07.16Easy Hot Fudge Sauce

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

This is a quick, easy to prepare Hot Fudge Sauce recipe that works perfectly with ice cream or over cakes and brownies. With only six ingredients, it’s a snap to prepare a couple of days before you need it. Keep in the refrigerator. This takes about 10 minutes to make.

SERVES:   8

INGREDIENTS

4 (1 counce) squares unsweetened chocolate

1 cup white sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup heavy cream (or half and half)

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.

DIRECTIONS:

Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl (a double boiler can be substituted)* on high 1 – 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until mostly melted. Be careful not to burn.

Transfer to a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat and stir in the sugar, salt and butter.

Stir in cream, a little at a time, until smooth.

Heat, without boiling, and then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

*If you want to prepare in one pot, use the double boiler method.

NOTE

This is the Blue Baker’s adaptation of Erin Nesbitt’s family recipe, passed down by Erin’s mother and shared on allrecipes.com.

– The Gourmet Review

07.07Chocolate Mousse Pie Recipe

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Courtesy the Blue Baker


Love chocolate? This recipe is perfect for the chocoholic.This chocolate mousse pie  is one of my absolute favorites and is wonderful for any special occasion. Best of all, it needs to be made in advance, which makes entertaining that much easier.

YIELD:   Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

Crust

21 chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreos)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

Mousse (Be brave – you can double this recipe for a tall mousse pie!)

12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

3 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

Chocolate shavings (optional)

 

PREPARATION

For Crust:

Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add butter and process until mixture is evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared pan to form thin crust. Bake crust 5 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool completely.

For Mousse:

Combine chocolate, vanilla and salt in processor. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. With processor running, gradually pour hot cream through feed tube and process until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Beat 2 cups cream and sugar in large bowl to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Pour mousse into prepared crust. Chill until set, about 6 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Beat remaining 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl to firm peaks. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe rosettes of cream around edge of cake. Garnish with chocolate shavings. (I use a potato peeler on squares of semisweet chocolate or a bar of chocolate).

NOTE

The recipe was originally featured on the November 1992 cover of Bon Appetit.

—The Gourmet Review


04.24The Four Season’s Pastry Chef Linda | Inside the Kitchen

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Tell the truth. Don’t you think dessert is the best part of the meal? Chef Linda Rodriguez is pastry chef for Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. She is talented and passionate about each creation served at the hotel, from breads to pastries to desserts. The whimsical corn ice cream above was¬†made with fresh pureed corn and topped with caramel corn. Not found on the menu, special occasions sometimes call for special creations. Corn ice cream is one of them!

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Courtesy Brad Packer

Any foodie worth their salt knows that dessert is an art form. Nowhere is the term ‚Äúculinary arts‚ÄĚ more appropriate than when ¬†Chef Linda focuses her attention on the grand finale of a meal.

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Whether constructing elegant wedding cakes, making sugar sculptured desserts or simply adding the final drizzle of chocolate to the perfect towering chocolate masterpiece, Chef Linda knows the  importance of visual appeal, as well as good taste. She created this dessert for Valentines day, so guests could crack open the see through sugar ball to eat the goodies inside.  All this topped a yummy molten chocolate cake.

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The chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bon bons are one of my favorite desserts. Each bon bon is hand shaped and then quickly dipped into liquid chocolate. During the holidays, the Beach Tree restaurant serves as many as 5000 bon bons. It’s a visual head turner served over dry ice.

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Whether it’s a choice of chocolate or flavor of the day souffl√©, a “Spring into Mango” selection with kaffir lime mango cake and fresh mint laced mango or the delicate pastry concoction above, there are selections to please everyone.

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Or, perhaps a little tirimisu with a chocolate curl and just a hint of chocolate sauce. Or maybe you want to try the “I Wanna Chocolate Wana” with Hawaiian chocolate, black sesame pastiness and macadamia nut cream. The selections change often and each one is delicious.

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Want to have your “fruit” for the meal? Why not try Chef Linda’s “Chocolate Gone Bananas,” with a warm banana and chocolate tart, laced with Hawaiian chili peppers and Hawaiian chocolate ice cream.

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Chef Linda, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America,  has over thirty years experience as a pastry chef. She can tackle any challenge.

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Whether it’s a grand desert or a decadent creation for VIP guest arrivals, Chef Linda makes me want to disregard all manner of counting calories and simply savor each bite. One can always exercise tomorrow!

