridge. Slice into thin vertical pieces and place in salad bowl.

Take one organic stalk of corn de-husk and par boil corn off husk for 3 minutes again in sea salt water.

Let cool in fridge. Take corn and place in salad bowl.

Peel outside of 4 organic mulit-color carrots. Julienne slice inside of carrots into salad bowl

Peel outside organic honey crisp apple. Slice and then dice apple into salad bowl

Prepare 6 oz organic butter lettuce and place in salad bowl.

Mix 2 fluid ounces of “Sedona Divine” Strawberry Vinegar with 1/4 ounce of “Solvang Olive Press” Garlic infused olive oil. Taste and add vinegar or oil depending upon preference.

Finally – add strawberries, goat cheese and pistachios with dressing and mix salad. Form with metal mold to complete presentation in center of plate. Serve… and enjoy!

“Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Arugula, Capers, and Parmesan”

Serves 4

    • 10 ounces of lean center-cut beef tenderloin
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Salt and Pepper
    • 4 ounces of Arugula
    • 4 teaspoons capers (rinsed)
    • 4 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 1 lemon

Trim Tenderloin of any fat and connective tissue. With a sharp knife slice thinly across the grain into 8 equal slices (about 1 ounce each). Lightly oil two sheets of wax paper. Place 2 slices of beef side by side on one of the oiled sheets. Lay the second sheet, oiled side down, over the beef. With a heavy mallet pound down with enough pressure to flatten but not so much as to penetrate the beef. Rotate and continue to gently pound the beef. As the beef becomes thinner use less pressure to avoid tearing. Flatten enough to form a 8 inch circle.

Repeat to make the remaining 3 portions. Cover and refrigerate while gathering the garnish ingredients.

To serve, remove the top sheets of paper from the pounded meat. Invert the carpaccio portions onto 8 inch plates, carefully peel back the remaining paper sheets. Lightly season each portion with salt and pepper and EVO. Mix red wine vinegar with EVO to taste and mix with arugula. Place Arugula over beef and then shave Parmesan over the top and finish with capers. Serve with lemon wedges.

Each of these dishes can be followed with a wonderful light pasta dish which I will highlight in my next blog.

Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase my PAZAZ products which include the Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, the Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack. Bring PAZAZ into your life “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef.

Passion PAZAZ™ Style

When you live in the experience and you are passionate about what you do there is a magic that goes well beyond the task, the event, or the story. This “magic” can be felt by those around you that hear the change in tonality of your voice, the movement of your body, and the glow that surrounds you.

My dad used to sway to the music he was playing, close his eyes, and drift into a sublime space. This series of gestures inevitably created a wonderful connection with the listener that brought the music from his soul to his fingers to the audiences ears. Every movement was based upon a phrase that brought witness to the “Passion” of the moment. Smiles could be seen, bodies pulsated, and hearts were touched.

As a small boy I would never forget those moments of pure joy that spurned me on to become an impassioned ambassador of all things that could be considered “art”. Music, theatre, sports, and even food and wine became my wheelhouse.

When I’m in the world today I see those that blend their talents into an art form that freezes a moment within a picture frame of time. The rarity of this combined with the spontaneity of the circumstance captures a talent, years in its development, to unleash an experience that morphs into a memory.

When someone gives a part of themselves to add to the moment there becomes a connection or a bond that can not be broken. It is within this vulnerability that produces an inner smile forming a path that winds around our heart.

Watching glass blowers go through the process that begins with raw materials and upon completion ends with a work of art is one such example. Another is the musician that beckons to the audience to hear the notes one by one that forms a phrase, that produces a song.

Within my profession of food and wine there are few times that a chef or a server can complete the connection to the guest. Because of the importance of reading the guest, knowing the food, and producing the product as written on the menu there are many variables that can disconnect the expertise that is required to connect all those dots.

That is why it is so rare to feel complete satisfaction within the culinary world. But when you do there is a sense of “Passion” that goes well beyond the outer envelope and speaks to the soul of the team. This produces a lighting bolt beyond sustenance and beyond the orchestral dining ensemble that just produced a very rare culinary symphony.

For all those involved in any art form I salute your “Passion” because it is within this context that you just made the world a better place.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase my Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack… an experience by which all others would be judged.