Author Archives: Laura A.

Spicy Hatch Chili and Peach Brownie Recipe

 

Spicy Hatch Chili and Peach Brownies

It’s Hatch Chili Time again in Phoenix so I have to come up with more ways to use Hatch Chili Peppers. Here are my fudgy Brownies that I added some fire roasted hatch chilies too and added some peach to counter the heat. For a little added taste and texture I topped the brownies with just a Tablespoon of Turbinado Sugar and just a Tablespoon of Salted Roasted Pepitas. The brownies are moist with a great deep chocolatey flavor with heat and sweet and more! If you can handle a little heat and you like chocolate then you should love the brownies. BTW- they are super easy to prepare.

Ingredients for around 18 servings

ingredients

4 oz unsweetened butter

10 oz 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon course sea salt

3 large eggs – beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1/4 cup fire roasted charred hatch chili peppers – stem and seeds removed – chopped

1 large ripe white peach – pit and stem removed – cube the peach

non – stick spray (either canola or vegetable)

1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar (to finish brownies with)

1 Tablespoon pepitas  (pumpkin seeds) – roasted with sea salt

Directions

Turn oven on to 350 degree F

Use an oblong cake pan that is around 12 1/4 inch by 8 1/4 inch in size and spray the pan with non-stick spray.

Put a small fry pan on medium heat and melt the butter. When the butter is melted add the chocolate chips and stir. Shut off the heat and take the fry pan off the burner. Stir again and set the pan to the side. Doesn’t matter if the chips aren’t all melted yet.

In a large mixing bowl add the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, beaten eggs and vanilla and hand stir till 1/2  mixed. Now stir in the butter/chocolate mixture. Stir. Add the peppers and the peach and gently stir. Pour into sprayed pan and top by sprinkling the turbinado and pepitas across the surface of the brownies.

Put in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the center feels just cooked.

After 25 minutes mine came out like this.

I let the brownies rest and set on the counter for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes they were still warm and ready to serve.

Spicy Hatch Chili and Peach Brownies

We got a FORKING WINNER here!

These brownies are smooth, rich and moist with that just right chocolate flavor. The Hatch Chili peppers, peach go well with the rich brownie. A little crunch from the turbinado sugar and salted pepitas add another layer and texture that makes the brownie more interesting and not too sweet.

Better than many of the desserts I eat out!

The Forking Truth

 

The Bottega Panini from Bottega Pizzeria and Ristorante Glendale AZ – Worth a Fork

 

I recently tried a Panini from Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante in Glendale AZ.

This Bottega Panini was unbelievably scrumptious…..so I felt the need to mention it.

It isn’t a conventional beauty but starts with a unique but delicious flavorful thin bread pocket with a seasoned crust that is a little rich with oil, seasonings and a little hard cheese.

That seasoned bread is just so tasty and different. It hits the top of your mouth then your juices flow and sets the way for things to come. Inside are thin strips of creamy brie cheese, sweet fig jam, melting juicy pear slices and flavorful walnuts with a little welcoming bitter pop. All together this combination is exciting. It’s a perfect marriage of sweet and salty with flavors in-between. The walnuts cut threw the creamy and sweet fig jam….the pears are sweet but act as sandwich filling. You won’t find anything that taste just like this anywhere else. The sandwich so flavorful and not a boring sandwich at all.  The sweetness of the fig jam lacing everything feels kind of naughty….almost dessert like….It’s almost too sweet …but then you have the brie cheese, walnuts and that special seasoned bread pocket that brings on the savory to make it balanced ….. so good!

It’s just a Forking Delicious Sandwich!

Among the tastiest sandwiches I ate all year!

By the way……

Pictured above is only a half sandwich with a side salad off the lunch menu. A better value would have been to order the whole sandwich because the whole sandwich is only 1-2 dollars more and came with the same salad. I would not have been able to eat both pieces at one time but I would have had another sandwich I could have enjoyed latter.

This is what a whole sandwich platter looks like.

A few other foods we enjoyed at Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante on previous visits were…..

Certified DOP Margherita Pizza

Hand made really amazing Trofie al Pesto Pasta

www.BottegaRistorante.com

Everything pictured I tried and it was Worth a Fork!

Worth a Fork! Among the best that you can get in Glendale AZ

Everything is subject to change and your experience may…or may not differ.

