A Main Course You WILL Want To Serve, PAZAZ™ Style

This combination of Lamb in a whole grain mustard sauce, fine herbs, fresh organic corn, organic mushrooms and caramelized onions, black tea rice, shaved organic beets topped with a home made salsa garnished with garden grown rosemary is a dish you must serve at your next very special dining event.

To begin, there are two very important steps to preparing an excellent meal. First, there is the purchasing of the ingredients. There can be no skimping in purchasing the best lamb available and the lamb must be complimented by all organic produce.

Secondly, the art of preparing any meal is the art of preparation or as the French call it,”Mise en place”,(everything in its place).

Now comes the fun part, your vision for the creation of the meal.

Step One

Boil the Golden Beets until still firm. Then season with garlic powder and sea salt (to taste) and place them on the PAZAZ™ Steel Mesh Rack on top of the PAZAZ™ Baking Mat and then inside of the PAZAZ™ Heavy duty Aluminum Baking Sheet Pan at 350 degrees. This will create an aerodynamic stream of air that will finish cooking the beets to a semi-firm consistency. After achieving the proper consistency and flavor place in a bowl and immerse in a Pineapple Balsamic made by Trio Carmel. Then cool in refrigerator until dinner time.

Step Two

Husk the corn and place in boiling water for 3 minutes. Take corn off of cob and place in bowl cover and place in refrigerator.

Step Three

Unwrap Lamb and season with fresh garlic olive oil and chopped rosemary. Leave the meat out 20 minutes prior to cooking.

Step Four

Place 1/4 cup of Organic Heavy Cream in small pot on stove pryer to cooking lamb. Take to large table spoons of Whole Grain Mustard (your favorite) and place in Organic Heavy Cream.

Step Five

Take out Beets and corn and let sit until they achieve room temperature.

Step Six

Cover the surface of your large frying pan with Olive Oil and put gas on high. Wait until oil is bubbling until you place the seasoned lamb in the pan. You want to pan sear it on both sides (2 minutes each side) or until brown.

Step Seven

Place Lamb on the PAZAZ™ Baking Mat inside of the PAZAZ™ Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan in the oven at 350 degrees. Use thermometer to achieve 132 temperature. Remember the lamb will continue to cook when you take it out. Let lamb sit for 10 minutes before carving.

Step Eight

Caramelize onions with Madera wine and butter to taste. Then add in mushrooms and more butter and a whisper of sea salt to taste.

Step Nine

Turn on burner for sauce (Whole Grain Mustard Sauce) and let cook until it bubbles then remove from heat.

Step Ten

Place Organic Black Tea Rice in Microwave for 90 seconds. You can do this part on the stove but it will take at least 20 minutes to prepare.

Last Steps… The assembly

Place rice in mold to form and place on plate. Shave Golden Beet over the Black Tea Rice and finish with homemade salsa. Then heat the corn with butter and salt to taste. Place corn below rice topped with mushrooms and caramelized onions. Lastly carve lamb and place two or three pieces depending upon your guests in an upright position on the plate to give the plate a sense of height. Finish with mustard sauce and garnish with Rosemary.

There it is… a wonderful dish that is relatively simple to prepare but gives your guest an entree difficult to find in most restaurants. Pair this dish with a wine decanted, the Grenache from Herman Story winery in Paso Robles. Decant an hour before serving.

A Summer Recipe That Speaks To Me

When you are in a situation like we’re in, lets have fun and live life to its fullest!

Cooking, writing, gardening, hiking, playing music, entertaining, and of course… drinking wine are all wonderful hobbies.

Creating recipes that blow people away is not really that hard to do. It requires a basic knowledge of the culinary arts like… this is the stove, that’s the refrigerator, one keeps things cold, the other makes things hot. Oh, and yes there are three more appliances you should know… the oven, the grill, and the dishwasher.

This picture is that of a salad. I probably didn’t need to tell you that but for those of you not familiar with the produce isle because your locked into the frozen food section, its the one that is usually located at the front of the grocery store.

In creating anything that’s good you need to start with great product. The “Organic Girl” lettuce from Whole Foods is where you want to start. Items that add to the salad to create an experience rather than just a grazing at the trough are easy to assemble. Any dish will be enhanced by an array of different consistencies/textures and flavors and of course all organic product.

Beets (Purple and Golden), different colored Carrots, Kalamata Olives, Roasted Hazelnuts, Goat Cheese, Blueberries and a Home Made Dressing… that’s all you need.

Start with the Beets. They must be boiled (still firm) and then lightly roasted in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes topped with garlic salt. Place the Beets on the PAZAZ™ Steel Mesh Rack on top of the PAZAZ™ Baking Mat, placed inside the PAZAZ™ Baking Sheet Pan. This combination of PAZAZ™ products integrates circulation technology with the latest oven tested dynamics which in affect will will cook the Beets evenly. Then, marinate the Purple Beets in a Blueberry Balsamic from Sedona Divine. The Golden Beets should be marinated in a Pineapple Balsamic from Trio Carmel. Marinate for 24 hours.

