Bienvenidos Versailles Cubano Pizza!

It’s a community thing. But who gets the croqueta is each friend for themself!

Are you picking up what we’re putting down?  If it’s a croqueta on your Versailles Cubano Pizza then you have the right idea!  So does Chef Schwartz.

It’s love at first bite as Michael makes Miami’s most iconic sandwich open-faced for a limited time only featuring Versailles house roasted pork and glazed ham, bread and butter pickles, mustard sauce, fontina and gruyère cheeses, and finished with a Versailles croqueta!  From Monday, January 14 until Valentine’s Thursday, February 14, find this pie in the sky collab as a special at all South Florida locations of Harry’s Pizzeria and Genuine Pizza for $16.  It’s the first time this local legend has done a collaborative pizza highlighting one of their specialty menu items, so we are especially honored and excited to have this unique opportunity… and to share it with all of you!

Since 1971 the original Calle Ocho location of Versailles, the world’s most famous Cuban restaurant, has been a cornerstone of the Little Havana neighborhood and a community gathering place for conversation whether over a cafecito or its famous Cuban sandwich, “El Cubano”.   Almost 50 years later, this culinary icon has achieved ubiquitous global recognition as a symbol of Miami’s diverse cultural identity and the unique food traditions that have developed as a result.

Click to watch how it’s made, to the tunes of Palo!

“I’ve been a fan of Versailles since moving to Miami in the early ‘90s and as a chef I have a keen appreciation for the Valls family’s commitment to keeping it simple, doing things right, and bringing the community together,” Michael says. “We love to get creative with topping combinations on our pizzas, and taking this one for a spin is a long time coming! We are so grateful to everyone at Versailles for not only entrusting us with these unique ingredients, but their genuine enthusiasm in having fun with the formula. We think the result tastes pretty great and is something we can all gather around and share – if there’s any left!”

Inspired by this memorable combination hot-pressed inside fluffy, crispy Cuban bread, Chef Schwartz is sourcing the roast pork and glazed ham from the Versailles kitchen to honor the original recipe. With layers of mustard sauce, bread and butter pickles, and the combination of fontina and gruyère cheeses to balance melt and flavor, each pie is also topped with one of its famous, mouthwatering croquetas to break open and enjoy with each slice.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Harry’s Pizzeria and Genuine Pizza on this fun and delicious collaboration,” says Versailles owner Nicole Valls. “Our family is a huge admirer of Chef Schwartz and all he has done for the Miami food scene, and we are excited to have everyone taste this new spin on Miami’s iconic dish.”

Beginning Monday, January 14 through Thursday, February 14, the Versailles Cubano Pizza will be available all day long for $16 during regular business hours for dine in, takeout and delivery at all South Florida locations of the James Beard Award-winner’s casual pizza restaurant, including Miami Design District, Downtown Dadeland, Coconut Grove and Aventura Mall. For the restaurant nearest you visit genuinepizza.com/locations.

With whom would you like to share a Cubano Pizza? Let us know by joining the conversation on social media #genuinecubano and follow along for giveaway news, events and more @chefmschwartz, @harryspizzeria, @genuinepizza and @versaillesmiami.

Culinary Director Brad Herron with Harry’s Pizzeria Design District kitchen manager Homer Perez.  Big thanks to these guys for making test pizzas during a busy lunch service. Getting it done, per usual!

[RECIPE] [VIDEO] Our Favorite Wingman Drums Up Sweet & Spicy Support for Young Musicians Unite at Michael’s Genuine

Diligently home-tested and now restaurant-ready, drummer and budding chef Harry Schwartz’s Sweet & Spicy Wood Oven Roasted Chicken Wings with cucumber crema is your post-Art Basel cure-all. Beginning tomorrow, we are supporting our favorite wingman as he raises funds for his partner non profit Young Musicians Unite with his favorite thing — wings!

