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‘Top Chef’ Comes to Montana for Fall Food and Wine Excursion

‘Top Chef’ Comes to Montana for Fall Food and Wine Excursion

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Paws Up ranch in Greenough, Montana, is hosting a food and wine weekend excursion from September 25 to 28 called Montana Master Chefs, complete with multi-course dinners, wine tastings, chef head-to-head challenges, and ranching activities with former Top Chef finalists Kelly Liken, Brooke Williamson, Ariana Duarte, and Elizabeth Binder. You can make your reservation for the weekend in Big Sky Country where guests will be able to spend the weekend with these chefs while they sleep under the stars, learn the ins and outs of fly fishing and cattle driving, and eat quite a bit.

We chatted with Brooke Williamson, a former Top Chef contestant and chef/owner at Hudson House in Redndo Beach and the Tripel in Playa Del Rey, California, about her participation in this weekend event.

What is your menu at Montana Master Chefs going to be like?

I'm keeping it simple this year. I really feel like the idea behind the ranch is to give people a high-end escape from reality. My goal is to create a menu that is perhaps unexpected in depth of flavor, but charming and comforting.

How will you be incorporating local Montana ingredients at the event?

I'm a huge fan of huckleberries... And the local foraged huckleberries that come from Montana are some of the best I've ever eaten... I'm going to use the sweet and tartness of the berries in a couple of different ways to add structure to my main course.

Why do you love coming to Montana?

Montana is one of those timeless places. It's one of the only places I've been that can transport you from the craziness of life and put it all back into perspective. Perhaps it's the trees, or the constant sound of the river or the incredible sky that make it such an incredibly peaceful place to be. There are few moments of travel that I take these days where I return home feeling relaxed... That's one of the reasons I love Montana.

What makes this event so unique?

I’d have to say it’s the incredible collaboration of all the participating chefs. I love building menus and experiences for diners with other chefs whom I respect, and Paws Up draws the best. The food is always inspiring and unpretentious.

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on [email protected]

Colorado's Most-Iconic Dishes

With its sweeping plains, rocky mountains and serene lakes, Colorado is home to some pretty stunning vistas — but did you know the regional cuisine is just as diverse and captivating? Here are some of the state's quintessential eats, and the best spots to score them.

Related To:

Photo By: ADAM LARKEY PHOTOGRAPHY ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Scottie Davison ©Scottie Davison Photography

Photo By: Marc Piscotty ©© 2011 Marc Piscotty

Photo By: Jessica Grenier ©Jessica Grenier Photography

Photo By: ADAM LARKEY PHOTOGRAPHY ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: ADAM LARKEY PHOTOGRAPHY ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: ADAM LARKEY PHOTOGRAPHY ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: ADAM LARKEY PHOTOGRAPHY ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Rocky Mountain Eats

Lamb Fondue

Lamb is one of Colorado's most-famous foods. So while the steaks at Elway's, a quartet of carnivorous emporiums named for the former Denver Broncos quarterback, are exceptional slabs of beautifully seasoned beef well worth a splurge, set your sights on the lamb chops and fondue. The bucket-list starter parades a trio of lightly gamy chops - the lamb is sourced from Mountain States Rosen, a ranch in Greeley - that expose remarkably tender flesh throttled with flavor. The chops really don't require a sidekick, but the warm cheese fondue, creamy with pepper Jack and peppered with a variety of fresh chiles, sort of makes you want to snort it. It's been said by many that Colorado lays claim to the best lamb in the world Elway's chops are proof positive that they're right.