NOTE

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Chef Linda was kind enough to teach my “Blue Baker” some of her secret tricks for making elaborate, show stopping cakes. This was the perfect afternoon activity ¬†for a young lady aspiring to be a baker herself!

Be sure to check out Chef Linda’s Lemon Rricotta Pancakes featured in Lucy Lean’s “Made in America – Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food” cookbook.

-The Gourmet Review

03.18Sinatra Restaurant at Wynn’s Encore Resort | Las Vegas

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Courtesy Wynn Resort Photograph by Barbara Kraft

Last evening my ¬†“Blue Baker” was in the mood for truffles at Wynn’s Encore Resort Las Vegas; Sinatra Restaurant, to be specific. ¬†She wondered if black truffles were in season. Chef Theo Schoeneger introduced these delicacies to my 12 year old granddaughter during an interview last May. She remains fascinated that it can cost up to $250,000 for a dog trained to find truffles. We learned that while pigs can find truffles, pigs also like to eat the truffles. Not so with trained dogs, who take pride in bringing their trainer newly found truffles as a gift!

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We were lucky, as Chef Theo told us the black truffles were in season another two weeks. The agnolotti appetizer is a light and airy dish of dish of small pockets of pasta filled with bufala ricotta, and herbs topped with a beautiful white asparagus sauce. Of course, the truffles are sliced beautifully at the table upon presentation.

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Black Truffles at Sinatra Restaurant

Whether you enjoy the agnolotti with black or white truffles, depending on the season, don’t miss this delicious appetizer.

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Sinatra Restaurant Courtesy Wynn Encore | Photograph Barbara Kraft

Sinatra Restaurant is a tribute to ol Blue Eyes, and Chef Theo’s menu reflects many of Frank Sinatra’s favorite dishes. These include Frank’s Clams Possilipo, with little neck clams, tomatoes, garlic and parsley. Another favorite is ¬†the Polpettine, which is meatballs, polenta and mushrooms. Or, you might enjoy Ossobucco “My Way,”¬†with braised veal ossobucco, risotto Milanese and gremolata. Don’t forget Chef Theo’s fabulous Prosciutto appetizer. Last night he served thin slices of Parma prosciutto with big chunks of Parmiggiano Reggiano and slices of ripe pears. Delicious.

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Sinatra is filled with great memorabilia, including Frank’s Oscar for “From Here to Eternity.”¬†So, pick up the phone, plan a weekend trip to the Wynn/Encore Resort Las Vegas, and be sure to enjoy a dinner at Sinatra during truffle season!

NOTE

If you have a difficult time getting a table, ask for Jonathan Husby, the General Manager for Sinatra. He is the consummate professional, keeping guests happy while keeping an eye on the room throughout the evening. By the way, we understand congratulations are in order, as Jonathan and his wife are expecting their first child in May.

– The Gourmet Review

01.23Thai Cooking Demonstration | Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

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Four Season’s Chef James “Jim” Babian never disappoints. He is Executive Chef at Four Season‚Äôs Resort Hualalai and has become something of an expert on Thai food. You‚Äôll remember he cooked a fabulous Thai dinnerfor my husband and me earlier this year. He surprised us with ¬†a Thai cooking demonstration when we brought our family to the resort for the first time a few months ago. Everyone got in the act and we ate like kings.

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First course was Tom Yum Soup. Delicious shrimp, shitake mushrooms, lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves and fresh lime juice were spotlighted in this appetizer. Most of the ingredients for the meal were grown in the hotel’s herb garden.

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Next up was Chef Jim‚Äôs Thai Beef Salad. The combination of heirloom tomatoes, prime New York steak grilled to perfection, Thai chili peppers, fresh cilantro and lime juice, along with a few ‚Äúsecret‚ÄĚ Thai ingredients was definitely a favorite and easy to prepare.

Inside The Kitchen | Four Seasons Hualalai Resort

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OK. we were starting to get full now, but another course was being prepped. It just happened to be another of my husband’s favorites. We love Pad (Phad) Thai and it was fun to see how Chef Jim added his special flair to this colorful Thai dish.  Garden fresh seasonings combine with traditional thai condiments and you end up with one of Thailand’s most popular dishes.

