Mayfair Supper Club Tomato Salad
Heirloom Tomatoes and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Green Olive/Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette, Shallots, Baby Basil
If you’ve been following Taste With The Eyes for a while, you know that I love to re-create dishes. Not just the food but the entire experience, including the ambience right down to the china, glass, and silver.
One of my most cherished creative outlets is to re-create historical events through food. The Abraham Lincoln Dinner at Delmonico’s on February 12, 1900; Barack Obama’s 57th Inaugural Luncheon; Donald Trump’s 58th Inaugural Luncheon; and Julia Child’s First Meal in France are a few examples of many of my favorite re-creations.
The most popular by far is the re-enactment of Julia Child’s first meal in France in 1948 including her recipe for Sole Meunière. I also visually attempt to reconstruct her experience in a beautiful courtyard at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis discussing the merits of Loup de Mer; and her charming memory of Tijuana, Mexico and Caesar Cardini in her kitchen preparing Caesar Salad and Salmon en Papillote.
An evening at the Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio in Las Vegas was worth re-creating. We had a fantastic meal where we were mesmerized by the entertainment, awed by the ambiance, and impressed by the service.
The humble tomato salad was as memorable as the over-the-top duo of truffle dishes – filet mignon with sauce perigourdine and truffle pasta. The salad was shot in my atelier, attempting to duplicate the chef’s recipe from taste memory and mimicking the ambiance of the supper club (with some jazz tunes playing in the background of course).
Mayfair Supper Club Tomato Salad Recipe
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Savory Greek Yogurt with Kale Pesto
Recipe by Nicole Putzel
With the summer solstice fast approaching, I decided to choose a recipe from the “Summer” section of Nicole’s veggie-centric cookbook, The Seasoned Plate: Delicious and Healthy Real Food.
This Greek Yogurt parfait is super fresh, colorful, and mighty flavorful. Kale pesto is simultaneously earthy, nutty, garlicky, and salty. All these savory flavors harmonize with the creamy yogurt and are layered with blackberries, tomatoes, avocado, and walnuts for a delightful healthy cool lunch on a hot day.
Yogurt Parfait Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!
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Kale Salad with Lemon Basil Buttermilk Ranch,
Breadcrumbs and Parmesan
Recipe by Nicole Putzel
Kale kale kale can get kinda boring but as the torn leaves mingle with her awesome Lemon Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, this “simple” salad emerges as anything but. Chef Nicole Putzel has managed to create an alluring salad where fresh breadcrumbs add a toasty crunchy texture while parmesan cheese adds salty, nutty, umami notes. All the various complex flavors in the dressing take the humble chopped kale to another level.
Nicole wrote,“Lemon basil is my absolute favorite variety of the herb. It has a bright citrusy flavor that is sweeter than traditional basil. The lemon basil gives the buttermilk ranch dressing an extra punch and tastes delicious with raw kale. The dressing recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of dressing , so you’ll have plenty left over to use in other salads.”
Kale Salad Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!
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Rigatoni with Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Buffalo Mozzarella
Recipe by Nicole Putzel
All hailing from Chicagoland, Chef Nicole Putzel and I were virtually introduced a few years back by our mutual friend and discerning foodie, Peg. We recently thought it might be fun to collaborate on some of our cooking experiences, especially during these challenging times.
Nicole sent me a copy of her delightful book just published last year, The Seasoned Plate: Delicious and Healthy Real Food. She says, “This cookbook is the result of a beautiful recipe: one of food, friendship, and wellness, told by the seasons.”
Throughout the seasons, Nicole would create a vegetable-centric recipe every Friday, often harvesting the produce from her own organic garden. Her friend Photographer Claudia Chocano would shoot the dishes, after which they would partake of the fruits of their labors together.
