If you are looking for a fun and interactive culinary experience, I suggest you head over to Mountain Shadows Resort, where once a month, Executive Chef and valley veteran, Chef Charles Wiley, hosts cooking classes at his restaurant, Hearth ’61. Chef Wiley will guide you through two recipes while Food and Beverage Manager, Jim Gallen, serves a wine to pair perfectly with the meal.
It is a delightful way to spend the day, and when I came home and made these recipes for dinner, I was a total champ. Light, healthy and delicious, these recipes are great for entertaining or just an evening at home. Plus, Chef Charles Wiley teaches techniques to improve your overall cooking methods, such as the proper way to slice an onion, why you would chiffonade herbs, the beauty of making a beurre blanc sauce (sounds fancy but is actually pretty easy!).
The recipes are included below, and I encourage you to try them! The prep and cook time is under an hour and a half and the total I spent, including the fish, was close to $35, a bargain for three people for dinner.
While I was hosted for the event, all opinions are my own. For more information, visit the website for Mountain Shadows, www.mountainshadows.com, and be sure to sign up for one of the following classes:
FEBRUARY 8 | The Perfect Valentine’s Day Dish to Make for your Sweetheart
MARCH 14 | Springtime Eats
APRIL 25 | The Desert in Bloom: Dishes Created from the Old Town Farmers Market
MAY 16 | Mastering Gnocchi: Recipes Using Summer Vegetables
JUNE 27 | Summer Salads: Exploring the Beauty of Grains, Greens & Herbs
Swordfish with Arizona Citrus Butter
- 4 swordfish steaks, about 5-6 oz. each
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 orange, zest, segments and juice
- 1 lime, zest, segments and juice
- 1 grapefruit, segments and juice only
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp pink peppercorns (can find online or at Penzeys Spices)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp mint leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
- white balsamic vinegar, as needed
- 1 cup basil leaves
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Season the swordfish with salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Lay the the fish brown well on one side. Turn the filet over and transfer to a small baking sheet. Set aside.With a micro-plane or fine grater, remove a generous teaspoon of zest from the orange and lime, and set aside in a bowl (note: I used a Meyer lemon instead of a lime). Peel the orange, lime and grapefruit. Holding them over a glass bowl to catch the juices, cut out the segments in between the membranes and set them aside. Squeeze the membranes over the bowl to extract all the juices. You should have close to one cup of juice. If not, juice another orange.In a small saucepan over medium high heat, add the citrus juices, shallot, wine and pink peppercorns. Reduced heat and simmer until liquid has reduced to about 1/2 cup. Add the reserved zest and citrus segments. Increase heat a bit and add the butter and mint. Swirl t incorporate all ingredients and season as necessary. Add a drop of white balsamic if you find the sauce too sweet.Bake the fish 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness. Transfer to a serving platter, serve with sauce and garnish with basil (or in my case, mint).
Lentil Sweet Potato Soup with Turmeric & Basil
- 2 tbsp avocado or grapeseed oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 each carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 each sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 3/4 cup red lentils (I found them at Sprouts in bulk section)
- 1 each bay leaf
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups spinach, cut into strips (chiffonade)
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat Add the oil, onion, celery and carrot. "Sweat" for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, sweet potato, turmeric, and salt and pepper. Sauté a few minutes longer to cook the garlic and toast the spice. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Add the vegetable broth to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, bay leaf, thyme and vinegar. Simmer 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender. Check seasoning.Divide the spinach between 8 warm soup bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the spinach and garnish with cilantro leaves and pine nuts.
Looking for more interactive culinary experiences in the valley? Head to our events page to check out upcoming family-friendly and foodie-focused activities in Phoenix!
All photos by Marci Symington for TEXAZTASTE.COM.