Sunday, February 21, 2016

Staycation at Royal Palms Then its Time for Short Ribs

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s weekend! Isabel and I stretched it out and checked into the Royal Palms for a little staycation this weekend.

I love the Royal Palms Hotel– no I did not design it! Architect, Don Zabell of Oz Architects gets that credit and it is well deserved. Definitely one of my favorite and most romantic spots in this town for sure.

We started the weekend with a little impromptu Happy Hour in the courtyard with friends who caught wind and stopped by. We stayed for dinner and closed the place down with Isabel and I relaxing by the outdoor fireplace while I enjoyed a cigar.

Nothing better than a nice quiet weekend to reset the jets. We have really been busy drawing and designing. From beachside villas in LaJolla, to amazing equestrian estancias to luxury senior living condos we are drawing and designing like crazy.

Starting Construction on this Candelaria Design Estate in Silverleaf with Schultz Development
Nonetheless, there is always time to do some cooking! I love to cook because, unlike architecture that sometimes takes years from inspiration to completion, a dinner can achieve the same joy and sense of accomplishment in a matter of hours. I think that is why I love it so much!

This coming weekend Isabel and I along with a couple souz chefs from my Candelaria Team will be preparing our famous paella dinner for one of my clients and her friends at her home I remodeled several years ago! I love making my paella and I’m looking forward to sharing in its preparation. My paella recipe can be found in our past blog - Mister C's Paella

Meanwhile, last week we had several friends over for another of my favorites and I know my Candelaria girls love this dish – Italian Red Wine Short Ribs over Horseradish Mashed Potatoes. Here is the recipe – Enjoy!

Short Ribs bathed in Italian Wine served over Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

In a large cast iron or Dutch oven heat your olive oil until just starting to smoke. Season your short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Only add as many short ribs as you can so they have adequate space to brown. You may have to do them in batches. Brown them all over until they are a nice seared brown 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the pot and let them rest on a platter and cover with foil.

Pour the excess oil out of the pot and then add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leafs and pancetta and cook everything until the veggies are soft and starting to brown approximately 7-8 minutes. Use a wooden spoon and the onions to deglaze the pan and get all those nice meat remnants loosened off the bottom of the pan and integrated into the veggies.

Now add the red wine – I like to use a good Amarone, Rosso di Montalcino or Vino Nobile form Italy of course! Once the wine is in add your homemade tomato sauce and bring the whole mixture to a boil.

Finally, add the meat back in and let it soak in the flavor. Bring everything to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer and cook the meat 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender.

From here there are two way to go, you can remove the meat and then serve the veggie / stew as is, or you can bring the liquid to a boil and reduce the liquid down and thicken it as you see fit. Season with salt and pepper, and then serve over the top of the Horseradish mashed potatoes and garnish with chopped Italian parsley.

For the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes take 4 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes and peel them. Please them in cold water along with two bay leaves and let them set until your short ribs are just about ready. Boil for over medium-high heat and cook the potatoes until they are for tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and drain the water from the potatoes, reserving 2 tablespoons of cooking water. Smash the potatoes in a large bowl along with the sour cream, butter and horseradish. Season well with salt and pepper.

Buon appetito…

Italian Wine Short Ribs

6 servings

3 lbs of boneless or bone in short ribs
6-8 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and ground pepper
3 large Spanish onions cut into ½” dice
4 medium carrots cut into ½” think slices
3 ribs of celery cut into ½” thick slices,
4 ounces of pancetta diced
3 cups of Italian red wine
3 cups of tomato sauce
2 bay leaves

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

4 lbs of Yukon Gold potoatoes
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups of sour cream
2 tablespoons of remaining cooking water
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of horseradish
Italian parsley cut for garnish.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Some Thoughts on Valentine's Day 2016

 Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! It looks like a beautiful weekend – at least here in sunny Arizona with temps in the upper 80’s in mid February!!!

Valentine’s Day reminds me of several things each year. First it reminds me of a very special project for me and many others in the design and construction industry – that being the makeover and rehab of El Chorro in Paradise Valley. I most definitely will stop in for an Old Fashioned and a cigar this weekend to reflect back on this wonderful project that I am personally so proud of.

First, and foremost I want to thank my good friend and builder, Jerry Meek, of Desert Star Construction for bringing me on board for this project and then of course Jacquie Dorrance for her vision and love of El Chorro and what it means to the history of Paradise Valley and Arizona. What a team, from Desert Star Construction, Vallone Design, Berghoff Design Group, Walter Spitz and Creative Designs in Lighting, and of course Tim and Kristy Moore, to the many amazing subs and suppliers who all offered their input, craftsmanship and expertise. This project is a labor of love and the fact it reopened on Valentine’s week it has to make my Valentine’s Day list.

My next memory of Valentine’s Day is always the Scottsdale Parada del Sol parade which kicks off this morning down Scottsdale Road in Old Town Scottsdale. I have made my way down Scottsdale Road on a horse with my fellow Scottsdale Charros brothers many times and unfortunately cannot make it this year as I have a lot going on with the kiddos this weekend. But I love participating in the parade and the experience of riding a horse down Scottsdale Road and enjoying the big crowd that always shows up. I’m sure with our great weather this weekend there will be a big turnout. I am so honored to be a part of the Scottsdale Charros and all they do for the community! Support us by making it out to the Charro Lodge and catch some Scottsdale Charros Spring Training baseball next month!

Finally, Valentine’s Day would not be complete without being in love. I am so blessed to have frankly, a ton of love, from my three daughters, Sophia, Isabella and Tiffany, my mom, Karin, my wife’s mother, Alette, and of course my wife and love of my life, Isabel! How lucky I am and a day doesn’t go by that isn’t frankly, Valentine’s Day for me. I wish all of you a wonderful Valentine's Day. 

Isabel came into my life during some of my darkest hours and has transformed my life with her love, belief, and support. She is my best friend, lover, partner, and fellow designer with her studio at Earth and Images.

I am so excited to see of our combined projects now come to life. Our trips to Italy have taken on a entirely new dimension and this year we will be celebrating and sharing our 6th and 7th trips together.  I cannot tell you how much she has added to my experience of life. The fact is architecture and design is a way of life….you live it and breathe it 24/7. To share life with a woman who also lives and breathes it 24/7 makes it so much easier. How many couples talk about baseboard details in bed….:-). We both love it.

I think, I’ll stop there….I wish you all a beautiful and romantic Valentine’s Day. I’ll be having a few friends over Sunday and will be cooking some Valentine’s Day short ribs over risotto so stay tuned for some more recipes. Have fund everybody – I love you all!