The first recipe I chose from the Spring section was this fresh, vibrant, vegetarian rigatoni dish. Nicole wrote, “This colorful pasta dish came together on an evening when my house was filled with company and my guests asked for a tour of the vegetable garden. The broccoli, arugula, and basil were all ready for harvest and everyone was hungry, so voilà! This was a true crowd pleaser.”
Springtime Rigatoni Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!
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Tortilla Soup with Pasilla Chile and Masa Harina
Many years ago, I fell in love with Tortilla Soup over dinner al fresco on a lovely courtyard in Sinaloa, Mexico.
We were on a trip to the Barrancas del Cobre and had an overnight at a quaint hotel in Los Mochis. The soup was divine – a simple chicken broth with melting queso fresco, fried tortillas, and herbs. When we got back home I had to recreate it, and still do to this day.
Fast forward more than a couple of decades in these pandemic times, and I find myself watching more Facebook videos than before, one in particular caught my attention. A true master of Mexican cooking, Rick Bayless making a Tortilla Soup.
Now the Chef has probably made a zillion versions of tortilla soup but this one resonated with me – with its addition of mild, smoky, raisiny pasilla chiles.
As a polar opposite to my Los Mochis version with its brothy style, here I also added a quarter cup of masa harina to the soup as a thickening agent. The masa added heft and a super corn flavor. The result was an extraordinary amalgamation of complex chile and earthy corn. Rich and satisfying, it is a meal in itself.
Since pasillas are not particularly spicy…and for another layer of flavor and texture, I made an oil with the hotter chile de arbol, and sprinkled some of these toasted chile crumbles over the soup.
Tortilla Soup Recipe
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Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style
A couple months ago we had an absolutely delightful and completely unique meal at Roy Choi’s restaurant, Best Friend, at Park MGM on The Las Vegas Strip.
“Best Friend is… Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS. Hip hop-to-bibimbop. Kimchi-to-spaghetti. BBQ and late-night food. I want Best Friend to energize the minds of people looking to experience the best in life. Whether they are from Hollywood or Hong Kong, D.C. or Down Under, I hope all guests are licking their fingers with their mouths full saying ‘holy sh!t’ as they reach across the table for another bite. LA food in Las Vegas. Los Vegas. Best Friend. Forever.” – Roy Choi
Blown away by the KALBI Korean BBQ marinated bone-in short rib; SLIPPERY SHRIMP crispy rock shrimp, chili mayo, walnuts; ELOTES kewpie mayo, lime juice, tajín, cotija, cilantro; and EGGPLANT SCHNITZEL.
The eggplant was simple yet elevated with its silky interior and crunchy exterior. The sauce was intriguing, creamy, and mustardy. Fresh peppery green arugula provided the perfect balance to the fried eggplant. Brilliant.
In his endearing, personal, and somewhat irreverent cookbook L.A. Son, Chef Choi writes, “I make a mean schnitzel.” Yep, he sure does.
Eggplant Steaks Recipe
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A Moist, Tasty, Satisfying Vegetarian Meatloaf
Oatmeal, Quinoa, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Gruyere Cheese
Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
The somewhat mysterious walnut loaf on the vegetarian restaurant menu seemed way too heavy for lunch, so I ordered the sprouted salad instead.
While the salad was completely delicious, I was still curious about that hearty, compelling “vegetarian meatloaf” so I decided to make one at home.
While researching vegetarian walnut meatloaf recipes, I came across several that sounded similar to our local restaurant’s version. Upon further investigation, it appears that the original recipe is over 2 decades old, from famous vegetarian chef Deborah Madison.
Madison recently noted that 20 years ago she would add cheese to many of her recipes. These days however, with the variety and quality of vegetarian ingredients, she no longer relies on cheese to substitute for the meat. In this vegetarian meatloaf, cheese does play an important role…but vegan cheese should work fine too.
In my interpretation of the recipe, I substitute oatmeal and quinoa for Madison’s brown rice, and make many other adjustments as well, but credit for the concept definitely goes to her.
Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy Recipe
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