[RECIPE] Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Quinoa, Long Beans, Herbs, Heart of Palm & Parsley Vinaigrette

 

Ever looked at a great big pumpkin and scratch your head. It’s not one of those ingredients that jumps out and begs a home cook to be dinner. They come in all shapes and sizes, many of which are XXL.  Of course those are hard to cut unless you have the proper knife, like Grand Cayman farmer Jennett Anson who uses her cleaver to break down the big round guys into customer-friendly portions at the farmers market in Camana Bay.  Then there’s the calabaza’s density, making cook time longer than your garden variety vegetable.

So who wants to cook calabaza now?  We do!  And now that I’ve convinced you to never look a pumpkin in the eye in your own kitchen, let me allow TGHG special ops chef Thomas Tennant and Farm to Kitchen’s Chris Padin persuade you otherwise.

“It’s definitely more abundant right now as summer approaches, but pumpkin is one of those great crops that we get all year round down here,” Chris explained on the phone earlier this morning. “You’ll start to see more of the butternuts, the smooth tan ones shaped like a bell, coming in now in April and May, and the green and orange striped long necks are looking really nice, too.  They have more meat than the big round ones which are hollow in the middle and filled with seeds.”

Over the years, I’ve seen some freakishly big pumpkins sitting pretty on our ingredient wall and atop the pastry station at Michael’s Genuine in Miami when local tomatoes are out of season (heirloom alert: a week more of Teena’s Pride, before we head up state until June!)  We have Martha Corona and her u-pick farm to thank; she always makes sure to grow them, and customer demand is so high she brings them in from a farm upstate when her supply runs out. They grow up to 20 pounds each, even more.  Chris’s weekly order averages about 50 pounds all day, give or take a few depending on what the kitchen wants on the menu.  They can show up as a wood roasted side, shaved on pizza, cubed in hash at brunch…  pretty much everywhere and anywhere.  And Harry’s just added candied pumpkin seeds to its arugula salad.

Upon returning to the mainland from Grand Cayman’s Slow Food Day in March, Thomas not surprisingly received requests from afar for his pumpkin salad recipe.  Sure, it was so delicious as a base for Caja China Local Goat, but better yet, a fresh, healthy, and vegetarian dish balanced and hearty enough to stand alone. When working with pumpkin at home, Thomas suggests choosing the longnecks if you can find them, peeling with a vegetable peeler and using a large, properly sharpened chef’s knife for cubing. The chunks don’t need to be perfect cubes, but do take care to cut with uniform thickness for uniform cook time. Enjoy with a Home Brew and toast to summertime!

Roasted Pumpkin Salad with quinoa, long beans, herbs, heart of palm and parsley vinaigrette

Serves 6

3 quarts fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 pound long beans
½ cup fresh heart of palm, shaved
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup Parsley Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
½ cup scallion, sliced thinly
½ cup parsley leaves
½ cup cilantro leaves

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Place the cut pumpkin on a sheet pan, dress with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the pumpkin until it becomes tender, about 12 minutes. Once tender, remove and allow to cool at room temperature.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the long beans for 15 seconds then shock into ice water to stop the cooking. Once the long beans are chilled, cut into 2 inch long pieces.

To assemble the salad, combine the warm pumpkin, cooked quinoa, long beans, and shaved heart of palm in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Toss with the vinaigrette and herbs. Serve while the salad is warm.

Parsley Vinaigrette

makes about 1 cup

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup parlsey leaves, packed
¼ cup oregano leaves, packed
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add ½ cup of water to a saucepot over medium heat and add the salt. Once dissolved, set aside and allow to cool. Finely chop the parsley and oregano. Combine the herbs, shallots, garlic and sherry vinegar in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, bruise the herbs with the vinegar and whisk in the salt water and finally the olive oil. Place in a plastic container until ready to use. You can allow the dressing to marinate for a day and the flavors will improve.

[RECIPE] Sous Chef Tony Rozario Serves His Taste of India on Grand Cayman

 

Indian-Tuesdays “I took a survey of our staff and asked what they would really like to learn to make in an Indian cooking class,” Grand Cayman sous chef Tony Rozario explained yesterday on the phone. “Most people wanted to do naan.  It was the most popular response, and I was so happy to hear it, too!” Tony’s naan is special. It’s soft and buttery, with just the right elasticity and a little tang from yogurt in the dough.  Magic pillows, with a little char from the grill and crisp on the edges.  A heavenly balance.  Two weeks from tomorrow, Wednesday, May 7 from 6-8pm, Tony teaches us how to make this treat and more as he leads a two-hour course in Indian cuisine at a Camana Bay neighbor of our island restaurant, the Bon Vivant culinary showroom.  On the agenda are a handful of building blocks and the dishes they create that we have grown to know and love at Indian Tuesdays, Tony’s weekly three course prix fixe menu at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman.   And it’s not just the naan, for which he’s provided the recipe below.  Always one to give the people what they want, Tony includes tandoori chicken, the second most popular dish in his survey, ahead of chicken tikka masala and butter chicken, as well as rice pilaf.  The list goes on.