Prime Rib

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Colorado is revered for its brilliant blue skies, snow-powdered ski slopes, endless pageantry of sunshine, towering peaks and unparalleled beer climate. And for better or worse, the state is also extolled for its Rocky Mountain oysters, otherwise known as the balls of a bull. Frankly, they taste a lot like chicken and aren't as remotely exotic as some might think, but visitors insistent on biting the bullet should go full on balls-to-the-wall and make the pilgrimage to Bruce’s Bar in Severance, a small town north of Denver “where the geese fly and the bulls cry.” An affable staple since the 1950s, Bruce’s serves its signature baskets of Rocky Mountain oysters, breaded and fried, in bull or bison varieties, and just in case a barrage of fried testicles doesn’t fulfill your grease allowance, take solace in the fact that the baskets arrive loaded with fries too. Ballsy.

Photo courtesy of Adam Larkey

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Miso Black Cod

Braised Duck

Double Johnny Burger

The double-fisted burger from My Brother’s Bar, a decades-old corner tavern that’s devoid of signage, is the equivalent of a culinary artifact. It’s been a staple for more than 40 years, wooing Denverites and sojourners alike with its duo of thin patties paved with properly melted Swiss and American cheeses, a smear of cream cheese and grilled onions, all tucked between two sesame seed-dotted bun halves wrapped in wax paper. It really doesn’t require embellishments, but if you insist on extra flourishes, there’s an accompanying condiment tray stocked with bowls of pepperoncini, raw onions, pickles, relish and more.

Photo courtesy of Ben Haley

Soup Dumplings

Truffle Fries

At $17, the venerated fries at Aspen’s hottest apres-ski hangout, Ajax Tavern, are a splurge, but so is everything else in Glitter Gulch, so you may as well embrace the high life and hefty price tags. And truth be told, Ajax elevates the humble potato to soaring heights, as its signature hand-cut, skin-on, bronzed fries are served in a seemingly bottomless V-shaped cone. The fries, spritzed with truffle oil, flecked with parsley and topped with crumbles of Grana Padano, are nothing short of legendary: You’ll even witness celebrities kicking their diets to the curb to indulge in the gluttony.

Photo courtesy of Ajax Tavern

Smothered Chile Relleno Burrito

Pretty much nothing personifies Denver’s obsession with plumped burritos more than this chile relleno heavyweight from El Taco de Mexico, a modest storefront — in the colors of the Mexican flag — that dispenses the city’s best tortilla-wrapped gut bombs. There are several flavor combinations, but the relleno number, a lightly breaded and fried chile stuffed into a griddled tortilla already bulging with refried beans and rice, is the joint’s siren song. Do what everyone else in Denver does and smother it with the kitchen’s sensational green chile, a smattering of white cheese, a fistful of cilantro and onions, and a liberal surge of the vibrant salsa you’ll understand why there are moans of euphoria after every bite.

Photo courtesy of Lori Midson

Cinnamon Rolls

Sugar Steak

There are plenty of yesteryear heirlooms at Bastien’s Restaurant, a retro Denver steakhouse that channels the days of Dino, Frank and Sammy with the decor of a mid-century supper club and cocktails that hanker back to a time when vodka martinis were all the rage. Not much has changed throughout its storied 75-year history, including its legendary sugar-dusted steak, a thick-cut slab of grill-marked beef festooned with a flower and matched with soup or a house salad and an election of spuds, the winner of which is the twice-baked potato.

Photo courtesy of Ruth Tobias

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

Eggs Pontchatrain

Trout fishing — lake, stream, reservoir or river — is one of Colorado’s most-ritualistic outdoor pursuits, and while the angler’s favorite flapper is usually on the docket for dinner (cue campfires and Kumbaya), Lucile’s, a homey local chain that specializes in Cajun and Creole cuisine, trots out the trout for breakfast and lunch, mating the pan-fried mountain catch with a pair of poached eggs draped with bearnaise sauce, plus grits, potatoes or a gloriously flaky buttermilk biscuit. Make sure to get a cup of the caffeine-jolted chicory coffee too.

