Chef Justin Beckett sampled his Southern-inspired bruschetta with Pimento cheese yesterday at the Uptown market and received rave reviews. In fact, he was all sampled out by the time I got there, but judging from the many compliments about it that I heard, I will need to make this so I can try it for myself. Here is the recipe…
Pimento Cheese (makes 1 1/2 quarts)
Chef Justin Beckett wishes he had found pimento cheese earlier in life. This recipe is fantastic as a spread or dip. Serve pimento cheese with chips, crackers, toast points, or even as little tea sandwiches. Pimento cheese can be made days in advance and kept in your fridge. Chef Beckett often makes a big batch and places it into mason jars as a gift for neighbors and friends, as you can imagine he is a pretty popular guy after that.
1 pound cream cheese
¾ cups mayonnaise
4 cups shredded yellow cheese
5 large red bell peppers
2 bunches of green onions
3 Tablespoons powdered garlic
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cajun spice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons Crystal’s Hot Sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Roast or grill the red peppers until they are charred on all sides but not burnt. Place them in an airtight container to “sweat” and cool so they become easier to peel. Peel and de-seed the peppers (you can purchase pre-roasted bell peppers at your favorite grocery). Medium dice the peppers and place them in a strainer to let the excess juice drain off.
(Note: Adding in too much bell pepper juice will cause the cheese to turn a funky pink color.)
Small dice the jalapeños (remove the seed and stem) and set aside. Whip the cream cheese in a kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment till smooth. Add in the mayonnaise and mix until combined, make sure to scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add in the garlic powder, green onion, vinegar, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and salt. Mix again to fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add in the shredded cheese, bell peppers, and jalapeños. Mix by hand just until combined. Do not over mix!
Store in airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
Tip: Removing the vein and the seeds from the jalapeño will reduce the spice level significantly. Chef Justin Beckett always wear gloves when working with jalapeños and washes the cutting board very well with hot soapy water when done.
As well, I talked with Chef Beckett and heard that there are still seats available for the Chef Dan Barber book signing for his new book The Third Plate and Southern Rail dinner on Tuesday, April 14th, but it is starting to fill up. The dinner will be a three-course Arizona-focused menu with the meet and greet and book signing to follow at Changing Hands. For more information on the event, you can visit my prior post about it here, and to make reservations, please visit Chef Barber’s website at www.danbarber.bpt.me.
Chef Dan Barber Book Signing for The Third Plate and Southern Rail Dinner
300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
Tuesday, April 14th
6:00pm – Arizona-inspired three course dinner at Southern Rail
8:00pm – Meet & Greet and book talk with Dan Barber at Changing Hands Bookstore
$79 + tax/person, Arizona wine pairings are extra
At tomorrow’s Uptown Wednesday market McClendon’s Select is happy to welcome Chef Justin Beckett to be our market chef for the day. Chef Beckett’s two Phoenix restaurants, Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail, are among my very favorites. He has been a long-time proponent of using local, organic produce in his cooking and has brought that level of thoughtfulness to all parts of his business. Both of his restaurants were built in restored spaces that paid careful attention to reusing and repurposing many parts of each building to incorporate the old with the new. I have always appreciated his consciousness about both the dishes and spaces he has created, plus I just really, really love Southern Rail’s fried chicken.
In addition to his being at the market tomorrow, Chef Beckett is also hosting a dinner and book talk, in conjunction with Changing Hands Bookstore, in celebration of Chef Dan Barber’s book The Third Plate. On Tuesday, April 14th an exclusively-Arizona, three-course dinner will be held at Southern Rail, along with a meet-and-greet at Changing Hands, to hear the James Beard Award-winning Chef Barber. The Third Plate is an in-depth look at our current national food systems, with a history as to how kitchens and fields have changed over the past two centuries, and Barber’s proposal for creating an integrated system of good farming practices and good food, or “the third plate”. It promises to be an entertaining and engaging evening, with a locally-focused menu from Chef Beckett.
Reservations are required and can be made at www.danbarber.bpt.me for $79 + tax/per person, which includes a signed paperback copy of The Third Plate. Arizona-based beverage pairings may be included to your meal for an additional charge.
I would recommend that you make reservations soon, as I am sure this event will fill quickly. You may also come by and talk with Chef Beckett tomorrow at the Uptown Market, where he will be taking your questions and serving samples of a Southern-style bruschetta.
Chef Dan Barber Book Signing and Southern Rail Dinner
300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
Tuesday, April 14th
6:00pm – Dinner at Southern Rail
8:00pm – Meet & Greet and book talk with Dan Barber at Changing Hands Bookstore
David Antonelli has been in the restaurant business for over thirty years, so you could say that he knows food pretty well. Coming from a family of restauranteurs, this New York native has a true appreciation for difference of high quality, fresh ingredient can make to a meal, specifically true quality seafood. But living in the Arizona, he also knows all too well how hard it is to come by truly fresh fish here in the desert.
