The Good Taste Series + Sky Juice

This post was created in partnership with Hyatt. I was so honored to work with their team in the Bahamas to help share the amazing Good Taste Series.

 

The first morning in the Bahamas I took a leisurely stroll around the hotel property and the moment I spotted the ocean, its clear ice blue color and the gentle waves clapping at the beach, I took this picture and wrote the caption below on Instagram.

 

“Do you ever get overwhelmed with a bite so delicious, a moment too perfect, a place so beautiful you gasp and shriek even when walking alone? I’m in that moment. Pinching myself with the goodness, feeling so loved and hoping I could share just a sliver of this feeling with you all.”

I felt vulnerable in sharing that because it felt too much. That moment I mean. Immediately I got this rush of, well, it almost felt like guilt. Why me? I think. How do I get to be standing here taking in this beauty, feeling the warmth of the sun and breathing in the lightly salted air. Quickly I turned that guilt into gratitude and simply breathed in that moment for the gift that it was.

We all need those moments of deep inhale so our exhale, our giving of ourselves, is full.

I was brought to the Bahamas to help capture The Good Taste Series. It’s a cooking competition where Hyatt chefs from all around the world compete with one another to win a spot at the Global competition next spring. But beyond that it’s an opportunity for sous chefs – those who don’t always get an opportunity to show off their creativity – to create their own dishes, travel and compete to win incredible prizes and also help them launch their own career.

At the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, eleven chefs competed from all over the Americas. They had two days to prepare two dishes for a large reception held outdoors. It was hot, humid, windy – all the elements were not in their favor. The first day they were greeted with four ingredients well loved in the Bahamas. These “surprise” ingredients had to somehow be incorporated into their dishes: Hog Snapper, Zucchini, pigeon peas, and Sugar apple.

The day of the competition I got to go into the kitchen and watch these chefs prep for the event. They were all so passionate and eager to talk about their process even in the midst of nerves and high stakes. One chef traveled with his family’s olives and olive oil from Greece. Another was meticulously carving watermelon radishes and zucchini into intricate shapes while another was filling tubes resembling toothpaste containers with a ginger laced gel as a palate cleanser.

I was so inspired by their creativity, passion and generosity witnessed throughout the entire competition. In the end the two chefs headed to Hong Kong in the spring: Jonathan Pasion from Andaz Maui and Leo Minielli from Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

 

Congratulations, Chefs! I can not wait to follow along as you compete at the Global Competition this spring.

To bring you all a taste of the Bahamas I couldn’t leave here without sharing a tropical drink. There were many fruit and rum laced drinks over the course of three days but I kept on hearing about Sky Juice. Even in the pastry kitchen I learned all about Sky Juice as I popped a white chocolate truffle into my mouth and immediately was flooded with sweet coconut and herbal gin. Yes, GIN! In a coconut drink!

Sky Juice consists of gin, fresh coconut water and sweetened condensed milk, shaken and served over ice. I actually like mine with a touch of fresh nutmeg on top and a squeeze of lime. In the Bahamas they are often served in coconut shells but you know, those are actually quite hard to come by back here in Seattle. So I’ll settle for this simple and refreshing cocktail served in a highball glass while I dream about floating in the Bahamas letting the waves carry me.

Of course we all could just head back to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and drink Sky Juice on the beach. I like that idea.

 

 

Bahamian Sky Juice

Yield 1 serving

Ingredients

2 ounces Gin

1 ounce sweetened condensed milk

6 ounces coconut water

Lime

nutmeg

Instructions

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds. Pour into a glass over ice then garnish with a grating of fresh nutmeg and a lime wedge.

 

 

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Let’s Stay In Party + No Kid Hungry

“Our kitchen and our table, like many of yours I’m sure, are the center of our home. So often it’s a far cry from the picturesque Norman Rockwell paintings but I don’t expect perfection, I long for relationship. Food brings us to the table and my goal in life is to spend as much time there as possible. And that’s my goal for all of you as well because, for me, nothing in life is more beautiful than time spent at the table.” from Let’s Stay In  

 

All the work that I do in the food world is for one purpose; to bring people to the table. The longer I do this work the more I’m convinced it’s some of the most important work we can do. Everyday it becomes more and more apparent that we are in deep need of connection and civility. Where the internet can often highlight the black and white way of thinking the table reminds us that we are all people trying our best and doing what we can.

 

Wouldn’t it be so great if all of us could sit around the table? I would love that so very much buuuuuut I know that is a bit of a dream so we came up with the next best thing. We’re having a virtual, “Let’s Stay In Party!’

Here’s what I would love for you to do: This weekend (October 19-21) I want us all to stay in and gather around the table. Whether it be a cozy Friday night dinner or Sunday morning brunch, let’s meet at the table over good food. It could be you and a friend, your family or a party for 20! There are no limits. Cook a dish from Let’s Stay In, then sit down and enjoy it! At some point along the way, take a photo and share it with the hashtag #letsstayinbook. For every time that hashtag is used over the course of the weekend we will be donate $1 to No Kid Hungry. They are an organization with a simple yet stunning mission: to make sure no child in America goes hungry. Read all about them, the work they do and how you can get involved here.

While your at the table talk to your guests about hosting a Friendsgiving in partnership with No Kid Hungry. They offer great recipes and amazing resources to help you host a wonderful dinner party with a purpose. Click here to find out more!

 

Make food. Gather around the table. Share it with the world. Help kids get food.

 

Really, is there anything better than that?

 

For our weekend of staying in these cozy, easy and comforting meatballs are on the menu. As the weather has cooled my excitement for pasta has grown. I picked up a copy of Flour + Water recently and I’ve made it a goal to really hone my homemade pasta making skills this season. So I’ll be serving my meatballs with some sort of homemade pasta. Sounds like a perfect Saturday activity.

This recipe is straight from the new book. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

 

Turkey Meatballs in Arrabiata Sauce

There is something inherently cozy about tucking into a bowl of simmered red sauce and meatballs. It’s what I crave when the outside world feels weighty and too much. When I find myself feeling so small and overwhelmed there’s a bowl of slick noodles and warming sauce that somehow feeds hope as it fills me up. Or sometimes it’s simply what I crave on a cold evening.

Arrabiata is a simple sauce with a bit of heat - or a lot of heat if that’s what you prefer. The anchovy here adds a salty depth without leaving the dish tasting fishy. I am hesitant to say that you can leave it out as it adds so much but I will say it, just add a bit more salt in the process.

This is one of those meals that is easily doubled and can slip into the freezer for another night. It’s also sturdy enough to pass along to a friend who is need of a good home cooked meal.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 pound/ 450 g ground dark turkey meat

1/2 cup / 50 grams finely grated Parmesan

1/3 cup/ 20 g panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch chili flake

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped basil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 small onion, finely diced, about 1/4 cup/60 g

1 egg

2 tablespoons olive oil

Arrabiata

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 anchovies, minced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili flake (or more if desired)

28 ounce/800 g can crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

For the meatballs: In a large bowl combine the turkey, Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, oregano, chili flake, parsley, basil, garlic, onion, and egg. Stir just until everything is well mixed but take care not to over mix as you don’t want to toughen the meat. Sear a small amount of the mixture then taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet or dutch oven. Sear the meatballs over high heat until a deep, dark crust forms. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce: Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and saute the anchovy, garlic, and chili flake over medium high heat.

Once the garlic has turned golden carefully add the tomatoes. Stir in the oregano, sea salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the pan then gently simmer until they are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve over creamy polenta or pasta.

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