The Chef’s Table At Rezaz

September 21st, 2014
Reza Setayesh 2

Photo Courtesy of Rezaz

Asheville North Carolina is a mecca for fine dining.  One of the top hot spots in town is a Mediterranean restaurant called Rezaz (pron. “ray-zuhs”), located just blocks from the entrance to The Biltmore Estate.  Chef/ owner Reza Setayesh has traveled and trained widely resulting in a worldly palate.  His emphasis in the dining room is on Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, but at his Chef’s Table anything goes.  He loves to give free rein to his culinary expertise.

Rezaz Group photo

When Sam ( My Carolina Kitchen ) and her husband Meakin invited us to join them, along with BIL and SIL Stuart and Sandy, for  a chef’s table dinner we immediately accepted.  Meakin arranged for us to enjoy a 5 course French Provencal dinner with wine pairings.  The kitchen was warm and inviting on a rainy night.

Rezaz Pandelier

A nice touch was the pandelier overhead.  It is a metal sculpture made from saute pans used during the restaurant’s first decade.

Rezaz dinner 1

We were fortunate to have a highly trained waiter to explain all of the chef’s dishes to us.  Our anticipation was rewarded with the following courses.

Rezaz Plate 1

The first course consisted of three seafood preparations.  At the top left is a Smoked Salmon Rillette served with a toasted baguette and sliced radishes.  Bon Appetit has a similar recipe here.  Next to the salmon is Moule Curry (Mussels in a curry sauce with breadcrumbs).  At the bottom is a Trout and Crab Galantine ( A Trout roll stuffed with crab) with arugula pesto.

Rezaz Plate 2

Our second course was a Pan Seared Sushimi Grade Cobia (Swordfish) a la Provencal, Sauteed French Gnocchi, Seared Scallops and Summer Vegetable Ratatouille.   My, oh my, this was delicious.  Summer on a plate for sure.

Rezaz Plate 3

The next course was one of my favorites.  It was a Duck Leg Confit in a Cherry Gastrique Sauce.  The duck was moist and crispy from cooking in its own fat.  With it were Yukon Gold Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach.

Rezaz Plate 4

The next entree course was a study of three lamb preparations; a Grilled Lamb Chop, Lamb Navarin (Stew) and Lamb Gigot (Roast with French thyme and wild rosemary).  It was served with a Parsnip and Potato Mash,  and an Arugula Pesto.  It was wonderful, but we were getting full.

Rezaz Plate 5

For dessert we had a Summer Berry Clafouti and a Lemon and Berry Sorbet with a Touille Cookie.  The sorbet was so refreshing and the clafouti was just the right size.  Next time I make one, it will be a bright mix of berries like this.

car

As we drove back over the mountain from Asheville to Lake Lure we were sated, happy and thankful that we could spend such a lovely evening with friends.  It was a truly memorable experience.

 

Blueberry Galette and a Night With Friends

June 16th, 2014

Blueberry Galette 1

 

There are so many reasons that blogging is a rewarding experience, but one of the major reasons is because you get to meet so many special people.  Let’s backtrack a few years.

When a started blogging in 2009 there were not many of us doing it.  I put my blog out there and hoped that someone would find my voice interesting.  I clicked on other blogs and found Penny’s blog.  Oh my, same name.  Oh my, born and raised in Michigan like me,   Oh my, lives in North Carolina just 25 miles away from where I live.  It was meant to be.  I had to meet her.  I wrote about our first meeting here.  We have since become great friends.

Dinner at Penny's 1

We had dinner at Penny and her husband’s home last Saturday.  It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed dining al fresco under their new pergola.  Penny is a great cook.  Everything was delicious.

Dinner at Penny's 2Both Penny and I love Paris.  One of the delights of Paris food markets is the rotisserie chickens cooked over pans of vegetables.  The chicken drippings flavor the vegetables as they braise.  That was what she duplicated on their grill.

Dinner at Penny's 3

That is a beautiful plate of food.  It was a perfect meal for a summer evening.

Dinner at Penny's 4Here are our wonderful hosts, Penny and her equally talented husband.  Because we have so much in common, it should have come as no surprise to me that what she served for dessert was the very same dessert that I had made the previous week for my next blog post.  So although I did not get a picture of Penny’s blueberry galette, I had it covered with the one that I made.  We are definitely on the same wave length.
Blueberry Galette 3VI made this blueberry galette as part of a recipe testing exercise at the Food 52 website.  The editors of Food 52 pick worthy recipes that are submitted to their contests for other members to test and rate.  I chose to test this galette because of the uniqueness of the crust.  It incorporates rosemary and whole wheat flour into the pastry.  I LOVED it.  The pastry was easy to handle and the rosemary went so well with the blueberry filling.  The turbinado sugar just added to the rustic simplicity of this galette.  It will be repeated often in my kitchen.  Give it a try.  Thanks Penny and K for a great evening.

