Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Village at Mountain Shadows Takes Shape In PV

Well that was a fast month…I don’t know about you, but January blazed by. Off to February we go! Of course it’s Phoenix Open week and so the weather instantly changes. Remember the fog last year the day of the final round and the Super Bowl!

I hope everyone had a wonderful January and a great weekend. The weather held off just long enough for a fantastic day and weekend. First and foremost, I want to wish my father, Donald Candelaria, a happy 81st birthday! Dad you are the best and I am so glad you are down here in Arizona now and we can watch our Broncos in their 8th Super Bowl together. It would sure be fund to get a victory on the week of your 81st Bday! Carolina will be tough that is for sure.

Meanwhile, today our Candelaria Design Team took part in the Cullum Homes SMART (Special Meetings About Residential Technologies) Party at our newest project The Village at Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley. It was great to see so many of you, including a number of my current and past clients there today. The models are coming away and over half of the 40 lots and homes are already sold and the two model homes are not even completed yet! Great job by the Cullum Homes Team and the sales team of Scott Griggs and The Grigg's Group.

It is very rewarding to see this project come out of the ground after all the hard work, especially my Associate, Vivian Ayala, and Interior Designer, Anita Lang of IMI Design Studio has put into this project. Not to mention all of the subcontractors and suppliers - many of whom participated in today's event! So much attention was put into modeling the project in 3d to capture the spectacular and ever changing views of Camelback Mountain and the Praying Monk. To now go there and walk the units and virtually relive the views we saw on the computer is very rewarding!

And if the views aren’t enough – the basement option being shown in the two models is off the charts. Nothing like going downstairs and then entering a club room with your sports car collection waiting for you behind a display sheet of glass. When these models are done, complete with the sharp and sophisticated contemporary finishes orchestrated by Anita… well it will be hard to get me out of that basement!

Stay tuned, I know Rod Cullum and the Candelaria Design Team have some more fun events in store for everyone as this project takes further shape and the models get completed.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Candelaria Cioppino - Perfect for the Big Game!

One of my favs, especially for serving the big game, is cioppino – fish stew! Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day – or in my case the freshest fish I can find at AJ’s! Cioppino was developed in the late 1800’s by Italian immigrants who settled in the San Francisco. It was originally made on the boats while the fisherman were out at sea and later became a staple in many restaurants in San Francisco.


It is definitely one of my favorites and when served with some grilled bread to soak up the juices of the broth – it is heaven. Plus if you make a big enough pot it can just simmer all day while you enjoy the games. It can feed a big crew and the longer it simmers the better it gets.

So enjoy, I love the red color – perfect dish to serve for that big Cardinal game!

You definitely want to get the freshest fish you can find. I pick up 8-12 clams, 8-12 mussles, 8-12 shrimp peeled and deveined, a pint container of fresh squid – tubes and tentacles, one good size fresh fish filet – halibut is my favorite but salmon is also good, you want a fish that is meaty and firm.  I pick up the rest of the items – if you cannot find fish broth I pick up a bottle of clam juice.

I always start by getting all my ingredients prepped and ready. Clean the seafood and chop up the veggies. Find a nice big pot – I love my cast iron cookware. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots and fennel, salt all of it and saute until the onion is soft and translucent, roughly 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes or I have some amazing little pepper packets with all kinds of seasonings I bring back from Italy each trip. Continue to saute for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Now stir in the tomato paste, Add the tomatoes with their juices, the wine, the fish stock or chicken stock with clam juice and a couple bay leafs. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer and just let all the ingredients cook and blend – give it 30 minutes or so.

Now add the clams and mussels and cook until they start to open. Then add the shrimp, squid and fish chunks. You can also add crab claws to this recipe. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are cooked through the clams are completely open, and the shrimp have that nice pink color. It won’t take long – 5-10 minutes. You can season the soup with salt and more red pepper to your taste and liking.

 Grill some French bread on your panini press by slicing the bred about ½” to ¾” thick and brush with some extra virgin olive oil. Get the grill marks on the bread and add three slices to the served soup. Garnish with Italian parsley and fresh lemon wedges.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think?!


