Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya
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Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

On gray rainy days in New York (esp. at the beginning of so-called
“Summer”), there’s nothing better than staying home and cooking up a big pot of comfort food. It seems to make the rain almost pleasant to listen to and watch, knowing that you’re tucked up indoors away from the rest of the world, cooking something cozy and delicious.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya


One of my favorite things to make is spicy Cajun and Creole food (New Orleans is one of my fav cities ever..the #FOOD though!) and I had grand visions of creating a kickass recipe this week for my blog. And considering it’s going to be a rainy Memorial Day weekend, why not make a big pot of something wonderful to stay indoors and savor while I’m at it?

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

I had some Aidell’s Andouille Sausage on hand and tons of bell peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes in the pantry so I decided to make a big pot of Jambalaya for my afternoon project. I also had some Flour City Pasta ‘Bon Vivant Orzo’ I’ve been dying to try, so I decided to whip up a twist on ordinary Jambalaya using that instead of rice. The orzo is multi-colored small pasta that looks like rice, with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne – and I thought it would add some more layers of flavor to the dish.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

First I cooked the sausage until lightly browned in a big Dutch oven with a little olive oil. Then I added the vegetables and sautéed everything together with some spicy Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s is the bomb!). I also threw in some Kroger brand Zesty Seasoning Blend which is a savory blend of herbs and spices like onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, savory, marjoram, bay, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin and added a dash of hot paprika for an extra kick of spiciness and flavor. You can also substitute some dried thyme and oregano or whatever dried herbs you like instead if you can’t find something similar.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

Then I added the broth and tomatoes and orzo and brought everything to a boil, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the orzo was cooked through. The pasta will soak up the liquids and get thicker the longer it sits, so be careful not to overcook it or it will get mushy. If you’re using rice instead, let the ingredients simmer for longer, about 20 minutes.

Once it all comes together with a consistency you like, serve it with some chopped green onions and fresh parsley with a dash of hot sauce (traditional Frank’s RedHot or Crystal are my favs) and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

All I know is I have a long holiday weekend to savor my delicious Jambalaya, along with lots of naps and Netflix.

Let it rain. J

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 cup

This Sausage Orzo Jambalaya is a twist on traditional Creole Jambalaya using multi-colored orzo instead of rice, with the addition of some corn. It has a medium-spice heat to it with lots of veggies including red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes - a savory, heartwarming dish for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange, green)
  • 1 cup yellow corn kernels
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s)
  • 2 teaspoons Zesty Seasoning Blend (Kroger)- optional
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups orzo
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium-high in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes until browned on all sides about 8 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, corn, garlic and bay leaves along with the herbs and spices and saute over medium-high for a few minutes. Add the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the orzo and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes until the orzo is cooked through and soft.
  4. Garnish with sliced scallions and chopped fresh parsley and a dash of hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper, to taste for an extra kick.

Notes

Note: you can also substitute traditional white rice for the orzo, just cook it in the pot longer, about 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

You can also add chicken or shrimp to the recipe, swapping out 1 pound for the andouille sausage.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/26/sausage-orzo-jambalaya/

Coffee Marinated Steak

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Now that Summer is rapidly approaching, I am so excited about getting outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and especially cooking outdoors with friends and family. Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook in warm weather months, simply because it’s so easy and a healthy way to cook, and it usually takes place with a group of friends outside making fun memories and laughter to go with it.

I recently went down to Atlanta where I used to live to visit some old friends and we had a blast grilling outside on my friend’s outdoor BBQ grill in her backyard. We sat around the grill and made grilled sliders, shrimp, jalapeno poppers, and wings (with lots of snacks and drinks to go with of course!) It reminded me of the good old days when I used to live there… living and working in NYC we don’t get the opportunity to grill much anymore and it’s a precious occasion when I go to visit my friends and family who live in greener pastures.


One of my favorite things to make is a big juicy grilled steak..it’s always a tasty treat, easy to prepare and everyone loves it…especially with some grilled vegetables, salad, potatoes and a glass of wine or beer while sitting out on the patio dining al fresco watching the sunset.

My go-to Summer recipe is Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, an espresso alternative to Nepresso capsules,  with a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic. You simply mix all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, then marinade the steaks for an hour or up to overnight for some really delicious flavor.

Then simply pop them on the grill for about 8-10 minutes and you have the most juicy, flavorful and delicious steaks you’ve ever tasted in your life. Not to mention, a great idea for Father’s Day to spoil Dad! Click here to see more of my grilling ideas and recipes for Father’s Day.

