Summery Strawberry Watermelon Salad

Strawberry Watermelon Salad

🍓🍉🇺🇸 Strawberry Watermelon Salad 🍓🍉🇺🇸
Feta Cheese, Toasted Almonds, Balsamic Glaze

A fantastic seasonal Strawberry Watermelon Salad paired so well with our Memorial Day BBQ of grilled Tri-Tip au Jus and Corn on the Cob, it would be excellent on Flag Day or the 4th of July or really any day for a cookout this summer! ☀️

This salad was inspired by one of the dishes we enjoyed last month at Primal Steakhouse Las Vegas. It was quite a celebration at Primal where they set things on fire and employ lots of smoke in their cocktails and dishes. 🔥

Their Watermelon Salad was surpringly fresh and delightful, a perfect counterbalance to all the rich smoky foods including bone marrow shanks, bacony seared scallops, four cheese lobster mac, smoked NY steak, and more.

The service was super-fun and super-friendly. The themed atmosphere was charmingly mysterious and medieval. Guests are fully encouraged to unsheathe and pose with the assorment of swords from a coat of arms hanging on the wall, as well as take pics wearing helmets fashioned from the middle ages!

Themed restaurants unfortunately can vary widely in the quality of their food. This one impressed us by offering delicious upscale food and entertaining service, as well as a unique and memorable dining experience.

And while our dessert crème brûlée was set ablaze, the server handed me a heavy 4-foot-sword to heave into the air while all the folks in the dining room sang “happy birthday” and finished with “off with his head!”

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Duck and Sweet Potato Enmoladas

Duck and Sweet Potato Enmoladas

Duck and Sweet Potato Enmoladas
New Mexican Mole

Enmoladas are similar to the more familiar Mexican enchiladas, but with a mole sauce instead of a chile sauce. And where enchiladas are usually baked in the sauce as a casserole, enmoladas are usually stuffed with fillings, rolled, and plated then the sauce is ladled on top. The word enmolada translates to “covered in mole.”

The inspiration for this duck and sweet potato version comes from a menu item called Enmoladas de Pato at Sazón restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sazón Santa Fe
Sazón Santa Fe

Originally from Mexico City, Chef Fernando Olea was named Best Chef Southwest 2022 by the James Beard Foundation for his unique interpretation of contemporary and traditional Mexican dishes.

Duck and Sweet Potato Enmoladas

The menu states that mole is a sauce of complex flavors that usually includes toasted and ground spices, seeds, nuts, chocolate and chile. Many mole recipes contain more than thirty ingredients and some recipes have five varieties of chile alone. Moles can be defined by their color such as rojo, verde, and negro; the town they are from such as Puebla, Oaxaca, Michoacan; and social class, such as pobres and ricos.

Not only does the Chef offer a tasting of his unique moles at the restaurant, he also sells them online so we can enjoy them at home!

Enmoladas Recipe

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Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)

Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)

A delightful dinner at Michael Mina’s Bardot Brasserie in the Aria Las Vegas served as the inspiration for this dish. But alas, with no snails on hand, I decided to try a monkfish version of Escargots de Bourgogne instead.

Et voilà, it exceeded our expectations!

The flesh of monkfish is dense, meaty, and succulent, with a sweet flavor. It has a firm texture that holds up well to baking at high heat in garlic butter, making it a perfect substitute for snails in this escargots-style recipe.

Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)

Monkfish, also known as lotte in French cuisine, is a unique-looking fish found in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean. It’s known for its rather unattractive appearance, with a large, flat head, tapering body, and a wide mouth filled with sharp teeth.

Despite its unappealing looks, monkfish is prized for its delicious, firm flesh, often compared to lobster or scallops in taste and texture. It’s also a sustainable seafood choice, as monkfish populations are relatively abundant and well-managed.

Bardot Brasserie Las Vegas

Bardot Brasserie

ESCARGOTclassically prepared, absinthe butter, garlic, baguette
BARDOT BRASSERIE ESCARGOTS
classically prepared, absinthe butter, garlic, baguette

As we also took some food to go, I was able to bring home a paper baguette bag too, to use in my photographs.

Monkfish Cargot Recipe

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Oeufs Mayonnaise

Oeufs Mayonnaise

Classic Bistro Fare
🥚 Oeufs Mayonnaise 🥚

Oeufs Mayonnaise is appreciated for its simplicity and the rich creaminess of the eggs combined with the tanginess of the mayonnaise. It’s a staple in French cuisine and often served as an appetizer in bistros, cafes, and homes across France. It’s a dish that exemplifies the elegance of simplicity and the artistry of combining everyday ingredients in traditional French cooking.

In the late 1980s, Paris experienced a shift in culinary preferences, with traditional dishes like oeufs mayonnaise losing some of their allure. One factor that likely contributed to this decline in interest was growing concern about health issues, particularly the perceived risks associated with consuming foods high in cholesterol. Eggs, a key ingredient in oeufs mayonnaise, were often vilified due to their cholesterol content during this period.

Amidst this changing landscape, Claude Lebey, a prominent figure in the French culinary scene renowned for his restaurant guides, recognized the need to preserve and celebrate dishes like oeufs mayonnaise. In 1990, Lebey took action by establishing the “Association de sauvegarde de l’oeuf mayonnaise” also known as ASOM. This association was dedicated to championing the dish and ensuring its proper preparation in bistros and restaurants across Paris.

Oeufs Mayonnaise

Lebey’s motivation stemmed from a concern that bistros, iconic establishments of French gastronomy cherished for their authentic charm and simple, hearty fare, were gradually losing their traditional character. He viewed oeuf mayonnaise as more than just a dish; it was a symbol of the essence of bistro cuisine—a humble yet delicious offering that epitomized the soul of French culinary heritage.

Lebey’s efforts, coupled with a broader movement towards rediscovering and celebrating traditional cuisine, ultimately contributed to a resurgence of interest in oeufs mayonnaise. The dish regained its place on bistro menus, reaffirming its status as a beloved staple of French gastronomy and a testament to the enduring appeal of simple, well-executed dishes that have stood the test of time.

Today, Claude Lebey’s grandson, Romain Lebey, has continued his family’s legacy by further promoting and preserving French culinary traditions, including the advocacy for dishes like oeufs mayonnaise.

Oeufs Mayonnaise Recipe

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New Mexico Style Roast Duck with Salsa Verde

New Mexico Style Roast Duck with Salsa Verde

New Mexico Style Roast Duck
With Salsa Verde

“The goal of my so-called mission is to show people a way to create satisfying meals with a minimum of effort and time…I think there’s a level of satisfaction and pride that comes from preparing a meal for yourself and your family and friends – even if it is helped along by pre-made ingredients,” Chef Nancy Silverton.

I’ve been a fan of her book “A Twist of the Wrist – Quick Flavorful Meals with Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags, and Boxes” since it came out in 2007. Of course we enjoy and cherish all our recipes made from scratch, but sometimes a quick, easy, and flavorful meal is in order.

This New Mexico Style Roast Duck recipe is an example of the Chef’s philosophy: I roast a precooked half-duck to crispy skin perfection in 25 minutes, and pair it with a Hatch New Mexico Salsa Verde from a jar.

The richness of duck meat can stand up to bold flavors, and the contrast between the savory duck and the heat of a spicy sauce creates a delicious harmony. Salsa verde complements the natural flavors of the duck while adding an extra layer of complexity. It’s fast, and effortless, and fabulous… I’m confident Chef Nancy Silverton would agree.

New Mexico Style Roast Duck with Salsa Verde

Roast Duck with Salsa Verde Recipe

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