Farm-to-Table Dinner Celebrates Fall in Grand Cayman

Farm-to-Table-poster3After a week on the rock catching up with the team, we are excited to announce that Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink in Camana Bay will welcome back The Genuine Hospitality Group Special Ops Chef Thomas Tennant from Miami for the return of a favorite event on-island! Its Farm-to-Table Dinner Series is back for the fall season on Saturday October 11 at 7 pm and celebrates local farmers and seasonal ingredients in a family-style menu of four courses for CI $65 (CI $60 for Slow Food members.) An optional wine supplement is available for an additional CI $29. The evening will begin with a welcome cocktail sponsored by Cayman Spirits Company on the Crescent Lawn, followed by a family-style dinner in the restaurant. Thomas is really into coconut and its health benefits these days so the menu definitely reflects this, from cocktails to dessert.

‘Coconut oil usual gets passed off as a ‘bad oil’ due to saturated fat but science is telling us its the good kind,” Thomas explains.  “Almost every dish in the menu will have some coconut product in it. I find it also yields a cleaner result in deep frying.”

A very special thanks to our farmers Hamlin Stephenson, Patrick Panton, Joel Walton and Clarence McLaughlin for their gorgeous product!  Click here for menu and for reservations, please email or call 345.640.6433.  For a last taste of summer, visit our Flickr album of Camana Bay’s Wednesday Farmers Market.

[RECIPE] These Grilled Lionfish Tacos are Up to the Blue Ribbon Task

Grilled lionfish tacos

Eat them to beat them: Grilled lionfish tacos shot on site, and devoured shortly after by yours truly outside Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman.

Our friends at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch are uniting their Blue Ribbon Task Force chefs including Michael around National Taco Day (October 4) and National Seafood Month (October) to raise awareness for sustainable seafood in the most delicious way possible. We most recently covered this topic hugely important the entire TGHG family on our blog with the release of Paul Greenberg’s most recent book, and now we’re back at it again inspired by my week in Grand Cayman, our home away from home where local fish and supporting the marine ecosystem is always top of mind.  Small changes have big impact especially in such a small slice of the Caribbean environment — and we’re talking positive ones here, like the Department of Environment’s lionfish culling program.  The first juvenile Indo-pacific Red Lionfish was removed from a dive site in Little Cayman in 2008 setting in motion a massive public-private partnership lead by DOE and bringing together local residents, dive industry operators, and people like TGHG Special Ops Chef Thomas Tennant in the unique position to influence change thanks to combining a love of SCUBA and skills in the kitchen.  Eat them to beat them we say!  During his 4 year tenure as our Grand Cayman opening chef, Thomas single handedly removed thousands (I wonder if not tens of thousands) of pounds of lionfish at his own spear, not to mention receiving countless deliveries from licensed divers through our service entrance sometimes on a daily basis.  If that drop in the bucket doesn’t count for something on a larger scale, I don’t know what does.

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Thomas returns to the island to host our fall Farm to Table Dinner on October 11, but we’re not waiting for that, taco day, or seafood month to celebrate this legacy that lives on in its simplest and maybe most delicious form every Monday through Saturday during our Happy Hour in Grand Cayman… Grilled Lionfish Tacos!  The recipe below is pretty awesome thanks to its simplicity. A few flavors combining into one juicy bite. The verdantly flecked herb mayo is especially addictive and you don’t need much.  With so many of Sylvester’s foraged avocados on our food bar wall here to deplete, there should be plenty of these going out at Happy Hour. I know I will make my contribution known! Follow both Genuine Instagrams (@MGFD_MIA and @MGFD_GCM) this week for a bigger taste of what’s new on-island. Today we’ll get the best temperature check of what’s in season when the Farmers Market makes its weekly Wednesday pop in our town center of Camana Bay.  Very excited to poke around the stalls with chef de cuisine Prudent Baselais and enjoy some of the ingredients for lunch!