From Monday, December 10 through Monday, December 17, find this special menu item at Lunch, Afternoon and Dinner with a portion of proceeds supporting this Miami-based non profit. Revitalizing music programs in South Florida’s underserved communities one school at a time, YMU gives students a voice through music thanks to leadership of its founder and band director Sammy Gonzalez. Partner bands like drummer Harry Schwartz’s Arrowhead take the time to play side by side shows with YMU’s students, raise funds through performances and even help with peer to peer mentoring in our after-school programs.  We are so excited. Especially because they taste amazing! Bravo to our favorite wingman. Get your hands on these drumsticks before they’re gone!

Introducing the Seasonal Pizza at Harry’s. Fall’s Calabaza is Up First!

Hello October. We’re falling in love with the flavors and ingredients of autumn by taking the opportunity to introduce a new menu item at Harry’s Pizzeria®: the seasonal pizza.  Every 3 months, our neighborhood American pizzeria will introduce a new pie inspired by what’s around us that time of year.  Calabaza is up first, and what a looker she is.

A sweet and savory combination of just the right amount of ingredients balanced to perfection, Calabaza begins with a base of rosemary crema, followed by caramelized onions, Brussels sprouts and layers of shaved calabaza (think beautiful and bright orange pumpkin) of the perfect thickness so it will melt, lasagna-like in the oven with gruyère and fontina cheeses to tie it all together.  A light sprinkling of parmigiano finishes it with its salty, tangy bite.

Harry’s new seasonal offering is meant to give guests something they can come back to enjoy a bunch of times, staying on for a bit longer than the more spontaneous daily special pizza.  They can also look forward to trying something new, when a new season arrives.  Chefs game plan in advance and hone in on an ingredient or two they are inspired by and then build from there. The idea is to arrive at a well-balanced pie, where a small amount of toppings work together to support the overall flavor profile.   Perfection is in what we can take away, not add.  So there’s a formula to ensure it — a sauce or no sauce, a protein, a vegetable (sometimes two, especially if it’s a vegetarian pizza), one or two cheeses, and a garnish.  That’s all.  And our daily-made dough with a hint of honey and wheat flour for a crust bakes to a blistered, tender result in our ovens.

Visit Harry’s Instagram for a video of how it’s made, courtesy @thenaughtyfork and our kitchen manager Chris Cantu in the Design District doing the demo!  The Calabaza seasonal pie is now available for $15 at all locations beginning today.

 

 

[Video] [Recipe] Rosemary Pine Nut Tart

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Your Thanksgiving table will thank you for this.  Each year, we gather to share in the bounty of the season and no matter how delicious the savory spread is, from customary turkey to rainbow of side dishes, I always look forward to dessert.  There are no fewer than four pies on the table, all homemade and no one alike from crust to filling.  My mother would have it no other way and boy does it make the holiday complete.  From the stages of preparation that materialize on the counter days in advance with currents of bakery smells flowing through the house, entry of self control-challenged persons is ill advised, as is wandering around on an empty stomach.

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Click to watch and learn from the professional, then don’t be scared to give it a whirl yourself. Source: Foodable TV

With the luxury of step-by-step video instruction from Michael’s Genuine® Pastry Chef MJ Garcia, I had the confidence to ask for the recipe to attempt her stunning Rosemary Pine Nut Tart at home and add another notch in my apron sash.   What are you thinking about making this Thanksgiving?

Rosemary 🌲 🌰 Tart

Invoking taste memory adds depth not only in meaning and enjoyment of a dish, but layers of flavor, too. Here Michael’s Genuine pastry chef MJ Garcia conjures Queimada, an ancient Galician ceremony from the mountains where a traditional spirited drink of orange-infused aguardiente called Orujo Gallego is passed around.  With its use of a specialty ingredient like pine nuts and decorative garnish in powdered sugar-dusted rosemary sprig, this festive dessert transports even the diehard Miami snowbird to a forest of towering furs on a snowy December evening, plumes of chimney smoke rising in the distance.