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Here, Tony doing his caja china’d goat release thing for Slow Food Day 2014′s dinner on February 18 with guest James Bead Award-winning chef Andrea Reusing.  Michael, TGHG special ops chef Thomas Tennant, and I were also the lucky benefactors of the rarely seen yet relished “Indian Saturdays” spread earlier that day.  View our trip album here, including the Camana Bay Farmers Market.

“Based on this direction from the staff, I started planning the session,” Tony continued. “We’ll also do a dessert made with rice, and basic spice mixes like garam masala… It’s called for in most Indian recipes. Sometimes when you go to the store, the premixed blends are inconsistent, from different colors to quality.  It’s easy to make your own, by grinding up pan-roasted whole cinnamon, cardamon, clove, bay leaf, star anise, coriander, black pepper and fennel seed.  With this, you can make a number of dishes.  For the tandoori chicken, simply rub the bird with garam masala and paprika first, then ginger, garlic paste, lime juice, and salt to marinate and tenderize it, and finally the yogurt to lock the juices in.” To book the May 7 class — space is limited — please contact Bon Vivant and reserve an upcoming Indian Tuesday, which resumes the week following on May 13, by calling the restaurant at 345-640-6433 or emailing reservationsgcm@michaelsgenuine.com.  Tony will incorporate more local ingredients onto his family-style menus this season, like the last of the tomatoes into chutney for naan before summer’s heat takes over and okra into stewed bhindi bhaji or even this crispy snack, local cucumber from farmers Patrick Panton and Hamlin Stephenson for raita…  The May 13 menu will feature tandoori chicken utilizing Patrick’s 4-week old birds.  We’ll be ogling @MGFD_GCM‘s instagram from afar this time, but will use our imagination to take the trip as Tony’s food always inspires.

NAAN BREAD

makes 7 naan breads

1 1/2 pounds all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
kosher salt to taste
a pinch dry active yeast
4 ounces vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup yogurt
1 whole egg
butter to finish

Preheat an outdoor gas grill until very hot.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients with the yeast.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated, adding a little water in the bowl at the end if you need to.  The dough should feel sticky.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured wooden or granite surface, and knead in a rolling and rocking motion for 4-7 minutes or until the gluten forms and it becomes elastic, adding more flour if you need to prevent it from sticking.  Rest for 4-5 hours covered with a damp towel and refrigerated or on the counter.  Portion out the pieces into about the size of a lemon, and roll out with a rolling pin into elongated flatbreads about 1/4 inch thick.  Cook directly on the grill for best results, about 1-2 minutes to mark on one side, then flip (with tongs and a spatula if necessary) to mark the other for 1-2 more minutes.  Apply butter to the top after cooking with a brush. Enjoy fresh and warm alone or with any sauce.  Tony likes his the genuine way, with a little ricotta cheese and mango jam!

O, Cypress: Slip into Something a Little More Poetic with O, Miami Festival

 

From time to time we fall deep into rhythm, slip into verse and let feeling lead the way. The bright colors of the nastursium bud, the gaze of a forest creature. the wood fire wafting its sweet perfume from the kitchen. Smooth cypress grooves. The sparkle of crystal over our dining room. The glow of candlelight at the bar. Magic is everywhere.

The allusion here is The Cypress Room, our elegant American dining room three blocks south of Michael’s flagship where poetry first made its stamp in 2011 when Miami poet Campbell McGrath penned an original poem for the main dining room. It remains on the wall to this day.

Some may be inclined to typecast poetry as highbrow, only for the academic elite.  But for the month of April, the fourth annual O, Miami Festival aims to debunk such preconceptions about the written word.  Founder P. Scott Cunningham, director of Wynwood University and a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant recipient, seeks to make every Miami-Dade resident encounter a poem during this national poetry month, casting type across the city for public consumption.  P. Scott has also dropped poems from a plane.

In a more intimate approach for O, Miami 2014, we are now proud to embrace poetry where the feeling is most profound, at The Cypress Room. Please enjoy Booklegger founder Nathaniel Sandler’s poetry collection in our restrooms.  He began the Booklegger’s Library two years in June, “All the bookstores were closing and it was a place to get books. Now it’s something bigger. A community thing. I get donations and store everything in the art house. It’s an old fishing warehouse. There are artist studios. I have thousands of donations. But there’s no real point to cataloging it all. I take everything people give me and then sort through it.” Each time they do an event, it’s like a treasure hunt.

Enjoy this selection especially for us and the spirit of our elegant American dining room.  Bring a volume to the bar, like Robert Graves’ POEMS ABOUT LOVE, enjoy Under the Olives, ponder nature and love, and let the world slip away. Enjoy the beauty and please kindly return books before bidding us adieu. Cheers from all of us at The Genuine Hospitality Group and HAPPY FRIDAY!  Share what you learn with others by tagging #restroomreading, @Omiamifestival and @thecypressroom on Instagram.