Peal the Confetti Carrots (Purple, Yellow, Orange, and White) into a small bowl and immerse in a Citrus Balsamic from the Solvang Olive Press.

Cover the Hazelnuts with Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Then let them cool for 10 minutes and peal the skin off of them leaving the bare Nut. Re-cover them with Olive Oil and Sea Salt and place them again on the PAZAZ™ Steel Mesh Rack, PAZAZ™ Baking Mat inside on top of the PAZAZ™ Baking Sheet Pan for another 10 minutes.

The dressing should be 2 parts Cranberry Pear Balsamic to 1 part Tuscan Herb Oil. Begin by placing Lettuce in large bowl. Shave Beets (Purple and Golden) into large bowl over Lettuce followed by the Blueberries, Kalamata olives, Goat Cheese (to taste) and hazelnuts. Mix all together with Dressing applied at the last minute to ensure a Crisp Salad. This assembly should then be placed inside a mold (size for you to determine) to create a tower effect. Then sprinkle the Confetti Carrots over and around the Salad Tower.

Get an organic Ciabatta bread slice into small quarters. Place on PAZAZ™ Baking Mat inside of PAZAZ™ Baking Sheet Pan. Cover with melted butter followed by carefully placed slices of Havarti Cheese flavored with Dill over every inch of exposed bread. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts completely over said bread. Place artistically on plate for garnish.

That should keep you busy for this week. Next week I will provide my lamb recipe. And remember to wear your mask at all times to continue this tyrannical fable orchestrated by your favorite cast from “Different Strokes” the CDC and the WHO. The What?… the WHO.

Places That Take Your Breath Away… PAZAZ™ Style

Over the course of our lives there are places that are fondly remembered because of the circumstances we visit and or whom we are with. Then there are places that bring comfort because of either the people that served us or the experience they created to heighten our level of satisfaction and pleasure. Then there are places that just “Take your breath away”.

I have to preface these descriptions with one vital caveat. Usually… its never as good as the first time. The first place I’d like to take you to is a bit exotic.

I traveled to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay founded in 1680 almost five years ago. This city evokes old Lisbon with its Portuguese-influenced architecture and winding streets. What caught my eye initially were the cobble stone streets, a fort, the fact that its a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of the presidential palace, and its located on the Rio de la Plata a 40 minute ferry ride from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Putting all of that aside the reason this place “Took my breath away” was not because of the history, location, or architecture. As I walked the streets I found a peacefulness rare in this world that was alluring and disarming. This “walk about” led me to the edge of town to the Rio de la Plata river (as big as an ocean). So big that the opposite shore could not be sited.

Strategically I found a restaurant with an open table that looked directly to this view. As sunset approached I was mesmerized by the rainbow of color that changed every minute to unveil another hue within the spectrum of red, yellow, orange, and finally purple that I had never experienced before. I was literally speechless, in awe, and captivated by this collage of sky, river, and salty scent before me.

I will never forget that picture that rests in my mind, which literally… “Took my breath away”.

Another place which still “Takes my breath away” is located much closer to home in Marin County on Mount Tamalpais State Park in California. Just the drive is enough to wet your appetite for what’s to come.

Driving the back way through the hills of Fairfax you’ll pass over Alpine Dam, surge towards and past Cataract falls, up and over to the road that traverses the outline of the California coast. Meandering along you’ll pass trees and forest to the left… meadows, wildflowers, and vistas of the Pacific ocean to your right.

After a few soft turns around bends that expose even more beauty… you’ve arrived. Only a few locals know about this place and only a few can find it. As you watch the hang gliders preparing to descend to Stinson Beach (from this particular vantage point) you’ll hike down a steep meadow into the second clump of trees. There you’ll sit on a rock aptly named by us, “Table Rock”. This rock sits two comfortably with full picnic lunch in tow.

To the right is Point Reyes National Seashore jutting out to create a majestic outline of that spectacular natural habitat. Then to the left is the Marin Headlands with San Francisco in the distance. Below is a meadow with deer, age old redwoods, pine, and oak… and just beyond that Stinson Beach. If all that beauty wasn’t enough there are several added integral parts to this picture. First, there are the red tail hawks circling just above your domain, and just above that are the hang gliders circling like colorful birds with wings spread arching back and forth to the music of a natural high.

I guarantee you one thing… These places I described….will…”Take your Breath Away.”

What I Remember Most

For those of you lucky enough to still be blessed with your mother’s company… I say, “Relish your time together.” Mother’s Day is a gift to honor the person that brought you into this world, loved you unconditionally, and shared some of your most treasured moments.

The thought of spending mother’s day with your mother and remembering the stages of life in which we both change physically and mentally is a tribute to the humanity of social evolution. This evolutionary tale tells a story of relationship, emotion, and the substance of family values.

If you are rewarded by divine intervention and your mom is a beacon of trust, love, and honor then silently thank God for this miracle. Think of whom you are as a miracle woven by hands that guide your life through the obstacles that can sometimes derail even the strongest of mind and spirit. It is with this background of thought that I now share with you some of my most treasured lessons that have created the best part of who I am and what I stand for.