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Makes one tart

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 egg yolks
1 cup brandy
Peel of 1 orange, such as navel
3 sprigs rosemary
6 eggs
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 1/8 cups corn syrup
2 cups honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups pine nuts

Begin with the pastry dough or “pate sucree”. In a large stainless steel bowl sift or whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter, pinching to rub into the dry ingredients just until the size of small peas. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Add 1/3 cup cold water and the yolk, mixing with your hands until it barely comes together and doesn’t develop too much gluten. Divide in half and wrap each pound of dough tightly in plastic. You’ll use one for the tart and must refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to using.  Stow the other in the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator the day before baking for a December gathering.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Prepare the brandy syrup by placing a large sauté pan with brandy, orange peel and rosemary over medium high heat. Once bubbles begin to form, carefully flambé by tilting the pan toward the gas range until the fumes ignite the liquid. For electric or induction, use a long lighter or match and touch the edge of the pan to spread the flame. Simmer until syrup is reduced by half and set aside to cool.

Roll out one tart crust on a cool, floured surface until a scant 1/4 inch thin. Gently fold in quarters to more easily transfer to a greased 12 inch tart pan. Work with your palms to mold the pie crust to the inside edge of the pan while using your fingers to press the crust to the edge evenly. Clean the edges of overhanging dough. Line the pie crust with parchment paper a few extra inches larger than your tart tin and fill with weights such as dry beans. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and blanche in the oven for 10 minutes, remove the weights by pouching the edges of the parchment, and set aside. The crust shouldn’t take on any color at this point, as it will finish baking with the filling. Raise the oven temperature to 325°F.

For the filling, whisk the remainder of the ingredients in a large stainless steel bowl with the syrup, adding the pine nuts last and mixing until fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into the tart crust lined tin and return to the oven being careful not to spill as it will burn on the baking sheet. Bake for 22 minutes or until pine nuts develop a deep golden brown. Cool on a rack before slicing.

Slice and serve with crème fraîche whipped cream, a spring of fried rosemary dusted with powdered sugar and a wine-poached pear half, although a dollop of quality orange marmalade would do quite nicely, too.

Go Figure (It Out) | In Culinary Assistant Life, Attitude Is Everything

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Happy Chefs:  Bosslady and her bossman in the Harry’s Design District kitchen, full Beer Slam event mode this past summer.

“I don’t even know where to start,” she begins as we sit in my office on a Monday morning last month.  It’s as fitting a place as any given Ms. Hess’s new role.  Megan has been pretty much everywhere over the past six months since she was promoted to Culinary Assistant, quite a departure from where we last found her on the line at Michael’s Genuine®.  Yet, she’s often still on any given number of lines these days, depending on the day, even the minute, as she can get called from one venue to the next based on what’s going on.  With Megan fresh off Oasis of the Seas and in the corporate office finishing MGFD’s recipe book (“so I don’t get pulled away…”), I thought we could catch up for a hot minute on what chef life is like when you’re a culinary assistant, and what than means exactly.

img_1991“Yeah, so relaunching 150 Central Park… That was my first project,” Megan says of her transition from line cook.  “We actually began in March.  There was a photo shoot for the new dishes, and it was the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone wanted me to go out, and I had to work the next morning at 9!”

Working on the ship menus turned out to be the perfect training for Megan’s new position — not only in learning how to teach people, but giving her a new found sense of independence and responsibility where she’d have to act as ambassador for the company.  In addition to developing and formatting recipes, testing dishes and shooting how to plate them — all done in Miami in advance — she would travel to the three ships to get menus online with Royal Caribbean’s team.  Brand new Harmony of the Seas kicked it all off across the Atlantic.  Snapshots of Megan’s journey overseas to meet the ship for its maiden voyage were an invaluable peek behind the scenes of the launch through fresh eyes.

That attitude tho.

Go Time: Megan holding it down at the Genuine’s Summer Series “OMG! Picnic & a Movie” featuring an Israeli feast off Lynx Grills.

