Amara at Paraiso Opens for Lunch, Monday September 24

Next week there are more bay views to bask in — or breeze by — during the workday, at Miami’s quintessential waterfront restaurant by chef Michael Schwartz.  Amara at Paraiso opens for lunch beginning Monday, September 24 with executive chef Michael Paley’s a la carte menu.  All new items to enjoy include Starters, Sandwiches (served with choice of crispy chimichurri potatoes or farm greens), Salads & Bowls (to which grilled chicken, grilled fish or shrimp and chorizo can be added), and Entrées. Favorites from dinner make an appearance, like Snacks including craveable Yuca Cheese Puffs, the restaurant’s two varieties of housemade Empanadas — Short Rib, as well as Corn & Leek, Raw Bar mainstays like Ceviche, fresh, locally-caught Tuna Tartare in changing preparations, Chilled Shrimp, and Oysters — and a medley Platter to make it special.

Housemade masa crackers for the Avocado Bowl, a starter with buttermilk curds, fresh herbs, and lime.

Amara’s “Three Course”, a prix fixe lunch option for $28 lets you pass the brighter hours as expeditiously or leisurely as your spectrum desires whether for a smart business lunch or dining to get to the next appointment on time.  Begin with choice of Yuca Cheese Puffs, Smoked Fish Dip, or Ceviche, followed by main dish of Grilled Market Fish, Chochoyotes — hearty masa dumplings in broth (vegetarian), or the Concha Especial sandwich, and finish with Dulce Flan or Chocolate Torte.

Click here for the full opening menu.

Work and life hangs so delicately in the balance. Let Amara tip your scales. The new service runs Monday through Saturday from 11:30am-3pm and highlights the bold Latin American flavors, coastal ingredients, and South Florida’s diversity of food culture established at the restaurant’s lively happy hour, dinner and brunch. Miami’s quintessential waterfront restaurant captures the dynamic energy, local ingredients, and natural beauty of Biscayne Bay that defines what living in Miami is all about from environment to cuisine to vibe.  Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33137.  For reservations call 305.702.5528, email reservations@amaraatparaiso.com or visit Open Table (walk-ins welcome). For all hours and menus visit amaraatparaiso.com and follow the restaurant on Instagram and Facebook.

On Your Marc… Mastering Pizza Cookbook Dinner at Michael’s Genuine

Get set to spread the love.  The pizza kind.  We are tickled to again welcome into our kitchen the one and only Chef Marc Vetri — this time to celebrate our favorite food.  Everyone’s favorite food.  Pizza!  You can’t go back to any old pie once you’ve tasted an extraordinary one — and we’ve got plenty on October 1!  For one seating and one night only beginning at 7PM, Michael hosts his friend and the founder of Philadelphia’s Vetri Family of Restaurants for the Mastering Pizza Cookbook dinner featuring a handful of the recipes he has perfected to create artisanal pies at home. The last time we cooked together in Miami was February 22, 2012 at Harry’s original location in the Miami Design District. It’s been way too long, and we’re ready to make it up to you… and ourselves!  Tickets are live today HERE!

Mastering Pizza Dinner Includes reception with a welcome cocktail and passed bites, sit down 3-course (including dessert) family style dinner, free flowing red, white and rosé wine — as well as beer — all night long, a signed book, and tax and gratuity for $150 per person.

Pizza remains America’s favorite food, but one that many people hesitate to make at home. In Mastering Pizza, the award-winning Philly-based chef tackles the topic with his trademark precision, making perfect pizza available to anyone. The recipes gleaned from years spent researching recipes in Italy and perfecting them in America have a variety of base doughs of different hydration levels, which allow home cooks to achieve the same results with a regular kitchen oven as they would with a professional pizza oven. The book covers popular standards like Margherita and Carbonara while also featuring unexpected toppings such as mussels and truffles and even a dessert pizza made with Nutella. With transporting imagery from Italy and hardworking step-by-step photos to demystify the process, Mastering Pizza will help you make pizza as delicious as you find in Italy.

“Mastering Pizza: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pizza, Focaccia, and Calzone” isn’t the chef’s first cookbook; the man behind the eponymous Vetri Cucina first published a collection recipes in 2008 with “Il Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey,” detailing his culinary roots of when he began learning the craft in Bergamo, Italy, and the path that led him to the opening of Vetri.

Philly boys together and victorious in Minnesota this last Super Sunday.

His other books, 2011’s “Rustic Italian Food”– for which we hosted a dinner at Harry’s Pizzeria’s chef pop up series — and 2015’s “Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto,” likewise infuse stories from Vetri’s time in Italy alongside his recipes. With his latest work, Vetri shifts focus to the food customers may be more accustomed to if they’ve ever visited the area’s several Pizzeria Vetri locations, notably more casual (and affordable) than Vetri Cucina. The release date coincides with the five-year anniversary of the first Pizzeria Vetri location.