Three specific lessons that my mother taught me amongst many instances I knew I was blessed to have this person in my life (at what I would later realize was a fleeting moment in time).

First, there was the teaching phase which included being respectful with manners that included but was not limited to, “Please and thank you.” There were so many more instances of her teaching me from reading, writing, arithmetic, of course the violin, and the composition of understanding simple deduction to more complicated biblical metaphors.

Secondly, there was the teaching of the importance of family, interaction with friends, and the social grace needed and required to be a successful and contributing member of society. This, as an only child, was difficult to grasp as typically “only children” tend to be more self centered and introspective. I found through my parents love for the arts and theatre that humor, self sacrifice, and the gift of entertaining others was a trait that endeared one to friends and family. This would ultimately lead to me never suffering the indignity of being alone.

Thirdly, and perhaps the most important lesson I learned, was that of “unconditional love”. The many trials and tribulations I put my mother through (and I was a pretty good kid) was a testament to her love and support. On more than one occasion I tested her limit of compassion and patience which always led to her unwavering sense of “unconditional love”.

What started as small tests when I was young (a hole in the knee of my pants three days in a row) to much larger tests of “unconditional love” when I was older (car crashes… yes plural) taught me that there must be something I had yet to understand about the laws of forgiveness and “unconditional love”.

Well, as I am blessed to remember my time with my mom (she passed away in 1992) I can tell you two things most certainly:

One – I still think about her every day and miss her so much that sometimes the tears well up and I am taken back to her smile, her heart, and the sweet mentor she was for me.

Two – Now that I have a daughter (whom is my greatest gift) I understand “unconditional love”.

If you are reading this and have a moment, please reach out to your mom to thank her for all she’s done for you, but especially thank her for whom she is.

Oven Roasted Salmon Salad, PAZAZ™ STYLE!

The weather is starting to heat up, so lets kick it up a notch. Today I will give you a recipe I created for late spring moving into the sweltering summer. This dish will provide you with the panache you are looking for and help you when you put your hands on your hips and say, “What the hell am I going to cook tonight?”

First of all only use wild caught salmon (available at Trader Joe’s) and organic ingredients best accessed from Whole Foods.

Oven Roasted Salmon Salad

      • 4 Four Ounce Wild Caught Salmon
      • 1 bunch Organic Red Beets
      • 1 bunch Multi-Colored Carrots
      • 1 bunch basil
      • 1 Eight ounce container Organic Butter Lettuce
      • 1 Goat Cheese
      • 1 container Cashews
      • 1 Organic Avocado
      • 1 Organic Container Mirepoix (Onion, Carrot, Celery) already chopped
      • 1 Low Fat Lemon Yogurt (Trader Joes)
      • 1 container Mango Salsa
      • 1 Cranberry/Pear Vinegar (Solvang Olive Press)
      • 1 Lemon Oil (Trio Carmel)
      • 1 Pineapple Vinegar (Trio Carmel)
      • 1 Garlic Oil (Trio Carmel)
      • 1 Blueberry Vinegar (Trio Carmel)
      • Madeira
      • 2 lettuce molds (6 inch Round Metal forms)

Instructions

      1. First, peel and boil beets until semi soft to the touch
      2. Cool Beets and marinate in Blueberry Vinegar vinegar
      3. Peal raw Organic Multi-Colored Carrots into ribbons and marinate in Pineapple Vinegar
      4. Pan Sear (2 minutes) Wild Caught Salmon in Lemon Oil and flame with Madeira
      5. Finish with Mirepoix for extra flavor
      6. Place Salmon without mirepoix on PAZAZ™ Cooling Rack on top of PAZAZ™Baking Mat inside of Baking Sheet Pan PAZAZ™ and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees
      7. Assemble dressing for salad (2 parts Cranberry/Pear to 1 part Garlic Oil)
      8. Place chilled beets sliced into rounds on bottom of mold
      9. Then add Salad mixed with goat cheese, cashews, and remaining raw mirepoix
      10. Put one small layer of lemon yogurt over 4 ounce Wild Caught Salmon
      11. Place Wild Caught Salmon on top of Lettuce
      12. Place 2 sliced pieces of Organic Avocado over Wild Caught Salmon
      13. Over Avocado place Mango Salsa
      14. Garnish with Basil Leaf
      15. Finish plate by scattering Organic Multi-Colored Carrots over plate like confetti

Special Notes:

1. Out of respect for the “Pandemic” the chef must super glue a 6 foot broom handle to his or her abdomen, this will insure social distancing.

2. All guests and the chef during this whole social affair must wear motorcycle helmets for their own protection (open shield insert food, close shield). This will insure no germs, coughing or other infectious air will contaminate said environment.

3. You must (and this is very important) wear baking mitts so that there will be absolutely no contact.

4. Finally you will have to hire another person dressed in a hazmat suit to feed you.

Enjoy the recipe and remember to pair a great Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling with the Organic Salmon Salad.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad. Today was his birthday.