The Forking Truth

No Oil No Mayo Mexican Inspired Potato Salad with Avocado Recipe

 

 

No Oil No Mayo Mexican Inspired Potato Salad with Avocado

Mexican Food is very flavorful and Avocado is very rich. I felt I could come up with a healthy oil and mayonnaise free potato salad and use heart healthy avocado as the fat that potato salad needs.  I also used my pickled jalapeños and some of the brine for seasoning the potatoes while they were hot to infuse more flavors into the potatoes. If you don’t want to prepare pickled jalapeños skip over this recipe because the pickled jalapeños from most grocery stores don’t taste good. You might be able to find good pickled jalapeños at farmer’s markets or perhaps a Mexican Grocery Store. PLEASE READ****I DO NOTE!!!!!! There is a price to pay for not adding oil or mayonnaise! The salad is great and delicious and keeps it’s flavor and stays delicious for about a week but over night the salad gets drippy and everyday the salad needs a drain. If I was doing this salad again I think I’d put it in a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid that comes out.

Ingredients for about 8 servings

2 lbs brown skinned potatoes peeled and cut in halves

1/2 small onion – to boil with potatoes to infuse flavor and toss out afterwards

1 garlic clove – to boil with potatoes to infuse flavor and toss out afterwards

1 hot pepper – to boil with potatoes to infuse flavor and toss out afterwards

1 Tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt to boil potatoes

1 med/small mango – diced

3 small avocados – sliced in very large pieces – they will break down (my avocados were the really tiny ones)

4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice – to squeeze over avocados

1/2 small sweet onion – chopped

2 large garlic cloves – ground to paste

1 celery rib – finely chopped

3/4 cup sweet grape tomatoes – cut in halves

1/2 cup low sodium black beans – rinsed three times and drained

1 cup – heaping – pickled jalapeños – my recipe preferred – chopped including onion and leave carrot slices whole

4 Tablespoons brine from pickled jalapeños – to pour over potatoes as soon as they are done

1 Tablespoon course sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon mild chili powder

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1/4 cup scallions – chopped

Directions

Put a pot of water on to a medium boil with the potatoes, 1 Tablespoon salt, a hot pepper, 1/2 onion and a garlic clove. The potatoes need to boil till they are fork tender. That should take 10-15 minutes.

When the potatoes are done you might or might not want to break some of them down just slightly more while they are still hot…but keep in mind you need them larger than you want them because they will break down when you stir. When potatoes are the size you want them you need to pour the jalapeño brine on them to infuse flavor. Let the potatoes sit to the side. Let this bowl sit out at least 15 minutes.

In a large bowl combine all the remaining ingredients. Fold in the potatoes. Serve now preferably. I note tomorrow the salad will need draining.

The salad is rich, flavorful and creamy with avocado. It has some heat and some sweet but mostly flavor with lots of texture.

If you are a fan of Mexican Food you should love this salad.

No Oil No Mayo Mexican Inspired Potato Salad

The Forking Truth

 

 

 

Rocket Burger Phoenix AZ is where you Eat Like a Local

 

Rocket Burger and Subs Phoenix AZ

Rocket Burger isn’t a fancy place. This is the kind of place that you visit if you live nearby for the tasty low priced better and more DELICIOUS than fast food kind of place. This is almost fast food but different…… almost fast …you wait a few minutes…  with quality and value pricing. Fast Food but ELEVATED. The food is never from frozen and is made fresh to order……. Breaded things are hand breaded to order.  Another thing that they do different are the delicious house made sauces that make simple food taste special. I wouldn’t say they offer the absolute best burgers in Metro Phoenix but the burgers are certainly scrumptious and tasty and maybe the most delicious out there for the price point.

Most likely you will order one of the many varieties of burgers they offer. You will get fresh hand patted angus burgers that are thin. You have your choice of single, double or rocket sized. Just  order at the counter and try a Sandwich, a Burger, Hot Dog, some sides and a SODA. Then you seat yourself and look at the wall of sodas till your food arrives.

Did I tell you they offer sodas?

They offer Craft Sodas on tap –  Snozzberry, Shirley Temple, Root-beer, Ginger-Beer, Cola and Black Cherry.

Then there is the great wall of maybe a thousand sodas. Maybe every Root Beer made in America is there ?????????   The flavors are endless. I always see something I never have seen  before. Once you finely decide on your soda you can have it transformed into a float if your appetite can handle it.

Between the two of us we haven’t tried everything Rocket Burger offers yet but we have made a dent in the menu.

Double Bacon Burger with Cheese

New York Burger with Pastrami, thin cut fresh made coleslaw and that tasty Rocket Sauce.

Corn Meal Crusted Onion Rings

You can order a Chicken Salad…..but I wouldn’t say it’s a light healthy meal here….

Fried Zucchini

Double Cheese Burger with a Fried Green Chili

At the moment this is my favorite Sandwich at Rocket Burger.