Grilled Lionfish Tacos

Makes 12 tacos

12, 3-ounce lionfish filets, skin on and pin bones removed (you can substitute with a sustainable species like yellowtail snapper in Miami if you can’t find lionfish)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
12 corn tortillas
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup scallions cut on the bias
1 cup picked cilantro leaves
Juice of one lime
¼ cup Herb Mayonnaise (recipe below)
2 ripe avocados, halved and sliced
½ cup shaved radishes
3 limes cut into wedges

Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill until very hot, or put a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the lionfish filets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill skin side down for 3 minutes. Leave them alone; the filets will stick to the grill if tried to turn too soon. Once they have developed nice grill marks flip gently with a fish spatula to finish cooking for 1 minute on the other side. Remove from the grill to a platter while you warm the tortillas

Pour 1/2 inch water into the bottom of the steamer, then line the steaming basket with a clean, heavy kitchen towel. Lay the tortillas in the basket. Fold the edges of the towel over the tortillas to cover them, set the lid in place, bring the water to a boil and let boil only for 1 minute, then turn off the fire and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. If you wish to keep the tortillas hot for up to an hour, slip the steamer into a low oven or reheat the water periodically.

To assemble, toss the tomato, scallion, and cilantro in the lime juice. Spread the herb mayonnaise on the corn tortillas, layering each with a filet, the sliced avocado and salad mix, topping with the shaved radish. Serve with lime wedges.

Herb Mayonnaise

Makes 2 cups

2 cups mayonnaise
¼ cup basil
¼ cup parsley
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

[Recipe] Hedy’s Banana Brunch Panini with Maple Bacon Crunch


We all know TGHG executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith isn’t shy when it comes to sweets, and she’s taking her panini game to a whole new level next week representing team genuine at LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade.  This west coast fundraiser is the only daytime affair on Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s (ALSF) chef-supported event circuit, meaning all sorts of fun possibilities are on the menu, including Hedy’s Banana Brunch Panini with Maple Bacon Crunch! This panini covers every base when it comes to brunch. With salty sweetness of maple bacon, the creaminess of cream cheese, crunch of granola, and soft crispness of La Brea Bakery’s Parker Rolls.

Michael, Hedy and Bradley at last year's event!

Michael, Hedy and Bradley at last year’s event!

Decadent and delicious, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade brings superstar chefs and mixologists from across the country to Los Angeles to lend their support to ALSF and the fight against childhood cancer. Each chef and mixologist prepares a signature dish for guests to sample. Guests have the opportunity to taste incredible fare and meet and even chat with the chefs who prepared it. L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade is hosted by Chef Suzanne Goin and business partner Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern) along with Chef David Lentz (The Hungry Cat). The event has raised nearly $2 million to fund childhood cancer research, raising more than half a million at the 2013 event alone!

If you aren’t in La La Land Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, you can still get your brunch panini fix at home with the recipe below and donate to one of the causes dearest to our hearts at the same time by clicking here.  Hedy swears by one press in particular for perfect results, the Breville Smart Grill. “It has several height settings, and it caramelizes my panini like no other machine.” When I saw her using one in pastry yesterday to crank out the above photo subjects , I could tell why. It’s like the Ferrari of presses, but pretty compact (it has to be in that station!) Super efficient, just the way we like to work, especially when HQ is in the Sunday brunch crunch!  Thank you again to Breville for always coming through with Genuine hardware and to fearless chef leader Suzanne Goin for inviting Miami to the party each and every year!  A sweet treat for an even sweeter cause.

Banana Brunch Panini with Maple Bacon Crunch

Serves 12

8 ounces cream cheese, brought to room temperature
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or real vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 dozen La Brea Bakery Parker House Rolls
4 just-ripe bananas, sliced 1-inch thick on the bias
1 cup crunchy granola, store-bought or homemade
Maldon salt or other flakey sea salt, to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Maple Bacon bits (see recipe below)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat a panini press to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed, cream the cream cheese and brown sugar until fully incorporated and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt until combined, about 1 more minute. Scrape the bowl and paddle with rubber spatula and set aside.

To assemble the panini, split the rolls open and lay out on the counter, inside up. Spread the sweetened cream cheese mixture on tops and bottoms.  On each bottom half, place 2 slices of banana, topping with a sprinkle of maple bacon bits and a light dusting of Maldon salt.  Evenly distribute granola onto the top halves, pressing down so the crumbles stick to the cream cheese. Carefully flip the top onto the bottom pressing to have both halves become one. Combine the cinnamon and sugar.  Brush the melted butter on both the top and bottom of the panini and sprinkle the top with the cinnamon sugar.

