Eating Local in Phoenix


Bolognese Sauce

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 4


1 tbsp butter

1/2 small onion, minced

1 large carrot, peeled and minced

1 small rib celery, minced

1 small bell pepper, minced

salt and pepper

1 pound ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cups dry white wine

1 1/2 pounds whole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed (keep some juice)

Parmesan cheese rinds (optional)

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add in the onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper and a generous pinch salt.  Cook until vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes.

Stir in the ground beef and, using a wooden spoon to break the meat up, cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.  Add in the garlic.  Add the milk and simmer until the milk evaporates leaving behind clear fat (it’s important to wait until the fat turns clear, otherwise the sauce will be very greasy), about 15 – 20 minutes.

Stir in the wine and simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juice and the parmesan rinds if using.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently (there should only be an occasional bubble at the surface) until the sauce is very thick, about 1 hour.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When tossing with the pasta, add a little olive oil and any pasta cooking water if needed to loosen the consistency of the sauce.


Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Local Cheese

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 4 – 6


1/2 loaf French or Italian bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick

4 tbsp butter

4 shallots, minced

2 bunches spinach

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 roasted green chile, diced (optional)

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 cups meltable cheese, grated (I used Monterey jack, but any meltable cheese will work)

6 large eggs

1 3/4 cups half-and-half

Spread the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in a 225 degree oven until dry (you can also use bread that’s been out overnight).  Using 2 tablespoons of butter, thinly coat one side of the slices.

While the bread bakes, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until softened.  Add the washed spinach leaves, bell pepper and green chile (if using).  Cook until the spinach is wilted, season to taste.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Add the wine to the skillet and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup – about 3 minutes.

Grease a 8-inch-square baking dish with butter.  Arrange half the bread, buttered side up, in a single layer over the bottom of the dish.  Spread half the vegetable mixture over the bread and sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese on top.  Repeat to form a second layer with the remaining bread and spinach.

Whisk together the eggs, reduced wine, half-and-half, 1 tsp salt and a generous pinch of pepper.  Carefully pour the mixture over the top of the assembled layers.  Be patient with this process – allow the mixture to soak into the bread as you pour.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and weight with 2 pounds sugar that you’ve transferred to a plastic bag.  refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferrable overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Let the strata stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.  Remove the weights, uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake until both the edges and center are puffed and the edges have pulled away slightly from the sides of the dish, 50 – 55 minutes.

Hash browns

From America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 4


1 pound potatoes, peeled and grated

2 tbsp onion, grated

1 tbsp minced, fresh parsley (optional)

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 tbsp butter

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium high heat until it begins to brown, swirling to coat the pan.  Scatter the potatoes evenly into the skillet and press firmly into a cake.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until dark golden brown and crisp on the first side, about 8 minutes.

Slide the hash brown cake onto a large plate, then invert it onto a second plate so the browned side is facing up.  Add the remaining butter to the pan and melt, swirling to coat the pan.  Slide the hash brown cake back into the pan, browned side up, and continue to cook over medium heat until the second side is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.

If you plan to make more than one hash brown cake, be sure the pan has no residue left in it from the first batch – if it does, the cake won’t stick together and you’ll lose the crispy brown layer to the pan.

Breakfast-style Pork Shoulder

Serves 7


1 package pork shoulder (or any other bacon like substitute)

1/2 tbsp butter

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, add a few pieces of pork shoulder, leaving plenty of space around each piece.  As the pork begins to sizzle and crisp, flip the pieces.  Cook until crispy and remove to a paper  towel lined plate.  It’s important to get the pork nice and crispy, otherwise it tastes too much like ham.  Serve while warm.



Adapted from Julia Child

Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish, 4 as a main course


1 pound eggplant

1 pound zucchini

1 tsp salt

4 tbsp olive oil, more if needed

1/2 onion

2 sliced green bell peppers

2 cloves mashed garlic

1 pound firm, ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and juiced

3 tablespoons basil

salt and pepper to taste

Peel the eggplant and cut into long slices, 3/8 thick, 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.  Slice the zucchini into 3/8 thick rounds.  Place the vegetables into a colander resting in a bowl, toss with 1 tsp salt and let stand for 30 minutes.  Rinse and dry each slice.  While the eggplant and zucchini are giving up their juice, it’s a good time to peel, seed and juice the tomatoes.  To do so, place the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds.  Remove them from the water and quickly core the top and slide the skin off. Cut the tomato in half and pull out the seeds with your hands, give them a little squeeze to get the juice out.  You do not need the juice for this recipe.

In a cast iron pan, sauté the eggplant and zucchini in hot olive oil, one layer at a time, until lightly browned on both sides. Remove to a side dish.

In the same pan, slowly cook the onions and peppers until tender.  Stir in the garlic and season to taste.