The Pescado de Cohete. It a hand cornmeal crusted fish (not sure but taste like swai to me) topped with spicy Mexican Slaw and Pico de gallo. The bun is big, really fresh tasting and buttery. I normally don’t like swai…but with that delicious slaw they make….. even an old shoe would taste good. The slaw is sort of fruity and spicy. It just taste great all together.

You just might have a blast at Rocket Burger!

It’s the kind of place where you eat like a local. It’s the place we know about and go to.

www.RocketBurgers.com

As you know..everything is subject to change and your experience may…or may NOT differ.

The Forking Truth

Shawarma King Glendale AZ – Worth a Fork!

 

Shawarma King is a casual Arabic Mediterranean fast food restaurant located in Glendale AZ. It is sort of like going on a magic carpet ride to a place that maybe you’ve never been before.  We ordered and abracadabra our platters were prepared quickly.

I ordered the Vegetarian Feast – Hummus, Arabic Salad, Purple Cabbage Salad, 4 pc Falafels, Tahini, Pita bread.

I started with the Middle Eastern Pickles….They taste exactly like the Middle Eastern Pickles I tried from every other Middle Eastern Restaurant. It’s that same taste. Not like a crisp bright garlic deli pickle….just different. The Arabic Salad is fresh tasting and herby. One of my favorite things on the plate is the cabbage salad. Its a little sweet and sour and light…refreshing….it’s easy to eat. The Falafels are a different style. Crunchy on the outside and light, fluffy and moist inside. They have the usual falafel flavors but they have a little hint of a different flavor….. is it cinnamon? or maybe allspice?…… The hummus is very creamy and is filled with oil and a tangy purple sauce. The pita bread is hot and fluffy.

My husband goes with a Beef Shawarma Plate.

What stands out on this plate is the tender flavorful very moist beef. It’s also all beef and that’s very unusual here because most places brush the beef with lamb fat or combine the beef with lamb. The beef is succulent, some of the beef even has crunchy ends and is very good. They dressed the beef with a dab of an herbed aioli….that’s different! The plate came with saffron fluffy rice, creamy hummus and Arabic salad. In the lower right hand corner is house made green hot sauce that is VERY HOT. The owner is a hot sauce enthusiast. He told me he is about to experiment with Carolina Reaper Hot Peppers and create a new hot sauce. I told him to be very careful….and to wear protection.

I do have to be honest here and note that on my last THREE visits to Shawarma King they have been out of one thing. Today it was chicken, last time it was falafels, the time before it was one of the salads. I don’t know if he is always out of one thing but it seems that way to me.

Anyways the food I tried is many levels better than from some of the other Mediterranean Restaurants in Glendale AZ. For sure Shawarma King is among the better ones in Glendale.

I have to say Shawarma King is Worth a Fork!

No I don’t think you will drive across town for Mediterranean Fast Food but should you be in the area and desire this kind of food this place is recommended.

www.ShawarmaKingAZ.com

I do note that EVERYTHING is subject to change and your experience may…or may NOT differ.

The Forking Truth

Spicy Turkey Meatballs Stuffed with Raisins and Pine Nuts Recipe

 

Spicy Turkey Meatballs Stuffed with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Here are meatballs that are a little different. They contain a bonus surprise in the middle and you get an amount of delicious flavor and medium heat from Calabrian Chili Peppers and then you get  sweetness from raisins and yummy tasty nutty  pine nut punch….Tasty, Juicy, delicious and a little spicy. The meatballs got lots of flavors going on and are seasoned really perfect. The meatballs come out very juicy so you don’t really need sauce and just a light grating of cheese if you desire.

Ingredients for about 6 servings

1 lb ground turkey (85/15)

2 XL eggs – slightly beaten

1 cup whole wheat panko

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/4 cup sweet onion – chopped fine

1/2 cup (scant cup) vegetable stock

1 garlic clove – ground to paste

2 Calabrian Chili peppers – stem removed, chopped fine

1/4 cup fresh basil chopped

32 jumbo raisins (give or take a few depending on size of meatball)

3 Tablespoons pine nuts (give or take…about 3-5 pine nuts a meatball)

non-stick spray canola or vegetable

Directions

Set oven to 350 degrees F

Spray baking sheet(s) with non stick spray

Everything goes in a big mixing bowl except for the turkey. Mix well and let it sit about ten minutes so the panko can absorb. After the ten minutes mix in the turkey. The mixture will be wetter than a beef mixture. Use a small scoop and scoop out the meatballs. I do note again the mixture is soft so you won’t be able to roll the meatballs and you just have to scoop them.

Indent each meatball with a butter knife or your finger.