Place on the preheated press, carefully close without added pressure, and toast until golden brown and caramelized, about 4-6 minutes. Carefully remove the panini, set it on a cutting board.  Allow to cool at least 10 minutes.  Enjoy, or eat later reheating in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crispy.

Maple Bacon Bits

Makes 1 cup

½ pound thick cut bacon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
½  teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the bacon, maple syrup, brown sugar molasses and salt. Coat the bacon, cover the bowl allow to sit 30 minutes or longer, but no longer then 24 hours. Place the strips of bacon on a rack over a baking pan to catch the fat.  Bake the bacon until it becomes dark caramel color, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and immediately remove the bacon from the rack. It will be sticky and hot, so be careful. Allow to cool completely, about an hour. Pulse in a food processor until consistency of gravel.

Tune-Up Time at MGFD

Oh, hello new neighbor! It's starting to happen! @miamidesigndistrict @mgfd_mia

“Oh, hello new neighbor! It’s starting to happen! @miamidesigndistrict @mgfd_mia ” (via @chefmschwartz)

The engine is getting another tune up as Michael’s flagship restaurant approaches 8 years old this spring!

We will take a quick break to make some necessary improvements to Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Miami from Sunday, September 21 to Sunday, October 5, reopening Monday, October 6.

But don’t worry! While we’re closed getting everything in tip top shape for a busy new season in the Design District (!!!), take a stroll two blocks west and enjoy a pie or daily special at Harry’s Pizzeria, our casual neighborhood joint or if you’re in the mood for something a little special, The Cypress Room is three blocks to the south with elegant American cuisine and attention to detail in service like no other.

Our specials around the neighborhood will continue to flow regularly on social media on our Instagram and Twitter accounts @harryspizzeria and @thecypressroom, as well as @MGFD_MIA which will have a little fun with its content during intermission, including what our cast of characters is up to throughout #Genuineland.

Onward and upward, and look forward to welcoming you back into our home sweet home as soon as humanly possible!

Virtual Pub Crawl Part I | Snacks

MGP_Menu_Front_9.10MGP_Menu_Back_9.10Our menu changes so often at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink with new ingredients and specials here and there that it’s easy for Chef’s classics to stray from top of mind, especially if you follow our Instagram.  With so many delicious distractions, it can be a challenge to keep up, even when it’s your job to!  That’s why we’ve had an especially good time reacquainting ourselves with the flagship’s bread and butter, many of them recipes from Michael’s cookbook, and standardizing their preparation and presentation before getting Michael’s Genuine Pub out of the shipyard.  It wouldn’t be a stretch to compare this process to being a tourist in your own city… a fun adventure when you take the time to do it!

It’s almost time for Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas to set sail, so before our team heads to Bremerhaven, Germany to train a new crew of genuine staff, we’re inviting you into the process here as we count down the days (38!) with a virtual tour of our menu.  Today we begin with food and start at the top with the Snacks section and TGHG Special Ops Chef Thomas Tennant and Executive Chef Bradley Herron as our guides.  It’s amazing what you learn when you are tasked with teaching others what you know — or think you know! — like the back of your hand. Ever curious but never asked about the varieties present in Marinated Olives? What about the cheese used in the Polenta Fries batter? (Yes, there is cheese!) Join us as we break down each dish’s setup, a few of which have their origins at Harry’s Pizzeria, and maybe you will delight in hidden surprises in Michael’s signatures, too.

MGP_DevilsDeviled Eggs: Hard boiled eggs are cut in half and then the yolks are removed and puréed with mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt and tabasco. It is garnished with paprika and chopped parsley and served 5 to an order.

MGP_PigEars Crispy Pig Ears: Pig ears are braised for 4 hours in jus and chicken stock with mirepoix, bay leaf and thyme, cut into thin strips, deep fried to order, and seasoned with a blend of spices and garnished with a wedge of lime. The magic combination of coriander, cumin, salt, sugar, ground chipotle, paprika, garlic powder, ginger powder, mustard powder, and onion powder is a flavor bomb to the palate, and quite addictive!