3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large fennel bulb – slice thinly
1 sweet onion chopped
3-4 large shallots chopped
4 large finely chopped garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt – pepper to your liking
3 to 4 teaspoons of dried crushed red pepper flakes or Pepperoncino Italian spices – you need to come to Italy with me to get these!
¼ cup of tomato paste
1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes in their juice
1-1/2 cups of pinot grigio white wine
5-1/2 cups of Fish Stock – or 5 cups of Chicken Broth with one bottle of clam juice.
2 – 3 bay leafs
8-12 clams, scrubbed
8-12 mussels, debearded and scrubbed
1 pint of squid/calamari
8-12 uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-1/2 pounds of firm and fresh fish fillets such as halibut or salmon cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch chunks.
Fresh French baguette
Italian parsley and lemons.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Dancing with the Stars - Looking Back and now Ahead!

Five years ago I was asked to participate in an event that definitely got me out of my comfort zone. I was called by Kevin O’Malley one day who asked if I would be up for participating in the Arizona Kidney Foundation, Dancing with the Stars! Having watched the television show a few times I thought, this could be fun and obviously a great cause. Kevin called me like sometime in October and the event was in January – plenty of time. Little did I know what I was in for! More about that in a bit.

Meanwhile, move forward five years, and I come to find that one of my clients, Julie Van Etten, whom we are designing a beautiful home in Desert Mountain with builder Richard Sinagoga of RS Homes, has taken on the challenge back at her home in St. Louis, MO. Her big night is this Saturday! I remember the anxiety and anticipation the day leading up to the big event. So I am asking all of you to even make just a small donation to her effort tomorrow night as small ripples combine to make big waves!

Here is a quick letter from Julie about the event:

Each year St. Louis corporate and community leaders join an elite group for a once in a lifetime experience – a fun and challenging journey that culminates under the bright, white stage lights at Dancing with the St. Louis Stars, a benefit for Independence Center.

Highly regarded as one of the most unique fundraisers in St. Louis, Dancing with the St. Louis Stars offers a night of entertaining dance performances by corporate and community leaders, all in effort to raise vital funds for mental illness.  I accepted the invitation to dance and will rehearse and campaign for votes until I debut my performance on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.

I am competing against six other dance couples to fundraise the most votes (1 vote = $10) and each vote is a direct donation to Independence Center. Please consider supporting me with your gift of votes at 
You'll be supporting an amazing organization that provides hope and resilience for those living with mental illness.

As Independence Center’s signature fundraising event, it is crucial to providing charity services every year to people that are eager to restore their lives, manage their illness, and become contributing members of our community.
Independence Center provides programs and services to adults with severe and persistent mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and major depression. Their goal is to assist these individuals to live independently and with dignity by helping them find work, pursue their education, secure safe and affordable housing, improve their physical and mental wellness, and participate in age appropriate social activities. Adults diagnosed with a mental illness over the age of 18 may be eligible for services and once someone becomes an active recipient of the program, they are considered members.

Thank you for your consideration! 
Your dancing friend,
Unruly Julie

Ok Julie – so I don’t know how your lead up has been but teaching me to tango from October to January was quite the feat! First of all they paired me with a professional dancer, Gergana, from Romania or Bulgaria or somewhere over there! Well she was tall, blonde and very lovely and so keeping focused on dancing was not easy but she worked me hard and I met with her two or three times a week for three months. Wow – is dancing difficult and what a work out! I lost ten pounds during those three months – so that was nice.

Anyway, I made it through the big evening. I didn’t win or even come close to winning the competition but I did well and didn’t make an absolute fool of myself….. We raised several hundred thousand dollars which was the best part of the event.

I have long forgotten all of my routines and moves but now that I think about it…..maybe Isabel and I need to take this up and get some refresher lessons! Help my good friend Julie out and give her your vote! Those of you in St. Louis make sure you attend the event. Thanks everyone for the support!