Insert with a jumbo raisin and a few 3-5 pine nuts.

Wet your fingers and pat the meatballs closed.

After about 15 minutes in the oven (350 F) the meatballs should be done.

“That smells Forking Great!”

“I Forking Want Some Meatballs”

Unfortunately the meatballs contain several ingredients that are NOT Dog Friendly…..The dogs can’t taste these meatballs.

Oh well…….more for the humans…..

Spicy Turkey Meatballs Stuffed with Raisins and Pine Nuts

The meatballs came out Forking Delicious! Most people will love them!

The Forking Truth

 

My Forking Thoughts on Lay’s Everything Bagel Potato Chips

 

The Lay’s Million Dollar finalist winning flavors for the  “Do Us a Flavor” Contest varieties are now out in stores for us to try!  I was pretty excited to try out the Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese Kettle Cooked Potato Chips from Lay’s. Everything Bagels are so bold with flavors. Those bagels are crusted with onions, garlic, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. All them flavors really wake you up and I thought that this would be a very easy flavor to pull off.

I start by opening the bag and take a whiff.

It smells like something fried.

It smells a little bit like fried onion rings.

I smell a slight sourness……

I pour some chips on to a paper towel.

I notice that the chips are very small and came from tiny potatoes. Many of the chips are folded and some are sprinkled with poppy seeds.

These chips are greasy. My paper towel is getting oily.

They are very crunchy with some potato flavor.

They do have some sort of flavor that’s similar to buttermilk with a hint of onion.

Almost ranch………..Almost Onion Dip……….some sort of cheese flavor?

Some chips are almost flavorless and some have stronger flavors.

I don’t get any sesame seeds….I don’t get that burnt onion taste…I don’t get the pops of garlic either.

Some of the chips taste almost a weird buttery flavor with poppy seeds…like a poppy seed crunch with a slightly tangy buttery dip-like like product.

Not so good………Not horrible…….disappointing!

1/2 a Fork…………

Crispy Taco and Fried Green Tomato are also out for a limited time.

Give them a try if your up for it!

Your experience may or may not differ.

The Forking Truth

Masa Potato Dumplings Recipe

 

Masa Potato Dumplings

I made these dumplings from roasted, riced, brown skin potatoes and masa flour with some other ingredients. The masa flour gives the dumplings a corn tortilla kind of flavor. You can serve them anyway you like. My first thought was that the dumplings would be very good in corn stock with some corn, jalapeño and cilantro. I also cooked the dumplings in corn stock to infuse more flavor and saved the starchy corn stock cooking liquid for the soup I served it in the cooking liquid because it had great corn flavor. You can also serve the dumplings in any other vegetable soup or stew and I imagine they would go well in a chicken based soup or stew. They would be delicious in a tomatillo gravy or salsa.

Ingredients for about 8 servings

1 lb peeled brown skin potatoes that were already roasted, peeled and riced

2 L eggs – slightly beaten

1 Tablespoon course sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground annatto

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 cup AP flour

1 cup masa

1/2 cup (about could be slightly more or slightly less) corn stock – you can substitute water, vegetable stock or chicken stock – You want just the right amount for a smooth dough

Directions

Rised Potatoes

Add all the ingredients expect for the corn-stock. Mix and drizzle in corn-stock until you get a nice feeling dough that’s not too dry and let it rest about 20 minutes.

Put a pot with what stock you are using to a medium boil.

Trim your disposable pastry bag and add some dough with the end folded down. (use less dough than I did if you are not used to working with a pastry bag)

Bring the folded end up and twist the dough down.

Tie some kitchen string on the handle of your pot being careful not to let the string make contact with the burner. The string will cut your dumplings off the pastry bag.

Let each batch rise to the surface and let them cook two – three minutes. Spoon them out with a slotted spoon. If you did them in corn stock you are fine but if you did them in vegetable or chicken stock you might need to add a small amount of oil to the dumplings so they don’t stick. Keep going till you are out of dough.

“Those dumplings smell Forking Good to me.”

Masa Potato Dumplings

These are very tasty. I think most people will like them.

The Forking Truth

Cafe Bink Restaurant in Carefree AZ is Worth a Fork!

 

Cafe Bink in Carefree AZ is a casual full service restaurant that offers a mostly American Menu of foods prepared with some French Techniques. Cafe Bink was opened by Arizona’s James Beard Nominated Chef Binkley who is now paying full attention to his fine dining restaurant Binkley’s. Cafe Bink (a more casual restaurant) is now ran and operated by his partner Chef Justin Olsen. Lately Cafe Bink has been serving special dinner events such as the 4 course Tomato Dinner with Wine pairings. They also have been offering a Friday and Saturday Night 6 course “Date Night” Dinners with Wine Pairing. I do note reservations are needed for these special events and the Date Night Dinners.