Ah, Summertime and the livin’s easy…Enjoy J

Coffee Marinated Steak

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1 (12-14 ounce) Strip Steak

My go-to Summer recipe is Gourmesso Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, which is an espresso (alternative to Nepresso capsules) that has a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, room temp
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium Dale’s seasoning (or dark soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red paprika
  • 3 small red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse Kosher salt
  • 4 (12-14 ounce) boneless Strip steaks

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, add the shallots, garlic, Gourmesso coffee, balsamic vinegar, Dale’s sauce/soy sauce, brown sugar, paprika, chilies, peppercorns, and olive oil and kosher salt and blend together well. Pour half the marinade in a glass dish or large plastic ziptop bag, add the steaks and toss to coat with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Cover the remaining marinade and set aside in the fridge until ready to grill.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grill rack. Remove steak from marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling.
  3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and place on grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare (less or more according to desired doneness), basting occasionally with remaining marinade.
  4. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest tented in foil for 5 minutes. Serve with grilled vegetables or a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette and a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Notes

You can make the marinade up to a day ahead of time and store in the fridge with the steaks in a plastic bag or covered dish.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/23/gourmesso-coffee-marinated-steak/

New Food Styling + Photography Work

NYC Food Photographer
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Kristen Hess NYC Food Stylist + NYC Food Photographer

Hey Guys! I’ve recently updated my food styling and photography portfolio with some new work I’ve done – I tend to get so busy that marketing is the last thing I have time for but I’ve added some new cool work I’ve done for some new restaurants and catering companies, Lo-Cal Kitchen, Cork + Slice, Lilly’s Craft + Kitchen, Outback Steakhouse, 7 Barrels, Arnold Bread, Eggland’s Best, The Laughing Cow, California Almond Board and more. Stay tuned for more updates on my styling and photography work!

Check out my portfolio online at http://kristenhess.com 


Food Styling for Lo-Cal Kitchen 

Food Photography for Cork + Slice

Food Photography for Lilly’s Craft + Kitchen NYC

Le Book - Kristen Hess Photographer and Food Stylist

I also just received my Le Book Photography Annual and found me on page 394! Le Book is a highly acclaimed annual of photographers, stylists, production teams, advertising agencies, studios and more that comes out once a year. A prestigious title at that to be in the “LE BOOK”.

Check out my portfolio on their website for more examples of my work at http://www.lebook.com/kristenhess 

 

Food Styling + Photography for LDV Caterers NYC

NYC Food Photographer Kristen Hess

Check out the full portfolio online at http://ldvcaterers.com/#gallery

Great Reads :: Top Cookbooks for Spring 2017

Great Reads: Top books for Spring 2017
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Hey guys, so happy Spring! I haven’t done a post on Great Reads in a while and i have soooo many great books and cookbooks that I’ve read that deserve a big shout out!

Here’s a few of my recent favs that are definitely worth a read:


Salmon: From Market to Plate

Salmon, From Market to Plate by Maureen C. Berry 

For all you salmon lovers out there, this is your book. Seafood advocate and cook Maureen C. Berry will show you how to be sustainable salmon shopper and conscientious cook.

The book goes over the basics of how and where to buy different varieties of salmon and the best tools and essential ingredients for your kitchen to do so. She has 20 easy and delicious everyday salmon recipes included and they’re grouped by “In the Oven”, “On the Stove” and “On the Grill”, making it easy to learn different ways to cook salmon. There’s also some more advanced recipes from chefs and organizations that support sustainable fisheries and ocean conservation at the end.

Some of my favorite recipes in the book are simple and use fresh ingredients..Salmon with Roasted Apples and Walnuts, Farmers Market Salmon Salad, Salmon Corn Chowder, Grilled Salmon with Roasted Beets, Blue Cheese and Pear Vinaigrette, Pan Grilled Salmon with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto…and there’s so many more!

You can find Maureen tweeting @maureencberry and on Instagram @maureenc.berry. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and their feisty wire fox terrier.

Get the book on Amazon

Cook's Country Eats Local

Cook’s Country EATS LOCAL, 150 Regional Recipes

So this is such a fun cookbook and a roadtrip across the country with some of the best regional recipes ever! It actually makes me want to jump in a car and eat my way through every state, just like Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Actually, when I was a kid, my whole family (me, Mom and Dad and my Sister) packed up our stuff into an RV hooked up to my Dad’s truck and drove across the country for five weeks from New York to California and back. We saw amazing things like the Salt Flats in Salt Lake City, the Badlands (we fed the prairie dogs “Twigs” on the side of the road!), Mount Rushmore in South Dakota,  the Redwood Forest in Northern California, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, the Geysers in Yellowstone National Park, panning for gold in an old deserted Western town in Montana..and the list goes on. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by travel and especially the food that comes from different regions of the country along with the history, culture and stories behind it.

The book breaks up the recipes into four regions featuring some of the top classical recipes in each: New England and the Mid-Atlantic, Appalachia and the South, The Midwest and Great Plains, Texas and the West.

The book includes anecdotes and stories on the history of the recipes and variations on some, along with colorful illustrations, side notes, cooking tips, photography and maps where you can find some of these recipes at popular hot spots across the country.

A few of my recipe favs in the book: Iowa Skinnies (a thinly cut fried pork chop sandwich with lettuce and tomato), St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake (need I say more?), South Carolina Shrimp Boil, Hoppin’ John (slow cooked Southern dish with rice, black-eyed peas and ham hocks), Rhode Island Johnnycakes (crispy corn cakes served with maple butter), Pittsburgh Wedding Soup (a Western PA version of Italian Wedding Soup with meatballs, kale, and orzo), Chicken Riggies (a classic chicken and rigatoni with tomato sauce baked dish from Utica NY), Prosperity Sandwiches (an open face sandwich melt similar to a Hot Brown from the Midwest), Texas Chicken Fried Steak and Chile Rellenos Casserole and Black Bottom Pie (chocolate custard, rum chiffon and whipped cream pie with a chocolate cookie crust) – OMG.