Photo courtesy of Adam Larkey

Elk-Jalapeno Dog

Twelve years ago, Biker Jim, aka Jim Pittenger, opened a tricked-out hot dog cart on the 16th Street Mall in Denver. But instead of dishing out dirty-water dogs, he channeled his wacky side, pimping exotic game sausages to curious onlookers, teenage ninjas and just about anyone else prowling for a different breed of tube steak. Several carts and a brick-and-mortar Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs outpost later, Pittenger’s wild wieners, especially his canonized elk-jalapeno sausage embellished with the classic unification of squiggles of cream cheese and onions sweated in soda, are still top dog.

Photo courtesy of Biker Jim’s

Artichoke Tortelloni

At Rioja, a beautiful Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of Denver’s Larimer Square (co-owned with business partner Beth Gruitch), Executive Chef (and James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southwest title holder) Jennifer Jasinski turns out a star-studded repertoire of dishes that evoke audible murmurs of rhapsody. Of them, none may be as spellbinding as the signature artichoke tortelloni, a dish that’s graced the menu since day one. The delicate handmade pasta pillows, cradling creamy goat cheese mousse scented with white truffle essence, float in an earthy artichoke broth that‘s so ethereal no one faults the diners who drink the bowl dry.

Photo courtesy of Rioja

Cheese Enchiladas

Even Coloradoans who haven’t hit up a Taco House since high school still know precisely what to pick: cheese enchiladas, three to a plate, stuffed with plastic yellow cheese (maybe American, maybe Velveeta, probably both), their top layers sprinkled with the smallest dice of onions and cloaked in a red gravy that the joints in Littleton, Lakewood and Denver sell by the pouch. Everything here, including the plate of enchiladas, leans more toward a suburban potluck palette than toward the prim parties of, say, politicians. But the enchiladas have been a staple on the menu for more than a half-century, and while you’ll never hear anyone dare call them “authentic,” they embody the comforting embrace of childhood.

Photo courtesy of Lori Midson


First thing’s first: Casa Bonita in Lakewood is a tourist trap, a crazy-weird, multilevel labyrinth of pirate caves, omnipresent mariachi bands, fire jugglers, arcades, goofy magicians, goofier puppet shows, fake shootouts, some dude dressed as a gorilla who chases after shrieking kids, pseudo tropical trees and muscle-flexing males diving off a cliff, a cascading waterfall at their backs. The food? Set expectations low, because the cafeteria-style, Americanized Mexican stuff that’s propped on your plate often doesn’t satisfy fiesta fantasies. The one exception is the incredulously delicious sopaipillas, puffy pillows of sugar-smooched dough that, next to the cliff divers, have been the star attraction for more than 40 nostalgic years. Bonus: The sopaipillas, which come free with every food order, are bottomless.

Photo courtesy of Food Network


There are many things worth stuffing down your gullet at Denver’s The Bagel Deli and Restaurant, a Jewish deli that’s still going strong after three decades. But the Reuben, a portly pyramid of melted Swiss, tangy sauerkraut and hand-sliced corned beef fleshy with patchworks of fat and sandwiched between slices of crunchy rye, reigns supreme. Its imposing size makes most sandwiches of the same ilk look positively anemic, but this is a deli that’s extolled for plates that grandstand plentitude, and given the sandwich’s elevation, it's likely you’ll waddle out the door with leftovers.

Photo courtesy of The Bagel Deli and Restaurant

Ho Ho Cupcakes

Long before cupcakes became a craze, there was the Ho Ho cupcake at City, O’ City, a hipster cafe in the heart of Denver’s trendy Capitol Hill hood that’s a super-cool spot for vegetarians and vegans to eat dessert first. Truth be told, even if you’re a cynic who cringes at the thought of a sweet finale that doesn’t involve butter or cream, you’ll still go bonkers for this hedonistic (but wholesome) vegan chocolate cupcake that’s stuffed with vanilla "cream,” capped with dark chocolate ganache and punctuated with a flourish of vanilla frosting dotted with chocolate chips.

