Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spicy Goodness!: My Guest Chef Turn at Williams-Sonoma

For many, the mention of spice connotes heat--and little more.  And while spice can be a carrier of heat in some instances, it is only one facet of its many variations. In fact, the world of spice is a broad spectrum that encompasses sweetness, smokiness, depth, richness, intensity of flavor, and much more--along with that most familiar characteristic, heat.

And on last Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege of celebrating the world of spice during my guest chef event at Williams-Sonoma.  With the Fall season upon us and the cooler temperatures in tow, I wanted to showcase recipes that resonate warmth, along with bold, delicious flavor.  In short, I wanted to serve my own brand of spicy goodness!  And I'm pleased to say that I did.

Serving up tasting samples and engaging the crowd

It was such a thrill for me to bring D.M.R. Fine Foods to the Williams-Sonoma customer base, as well as to my dear friends, clients, family and "fans" who came out, and to fulfill my passion for sharing all things culinary.  I loved every moment of the event, most especially my interaction with the lively, inquisitive and fun group.  From my cooking demonstration, to informal Q&A, to the tastings and immediate (positive) feedback, it was a grand time in keeping with Williams-Sonoma's tradition of grand cuisine. 

As I purposed, we talked of--and tasted--the world of spice.  And now I'm thrilled to similarly unfold that world to you here on DMRFF by sharing that day's recipes; ones that are sure to become favorites in your dining and entertaining repertoires.  You can also check out a few additional photos from that day's event here.

So here's to spicy goodness (as featured below in three delicious recipes which were a big hit!)--and, as always, Happy Eating!

Spicy Three Bean Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
12 oz. water
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced*
1 15oz. can chili beans
1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
Several splashes of Tabasco sauce (optional)

Pre-heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot under medium heat.   Add the onion, bell pepper and ½ teaspoon salt.   Cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in garlic and cook for another minute. 

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, spices and seasonings, chipotle peppers, 1 teaspoon salt and Tabasco.  Stir until mixed thoroughly and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in corn and beans and cook for an additional five minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

*Cook's Note: If you want to temper the heat factor in this spicy chili dish, you can reduce the amount of chipotle peppers or, omit them altogether.
**This recipe converts perfectly into a turkey, chicken, or beef chili.  Simply add in 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of your meat of choice when you begin sauteing your onions and peppers and allow meat to brown thoroughly. 

Sugar, Herbs and Spiced Nuts
2 cups assorted nuts, roasted
1 1/2-2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon allspice
¾ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350° F

Place nuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Mix spices, salt and herbs and set aside.  Put butter in a large skillet over medium heat and as it melts add in sugar, spice blend and water and stir together until a glaze forms, about 1-2 minutes.

Turn off heat and add roasted nuts to the skillet.  Toss nuts until they are completely coated.  Pour glazed nuts onto a foil-lined baking sheet and spread out into one layer to prevent clumping.  Allow glaze to set for 10-15 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

*Note: Nuts should be stored in an airtight container to preserve freshness.

Hot Mulled Cider
Enjoy this warm and delicious sip from the DMRFF recipe archives: Hot Mulled Cider.


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