Check out the book on Amazon

Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies

Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies, Sophie Egan

This is a smart, funny and well-written book that delves into the American psyche of how we eat and why we eat, and sheds a unique light on the current food culture in America. Food writer and Culinary Institute of America program director  Sophie Egan examines the connections between our national values of work, freedom, and progress—and our eating habits (good ones and bad ones).

She explores many topics and questions such as why America is obsessed with healthy, GMO-free and gluten-free food; our obsession with having everything “our way” and instant gratification; our quick substitutes for real food while living such busy, scattered lives; and how American food is being influenced by global culinary trends and flavors. She analyzes workplace food experiences, fad diets, stunt foods, grandiose food marketing, and more.

Thought provoking and definitely worth a read! You can get it online here.

Here’s a few others worth a mention on the list (and all IACP Cookbook Award winners):

Scratch by Maria Rodale

Taste of Persia, Naomi Duguid

Deep Run Roots, Vivian Howard

Molly on the Range, Molly Yeh

James Beard’s All American Eats

Things are getting Coco Loco for Summer!

CocoLoco-hero
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Captain Morgan Loco Nut

Hey guys, listen up! Summer is almost around the corner and do I have some exciting news for you coconut lovers around the world! CAPTAIN MORGAN just took a bunch of coconuts and turned them into a delicious new shot, CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut. This super delicious shot is made with Caribbean rum, coconut liqueur, spice and natural flavors.

Loco-&-Chill


It comes in a coconut-shaped bottle, smells like a coconut and yes,  tastes like a coconut (and a day on the beach in a glass!) LocoNut is affordable too, just $14.99 for a 750 ml bottle, and it’s coming to a store (and a beach) near you. And, on top of that, CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut is also gluten-free!

Loconut2

It’s simply amazing as a chilled shot, but it’s also great simply on the rocks, and a great base for a variety of tropical cocktails or mixed shots, so get creative! I’d love to hear some of your cocktail ideas using LocoNut in the comments below.

Here’s a few cocktail ideas to get your tastebuds singing and a head start on Summer vacay:

Loco & Coco 

3 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

4 oz. Coconut Water

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut with coconut water and serve over ice.

—–

Captain & Loco 

2 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

0.5 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN Original Spiced Rum

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut and CAPTAIN MORGAN Original Spiced Rum and serve over ice.

—–

Livin’ Vanilla Loco 

1 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

0.5 oz. CROWN ROYAL Vanilla

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut and CROWN ROYAL Vanilla into a shaker with ice.

Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.

LocoNut

——-

To learn more about CAPTAIN MORGAN follow us on social media on Instagram (@CaptainMorganUSA), Twitter (@CaptainMorganUS) and like us on Facebook (@CaptainMorganUSA).

——-

About Diageo 

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Follow on Twitter for news and information about Diageo North America: @Diageo_NA.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere

——-

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I received a product sample from the client to perform this product review on my site. I was not compensated monetarily and all opinions are my own. #ad #spon

Celebrating International Women’s Day :: Top Women in Food + Beverage

International Women's Day
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international womens day

What a great day to celebrate! Today is International Women’s Day (Wednesday, March 8th) – a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

I’m proud to be an entrepreneurial #woman in the New York City food scene. I’m also proud of all the thousands of other smart, talented, independent, business savvy #women I know around the world, in the culinary world, business world, political scene, creative and marketing fields, and more (too many to mention!).. and raise a glass to all they have achieved.


international womens day

Women have come so far in the world in the past century (voting rights, equal rights, next equal pay!) and I hope we continue to progress in the world even further in the next one. With the opportunities that lie ahead and the tremendous amount of talented passionate women in the world, there’s no stopping us!

international women's day

Below is a salute to some of the Top Female Food and Beverage Power Players in South Florida and New Orleans, two hot beds in the culinary scene — chefs, bartenders, sommeliers and restaurateurs making a difference in the culinary landscape.

Cheers to all of you wonderful ladies around the world and never stop dreaming! #beboldforchange

International Women's Day logo

The roster of talent includes:

South Florida: (rollover photos for names)

Danielle Rosse, Owner, Oceans 234

When it comes to acclaimed restaurateurs in South Florida, it can tend to be a bit of an ‘old boys’ club. And when it comes to delivering a superb, true-to-Florida oceanfront dining experience, very few can ‘serve it up’ better than South Florida female restaurateur and entrepreneur Danielle Rosse. Rosse was just 22 and recently widowed when she first opened Oceans 234 in 2001. Starting as Director of Operations, she transformed what was once a sleepy oceanfront diner into the alluring waterfront dining escape that Oceans 234 is recognized as today. In 2013 she purchased the restaurant to become the sole owner of the establishment and in 2015 it underwent a massive $1.8 million dollar renovation elevating the property and the guest experience. This respected restauranteur also strives to give back to the industry that she loves so dearly. Rosse sits on the Board of Directors for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce as well as the Broward Health Foundation. She has received numerous honors including the 2011 Coconut Creek Small Business Person of the Year, 2013 Soroptimist International Woman of Distinction, and the 2014 South Florida Business Journal Influential Woman of the Year. The Oceans 234 team now hosts multiple fundraisers throughout the year including Surfers for Autism, Woman In Distress’s Annual Clothing Drive, and the Annual St. Baldricks Shave-a-Thon. Rosse also supports the Gwendolyn Clarke-Reed Neighborhood Initiative program that promotes the employment of at-risk youth during the summer months by having students intern at the restaurant.