FInally, we came to the end of the meal and Chef Sean made a fresh pineapple fruit sorbet in a matter of minutes. The taste was so concentrated we had a hard time believing there was no added sugar. Just lightly baked fresh pineapple slices to concentrate the sugar and add to a magic “$3,000 instant sorbet machine. It was a delicious way to end our meal.

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Nothing more fun than watching great chefs at work, showing us the step by step recipes for great Thai food. My ‚ÄúBlue Baker‚ÄĚ helped with preparation and everyone in the family had a great time watching and eating. Our family wants to¬† thank Chef Jim and Chef Shaun Acosta, Sous Chef, ¬†for a great afternoon of cooking and, more importantly, a great meal. This is one we we will remember, as we try to recreate the great food we enjoyed this afternoon.

– The Gourmet Review

NOTES

All of Chef Jim’s recipes for our ¬†Thai meal are included in links on today’s blog post. Give them a try!

12.23Turkey Stuffing | Family Favorite Recipe | Holiday Favorite

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Turkey Stuffing is one of the best parts of turkey dinner during the holidays. Check out some of my personal favorite recipes in the holiday category of The Gourmet Review. My turkey stuffing comes from my mother and was passed down through generations. I always have extra stuffing that I cook in a separate baking dish, but it’s never as good as stuffing baked in the turkey. It’s the turkey juices and butter that gives it that extra flavor. Try our family favorite recipe.

SERVINGS:  One 10 Р12 pound turkey

INGREDIENTS

1  14 oz package Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing (Blue Label)

5 tablespoons butter

l cup onion chopped

1 cup celery chopped

2 cups chicken stock (I use Swanson’s 100% fat free, no msg, 33% less sodium)

4 ounces powdered sage (or to taste. I use need lots of sage!)

1 small apple, peeled and diced into small pieces (to add moisture)

1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

1 beaten egg

DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in stock pot ( I always double the recipe for our family’s 24 pound turkey or leftovers.)

Saute onions and celery until translucent – about 3 – 4 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn off stove. Add stuffing mix. Stir.

Add apple, parsley, sage and beaten egg. Stuff turkey and bake remaining stuffing in casserole dish for last 30 minutes at 350.

NOTES

Pepperidge Farm only sells its stuffing mix during November and December during the holidays. If you want to make a big turkey the rest of the year, you will have to buy a couple extra bags of the stuffing mix and keep it in your pantry. It’s worth it. I love lots and lots of powdered sage in ours. Naturally, the stuffing mix is only the beginning of this recipe. The Blue Baker made this herself for the first time this Thanksgiving and it was delicious.

– The Gourmet Review

11.28“Doo Dads” Party Mix Recipe | Family Favorite

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Courtesy the Gourmet Review

“Nuts N Bolts” or “Doo Dads” are a favorite family¬†holiday snack. I start making the mix mid November and put in the freezer before adding the liquid ingredients. ¬†Each bowl is labeled for a particular family member. This solves the problem of one not wanting salt, one not liking nuts, or one wanting extra pretzels. The list of particular fine tuning on this appetizer goes on and on. I gave up many years ago trying to make everyone happy. I simply put the bowls out with a name tag and each member sorts through their bowl taking out what they don’t like and eating until the bowl is empty.

We eat these “Doo Dads“at Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays. The mix is addictive. It also makes a great hostess present wrapped in glassine bags or a clear container. My “Blue Baker” loves pouring the whole boxes of cereal mix into a garbage bag and then mixing all the ingredients. It’s a fun cooking activity for kids.

SERVES: Lots!

INGREDIENTS

1 box Rice Chex

1 box Wheat Chex

1 box Corn Chex

1 box Cheerios

l l lb bag pretzels

1 12 oz Planters cocktail peanuts

2 sticks butter

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoon garlic salt

Kosher salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 250 degrees.

Empty all cereals, pretzels and peanuts  into a large garbage bag. Close the top and keep turning over until thoroughly mixed.

If not ready to cook, store in ziplock bags and place in freezer. When ready to use, melt butter in 8 qt stock pot or large pot. Fill stockpot with party mix dry mixture Add  Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with garlic salt, kosher salt to taste and stir. Mix the butter sauce on the bottom of the pan throughout the mixture. Mix should be lightly coated with mixture of melted butter, Worcestershire sauce and salt.

Put pot onto bottom rack of ¬†pre heated oven. Every 20 minutes mix again, bringing mixture on bottom of pan to top so the party mix cooks evenly. Do this for 2 hours. Remove from oven and adjust for salt if there isn’t quite enough for you!