Michael’s forthcoming pizza cookbook, Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home, releases in May of next year.  And an invitation to Pizzeria Vetri to launch it. It’s only right in the city of brotherly love, don’t you think, Marc?!  We can’t wait!

We Couldn’t Fuggetaboutit! Katz’s Pastrami on Rye Pizza Returns to Miami at Schwartz’s Pizzerias In September for Two Weeks Only

Look for the signs.

Homer, a pizza cook at Miami Design District, couldn’t believe his eyes!

Start spreading the news. Miami will have what the Big Apple is having… AGAIN!  Back by popular demand, the Katz’s Pastrami Pizza on Rye Crust that Michael conceived last summer will be available at all four South Florida pizzerias and new Atlanta location beginning Monday, September 17 until Sunday, September 30. Chef and Katz’s Delicatessen owner Jake Dell connected on a recent trip to NYC and hatched a plan to give the people what they want for the second year in a row.  We are positively verklempt — especially our pizza cooks who couldn’t get enough of this specialty inspired the icon’s famous sandwich the first go around.

Katz’s Deli famous pastrami, sauerkraut, rye pizza crust, mustard sauce, gruyère 18

“The original Lower East Side location is an obligatory stop on every visit,” Michael says. “Katz’s pastrami on rye sandwich is legendary — and one my all time favorites. I have to pinch myself that it’s going to be back in our pizza ovens!”

It’s always a pleasure to bring a taste of New York City’s iconic Katz’s
Delicatessen to the 6th Borough.  The Pastrami on Rye pizza will be available all day long during regular business hours, as well as delivery and takeout — until Michael has to call Jake for more meat!  Visit genuinepizza.com.com/locations to plan your visit and share the Jewish Deli love at #pastramionpie.  And remember you’ll never run out of pastrami at home by ordering your own at katzsdelicatessen.com – Katz’s ships nationwide.

 

All Sizzle, No Swindle in this Seashell Game

Harvey Cedars, the fish stew in the Michael’s Genuine Food cookbook, named for summer vacation.

Nothing is better to really enjoy summer – the way it is supposed to taste and smell — than seashells by the seashore.  We always love a good shellfish on the grill, and with Michael’s return from his annual family trip to Long Beach Island, NJ, we figured it was time to check in for his reflections.

Here’s what you need to know now, up and down the seaboard and especially on our favorite coast, bayside at Amara at Paraiso. Visit us on Sundays from 4-10pm for the weekly vacation we call the Sunset Beach Party.  This week we’re breaking out the Lynx Grill for the first time upstairs at the Paraiso Beach Club, serving oysters both au naturel on the half shell with turmeric mignonette and also hot off the grill with vinaigrette and farofa — the toasted cassava flour we love as a breadcrumb alternative.  It’s all about soaking up the juices and that summer feeling, before it’s gone!

SHOPPING

Fresh is king — Ask how long they’ve been in the case. Shellfish should absolutely smell briny and of the ocean, but not a persistent stagnant odor. You’ll know when they’ve turned.
Seasonal vs. Sustainable — You want great tasting ingredients either grown in the best conditions possible or wild caught in season.  Farmed isn’t a bad word where oysters are concerned. Duxbury, MA’s Island Creek Oyster Co. is a great example of an operation doing it right.  Closer to home, a special holiday on our radar this time of year is Florida lobster season.  Look for Chef Michael Paley at Amara at Paraiso to run some specials in the weeks to come to highlight this local specialty, Florida Keys-sourced from our longtime fishmonger and friend George Figueroa of Trigger Seafood.
Fresh or Frozen?  Both can work — all shrimp are flashed at some point in the harvest process, so again is more about the quality of the ingredient, who you are buying it from, and how long it’s taken to get to you since harvest.
Get little more than you need — Inevitably some won’t open nor pass muster.
Clean! — Where there’s shellfish there is sand, among other gritty, grimy things that need to be removed especially if you’re cooking inside a shell. Scrub with coarse steel wool or a stiff brush under cool running water. If the mussels have beards, pull them off. Pat dry.
Sourcing isn’t just about procuring the goods — If you don’t know, ask a good source. I trust Ed Levine for the diligently researched ins and outs of everything, and clams are no exception.  It’s always a smart idea to read up before digging in.

Fresno chile paste on the Lynx Grill – also a preparation at Amara.

GRILLING

Shell on — In most cases this is the best idea, especially if you’re going straight to the grate. Provides protection to the delicate flesh, as well as even cooking.
We like the juice – Try to conserve the natural liquor when shucking oysters. Better yet, pay for the convenience and have the professionals do it for you. Whole Foods does them by the dozen over ice.
Marinate — Shelled shrimp take very well to just olive oil, salt and pepper — or something thicker like the Fresno chile paste we use at Amara.
Crack the large ones — If you’re going big, with Prawns, Langoustine or Lobster, they’re going to grill best cracked in half. Start with cut side down to seal in the juices, then flip to finish. Baste with butter and herbs to develop flavor through caramelization.
Less is more — Always, but especially where cook time is concerned. Remember everything continues to cook for a period of time after you remove it from the heating element, shellfish especially due to their high water content. So pull them off a little earlier than you think.