Shannon Allen, Owner, Grown

Shannon Allen, owns and operates Grown™, a highly celebrated USDA Organic Certified fast food restaurant based in Miami, Florida, alongside her husband Ray Allen. Shannon (The PreGame Meal) created the concept in frustration after searching unsuccessfully for an organic nutrient dense meal on-the-go for their five children and especially their son Walker who lives with Type 1 Diabetes. She and Ray (retired two-time NBA Champion, 10-time NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist), are committed to promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle by providing freshly prepared meals inclusive of guests with dietary needs such as gluten sensitivities, food allergies, vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, and those on the Autoimmune Protocol or paleo diets. Grown is proud to be the first USDA Certified Organic fast food restaurant with a drive-thru on the East Coast, and is widely recognized as a market disrupter for providing convenience without compromise.

Jessica Goldman, Goldman Properties

Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, was with the company founded by her late father, Tony Goldman, for 15 years before taking the reins at his behest in 2012.  Founded in 1967, the award-winning company recognizes the value in depressed urban areas, re-imagining, reconstructing and transforming declining districts into thriving global destinations. Goldman Srebnick oversees the company’s portfolio of assets in New York, Philadelphia, Miami Beach and Miami’s emerging Wynwood Arts District, with a key focus on the vitality, aesthetic and artistic components of all products created by the firm. The rich mix includes hotels, restaurants, office buildings, commercial, retail and residential properties, and Wynwood Walls, the highly-acclaimed outdoor street art museum. In July of 2015, Goldman Srebnick founded Goldman Global Arts to generate and produce impactful large scale creative projects for a variety of organizations including an integration of large scale artwork into Hard Rock Stadium. Goldman Srebnick is an active member of numerous philanthropic organizations including the prestigious Young Presidents Organization, the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, and the Cycle for Survival’s national Battle Leadership Council. Goldman Srebnick has received numerous accolades, including being named one of South Florida Business Journal’s Top100 Power Leaders, Florida International University Center for Leadership named her one of 50 Prominent Women in Florida and she received the prestigious Key to the city of Miami for her work on the Global Leadership Conference in 2009. In addition to the accolades, she has received worldwide press, and has been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, AP, and the BBC. Furthermore, her efforts in Wynwood have led to Vogue and Forbes magazines listing the area as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world.

Jennifer Wagoner, Lead Sommelier at Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Jennifer Wagoner brings a unique creativity to the historic Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s acclaimed wine program in her role as Lead Sommelier at Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina and StripSteak by Michael Mina where she manages expansive wine lists encompassing more than 1000 bottles and 50 by the glass selections. Born in Indiana, Wagoner began her career in the restaurant and club business in Manhattan. A student of Master Sommelier Laura Maniec and B.R. Guest’s “Wine College,” she fell in love with the art and science of wines, finding a passion in the process of winemaking but real affection for wine tasting and pairing. In 2006, Wagoner relocated to Miami and worked at Escopazzo restaurant. In 2007, she joined Goldman Properties’ Wish restaurant where she helped craft a wine list that quickly earned raves including the coveted Wine Spectator award. In 2010, she launched Wynwood Kitchen & Bar (WKB) in Miami’s emerging Wynwood Arts District. There, she served as restaurant manager and sommelier and managed the restaurant’s eclectic wine list as well as developed, at the time, one of the most progressive beer lists in town. Her wine and brew acumen earned Wynwood Kitchen & Bar a nod from Miami New Times as the “Best New Bar” of 2010. She left WKB in 2012 and took the role of Head Sommelier at the wildly popular Zuma restaurant in downtown Miami. There, she was responsible for an award-winning wine list of over 400 selections. She joined the Fontainebleau Miami Beach team in May 2015. Wagoner holds a CMS Level 2 Sommelier Certification and has an Advanced Certificate in Wine Business from the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.

Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier, 3030 Ocean

3030 Ocean’s Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier, and South Florida native, has always had a passion for food. That passion became a career, and Grenier earned a degree from Florida State University in Food Science and Nutrition. She then attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale to learn the craft of truly refined cooking and the intricate design behind elegant food preparation and presentation. Grenier began her culinary career under the tutelage of acclaimed Chefs Dean Max and Paula DaSilva at 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale’s Harbor Beach Marriott Resort. Here, Grenier spent two years honing her skills before her desire for new culinary experiences lead the budding chef to California. While on the West Coast, Grenier worked her way up the ranks at the Michelin starred restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood; as well as Blanca Restaurant in Solana Beach, alongside renowned Chef Jason Neroni. While living in California, Grenier spent much of her time visiting local farmer’s markets, embracing the art of farm-to-table cooking. In 2010, the self-proclaimed “farm girl” joined the culinary team at 1500 Degrees at Miami Beach’s Eden Roc resort. Here, she teamed up with Executive Chef Paula DaSilva again as sous chef, focusing on fresh, sustainable cuisine. During her tenure, the restaurant became one of Esquire magazine’s “Top 20 Best New Restaurants in the USA.”  DaSilva — mentor to Grenier — encouraged the chef to participate as a competitor on Food Network’s Chopped, and in January of 2011 she received the grand prize of $10,000. In 2013, Grenier returned to where her culinary career began, as DaSilva’s sous chef at 3030 Ocean, where she helped to conceptualize an ever-changing menu of organic produce and locally-sourced dishes from both land and sea. In 2015, after DaSilva’s departure, she was named Executive Chef of 3030 Ocean in 2015.

Executive Chef Paula DaSilva, Artisan Beach House

South Florida culinary darling Chef Paula DaSilva returned to Miami as Executive Chef with Artisan Beach House at The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami. The Brazilian native’s love for cooking began at a young age working at her family-owned restaurants in Massachusetts and, later in South Florida. Eager to expand her culinary repertoire, DaSilva attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where she earned a degree in Culinary Arts. DaSilva began her culinary career at 3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Marriot under the tutelage of esteemed South Florida Chef Dean Max. It was around this time that DaSilva competed in the fifth season of FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Gordon Ramsey and finished as the season’s runner-up, cementing her place as one of Florida’s celebrity chefs. In 2010, DaSilva took her talents to South Beach as the executive chef of 1500 Degrees at the illustrious Eden Roc Hotel. The chic farm-to-table concept earned rave reviews and popular acclaim for its soulful, seasonal, rustic cuisine – which have now become synonymous with DaSilva’s style of cooking. Her cooking at 1500 Degrees earned massive praise and wide-ranging appeal, including a nod from Esquire magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants in America.” A couple years later, DaSilva’s career came full circle when she returned to 3030 Ocean and took the helm as executive chef. During her second stint with 3030 Ocean, DaSilva revitalized the menu, injecting her now-signature soulful cooking style into the restaurant’s seafood-centric menu. After leaving 3030 Ocean for the second time, the culinary powerhouse took some well-deserved time off to travel. At Artisan Beach House, DaSilva serves as the restaurant’s executive chef while simultaneously overseeing all food & beverage operations for the property. DaSilva has a remarkable talent for creating imaginative, farm fresh dishes that highlight the flavors and freshness of South Florida’s local ingredients. Together with her culinary team at Artisan Beach House, DaSilva treats guests to a high-quality dining experience on par with the standards for which The Ritz-Carlton is known. Artisan Beach House is DaSilva’s second collaboration with restaurant and nightlife impresario Seth Greenberg, the first being 1500 Degrees. Under the umbrella of Greenberg’s Sterling Group Management Inc., Artisan Beach House is just part of the food & beverage innovations Greenberg and DaSilva have planned for the property.

Executive Chef Chef Maryna Frederiksen, Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen was born and raised on a farm in the Transvaal Province of South Africa. Her fondest memories include raising cattle and sheep and eating vegetables picked fresh from her family’s garden. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from North-West University in South Africa and moved to Amsterdam in 1990 to complete her Master’s Degree in European History. Her career in education quickly evolved into an insatiable curiosity for food so she began bartending for a European cruise line, then joined the cruise line’s flagship hotel in Switzerland. Here she got her first job as a cook, kick-starting a decades-long career. She accepted a chef position in San Francisco and later moved to Seattle in 1995 where she built the culinary program at the Central Park Tennis Club in Kirkland and created culinary classes for locals and visitors to enjoy. In 2003, Frederiksen was recognized as one of Seattle’s top ten up-and-coming chefs and a year later was invited to join the culinary team at the James Beard Award-winning The Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville. In 2009, she came to Florida where she became Executive Chef/Partner at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota and spearheaded their catering division. She contributed to their Botanical Garden Educational program, teaching children’s edible garden classes. Frederiksen returned to South’s wine country where she served as Executive Chef for the Holden Manz Wine Estate and later Noble Hill. In 2015, Frederiksen moved back to Florida as Chef of California Grill inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Now as Executive Chef of Big Easy Winebar & Grill, Frederiksen combines South African comfort food and Nuevo-Latin cuisine. Frederiksen has been inducted into Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomy association and the Société Mondiale du Vin, the oldest and largest food and wine society as a Chef Rôtisseur and Des Gourmets Degustateurs. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Slow Food Sarasota.