Photo courtesy of Will Travel for Vegan Food

Lobster Roll

Steuben’s is not a dockside shack. Nor is it a seafood joint. Far from the coast of Maine — or any coast, for that matter — it’s an urbanized diner squatting on a tree-lined avenue in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood, where moisture is measured by inches of rain and feet of snow. But those who think that because Denver is landlocked that fresh seafood isn’t prevalent are dead-as-a fish-in-the-water wrong. For proof, consider Steuben’s lobster roll, a signature smash hit since the day the restaurant opened more than a decade ago. A marriage of knuckle, claw and tail meat bounded with a minimal amount of mayo-based dressing punctuated with onions and celery, the lobster sits in a griddled split-top bun sheened with butter. The mound of fries is legendary too.

Photo courtesy of Adam Larkey Photography


In the 1950s, a regular by the name of Herb Casebeer sauntered into Gray’s Coors Tavern in Pueblo and requested a dish that wasn’t on the menu: a burger smothered with green chile. The joint dubbed the impromptu creation the Pueblo Slopper, and if you happen to find yourself in Pueblo — a town where the Slopper rules the culinary wars — you shouldn’t forgo the opportunity to confront defeat, which is likely to happen since the beast-in-a-bowl that’s brought to the table at Gray’s is roughly the size of a small planet: two burger patties, a commanding wallop of green or bean-studded red chile (our advice is to get both), a toasted bun, gooey American cheese, enough onions to make your eyes weep a river and, if you’re so inclined, a crush of fries, which you mix into the lake of chile-laced lava. Nowhere else but here do sloppy and slobbery exist in such Slopper-y harmony.

Photo courtesy of Adam Larkey

Frico Caldo

If you called Frasca Food and Wine’s Frico Caldo a potato cake, you’d be right. But here, in this culinary temple of exaltation, it wouldn’t be remotely absurd to call the Frico Caldo — a food that has roots in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region — the eighth wonder of the world. It’s the one dish in the kitchen’s canon of wonderments that’s been a constant on the menu since Frasca opened in Boulder in the summer of 2004, and no matter how many times you order it, the holy matrimony of tawny potatoes, sweet onions and creamy Friulian cheese called Montaio will continue to be the best Frico Caldo you’ve ever had in your life.

Photo courtesy of Frasca Food and Wine

Pasta Carbonara

Pig + Fig Flatbread

Mountain Pie Pizza

In 1973, the gold mining mountain town of Idaho Springs unleashed the original Beau Jo’s, a rusticated habitat that introduced Colorado-style pizza to the masses. The Mountain Pies, as they’re known, are chewy, bready and barbarically thick (Chicago-style ‘za has nothing on these beasts), their crusts — white, honey-whole wheat or gluten-free — mounted with a thick blanket of cheese, one of eleven different sauces and a choice of a whopping 36 toppings that zigzag from pepperoni to kale chips. The pizzas, sold by the pound, are almost too heavy to lift, making them the ultimate expression of excess. Since the inception of Beau Jo’s, six additional outposts have opened throughout Colorado, but the Idaho Springs pioneer is still the best place to experience Colorado’s signature pie in the sky.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Holton/Beau Jo’s

Budino: Pizzeria Locale (Boulder and Denver)

A dessert would have to be pretty superlative to surpass a restaurant’s namesake dish. But fans of the Butterscotch Budino at Pizzeria Locale say it supersedes the restaurant’s sensational Neapolitan pizzas. The luscious dessert involves butterscotch pudding padded with a layer of lightly salted caramel, followed by a spiral of whipped cream and shavings of chocolate. At the Boulder location, the addictive dessert is served as a 6-ounce pounce of rapture, while the Denver outposts gratify your sugar compulsion with a pudding-filled 2-ounce shot glass. Life is short. Order two.