MGP_Liver Chicken Liver Crostini: Chicken livers are sautéed, puréed with caramelized onions, brandy and cream, then spread onto thick slices of toasted sourdough baguette that becomes amazing thanks to a mixture of butter, olive oil and garlic. Topped with caramelized onions, chopped parsley, and fleur de sel, and served 3 pieces to an order.

MGP_hominyCrispy Hominy: Hominy are dried corn kernels from which the germ and hull have been removed by soaking the kernels in water. They are cooked in water, fried to order and seasoned with a blend of spices, then garnished with a wedge of lime.

Thick Cut Potato Chips with Pan Fried Onion Dip:  Idaho potatoes are freshly cut in thick slices, deep-fried and sprinkled with sea salt. The chips are served along a side of caramelized onion dip topped with chopped parsley.  The classic mixture combines mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, caramelized onions, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Chili Chicken Wings: Deep fried and tossed in a sweet, mildly spicy chili sauce, the wings are served 5 per order and come with a side of creamy cucumbers. Their cooling crunch, a mixture of garlic, cilantro, mint, greek yogurt, and lemon juice, is the perfect counter to the punch of the wings. They hit the table showered with scallions cut on the bias & picked cilantro.

MGP_falafel Falafel: Falafel are crispy little balls where consistency is key, especially in the grind! They are made from raw chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, parsley, mint and cilantro, deep fried, and served 3 to a plate with pickled red onions and tahini sauce.

MGP_Olives Marinated Olives: An assortment of seven types of olives including Beldi (oil-cured,) Castelvetrano, Cerignola (both black and green,) Kalamata, Nicoise and Picholine are marinated in olive oil. The individual flavors and consistencies of the olives are enhanced by their marinate of garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper and citrus zests. 

MGP_SlidersPulled Pork Sliders: Slow roasted pork shoulder is seasoned with cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and fennel seed then pulled into tender strips. The pork is made into a slider with toasted brioche buns, topped with pickled red onions, creamy cucumbers and parsley sauce. 2 per order!

MGP_picklesJar of Pickles: A variety of vegetables including red onion, radishes, cauliflower, carrots, and Kirby cucumbers are quick-pickled by heating rice wine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, bay leaf and water and pouring the liquid over the vegetables. Served in a mason jar.

 MGP_FarroGreek Farro Salad:  This dish features the components of a classic Greek salad — diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, Kalamata olives and French feta — with the addition of cooked farro, an ancient grain with nutty flavor. The mixtures is then dressed with lemon vinaigrette.

MGP_Ricotta Homemade Organic Ricotta Crostini with Apricot-Thyme Jam: Organic whole milk is turned into ricotta by gently heating with buttermilk and finished with lemon and sea salt. It is served on a toasted crostini and topped with apricot-thyme jam and pea shoots.

MGP_Polenta Polenta Fries: Yellow corn polenta is cooked with milk, butter and grated parmigiano, cooled, cut into thick fries, then deep fried until crispy. They are served with ketchup that has been spiced up with sauteed yellow onion, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro.

MGP_GnudiFried Gnudi: Ricotta dumplings — taking their name from the naked or “gnudi” center of a ravioli — are poached then deep-fried until crispy. They are served with lemon crème fraîche and shaved parmigiano.

MGP_TomatoBreadSoupTomato-Bread Soup:  A San Marzano tomato soup is blended until smooth and velvety with sourdough bread, basil and olive oil, then garnished with a piece of Fontina Toast, bascially a mini griddled cheese sandwich!

MGP_FennelRadish Fennel, Orange & Arugula: This light salad is tossed with shaved red onion and fennel, radish, baby arugula, orange segments, and green olives in a lemon vinaigrette. It also features fregola sarda, a small pearl pasta from the island of Sardinia off the coast Italy, which binds it together and adds a touch of heartiness.

MGP_Fishdip Smoked Fish Dip: This smoked whitefish dip is seasoned with old bay spice and green onions. Smooth and savory, it is served with a crunchy and refreshing celery salad and saltine crackers. Build your own perfect bite.

Country Pâté: Also known as Pâté de Campagne, is a rustic pate made from pastured heritage pork, eggs, onions and savory herbs baked in a terrine mold.  It is served on a board with accompaniments including cornichons, pea shoots, Dijon mustard, toasted baguette.