Still Hungry? July 2015

“When did ginger beer become indispensable?” I turned on the TV just in time to hear a fictional bartender utter these words. When, indeed? There was a time when mixers came out of a gun and the most exciting fresh fruit behind a bar was an orange. Mixologists are more than mere bartenders, they are passionate about their craft and take time to create cocktails that use fresh, seasonal ingredients, usually sourced locally, which enhance the flavors of the spirit rather than mask them. These drinks are fabulous on their own, but when paired with the right food the combinations complement each other the way a Chianti complements pasta with tomato sauce.

Apothecary Lounge at Hotel Parq Central

Katixa Mercier, Apothecary Lounge Manager, and Frank Sanchez, Chef

When Katixa Mercier came to the Apothecary Lounge three months ago she had the opportunity not only to develop the cocktail program but to work with Chef Frank Sanchez to create a bar menu of small plates that would work with the cocktails. On mixology Katixa says, “It’s important to honor the classics,” but she also likes to “push the envelope a bit and get to play.” Katixa focuses on local ingredients for her cocktails as much as possible. “Hotel Parq Central is a local business and we feel a social responsibility to give back to the community.” A restaurant and bar can’t stand out there on their own—they need to “be involved with the whole industry. People want to know where things come from.” Continue reading

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Serves 4

With Mother’s Day brunch in mind, Beth Draiscoll offers a Zia Diner staple, their Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. “We smoke whole sides of salmon here at the Zia,” she says, “but I think good commercial lox is also just fine.” Beth notes that at the Zia, “We use the iconic blender Hollandaise first made famous by Julia Child. It holds fairly well and doesn’t ‘break’ as some recipes tend to do.”

To prepare the hollandaise sauce:

3 egg yolks

2 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of black pepper

1/4 pound butter (1 stick), melted and warm

Whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, cayenne and black pepper in blender. With blender running, slowly drizzle in melted butter and mix until sauce comes together and thickens.

To put it all together:

8 English muffins

8 eggs (two per serving)

1 ounce Nova lox

Sprig of dill or Italian parsley

Poach eggs and rest on paper towels while toasting English muffins. Place Nova lox on each toasted muffin, top with a poached egg and pour some Hollandaise over each. Garnish with a sprig of dill or chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe by Beth Draiscoll of the Zia Diner; recipe appears in May 2014 Local Flavor

Lobster Salad

compound diningAs seen in the August 2014 Still Hungry? featuring Chef Mark Kiffin of The Compound Restaurant

Yield 4 servings

3 ears sweet corn, shucked and cut off of the cob

2 Maine lobsters approximately 1¼ pounds each, cooked in boiling salted water for 6 minutes, then cooled in ice water

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into small dice

1 medium red onion, cut into small dice

1 small bunch basil, minced Continue reading

Fish in Saffron Sauce

This recipe appears in the July 2014 issue and was created by Ana Enriquez, of The Spanish Table

A cazuela is great for cooking fish dishes because it goes from stovetop to oven to table. This is one of those recipes I do on weeknights when it is my turn to cook. The results exceed the effort by a country mile. All you have to remember is to pick up fish on your way home from work. The fillets of any firm fish that do not fall apart when cooked will work. I prefer halibut, but I have even done this recipe with salmon. Continue reading