Freeze any leftovers after Thanksgiving, along with the extra mixture already in the freezer, and preparing for holiday season will be a breeze.

NOTES

Child #1 – no peanuts and pretzels, but love the salt. ¬†Child #2 – more Worcestershire and salt during cooking. Child #3 – light chex only, no peanuts or chex, (ok maybe just a few brown chex), and love the pretzels. Husband – no salt and yes to pretzels. “Blue Baker” – ¬†loves the corn and rice chex! ¬† Everyone seems to have a favorite variation of this holiday appetizer.

– The Gourmet Review


10.31The Four Seasons Hualalai | “Inside the Kitchen”

Four Seasons has a reputation for great food, so it’s no surprise to find rising culinary chefs creating fabulous dishes at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Executive Sous Chef Nick boasts that Chef Angela is one of those rising stars. Check out her Grilled Beef Caprese Saladand her Hawaiian inspired Lobster Lillikoi Salad recipes. They are healthy, quick to prepare and delicious.

The Blue Baker and I, along with my youngest daughter, had the privilege of doing an ‚Äúinside the kitchen‚ÄĚ tour with Chef Angela this summer. Since the Blue Baker is now 11 years old, she had a few things she wanted to try during our hands on cooking lesson.

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First, we watched Chef Angela demonstrate how to make the pasta dough for the Beach Tree Restaurant that evening. Of course, all the dough is prepared in house with that special 00 flour that Chef Nick flies in from Italy.

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Then it was time to decide what type of pasta to roll out for the evening, while the fresh pasta sauce cooked in an enormous pot on the stove.

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The process of running the dough through the pasta maker takes a lot longer than I thought. Over and over the dough is put through a press like apparatus until it is rolled super thin. Only then is it actually cut, portion controlled and placed on a tray ready for evening diners.

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Next, we made pizza from scratch. Then we tried to ‚Äúthrow‚ÄĚ the dough into something that resembled the shape of a pizza. Chef Angela was clearly more successful than my two girls at this!

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Finally, Chef Angela demonstrated how to dip the vanilla bon bons into liquid chocolate. I know what you’re thinking; you’d love to just eat some of that warm chocolate. Well, rest assured, we did just that and it was delicious!

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The chocolate bon bons are now one of our family’s favorite desserts. The presentation was on dry ice and we ate until we could eat no more.

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We loved how friendly everyone was. Each person worked quickly, but always with a smile and a friendly greeting.

That’s Chef Will, Garde Manager at the Resort, saying good bye to us. A big thanks to Chef Angela and her crew for a great ‚ÄúInside the Kitchen‚ÄĚ tour of the Beach Tree¬†restaurant.

-The Gourmet Review

08.22Truffles 101 | Chef Theo | Encore Resort’s Sinatra Restaurant

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Courtesy Wynn Resort Photograph by Barbara Kraft

Really? $250,000 to train a truffle sniffing dog? That sounds like owning a racehorse to me, but Chef Theo Schoenegger explained that the difference between a pig and a dog finding truffles is significant. A pig loves to eat truffles, but trained dogs will proudly present truffles as gifts.  These highly  trained dogs can pay for themselves in one season.

Chef Theo introduced my ll year old “Blue Baker” to truffles not too long ago. I learned a lot from her interview with Chef Theo on truffles, his background as well as how he initially fell in love with cooking.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

The Gourmet Review at Sinatra Restaurant

Chef Theo is executive chef at the fabulous Sinatra Restaurant at Steve Wynn’s Encore Hotel in Las Vegas. From the moment you pass Sinatra’s oscar for his performance in “From Here To Eternity” with Ava Gardner, to his golden grammy award, you know this will be a nostalgic evening.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Sinatra Restaurant Courtesy Encore Hotel | Photography Barbara Kraft

The restaurant entrance is situated next to an elegant bar showing old Sinatra movies. The food is reminescent of Frank’s favorite Italian dishes. It’s a given that Sinatra will be singing throughout the evening.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Sinatra Restaurant Courtesy Wynn Encore | Photograph Barbara Kraft

Of course, Chef Theo adds his own special touch to every plate, from meatball appetizers, caprese salad, prosciutto and melon, lasagna, Frank’s Spaghetti and Clams to ossobuco “My Way.” The romantic setting, the music and the superb food make this an extraordinary dining experience.