Photo courtesy of Pizzeria Locale

Kale & Apple Salad: Acorn/Oak at Fourteenth (Denver and Boulder)

Rockie Dog

Pad Thai Pig Ears

What do people eat at Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen when they really want to pig out? Pig ears, naturally, a brilliant dish conceived by Chef Jorel Pierce, who once threatened to remove the lauded pig candy from the menu. There would have been a rebellion, had he followed through on his warning, because those ears, a jumble of shatteringly crisp flesh and cartilage, are one of the most-expressively exotic and vividly flavored dishes in the Mile High City. The squiggles, cloaked in a sour tamarind sauce laced with chiles, are textured with the crunch of peanuts and garnished with mung-bean sprouts, mint leaves, cilantro and wedges of lime, the sum of which results in an exhilarating play on an old cliche.

Photo courtesy of Euclid Hall

Paella: Solera (Denver)

Paella, the national dish of Spain, is impossible to resist, even more so when it’s the handiwork of Solera Chef-Owner Goose Sorensen, who has regaled admirers of his Spanish-accented cuisine since 2001, when he opened his charming restaurant and wine bar in Denver on what was then a somewhat unsavory swatch of asphalt. But here, in Sorensen’s amorous sanctuary, offset by one of the most-serene patios in the city, dishes like the celebrated paella — ambrosial mouthfuls of fresh seafood and spheres of Spanish chorizo mingling with saffron-studded rice and fresh herbs — can make diners weak in the knees with gratitude. Bonus: On Sunday evenings, Sorensen sweetens the deal exponentially, offering a pan of paella, a meat and cheese plate, dessert and a bottle of wine for just $60 for two.

Photo courtesy of Solera

Odell 90 Shilling Ale

Colorado, in case you haven’t heard, is the holy grail of hops and barley. This is a state that’s ridiculously obsessed with its beer culture, and with more than 150 craft breweries stamped across the republic — and more on the way — it’s no wonder that tourists build their sojourns to the state solely around their next pint. For an easy-drinking craft beer that represents the state’s better suds, try the flagship 90 Shilling Ale from Odell, a Fort Collins-based brewery that was founded in 1989. The Scottish-style amber ale, with a reasonable alcohol by volume of 5.3 percent, is smooth, medium-bodied and irresistibly delicious. You can sip that — and numerous other craft beers — in its Fort Collins tap room, or you can knock back a pint at Falling Rock Tap House, a fantastic beer-centric bar in Denver’s Ballpark District that pours 90 Shilling on tap, along with more than 75 other notable draft beers the super-popular suds hangout also trumpets 130 beers by the bottle.

Photo courtesy of Adam Larkey

Gyro Plate

Pete Contos, as most Denverites are aware, is the founder of Pete’s Kitchen, a 24/7 Greek diner that’s seen just about every type belly up to the counter for heaping plates of butter-soaked hash browns, omelets stuffed with the kitchen sink, breakfast burritos bigger than a newborn and the been-there-forever gyro plate — its piece de resistance. The platter, splayed with thin shavings of vibrantly seasoned, spit-roasted lamb, is paired with mint-flecked tzatziki sauce, pita bread and, for good measure, a pyramid of fries. It’s a spectacle that can seem over the top. But at 2 a.m., Pete’s is your path to lessening a hangover.

Photo courtesy of Lori Midson

Double Cheeseburger

You want fries with your burger? Look elsewhere. Onion rings? Not here. Over-the-top embellishments like foie gras? Snort! You’ll know Bud’s Bar in Sedalia by the motorcycle motorcade that fronts the entrance of this generations-old roadside shack that slings one thing: burgers. And the kitchen does them extraordinarily well, frying the fantastic patties on the flattop, slapping the meat with melty American cheese and begrudgingly serving a bowl of pickles and onions, known here as superfluous garnishments, on the side. A few people get a single those in the know always, always get a two-fisted double, a bag of Lay’s potato chips and a cold beer that, like the burgers, is as familiar as the faded interior.