Having just sold his restaurant in Scottsdale, David wanted to stay true to his roots in working with food and kept in close touch with the vendors that he has worked with and grown to know over the years. McClendon’s Select is one that he kept in touch with, visiting our markets regularly and seeing what was being sold by us and other vendors. David also kept in close touch with many of the fish vendors that he has known over the years all along the East Coast who would tell him what was coming off of their fishing boats everyday, namely varieties of freshly caught, wild-harvested fish that you just can not find fresh in Arizona. Seeing a real need here, David started Holy Mackerel, his new venture to bring in the absolute freshest fish you can find, and available right now only at the Uptown Wednesday and Saturday markets.
All of the fish Holy Mackerel brings to the market is brought in by East Coast domestic fishermen who go out on day boats or short trip boats to bring in their catch and ship overnight to David to be sold at the markets the next day. The fish is never frozen and is kept packed in ice and held at temperature from the minute it leaves the boat until it is brought to the Uptown market. He even has arrangements with the church at the market to use their refrigerators to keep the fish properly cooled. All of his seafood is packaged in individual portions, anywhere from 6-10 oz., depending on the type of fish. David only orders enough to be sold at the markets, and he finds out what the fishermen have brought in that day he places his order, so that he is only getting the absolute freshest from their catch. This is the quickest turnaround you will find in getting fish from the sea to your table. Bob is a true lover of seafood and swears that he has never had anything as wonderful as what David is bringing in.
Tomorrow at the Uptown Wednesday Farmers’ Market, Holy Mackerel will be bringing in skate from Long Island, pollock and day boat sea scallops from Massachusetts, and fresh North Carolina shrimp. The offering will change from market to market, depending on what is coming in from the boats, but the quality will not. David is focused on making sure that the fish from Holy Mackerel is the freshest you will find. It is truly historic that the Health Department has granted a permit for fresh fish to be sold at a farmer’s market and a testament to David’s hard work and dedication that he is the only person with permission to do so. Make sure that you stop by early to make your purchase, because the word is spreading about Holy Mackerel and he already has quite a dedicated following of customers.
David was also nice enough to share a recipe of his, using both his seafood and our produce…
Fresh North Carolina Shrimp and New England Scallops with McClendon’s Select garlic, basil, tomatoes and asparagus
1 portion of H.M.F.S shrimp peeled and deveined [8 oz.]
1 portion of H.M.F.S scallops side muscle removed [8 oz.]
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 pound of basil
1/4 pound diced tomatoes
1/2 pound asparugus
oil for cooking
salt to taste
Cook asparagus in boiling salted water, when almost done put in ice water to stop it from cooking.
Over medium heat saute scallops for 2 minutes then turn over and cook for 2 more. Add shrimp and cook untill almost done.
Usually when the shrimp turn pink they are done. Remove from pan add garlic cook until lightly browned then add wine and reduce in half, add tomatoes, chopped basil and asparagus when heated add to seafood and serve. Can be served over pasta or rice.
Chef Nancy Matsui was also kind enough to share the recipe for her Creamy ParsnipSoup with Nutty Pear Salsa that she had sampled at our Wednesday market awhile back. I apologize for not getting this on the blog sooner, but here it is…
CREAMY PARSNIP SOUP WITH NUTTY PEAR SALSA Serves 8 – 10
For the soup…
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 1/2 pounds parsnips*, peeled & chopped, 1/2”-3/4”
3 garlic cloves*, minced
4 teaspoons garam masala**
2 teaspoons smoked paprika**
1 teaspoon cardamom**
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 cups water
2 cubes Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon, No Salt Added***
3/4 cup 1/2 & 1/2 cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon*
For the salsa…
1 D’Anjou pear*, 1/4” diced
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon* juice
1 tablespoon chopped Italian Parsley*
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts
Pinch of kosher salt
For the soup…
In large saucepan heat oil over medium high heat and add parsnips and garlic and saute until lightly golden. Add next four dry ingredients and cook 2 – 3 minutes until fragrant. Add water, bouillon, & both creams. Bring to a simmer and cook until parsnips are soft.
Puree soup in blender (or immersion blender, not as creamy) until very smooth. Return soup to pot and add lemon juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon additional salt, as needed.
For the salsa…
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
To serve: Ladle soup in heated bowl and top with Salsa
1) For a lighter version: use all 1/2 & 1/2 cream and omit heavy cream; for a vegan option: use coconut, almond or other nondairy milk; 2) For a different flavor, substitute carrots for the parsnips, (won’t be as creamy); 3) For the spices, substitute others already in your cabinet. i.e. cinnamon, nutmeg, and keep the smoked paprika. 4) For the Salsa, use a green apple and keep the pomegranate for the burst of color and the crunch. 5) Use walnuts or pecans instead, for that additional crunch and flavor.