BLUEBERRY GALETTE (By Lisina at Food 52)

Rosemary Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • tablespoons fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • tablespoons turbinado sugar + extra for dusting
  • teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water
  • 1egg, for glazing the crust

Blueberry Filling

  • pints fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • lemon (juice of)
  • tablespoons flour
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment or a food processor, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the cubed butter, and mix or pulse until butter breaks down into pea sized pieces.
  4. With the machine running or pulsing, add the ice water until the dough JUST begins to come together.
  5. Turn the crust mixture out onto some plastic wrap, wrap it and flatten it into a disk shape. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  6. Throw all the filling ingredients into a bowl, and mix well so that that the sugar and flour coat all the blueberries well.
  7. Remove the chilled crust from the fridge and unwrap it onto a silpat or piece of parchment paper large enough to cover your baking sheet. Dust it with flour, then roll the dough out until it is between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick.
  8. Spoon the filling and its juices into the middle of the crust and spread it out leaving a 2″ border of crust. Fold the border of the crust over onto the filling, leaving the nice rustic edges.
  9. Brush the crust with eggwash and sprinkle the crust with sugar. Slide the galette on the silpat or parchment onto a baking sheet.
  10. Bake for about 40 minutes until crust is nice and golden.

Printable Recipe

Chicken Over Warm Kale and Asparagus Salad

January 8th, 2014

Chicken over warm kale 1

 

To continue the Greens of Winter theme, I made this flavorful and simple chicken dish that utilizes convenient store-bought products.  It was a featured recipe in Publix’s Aprons Simple Meal Program.  Every week they feature recipes from products on their aisles.  All of the ingredients are gathered at the cooking station so that, if, after sampling the dish and it is to your liking, you can gather all of the ingredients to make it; all in one place.  Genius!

Chicken over Warm Kale ingredients

 

Here are the major players in the dish.  I forgot to include the red wine vinegar and the sugar, but you get the general idea.  The Aprons Program is a wonderful idea for harried cooks and working families who have very little time to shop, but still want to serve their families home-cooked meals.  This was almost just as simple as ordering a pizza or stopping for take-out chinese food.  Nutritionally there is no contest. It is low in fat and full of healthy ingredients.

Chicken over warm kale V2

The only addition I made to this meal was a pot of mashed potatoes.  A brown and wild rice mix would also be good.  I think we are off to a great start in the New Year.

CHICKEN OVER WARM KALE AND ASPARAGUS SALAD (Publix Aprons Simple Meals)

1 ( 3 oz ) package shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb fresh asparagus spears
1 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/4 teaspoon garlic/herb seasoning, divided
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 pint grape tomatoes
3 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 ( 5 oz ) container kale salad blend
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

PREP: Chop shallots and basil.  Cut asparagus into 1-inch long pieces, removing tough root end.

STEPS:
1. Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes.  Season chicken with 1 teaspoon garlic/herb seasoning (wash hands).  Place oil in pan, then add chicken; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.

2. Reduce heat to low.  Stir in tomatoes and shallots; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are softened.

3. Combine vinegar and sugar, then stir into tomato mixture; cook 8-10 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, or until liquid has reduced by about one-half and chicken is 165 degrees F.  Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes to rest.

4. Stir kale, basil, asparagus, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon seasoning into tomato mixture; cook 1 minute or until salad is wilted.  Transfer salad to serving plates; slice chicken and arrange on top of salad.  Sprinkle with cheese; serve.  Serves 4.

Printable recipe

Recipe for a Grand Dinner Party

July 29th, 2013

My friend Penny of The Comforts of Home and From Harvest to Table is a multi-talented lady.  Not only has she turned her new home into a beautiful place to live by painting, sewing, digging in the dirt and creative decorating, but she is also an accomplished and creative cook.  This past weekend David and I had the pleasure of dining with Penny and her hubby.  The menu was posted in her kitchen.

We were seated in her cozy kitchen nook and enjoyed the crostini and brushetta while she stirred the risotto and we all had a chance to chat. It is fun to watch the hostess put the finishing touches on a meal.  It is smart though to have a place for your guests to sit well out of the way of the action.  Sometimes it is easy to get distracted when people are leaning over your shoulder and messing in your space.  Penny has the perfect set up.

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the appetizers.  But they were just perfect with a glass of crisp white wine.

I cannot say enough about the Creamy Corn Risotto with grilled shrimp and truffle oil.  This is a perfect summer dish.  All of the flavors of fresh corn are extracted from the ears.  The cobs are used to make a stock and the corn kernels are used in both a puree and a saute.  The risotto is creamy and full of the flavor of corn.  The shrimp with truffle oil is just simply the perfect embellishment to the dish.  I can see why Penny said “there were a lot of mmms going on from her friends” when she first made this because we were doing it too.  We all ate our dishes with a big spoon and I scraped my bowl clean.

Ah, Poached Pears in Marsala wine with English Stilton Cheese.  This was such an elegant dish and believe it our not it was made in a crock pot.  Simple elegance.  Penny and I both have The French Slow Cooker cookbook by Michele Scicolone which we love.  But she also bought the Italian Slow Cooker and this recipe came from that book.  It is a no fail easy way to poach pears and the rich sauce and bleu cheese complemented it perfectly.  I have a feeling Penny will have the recipe on her From Harvest to Table website soon so be sure to go over there to view it.  Here is her recipe for the risotto.  It might seem long but it can be done in stages and each component held in the fridge until the final cooking of the risotto.

