When you bring meatballs to the office potluck or neighborhood gathering, people always make a beeline to the Crockpot armed with wooden toothpicks for jabbing. Sometimes you have to jockey for position and the competition can be fierce. The ever-popular meatball has many preparations and some are better than others.
If you’re ready to up your meatball game, Paul Millist, executive chef of Lincoln Restaurant and Bar 1936 at JW Marriott Camelback Inn, has the recipe for you. The best news of all? It’s made with bacon, a food that Millist quips is “America’s favorite vegetable.”
Each month, we of the PHOENIX magazine editorial team ask ourselves a different question about our favorite dining and drinking experiences in the Valley. Our picks are usually hidden in the back of the magazine among our Dining Guide restaurant listings. Not any more. Our picks are going digital! Feel free to follow us on social media (at least, those of us who tweet) and be sure to tag us (@PhoenixMagazine on Twitter and @PHXMagazine on Instagram) on pics of your favorite picks.
Happy November! As we mend our elastic waistbands in preparation of stuffing ourselves on everyone's favorite fall holiday, we're asking ourselves, "What are your favorite Thanksgiving-y dishes in the Valley?
If you’re looking for a new way to get your marshmallow fluff fix, Fairytale Brownies co-owner Eileen Spitalny offers up Moonfetti Pie, a sweet concoction that marries a dreamy combination of chocolate, marshmallow fluff, caramel sauce and sprinkles – kind of like a whoopie pie meets brownie sundae. The recipe is the result of a collaboration between Fairytale Brownies and local candy maven Tracy Dempsey of Tracy Dempsey Originals.
When you melt chocolate in the microwave, be careful not to overcook because it will burn, Spitalny says. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler: “Just make sure you stir, stir, stir. That’s the key to melting chocolate.”
You can find Fairytale Brownies at AJ’s Fine Foods and Duck and Decanter or order them at brownies.com.
According to Bradley, who is trained in Chinese nutritional therapy, soup is a good way to nourish the body and warm up the digestive system. “I was raised to think that there’s nothing better for you than a big, cold, raw salad and a big, cold smoothie, but in Chinese theory, cold foods impair digestion,” she says.
If you’ve never heard of kabocha squash, you’re not alone. It’s also known as Japanese squash and is available at most local grocery stores. “Kabocha is unique because you can eat the skin, so you don’t have to peel it,” Bradley says. “You scoop out the seeds and cook as is, throw in the blender and you have a nice soup within about 30 minutes.”
Today (Oct. 13) is World Egg Day and to celebrate, Sharman Hickman of local Hickman’s Family Farms is sharing a recipe that’s easy to make and jam-packed with essential nutrients. “Eggs are nature’s vitamin bottle,” she says.
The recipe is easily amended and tailored to your preference, Hickman says. “If you don’t want it to have meat, you can substitute spinach or kale. And if you don’t want ham, you can use turkey. Our recipes are designed for whatever you have available in your refrigerator.”
“Hope begins with a meal” is the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s slogan for those in rehabilitation and recovery. At first, the motivational phrase referred to Phoenix Rescue Mission’s soup kitchens, but now, with the opening of the Mission Possible Café, it takes on a whole new meaning.
Instead of only doling out meals to those in need, the Rescue Mission is providing something, though less urgent, perhaps more useful over time: the opportunity to work in a brand-new restaurant and provide meals for hungry customers.
For those who enjoy a hearty breakfast at home, this one’s for you. Matt Pool of Matt’s Big Breakfast shares the recipe for Chop & Chick that was once featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives several years ago. In the episode, host Guy Fieri chows down on the pesto marinated pork chop and deems it “fantastic.”
“We make everything from scratch the old-fashioned way,” Pool says. “The home fries remind me of something you’d have in your grandma’s kitchen.”
If you want to try the dish before attempting it at home, scurry down to Matt’s Big Breakfast and learn from the experts. But be prepared to wait. This place is hella popular.
As a kid growing up in Texas and Louisiana, TEXAZ Grill owner Steve Freidkin now has fond memories of his mama’s mashed tater salad. So when he got tired of throwing away the leftover mashed potatoes at his popular Phoenix restaurant, he recalled the potato salad of his youth. “I thought, well, dang. It worked for my family. Maybe it will work here.”
The verdict? “Some people like it and some people are a little freaked out by it,” he says. “It’s a little different, but c’mon, it’s got bacon in it so it’s got to be good.”
Freidken uses russet potatoes with the skin on and makes the dressing separately from the salad. “It has most of the ingredients of a Southern-style potato salad, but it’s got a little Louisiana flair to it.”
Earlier this month, 14 chefs gathered at The Camby hotel in Central Phoenix for the Rock the Guac competition in honor of National Guacamole Day and benefitting Free Arts of Arizona. Their challenge? Creating different guacamoles designed to stand out.
I know taste testing 14 different guacamoles may seem like a dream, but let me tell you that guac has the tendency to taste more or less the same after a few scoops. But in the name of journalism, I persevered.
The sweetest (perhaps weirdest) take was from Tarbell’s in Phoenix that whipped up a chocolate mousse dessert topped with an avocado mousse/puree. It was tasty but let’s face it, couldn’t pass as guacamole. I can’t say there were any competitors that I flat out didn’t like at all, but my favorite was The Market by Jennifer’s. I loved that the chef used focaccia instead of the hackneyed tortilla chip and how she managed to seamlessly blend many different flavors and textures together.
Below are four guacamoles that stood out, both to me and the official judges, plus a recipe for the first prize winner.
Pancake lovers, your special day is coming. Tuesday, Sept. 26 has been deemed National Pancake Day and if you’re looking for a new recipe to wow your friends and family (perhaps this weekend since pancakes are more "lazy Sunday" than "gotta get to work Tuesday"), we’ve got a good one for you.
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