New Orleans LA: (rollover photos for names)

Abigail Gullo, Beverage Director, Compere Lapin

A native of Hyde Park, NY, with roots in Georgia and Virginia, Abigail Gullo first discovered her love for mixology when her grandfather taught her how to make a Manhattan when she was only seven years old.  As a young adult, she moved to Ireland to work in theatre, and quickly became known for transforming her Dublin apartment into a cocktail salon, crafting libations for friends and colleagues. An experienced off-Broadway singer and actress in New York City, theatre teacher by trade, and graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, Gullo switched careers to professional bartending in 2009 while living in Manhattan. Around that time, local spirits industry legend LeNell Smothers nominated Gullo as a member for the New York chapter of the charity-driven society Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. From 2010 to 2012, Gullo served as Head Bartender at Fort Defiance in Brooklyn, while helping to open The Beagle in the East Village in 2011. As a result of her frequent travels to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, and roster of mixology awards, Gullo landed the job as head bar chef for Sobou; then the newest venture from the Commander’s Family of Restaurants in the Crescent City. In 2015, Gullo was tapped by award-winning bartender Ricky Gomez, to join the beverage team at Compère Lapin, where she worked alongside Gomez in developing the restaurant’s cocktail menu. Gullo’s original cocktails have been recognized in numerous national and international competitions as well as in the media. Her margarita won People’s Choice at the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail, and her drinks have been featured in The New York Times, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, In The Mix, and Food & Wine magazine among others. Gullo was named Eater NOLA’s “Bartender of the Year” in 2014; winner of Heaven Hill Liquor.com’s “Bartender of the Year” 2016; and winner of Tullimore Dew’s “Best Bartender Stories.”

Executive Chef/Owner Nina Compton, Compere Lapin

Compère Lapin Chef/Owner Nina Compton has more than 15 years of experience manning some of the finest restaurants in the country. Upon completion of secondary school in England, Nina Compton returned to her home in St. Lucia where she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.  Her parents arranged an internship with a friend’s hotel in Jamaica where Nina fell in love with the creativity and camaraderie of the kitchen. Leaving the cozy, warm winters of the Caribbean, Nina chose to move to chilly Hyde Park, NY to study  at The Culinary Institute of America. In 2001, Nina began her professional journey at Daniel in New York City, working and continuing her culinary education alongside world renowned chef/ restaurateur Daniel Boulud. After moving to Miami, she joined Norman Van Aken at his namesake restaurant Norman’s and then Philippe Ruiz located at Palme d’Or. Eventually Nina moved to Casa Casuarina, a private club and boutique hotel in Miami Beach where she rose from Sous Chef to Executive Chef of the highly acclaimed property. With the excitement of the renovation of Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2008 combined with the chance to work with Scott Conant at Scarpetta, Nina leapt at the chance to join the pre-opening team as Sous Chef and went on to be appointed Chef de Cuisine. During a star turn on BRAVO’s Top Chef, on which she was a finalist and fan favorite, Nina fell in love with the Crescent City. An opportunity with Provenence Hotels lured Nina to New Orleans where she opened her first solo restaurant, Compère Lapin, at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in the Warehouse District. Since opening in June 2015, Compère Lapin has received critical acclaim including a rave review in The New York Times, Top 10 Winner of Playboy‘s Best New Bars in America 2016 and “Best New Restaurant” nods by New Orleans Magazine and Times-Picayune.

Lu Brow, Beverage Director, DTB

Lu Brow, Beverage Director at DTB is an expert of historic cocktails. Brow has extensive experience as a mixologist, having studied with Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh, author of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and Dale DeGroff, known as “The King of Cocktails” and founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Brow served as Bar Chef at Café Adelaide & The Swizzle Stick Bar in the French Quarter in 2005, part of the Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants in New Orleans. In her time there she introduced the “Bar Chef Table,” a concept modeled after the chef’s table, where the menu is paired with unique cocktails served in tasting-sized glasses, at a bar right next to your table. Her talent has since been recognized in Santé Magazine’s 2006 Spirits Hospitality Award, which honors restaurants that exhibit a high level of professional standards in spirits, service and hospitality. Then in 2014, she migrated to the recently reopened Brennan’s to create their beverage program. Now, as Beverage Director for the soon-to-open modern Southern Louisiana concept DTB, which stands for Down the Bayou, Brow will continue to use her talent and ingenuity behind the bar to wow guests and critics alike with creative concoctions using Louisiana ingredients.

Liz Williams, President/Founder Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Elizabeth (Liz) Williams is the Founder and President of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans, which falls under the umbrella organization of National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB) – a nonprofit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of food, drink and its related culture and folklife in America and the world. Liz wanted to integrate her love of food and history and was amazed that the South did not have a museum dedicated to its extraordinary and unique culinary traditions. After collecting numerous artifacts, organizing exhibitions, and recruiting nationally recognized chefs and food industry leaders to serve as the Board of Directors, Liz and her team developed the concept of SoFAB, which opened its doors in June of 2008 in New Orleans and recently reopened in it’s new, larger location on the city’s up and coming Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.  SoFAB has earned praise and accolades, including being named one of the  “11 of the World’s Top Food Museums” by CNN. Liz is the author of several books, including her latest book, coauthored with Chris McMillian, about the drinking culture of New Orleans, entitled Lift Your Spirits. Other books include The Encyclopedia of Law and Food, and New Orleans: A Food Biography.