This is a perfect dinner party menu.  I hope you give it a try.  Thanks Penny.

 

CREAMY CORN RISOTTO WITH GRILLED SHRIMP AND TRUFFLE OIL

RECIPE (serves 6)

Corn Stock

  • 6 ears corn, husked
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise
  • 1 leek (white and light green part only), cut into 1-inch pieces

 

Corn Purée and Sauté

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs

 

Risotto

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Sartori Stravecchio cheese (or another domestic Parmesan  cheese)

Shrimp

  • 24 peeled and de-veined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 2 medium summer truffles, very thinly sliced (optional)

Make the Corn Stock

Using a large chef’s knife, cut the corn kernels off the cobs and set aside.  Place the cobs in a large stockpot along with the onion, celery, and chopped  leek. Add 10 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat  and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain the corn stock through a fine-mesh  strainer into a bowl. Discard the solids. You should have at least 6 cups of  stock.

Make the Corn Purée

Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over  medium heat until the butter begins to foam. Add the onion and garlic and sauté  until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the reserved corn  kernels, season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue to cook over low  heat, stirring constantly, until the kernels begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the cream, thyme, and 1 cup of the corn stock and continue to simmer over  low heat until the mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme  and purée the mixture in a blender until smooth.

Sauté the Corn

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium sauté pan over  medium-high heat. Add the remaining corn kernels and sauté until the corn is  tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the Risotto

Heat the olive oil in a large wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion  and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir  to coat with the oil. Add the wine and reduce the heat to a simmer until most of  the wine has evaporated. Add 1 cup of the corn stock to the pan and continue to  cook, stirring constantly, until most of the stock is absorbed. Repeat the  process with the remaining 4 cups of corn stock, making sure the stock has been  fully incorporated after each addition before adding more. Once the rice is  tender yet firm to the bite, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the corn  purée, sautéed corn, and grated cheese and season to taste with salt and  pepper.

Prepare The Shrimp

Preheat a gas grill to high.  Lightly brush the peeled and de-veined shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Place on grill and cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side.

To Serve

Divide the risotto among 6 warm bowls. Arrange 4 shrimp atop each bowl of risotto. Drizzle with the truffle oil and garnish with sliced summer  truffles, if desired.

Pizza Party Tips

July 27th, 2012

I am planning a pizza party for 14 people.  That is a lot of pizzas to make.  The idea is to set out toppings on the kitchen island and let everyone choose their own.  The biggest obstacle to pulling this off is the pizza dough.  It makes such a mess and frankly I don’t think I have the space for everyone to flour boards and stretch their own.  Thanks to my Daughter-in-Law Kristen, I have come up with a solution.

I start out with Perfect Pizza Flour Blend from King Arthur Flour.  This is such an easy dough to manage when you are forming your pizzas.  It is a blend of golden durum wheat and unbleached flour with an all-natural dough conditioner and baking powder added for an extra-light crisp crust.  I make my pizza dough in my bread machine.  It is so easy.

Four cups of the pizza flour yields four dough balls for 10-inch individual pizzas.

I pull and stretch the dough on a cornmeal dusted paddle.

Now, this is what Kristen taught me that is so valuable.  Before she tops her pizza with ingredients, she brushes olive oil on the dough and sprinkles it with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

The dough is placed on a pizza stone in a 475 degree oven and prebaked for about 5 minutes.

We now have a crust that will be easy to top and for me that means I can make all of the crusts ahead of time and place them in the freezer until I need them.  On the day of the party, all I have to do is defrost the crusts and assemble the topping ingredients and everyone will be able to build their own pizzas.

Of course we had to test the pizzas to see if they were good.  the two on the right have marinara sauce, mozzarella, sausage, peppers, onions and Parmesan.  The two on the left have the same ingredients, but with pesto sauce instead of the marinara.  Kristen likes to add the mozzarella after the sauce, then the other toppings, then more mozzarella and Parmesan.  She learned that from my Son, who worked in a pizza restaurant while in high school.  She also likes to finish her pizzas with a fresh note like a squeeze of lemon juice or fresh basil.  Thanks Kristen.

Pre-Baked Pizza Crust  (Using Bread Machine)

4 Cups Perfect Pizza Flour Blend from King Arthur Flour or bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast or instant yeast

Place all of the ingredients into a bread machine.  Set on dough or pizza setting.  Process until done.  On a floured board, knead dough briefly and cut into 4 pieces.  Roll each into a ball.  Cover with a cloth and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Dust a pizza paddle with cornmeal.  Stretch one of the balls into a 10-inch (approx.) circle.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

Slide pizza circle onto a pizza stone in a 475-degree oven.  Bake for about 5 minutes.  Remove to a rack.  Proceed with remainder of the dough balls.

When all of them are cooked and cooled. wrap in foil and place in plastic bags.  Freeze until needed.

Allow pizza rounds to thaw to room temperature.  Place your toppings of choice on pizza rounds and bake until browned and bubbly.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.