[Recipe] A Niman Ranch Pizza 20 Years in the Sausage-Making

We fancy sausage. Italian sausage. With peppers and onions. And some mozzarella and sauce too!

When it comes to sausage-making, we are all eyes if the link is Niman Ranch.  Over the years we have gotten to know Sarah Willis and her humanely and sustainably-raised beef, lamb and pork at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink and most recently Genuine Pizza® and Harry’s Pizzeria®.  We believe so strongly in Willis’ mission that we made a commitment last year to exclusively source all our pizzerias’ pork and beef from Niman Ranch and have since then rolled out new menu items like Italian Sausage Pizza so our guests have more ways to enjoy them.  On special occasions, we are able to experience the roots of where it all began in person and reaffirm why we do what we do in the first place.  Next month we will have another such opportunity at the 20th annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner celebrating the farmers living Niman Ranch’s mission on the ground with a feast cooked by a handful of its favorite supportive chefs.

Click here to watch culinary assistant Brandon Green make the sausage pie shine at Genuine Pizza Aventura.

“When I was first invited to visit the original Willis family farm and cook at the 2011 hog farmer appreciation dinner, going there and seeing where it all started that was the ah ha moment for me,” Michael explains. “We work really hard to operate our restaurants and create experiences for guests – and take care of our people. It’s all consuming. When we can get out and make a personal connection it really is everything, especially having enjoyed working with their ingredients for so long and in so many different ways.”

From September 6-9, Michael, Brad and I will make a trip to Iowa for a weekend of activities that connect the dots between source and recipient culminating in Saturday’s feast, a collaboration with chefs including Cal Peternell, Andrea Reusing, Ann Kim, Charles Phan and Todd Fisher.  Follow along on the Michael’s Genuine Instagram for an inside look at the people and the place that makes us feel good about this Italian Sausage Pizza in more ways than just taste.  Make it at home or enjoy it at a Genuine Pizza or Harry’s Pizzeria near you!

Italian Sausage Pizza with Peppers & Onions, Tomato Sauce & Mozzarella

Makes 1, 12-inch pizza

1 ball Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
1/4 cup tomato sauce (use your favorite)
4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup sliced roasted red bell pepper
1/4 cup yellow onions, sautéed until translucent
1/2 cup Niman Ranch Italian Sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick on the bias

Pre-heat the oven to 500F.

Place pizza stone or baking pan on the middle rack and preheat it along with the oven for at least a good 20 minutes.

To prepare 1, 12-inch pizza, dip the ball of dough into a little flour, shake off the excess, and put the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough with your hands, turning the ball as you press down the center. Continue spreading the dough into a 12-inch circle either with your hands or a rolling pin. Leave the dough slightly thick so the topping does not seep through. Dust a pizza paddle (if you don’t have a paddle you can use a rimless cookie sheet as a substitute) with flour and slide it under the pizza dough; it’s easiest to top the pizza with the dough already on the paddle. Using the back of a large spoon, and starting from the center and spiraling your way out, distribute the tomato sauce in a thin, even layer. You want to see some of the dough peeking through. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top, then the peppers and onions and finally the sausage. Slide the prepared pizza onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet and bake until the crust is properly browned, about 10 minutes. Check the bottom of the pizza to make sure it has been cooked properly—it should be rich brown and burnished. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and cut into slices. Serve immediately.

Pizza Dough

Makes enough dough for 4, 12-inch pizzas

½ cup (120 ml) beer, such as lager or pilsner, at room temperature
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 (1/4 ounces/7 g) packet active dry yeast
3 cups plus 6 tablespoons (455 g) bread flour, plus more for stretching the dough
1/3 cup (40 g) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl

In a small bowl combine the beer and honey with 1 cup (240 ml) room temperature water. The beer will foam a great deal when being poured into the measuring up, so let the foam subside before adding more liquid to get to the right volume. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until it starts to foam, 5 to 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine both types of flour and the salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add the oil, then the yeast mixture, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should pretty sticky and stick to your hands and the counter. It should leave behind a sticky trail; if you think the dough is a bit too wet, it is probably just perfect. Gather the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl; turn it over to coat with the oil. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Gently punch down the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight and for up to 48 hours. (You can start the dough the night before you plan to make the pizza.)

Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a clean, lightly floured counter and knead gently for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls, about 8 ounces (225 g) each—the size of large tangerines. Roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm. Use immediately or wrap the dough balls individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks. If using right away, lightly dust the dough with four, and cover with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out. Let the dough come to room temperature, for about 1 hour, before using.