Poppy Tooker, Culinary Historian, Author, Cultural Ambassador

Poppy Tooker is known for her NPR affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! which carries her message state-wide and beyond. The New Orleans Press Club named Louisiana Eats! best radio show of 2014. In 2013, her radio show inspired her to write her Louisiana Eats! book, which was given the Literary Award of the Year by the Louisiana Library Association. After being tapped to update one of the earliest Louisiana cookbooks, Madame Begue’s Creole Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery (first published in 1900) Poppy went on to continue the story of Begue’s with the recently published Tujague’s Cookbook, Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition. As a culinary activist, Poppy has been instrumental in reviving endangered local foods such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas. She was a key element in the success of the Crescent City Farmers Market and, in 2007, Poppy authored the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook which was given the Eula Mae Dore Tabasco Award for its historical and cultural content. Poppy also appears weekly on the WYES public television show, Steppin’ Out, dishing out spicy food commentary. Visitors and locals alike savor the opportunity to enjoy many speaking engagements and culinary demonstrations which tie together her passion for the delicious history and recipes of Louisiana’s foods. She’s a cultural ambassador on a mission and her life’s mission has been to work as a culinary activist, promoting and preserving food culture and history while safe guarding the planet’s bio-diversity. Poppy founded the Slow Food New Orleans Chapter in 1999 creating one of the first 10 chapters in the United States. She was selected to serve as an International Governor with the movement. Following Hurricane Katrina, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini awarded Poppy with its first ever leadership award and at that time she was also recognized by the Times Picayune as a “Hero of the Storm”, a story which was nationally told on the Weather Channel. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s efforts in April 2008, with their first ever, Community Service Award. In 2012, Southern Living magazine named Poppy a “Hero of the New South” for her work in foodways.

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For more info on International Women’s Day, visit their website

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

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Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash

So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.

I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.


Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.

Spaghetti Squash

Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Shrimp

and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper,  fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!

Lemon Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.

You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!

Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes 4-5 cups Spaghetti Squash and approximately 3 cups of Lemon Garlic Shrimp, serving 2.

This light and healthy dish is made with roasted spaghetti squash topped with sautéed shrimp, garlic, olive oil, chile flakes, lemon and parsley. Super easy and tasty and low on the carbs!

Ingredients

  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 ct)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds and inner membranes. Drizzle and rub squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish and roast squash for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn side up, letting it cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to make spaghetti strands and serve with the Lemon Garlic Shrimp.
  7. Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet until shimmering, then add the sliced garlic and cook while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are slightly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley; toss to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately over roasted spaghetti squash.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/31/lemon-garlic-shrimp-w-spaghetti-squash/

Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

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Short Ribs

There’s nothing more comforting and heartwarming on a crazy cold day than braised short ribs with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. Can we say heaven in a bowl?

These short ribs take a while to make but they’re worth the wait (I promise!) – I made them a little bit spicy with dried chile peppers, garlic and onions, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a chipotle infused olive oil (I love 7 Barrels brand!) along with a dash of cocoa powder (the super intense Dutch red kind made by Guittard is my fav). They’re braised in broth, a full bottle of red wine (you’re welcome), and topped with fresh parsley.


Once they’re done cooking they will be falling off the bone – then I made a reduced sauce with a knob of butter at the end to make it super silky and delicious. I served these with roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower (simply roast them in olive oil and sea salt on 375 for about 45 minutes, tossing them every 15 minutes until crispy and delicious), but I recommend serving them with some creamy mashed potatoes or egg noodles as well (or even some crusty French bread) to mop up that delicious spicy-savory-chocolate-chile-wine sauce. OMG.

Go ahead, indulge. You can always work it off tomorrow. Besides, a big bowl of comfort food and Netflix is more fun anyways 🙂

Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6-8

A classic Winter comfort food dish, these delicious braised short ribs are made with chile peppers, chocolate, red wine and lots of fresh garlic, onions and herbs. Super savory and tasty, served with roasted veggies, and either mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Ingredients

  • 2 large dried chile peppers, stemmed and deseeded
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 5 1/2 pounds center cut short ribs, on the bone
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle olive oil (or regular EVOO if you prefer less spicy)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Dutch red cocoa powder (Guittard)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • One bottle red wine (Pinot Noir or Merlot or Cab Sauv)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme)
  • Knob of unsalted butter (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, for serving
  • Mashed potatoes or egg noodles, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to lower third.
  2. Cover chopped chile peppers with boiling water and let sit, covered for about 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle short ribs on both sides generously with kosher salt and pepper and let rest to room temperature about 15 minutes while peppers are soaking.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook short ribs in batches, searing evenly on both sides until golden brown crust forms (about 7 minutes per side/15 minutes per batch).
  5. Once all short ribs are seared, place on a platter tented with foil and set aside.
  6. In a blender or food processor, add the chiles, water, stock, tomato paste, cocoa, garlic, onions, and a little dash of salt and mix thoroughly together until smooth.
  7. Pour the red wine in the Dutch oven and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan (deglazing the pan) and turn heat up to high bringing to a boil for 2-3 minutes, then reducing heat to a simmer, letting wine reduce by half (about 20 minutes).
  8. Add the pureed chile-onion mixture, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs to the pot and boil together for a few minutes. Return the short ribs to the pot, cover tightly with a lid and braise in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until meat is tender and falls off the bone.
  9. Place the ribs back on to a large platter and tent with foil to keep warm while making the sauce.
  10. Put the Dutch oven on the stove and heat over medium-high for another 10 minutes or so until sauce thickens and reduces. Remove from heat and add a knob of butter into the sauce to make it extra silky and smooth.
  11. Add the ribs back into the sauce and coat thoroughly. Serve on plates with sauce on top along side roasted veggies and mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute hard cider or a dark lager beer for the red wine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/24/chile-chocolate-braised-short-ribs/