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One of my favorite dishes on the menu is the small pasta pockets filled with bufala ricotta and herbs topped with asparagus sauce. These are light as air and absolutely delicious.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Since my ‚ÄúBlue Baker‚ÄĚ was conducting the interview and had never tried truffles, Chef Theo was kind enough to tell her a little about the background of truffles and why they are so expensive. Watching the truffles shaved onto the pasta pockets and watching my favorite girl savor the smells and ¬†taste for the first time was exciting. What was surprising was that she loved the truffles and the pasta dish!

INTERVIEW

Q     Tell us more about the dogs and truffles.

A ¬† ¬† Of course, in the old days, it used to be you needed pigs to get truffles. Now they train dogs. The best dogs to do this are beagles. They’re especially trained. The dogs can be worth in excess of a quarter million dollars.

 Q     Because?

A ¬† ¬† ¬†Because they have incredible scent. They’re trained for truffles. Think about it. Truffles are grown under terrain. So a white truffle can be three feet down. You have to dig. So a dog would go to the place where he smells it (the truffle) and start to dig. And then you dig it up with a special gadget. Whites can be as deep as three feet. In the old days, it was pigs. Pigs had to sniff out the truffles.

However, the thing about pigs is they would not just sniff them out. That’s their delicacy, too. So, by the time you would get there, the truffles would already be eaten!

Q      Ooooohhhh.

A ¬† ¬† ¬†Now, the dogs on the other hand, they don’t do that. They actually hand it to you. Sometimes, like the summer truffles that are (growing) just a little bit under (ground), they dig them out and they actually bring them to you for a treat. It’s a very unique thing.

 Q      How are they trained?

¬†A ¬† ¬† ¬† It’s an art. I mean I’ve been on truffle hunts. It’s one of those things. Some dogs have this keen sense of smell. They can identify truffles and bombs and whatever, but in this case it’s truffles.

¬†Q ¬† ¬† ¬†That’s interesting.

 A       And they can actually produce up to the same amount of money (as the cost of their training) in truffles in one season. A good dog will find you a quarter million dollars worth of truffles.

 Q       Can you tell me about truffles?

A ¬† ¬† ¬† That‚Äôs easy. So, there are lots ¬†of truffles. There’s hundreds of different types. However, there are three that we mostly consume.

So, from most important (expensive) to least (expensive). The white truffle is the most important. The white truffle is only found in Italy, perhaps a little bit in Yugoslavia. And the white truffle is available only during a very specific timeframe from September to December.

The white truffle cannot be cultivated. Nobody has been able to do it. The price ranges from at least $2000 a pound. There have been truffles auctioned off for up to $150,000 a pound!

 Q      What does the truffle look like?

A       The truffle is a tuber that grows under the earth. It only grows with specific trees and you have to have the right conditions. It takes about 15 years for that first edible truffle to grow under the tree.

Q      Really?

¬†A ¬† ¬† ¬†Yes. That’s why cultivating truffles is not such an easy thing, because you have to first plant trees and there’s only six or seven kinds of trees that actually produce that particular ¬†kind of environment. And then after that, it takes about 10 to 15 years. Everything that grows before ten years is inedible. After that, you know, trees can be hundreds of years old and they produce some incredible truffles.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Black Truffles at Sinatra Restaurant

So then you have the black truffle. The black is the Perigord truffle (grown) mostly in France (the name originates from Perigord, France) , but it’s also in Italy. Now in Oregon a little bit – Himalaya and Australia somewhat.

Q Really?

A So, the outside is black, just like the one you saw (just presented a black truffle), but the inside is also totally black. That’s called the precious one. In Italian it’s called pregiato¬† and that ranges from $800 to $1800 a pound.

And then there is the estivo, which is the summer truffle that grows in Italy – mostly in the central region of Italy. It is the least important (inexpensive). The outside is very dark. The inside is light. Not so much taste, not so much flavor- less expensive ,from $250 to $500 a pound and that’s about it.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Sinatra Restaurant at Wynn’s Encore Resort Las Vegas

Q      What is this? (Chef Theo is showing white truffles being cut at the table).

A ¬† ¬† ¬†That’s the white, that’s the summer.

So, the winter is from December ’til February. The summer is from now (May) until September and the white is from September until December.