We were lucky and got a reservation in for one of the Date Night Dinners.

They started us off with HOT Focaccia bread toasted on both sides, made with potato, fresh herbs, and chili pepper. They served the bread with a fresh tasting lemony ricotta cheese that contained olive oil for dipping. It was a little indulgent and just delicious! It sure was a great start! 2015 Raeburn Chardonnay was served for the 1st and 2nd course.

The next course was Octopus and Calamari Salad with white beans, arugula, lemon, fennel, garlic, olives and Calabrian Chili Peppers.

My husband said that this was the most tender octopus he ever had anywhere. The seasonings in the salad were so refined and wonderful. Tasty and it woke up your mouth. It was delicious and light making you anticipate more.

Third course was Fettuccini that contained sweet tiny heirloom tomatoes, crisp capers, charred endive in a parmesan cream. The pasta was to the tooth and prepared to perfection. This dish was interesting and with good flavors. I never had charred endive in a pasta dish…It added something interesting to the pasta. Another layer of flavor was added with tomato powder. It was a delight with just the right flavors and textures. 2015 Campuget Syrah/Grenache Noir was pour for this dish.

In-between this dish and the next was Cantaloupe Limoncello Granite.

It was a little scoop of heaven……like the best cantaloup you’ve ever tasted and then just turned to snow for you. It was incredible!

Dinner was seared Bisteca crusted with yummy garlic crumbs. The steak was tender, a perfect medium/rare and delicious! The plate also included tasty pickled peppers, roasted mushrooms, cauliflower, herbs, pureed eggplant. Each vegetable was detailed with flavors. The cauliflower was carefully seasoned and the mushrooms were so delicious…..Who knew pureed eggplant could tie the vegetables together in another delicious way….Everything was prepared carefully , so detailed and delicious.  Very very enjoyable…….2014 Offering Gren/Syrah/Mouvedre/Vigonier stood up to these flavors here.

Dessert was this really moist..(maybe soaked)..Polenta Cake. The cake was topped with a rich smooth zabaglione cream that was topped with candied pistachios, orange two ways and peach preserves. It was full of all kinds of interesting flavors. It was Forking Scrumptious! Really FORKING Scrumptious!

Last pour was a Vovetti Proseco.

All the food was FORKING Amazing. The service was engaging. Even the chef served most of the plates to us and described them to us. Pricing was surprisingly reasonable too.

It was a Forking Fabulous Dinner. They really knocked it out of the park again!

www.CafeBink.com

Cafe Bink is Worth a Fork!

Worth a Fork! You will travel across town to partake in a special event or date night dinner.

I do note everything is subject to change and your experience may…or may not differ.

The Forking Truth

My trip to Serra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse at P83 Peoria AZ

 

We now have maybe the only independently owned Brazilian Steakhouse in Arizona and it recently opened at P83 in Peoria AZ across from the Peoria Sports Center. This is a big deal because we have very few independently owned restaurants in this area and also very few fine restaurants of any kind in this area. The dining room is formal and is set with tablecloths and wineglasses.

They also offer a full bar and a good sized wine list.

My view of the bar from my seat

They start everyone off with Brazilian Cheese Bread.

Then you make your trip to the Salad Bar.

They offer many vegetable salads, hearts of palm, chicken salad, cheese salad, potato salad, lunch meat, rice, black beans with pork and several other items.

Everything I tried was very fresh….but also mostly very mild tasting.

I took a peek into the kitchen….looks like the meats are cooked here.

Back at the table they bring us tasty caramelized bananas and garlic mashed potatoes.

After our salads we turn our red cards on our table on the other side to green to alert the Gauchos (meat servers) that we are ready.

All kinds of meat on screwers comes our way.

The meats offered to us were-

Chicken Legs

Chicken wrapped in bacon

Rib Eye

Bottom Sirloin

Filet

Filet Wrapped in Bacon

Parmesan Pork

Pork Sausage

Pork Ribs

Lamp Chops

Leg of Lamb

Garlic Beef

and

The Signature Picanha Top Sirloin pictured below

We both thought the Signature Picanha Top Sirloin was by FAR the best of what we tried. It was tender, juicy and delicious!

We didn’t try every meat that was offered but we did find a few that were short of perfect.

This restaurant at the time of this review is newly opened and may still be working things out.

www.SerraGauchaUSA.com

Everything is subject to change and your experience may or may not differ.

The Forking Truth