 

Happy Holidays! A few of my favorite holiday recipes

Happy Holidays
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Happy Holidays

Well the holidays have finally arrived – my favorite time of year! I love having some time to rest and relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family, especially around the table sharing delicious food and wine. So to celebrate the season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holiday recipes that I’ve created over the years – either for myself or a few of my clients (KitchenAid, Colavita and Seven Barrels), that I wanted to share with all of you. From appetizers, to salads, to desserts, entrees and cocktails, they all have that special magic touch perfect for the holidays.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what some your favorite holiday recipes are too – feel free to post them and share a link below, and if you want to share my recipes online please include a link back to my site and credit to Kristen Hess / The Artful Gourmet and @artfulgourmet on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr).


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous and prosperous New Year 2017!

 

BloodOrangeCake_StrawberrySauce

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Sauce 

PumpkinPearTart

Pear and Pumpkin Tart

Mini Holiday Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Holiday Tarts

Roasted Squash Salad

Roasted Squash Salad with Spiced Pecans

Holiday Brunch Strata

Holiday Brunch Strata

Almond Cookies

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Maple Walnut Pie

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Swedish Meatballs

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart

Three Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon

Choc Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Truffled Pancetta 3 Cheese Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic

Whiskey Sour and Stuffed Mushrooms

Holiday Cocktail Party! Appetizer and Cocktail recipes 

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Brussels Sprouts

Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Balsamic

SpinachSalad-Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

ChocolateChipotleShortRibs

Chocolate Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

Olive Garden unveils new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean” menu

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Olive Garden Tastes of the Mediterranean Menu

I had the opportunity to attend a special preview tasting of Olive Garden‘s new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu this week at a lovely event held at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC with a group of other food bloggers, writers and journalists.

Media Preview Haven's Kitchen


Olive Garden Team

We sampled a (generous!) variety of delicious food and wine, and learned more about the new menu ideas and inspiration from the Olive Garden team and Executive Chef, Jim Nuetzi

Olive Garden Tasting Event

Inspired by the flavors of Italy’s Mediterranean Coast, Olive Garden is evolving its popular Lighter Italian Fare menu to the new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu, which celebrates the flavors and cooking styles from the popular Mediterranean region of Italy with all entrees under 600 calories.

Chicken Margherita

Beginning Jan. 2, two new entrees – Chicken Margherita and

Linguine Di Mare

Linguine di Mare – will be available in restaurants. Following, the fully evolved ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ rebranded menu section, which includes guest favorites as well as the new entrees, will be introduced on Jan. 23.

Executive Chef Jim

“Healthier dishes at restaurants can often be perceived as boring or unsatisfying. However, our Mediterranean-inspired Shrimp Scampi with its flavorful ingredients was our second most popular entrée on the entire menu last summer,” said Jim Nuetzi, Executive Chef for Olive Garden. “The positive reaction from our guests further showed that we could create indulgent and craveable entrees that just happen to have the added benefit of lower calorie counts.”

Shrimp Scampi

The guest-favorite Shrimp Scampi, which was introduced to the Olive Garden menu last year, has exceeded any other Olive Garden lighter fare entrée in popularity. Many guests were surprised that the flavorful and satisfying dish was only 500 calories.

Grilled Chicken Parmigiana

The guest reaction to the Shrimp Scampi inspired chefs to explore additional ingredients that would excite guests in the same way, leading them to the cuisine of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. The region is long known for healthier lifestyles and cooking with light, flavorful ingredients such as seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables, whole grains and Italian spices.

Chicken Margherita & Zucchini

Chicken Piccata

Herb Grilled Salmon

The ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu features:

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Margherita

  • NEW! Chicken Margherita: Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive-Garden-Shrimp-Scampi

  • Shrimp Scampi: Shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair pasta.

Olive-Garden-Linguini-di-Mare

  • NEW! Linguine di Mare: Shrimp and mussels sautéed with homemade pomodoro sauce and whole grain linguine.

Olive-Garden-Herb-Grilled-Salmon

  • Herb-Grilled Salmon: Filet grilled to perfection and topped with garlic-herb butter. Served with parmesan-garlic broccoli.

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Piccata-Dinner

  • Chicken Piccata: Grilled chicken topped with a lemon garlic butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive Garden Tilapia Piccata

  • Tilapia Piccata: Delicate white fish baked in a lemon garlic butter sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Entrees on the rebranded menu start at $14.29.

Warm Chocolate Baci Cake

And last but not least, we enjoyed a gorgeous dessert, Warm Chocolate Baci Cake with coffee..simply divine. 

Olive Garden

..and got some take home goodie bags with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses!

 ———–

ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 35 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country.

Guests can join the conversation and connect with Olive Garden at Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden. For more information and to find your nearest Olive Garden restaurant, visit OliveGarden.com.

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