Slice the tomato pulp into 3/8 inch strips, lay them over the onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to give up their juices.  Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices and boil for several minutes until the juice is almost entirely evaporated.

Remove 2/3 of the tomato, pepper and onion mixture from the pan.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the basil over the remaining mixture and arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top.  Add half the remaining tomato mixture and basil.  Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini, tomato mixture and basil.

Cover the dish and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Uncover, and baste the casserole with the juices that have rendered.  Raise the heat slightly (be careful here, it’s easy to burn the bottom part of the mixture) and cook uncovered for about 10 more minutes (15 if you like your vegetables to be softer) frequently basting the mixture.  Once the juice and olive oil mixture is nearly evaporated stop cooking – it will burn otherwise.


Grilled Bratwurst with Braised Cabbage

Adapted from Aaron McCargo Jr’s recipe.

Serves 4



6 Bratwurst

1/2 onion, quartered

1 can beer (the cheap stuff is fine)

1 tsp mustard

1 tbsp fresh thyme

pinch salt and pepper


3 tbsp butter

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 small cabbage  (I mixed red and green), thinly sliced

1 apple, cut into matchsticks

Pinch chile powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Sour Cream Dressing:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 shallot minced

1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tsp chile powder

2 tbsp chives, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Fill a large pot with beer and water and bring to a boil.  While the water is heating prepare the vegetables.  Once the beer/water mixture is boiling, add in the mustard, onion, thyme and salt/pepper.  Add in the bratwurst and boil for 10 minutes.  In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter.  Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the cabbage, apples, chile powder and salt/ pepper and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. By this point the brats should be done boiling, transfer them to the grill, turning frequently.  Add the sugar, wine and stock to the cabbage mixture, cook for 6 – 8 minutes until al dente.

While the brats and cabbage are cooking, prepare the sour cream dressing. Combine the ingredients into a bowl, give it a thorough stir and season to taste.

Once everything is ready, spread some dressing onto a bun, add the brat and a good amount of the cabbage mixture.  You can add more dressing on top, or finish with some diced onions or mustard.


French Inspired Pear Tart

Adapted from Jacques Pépin

Makes 4-6 servings



1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 large egg, broken into a small bowl and beaten with a fork

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

pinch salt

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp hot milk


3 pears

3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp cold butter, broken into bits

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.  Combine all ingredients except milk in a bowl.  Stir well with a spoon until the mixture starts to combine.  Add the hot milk and stir until well mixed, be careful not to overwork. This is a very soft dough.  Place it into a greased pie plate and.  Dip your fingers into some flour to keep them from sticking and press the dough into the pan until it covers the bottom and sides.

Core the pears.  Cut them into 1/2 wedges.  Arrange the wedges on the dough in a spiral.  Sprinkle with the sugar and dot with the butter.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour until the crust is golden brown.


Sausage and Peppers Whole Wheat Pizza

Adapted from The Great Chicago Style Pizza Cookbook

makes 1 – 12 inch pizza



1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees farenheit)

1 cup bread flour

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup milk


10 ounces tomato puree (or 3/4 pound fresh tomatoes)

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 sweet Italian sausage (partially cooked)

1 bell pepper (preferably yellow or red)

8 ounces cheese, grated (mozzarella is best, but I used a combination of white cheddar and monterey jack)

Fresh basil

Olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water.  Set aside.  In food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse until mixed.  Add the yeast mixture and milk, process until the dough masses against the blade and there are no pieces unincorporated.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until soft and smooth.  Dust a 3 -4 quart mixing bowl with flour and place the dough into the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise for 90 minutes.

After about 70 minutes, put some water on to boil to begin working with the tomatoes.  Dip the tomatoes into the boiling water for 10 – 15 seconds.  Retrieve with a slotted spoon.  Working quickly, core the tomatoes and peel the skin off (it slides right off).  Remove the hard center of the tomato.  Crush the remaining parts of the tomato with your hand, saving the juice.  Transfer the tomatoes and juice to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Pre-cook the sausage (I boiled mine, but you could also saute it, bake it or grill it).

After the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for two minutes.  Roll the dough into a circle about 13 inches in diameter and 1/8 thick (it’s VERY important that the dough is as thin as possible, otherwise it doesn’t taste very good as a pizza).  Transfer the dough to a pizza screen by either folding in 4 or reversing onto the rolling-pin.  Fold the edges of the dough to make a thick border.  Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising for a second time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit.  Add the seasonings to the sauce and let simmer until thickened.  Once the dough is done rising for the second time, lightly brush the crust with olive oil.  Spoon the sauce onto the crust and arrange the ingredients.  Sprinkle on the grated cheese and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.  Add some fresh basil on top.


Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

Makes enough for a large salad


1 coffee spoonful mustard

1 coffee spoonful honey

1 1/2 tbsp vinegar (any kind will work)

1 tsp onion, shallot, garlic or green onion (whatever you have on hand)

1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a resealable container (I like to use old yogurt containers that have a lid).  Shake violently for 30 seconds. Check the consistency of the dressing, if not thoroughly blended keep shaking.  Dip a small piece of lettuce into the mix and taste.  Adjust as necessary.


Garden Quiche with Pear Side Salad

Inspired by Julia Child and Jennifer Smith

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients for the Quiche:

1 pre-cooked Pâte Brisée crust (instructions below)

4 ounces goat cheese

6 slices smoke pork loin (or bacon)

1 small tomato, diced

2 small bell peppers, diced

1 medium onion, diced

8 – 10 small to medium eggs

3/4 cup sour cream

5 leaves Fresh basil (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

For the Pâte Brisée crust (modified from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter cut into 3/8 inch pieces

4 tbsp chilled shortening

1/2 cup iced vodka, plus droplets more as needed

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except vodka.  Pulse the machine four  or five times to blend the ingredients.  Then, with the machine on, pour in the vodka.  Immediately pulse the mixture several times – the dough should begin to mass on the blade.  If not add droplets more water and pulse until the dough masses on itself.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, with the heel of one hand rapidly press the pastry by two spoonful bits down the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6 inches.  Gently gather the dough into a mass, knead briefly into a fairly smooth round ball.  Sprinkle lightly with flour, wrap it and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the dough on a lightly floured board.  If too hard, beat it with a rolling pin to soften.  Knead briefly into a fairly flat circle. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll it out into a 1/8 inch thick circle that is 2 inches larger than the quiche pan.  Gently transfer the dough to a buttered quiche pan, either by reversing it onto the rolling pin or by folding it into quarters, laying it in the pan and unfolding it.  Press the dough into the pan and trim off the excess.

Line the inside of the crust with tin foil and fill with pie weights, beans or rice.  Bake for 8 to 9 minutes.  Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and return to the oven for 2 – 3 minutes.

For the quiche:

While the crust is baking, dice the bell peppers, tomato, onion and pork loin, mix the ingredients together and set aside.  I like to flavor the goat cheese with the basil, to do so chiffonade the basil (which means to slice it into thin, long strips) and mix it along with salt and pepper into the goat cheese.  Once the ingredients are ready, make the egg mixture.

Crack 8 eggs into a metal bowl, add the sour cream and whisk.  The mixture should change color and thicken.  If you think you’ll need more egg filling add in the additional two eggs and a spoonful of sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once the crust is done, lower the temperature of the oven to 375, add the mixture of diced ingredients to the crust and dot the goat cheese on top.  Gently pour the egg mixture over the ingredients, being careful not to let the mixture run over the crust edge (if your crust is like mine, it always seems to shrink).  Place the quiche into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  The quiche is done when the middle no longer wiggles.

For the Pear Side Salad:


1 serving basic vinaigrette (instructions on recipes page)

1 head lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

3 sprigs green onion, diced

1 pear, thinly sliced

Toss the lettuce, green onions and sliced pears together.  Top with vinaigrette dressing just before serving.


Chopped Salad with Basil Aioli Dressing

Inspired by Cowboy Ciao’s Stetson Chopped Salad

Serves 4


1 cup basil aioli dressing (instructions below)

2 boiled beets, diced

2 ears roasted corn, removed from cob

2 cups cooked couscous

3 tomatoes, diced

4 -5 leaves lettuce, diced

4 ounces goat cheese

cooking spray

salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing (modified from America’s Test Kitchen Aioli dressing):

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 eggs yolks

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon sugar

4-5 leaves fresh basil

1/2 cup olive oil

3-4 tablespoons buttermilk

salt and pepper to taste

Using a food processor, combine the garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar and basil and process for 10 seconds until combined.  Then, with the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the oil until combined, be careful not to over beat, no more than 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend for 10 more seconds.  Add in the buttermilk and blend until just mixed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

Boil the beets until they can be pierced by a fork, about 45 minutes to an hour.  Do not cut the tops off the beets before you boil them! While the beets are cooking, peel the husks back from the corn, remove the silk, rewrap, and soak for at least 30 minutes.  Once the corn is soaking, cook the couscous by following the instructions on the box, this can take anywhere from 13 to 20 minutes. Chop the tomatoes and lettuce and set aside.  While everything is simmering, soaking and boiling away, make the dressing.

When the couscous has finished cooking, season it with salt and pepper and set aside.  After the corn has soaked, peel the husk back and generously coat the ears with cooking spray, salt and pepper.  Grill until the corn turns golden-yellow in color and the kernels look blistered.  While the corn is on the grill, start arranging the ingredients for the salad.

By this time, the beets should (hopefully) be done cooking, remove the skins and dice.  Once the corn is grilled to perfection, slice the kernels off the cob. Finish arranging the ingredients, season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle the dressing on top.


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