“The first time I went on my own [to the ship] it was exciting, especially because it was first time I had left the U.S.!” she remembers.  “I flew into London, then eventually arrived in Southhampton where the ship was in port. I had no idea where I was going.  I didn’t have cell service or a contact onboard, and I probably looked like a kindergartner lost in high school!  I just went to my cabin first to drop my bags and then to the venue. No one was there, because they were on break, so I just started by tasting some things.  That will tell you a lot.”

She held a meeting to hear from the staff on what was working and what wasn’t, then scheduled a full menu tasting for the second day taking lots of notes along the way and reporting back to the TGHG team through email.  Some corrections and tweaks were made. Nothing was insurmountable, she recalled thinking.

Plating a dish for Michael Schwartz Events alongside Chef.

Plating a dish for Michael Schwartz Events alongside Chef.

“My goal was that when Brad and [Eric] Larkee showed up the day after, that they wouldn’t have to fix anything,” Megan continues.  “I’ve worked closely with Brad for two and a half years now, and I feel like I have a good idea of what he wants, not just from seeing how he works, but also because he tells me.  Also having the experience and time spent in the restaurants — knowing what our standards are — helps a lot.”

Megan identifies three big takeaways that she’s applied to working with the cooks in our kitchens on land: The importance of repetition, showing and doing hands-on rather than telling, and patience. We would add trust — in your support system, but also yourself.  “Problem solving is huge,” she adds.  “Prioritizing. Just getting in there and figuring things out.”

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Head down, working hard.

Brad also points to an asset you can’t really learn, but that he recognized in Megan from the get-go, essential to all his hires.

“From the very beginning it was about her attitude,” remarks the TGHG executive chef. “Whenever I ask her to do something, the response is ‘no problem’.  She’s on it and gets it done. It’s that can-do attitude that is really the bottom line for everyone right now and why Megan is so valuable.”

Brad also talks about her “universality”.  She has a potent, diverse knowledge base and the versatility that comes with it — Megan can be called upon to jump in anywhere and know what to do — or learn how to, quick.  It could be something planned, like prep for or execution of a Michael Schwartz Events party. Then there are the guaranteed fire drills in this business, like when a cook calls out at Cypress Tavern, Michael’s Genuine or Harry’s Pizzeria® and the restaurants need coverage.  Speaking to his confidence in her adaptability, Brad notes a hypothetical. “If we needed the support there, I could go tell her to go run Harry’s for a week.”

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Getting sh*t done at MGFD.

When we spoke, Megan’s attention was laser focused on Michael’s Genuine and its recent menu changes.

“I feel like it is a lot crazier than when we relaunched Cypress last year,” she reflected. “There, they handed me the new menu and were like ‘here is what we are doing’.  At Genuine, I’ve been a lot more involved, supporting Brad, but also Saul and the team in the kitchen. It’s been everything from foundational stuff like writing the recipes, figuring out how plates are going to look, portion sizes, and making the recipes solid so that anyone can make them.  A big part of it has been getting people onboard with the changes in training.  Everyone is excited in the back of house to learn the pickups — they are a little more complex and require more skill sets than the previous menu. Time management is key since a lot of the dishes take longer to make. That’s been something fun for me, a lot of new faces in the kitchen and being able to teach them, getting them to understand the way we do things here.”

Supporting at Fi’lia, Megan is experiencing a restaurant opening for the first time and she’ll be the first to admit not quite knowing what she or Brad is getting her into, but from the looks of it the young chef is just adding another arrow into her quiver.

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Warm Up: Megan’s view last week, working the Fi’lia oven’s first fire.

“It’s very exciting that Tim is there,” she says of Fi’lia Chef de Cuisine Tim Piazza, who was a sous chef at Genuine before transitioning to get Michael’s first Italian restaurant open. “I didn’t work with him a lot, but the time I did spend with him was great.  It’s a different relationship now. I see him as a great mentor.”

For all these changes, Megan happily admits, even reassures herself, that she doesn’t feel corporate. She can still get her hands dirty.

“That’s the thing that still excites me the most.  Jumping on the line and getting to cook.”