(My ll year old ‚ÄúBlue Baker‚ÄĚ is about to get her first taste of truffles.)

Q      Do you like that?

A      That was really good.

Q      How did they ship the truffles so that they are preserved?

¬†A ¬† ¬† Air freight. Now truffles are — particularly the winter and the summer are not that delicate. They hold very well. The white is a little bit delicate. I mean we used to do — in the old days, we used to actually have a courier package them up and fly them in, same day delivery.

Q     So how many truffles do you bring into (Sinatra) restaurant now?

A     So we bring in on an average, per truffle whatever variety it is, we bring about maybe 4 pounds.

Q ¬† ¬† Out of — in what period?

 A    A week. People love that stuff.

¬†Q ¬† ¬† ¬†Oh, that’s fantastic.

 A     People love it.

 Q     So what would you sell this plate for?

¬†A ¬† ¬†¬†We sell this plate for — not this one but a bigger version for 45 dollars.

Q     Hmm…

¬†A ¬† ¬†¬†Now the black is the same thing, it’s $75 and the white is $120.

 Q      Really?

¬†A ¬† ¬† ¬†Right. But it’s an art. It’s something very specific.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Plating Meatballs & Polenta | The Gourmet Review

Throughout the interview, Chef Theo introduced new dishes to the “Blue Baker.”

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

Learning to Plate | The Gourmet Review

After tasting several dishes throughout the interview, the “Blue Baker” was curious about who first influenced Chef Theo and where did he grow up to learn and appreciate good food.

Q     Who most influenced your love of cooking?

A     My love of cooking was influenced mostly by my mom. She was an outstanding cook. Basically, I grew up in a little place in Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the mountainous Dolomites of northern Italy. My mom started it. She was a self-taught cook and raised on a farm with gardens. Of course, we raised pigs and all kinds of things. So, she decided to start a restaurant and, you know, she made some amazing food. So, I grew up eating all these beautiful things. I was one out of five siblings and I was the only one that had an interest in cooking. Already when I was 10, I was, you know, stirring in pots and helping and doing things.

Encore Resort's Sinatra Restaurant

A Great Interview | Thanks Chef Theo | The Gourmet Review

Thanks, Chef Theo, ¬†for the great interview, teaching the “Blue Baker” to plate deserts, and giving her a great tour of the kitchen. We’ll be back soon for dinner with the family.

A special thanks to Jonathan, the incredible maitre’d, who oversees the restaurant and makes sure that every evening is one of perfection, from the food and service to the ambiance of the restaurant.

08.15Four Seasons Hualalai | Saturday Night Barbecue

Four Seasons Hualalai

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These days it‚Äôs almost impossible to get my entire family, including the ‚ÄúBlue Baker,‚ÄĚ on vacation. So, you can imagine it was pretty exciting when we connected in Hawaii this summer.

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There is nothing quite like the Saturday night beach barbecue at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island of Hawaii. Executive Chef James Babian makes sure it’s an unforgettable experience.

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The setting was perfect for our first night’s dinner. Tables were scattered on the white, sandy beach and torches were lit at sunset. The lobsters were grilling – in other words, a picture perfect setting.

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First course could have been an entire meal; sushi, sashimi, seafood bisque, salads, all kinds of fresh poke, crab legs and more.

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Our plates piled high, this could have been a dinner by itself. Hard to decide from the delectable array of choices.

Four Seasons Hualalai

Nastassia Hill & Edgar Romualdo

But no, the best part was still to come. We kicked off our and sandals and meandered toward the grill, where the chef was piling platters full of fresh lobster. Next to the lobsters were the New York strip steaks charcoaled to perfection and the fresh fish of the day nearly done.¬† (Read the rest of this entry…)

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The Gourmet Review is a gourmet food blog featuring celebrity chef recipes, secret restaurant recipes, family favorite recipes and easy gourmet recipes, quickly becoming the best recipe blog for gourmet eating. TheGourmetReview.com also features the best luxury travel experiences, taking you "inside the kitchen" and "behind the scenes" through VIP Access at some of the top luxury travel hotels, be it the Wynn Resort Las Vegas, the Four Seasons hotels and Four Seasons Resorts or Singita's Private Game reserve in South Africa. If you are interested in a Wolfgang Puck chef interview, popular cocktail recipes with a gourmet twist, or a healthy recipes blog, we look forward to sharing a culinary journey with you from around the world.