For more information on Chef Nancy Matsui and her cooking classes, you may contact her at Onion Enterprise@cox.net.
McClendon’s Select will be at the Old Town Farmers’ Market this Saturday. There is rain predicted in the forecast, but not until later in the afternoon on Saturday, so the weather should be fine during the morning. But rain or shine, we will definitely be at Old Town in Scottsdale. We will have all colors of cauliflower with us, along with kinds of beets, green and rainbow chard, beautiful Meyer lemons, and colorful bunches of calendulas to brighten your table. See you tomorrow!
Our friends Jason Raduca and Claudio Urciuoli from Noble Bread recently opened Noble Eatery on McDowell and 22nd Street. It is a wonderful extension to their bakery, bringing the same old world handcrafted care to their menu as they do to with their breads. The Eatery offers a small, ever changing menu of lunch items all carefully tended to by Claudio in their wood-fired oven. Their menu has four categories, bites, grains and legumes, salads and sandwiches with their incredible breads used throughout. Claudio is a magician who can create something amazing with just a few ingredients and his rustic Italian approach to allowing the flavors take center stage.
Aidan and I had the chance to get a sneak preview before they opened and had a wonderful meal starting with a charcuterie plate with a wonderfully thick balsamic, a salad fresh from the farm, a warm prosciutto and spinach sandwich and thick slices of their toasted country bread with decadent Italian hazelnut and pistachio spreads that were out of this world. It was an incredible mid-day treat.
If you want to purchase their breads for your home, you can always find Noble Bread with us at the farmer’s markets. Tomorrow at the Uptown Wednesday market they will have their “Bob’s Bread” – a toasted Spourted Grain and Legume bread that is only baked for our Wednesday market and has been named after Bob, since it has become his favorite. This bread uses organic spring wheat berries, hulled barley, hulled millet, lentil and soy beans and spelt berries. The whole grains and legumes together offer a complete source of protein, that along with the 18 amino acids, minerals, vitamins and fiber, creates a healthy addition to your daily nutrition. We have a loaf on the counter at all times around here. It was part of my dinner last night.
Noble is also bringing a Walnut Raisin that is perfect at breakfast time or as a mildly sweet snack throughout the day, using both organic walnuts and raisins. I loved this bread toasted in the mornings with a little of our honey drizzled on top. Each bread from Noble takes 36 hours to make, as they use only organic flours, sea salt, and organic levin starter (a culture of wild yeasts) to allow the breads to slowly rise. Using these old world techniques for creating and a wood-fired oven for baking makes these loaves unlike anything other bread you can buy. Come get a loaf tomorrow and see for yourself.
We will also have Chef Jeremy McMillan, the Executive Chef from Bourbon Steak at the Princess Fairmont Hotel in Scottsdale, at the market with us tomorrow. He will be preparing and sampling a multi-grain salad with three colors of quinoa, three kinds of lentils, farro (an ancient grain), and using avocados to make a very special non-dairy creamy green goddess dressing. It sounds wonderful and is also vegan. Chef McMillan will be with us from 9:00am to noon and will have copies of the recipe to share.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at Uptown!
(For those who still haven’t checked out our new location, the Uptown Market is off of Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road at the North Phoenix Baptist Church.)
2201 East McDowell Road
McClendon’s Select has been so grateful and excited for the turnout the last two weeks since our move to the Uptown Wednesday location. For those who have not been yet, there is so much at the Uptown Market that we wanted to give a little love to the other vendors.
Uptown has done a wonderful job at bringing together a nice mix of vendors to help you with your weekly shopping staples along with some fun speciality items. Superstition Farm Dairy, Rhiba Farm, Grass Fed Beef, Hayden Flour Mills, Dry Bay Fish Co and our friends at Decio Pasta have what you need for meat, fish, eggs, pasta and flour. Ava’s Kettle Corn is a fun treat to enjoy while you are there, along with Mama’s Cold Brew (their sweet cream vanilla iced coffee is pretty amazing). For the gourmets, Grate Roots Horseradish, Salts from the Earth and Sogno Toscano are fun to jazz up your cooking. Songo Toscano has incredible infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Their lemon oil is so flavorful that a little goes a long way. I have a bottle and use it all the time. And I can’t go without mentioning the Brat Haus which is serving up their famous brats for lunch. They are also doing breakfast burritos in the morning and have their pretzels and house made mustard. These are just a few of the vendors there every week, along with food trucks and live music. We are thrilled to be a part of this market and are excited to see the tremendous response and turnout since it opened.
Of course, McClendon’s Select will be there tomorrow with a huge selection, including organic asparagus, sugar snap peas, swiss chard, kale, citrus and so much more. Noble Bread will be joining us of course. For a full list of vendors, you can visit the Uptown Market website here.
See you tomorrow!