Photo courtesy of Lori Midson

Tasty Treats

Oh, the tales we could tell. Gaetano’s, an indelible presence since the ripe old year of 1947, began its storied history in North Denver as a red-sauce joint owned — and frequented — by the mafia. Gentlemen — the sort that you didn’t mess with — lounged in the back corner of the bar, plumes of smoke drifting from the tips of their fat cigars. Most of them cursed and drank with abandonment. Few of them ate, but when they did, it usually involved the joint’s quintessential Tasty Treats, copper-hued rolls of dough bulked with roasted New Mexican chiles clasped around a fennel-laced Italian sausage link. Like most things, Gaetano’s has changed over the years, relinquishing the majority of its classic dishes for more modernized creations, but the Treats continue to bridge the generational gap, one tasty bite at a time.

Photo courtesy of Lori Midson


Plate-consuming burritos, Greek salads, chicken Parmesan, buffalo burgers — with so many tried-and-true classics on Racines’ expansive menu, this 34-year-old Denver favorite of the more formal set serves an embarrassment of culinary riches. But for the sake of argument, should a diner need to select a last meal on Earth, the choice is a no-brainer: Mile High Nachos. True to its name, the altitude-high patchwork of corn chips arrives liberally surfaced with cheese, black or refried beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and, if you’re feeling carnivorous, steak or chicken. Somewhat miraculously, the kitchen manages to ensure that there’s not a naked chip in the stack, which means that by the time diners plow their way to the bottom, the last bite is every bit as loaded as the first.

Photo courtesy of Lori Midson

Appetizer Tray

Old-World opulence abounds at the beautiful Briarwood Inn, west of Denver despite a relatively new chef who’s modernized the menu, the restaurant basks in the antiquity of its signature appetizer tray, a sharable feast that’s unlike any in the state. With shrimp cocktail and salmon butter, dreamy foie gras mousse, spinach mousseline, fig compote and creamy Wisconsin cheddar cheese dip, it’s the kind of luxurious spread that continues to draw gasps of rapture from ladies who lunch, canoodling couples and kids experiencing their first fine-dining excursion.

The Food of Aragón: A Perfect Union with the Wines of Cariñena

Spain has long been known for its lively food and drink culture. From lengthy afternoon repasts, to late night dinners filled with music and wine, there’s always a fiesta to be found. Of course, Spain is an expansive country—every region has its own cuisine and agricultural traditions, including the autonomous community of Aragón.

Tucked between the cities of Barcelona and Madrid sits Aragón and its capital of Zaragoza. Though less visited by international tourists, Aragón rewards intrepid travelers as a hidden jewel of food, culture, and wine. In fact, Aragón once served as a crossroads of civilizations and boasted one of the most important kingdoms in the world during the 15 th century. The result today is a cuisine of mixed roots and rich heritage.

If you’ve heard of Catherine of Aragón, wife of King Henry VIII and Queen of England, they’ve you’ve heard of this Spanish region. Catherine was the daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella I of Castile, the royal couple who funded the expeditions of Christopher Columbus. However, fortunes rise and fall. Centuries later, Aragón’s economy suffered from the hardships of WWII and the Civil War, contributing to its low population density and expansive farming industry. Today, some of Spain’s best fruit, vegetables, and meat comes from Aragón, a growing percentage of it naturally organic due to the warm, arid climate.

While rural life rules the outskirts of cities, the three towns of Zaragoza, Huesca, and Teruel boast a surprising density of Michelin star restaurants. These spots on the must-do dining circuit feature both traditional and innovative chefs. One can find dishes that speak to the past with their authenticity and rusticity, or sample modern renditions of Aragonese classics that look to the future. Coupled with the renaissance in local wines from Cariñena, it’s an exciting time to investigate the food of Aragón.

Ask a local what dishes are most popular and lamb will top the list. Ternasco de Aragón, or suckling lamb, is prized for its tender meat and delicate flavor. It’s typically roasted or grilled with potatoes, garlic, and parsley. The succulent, concentrated wines made from Cariñena’s old vine Garnacha, make a splendid pairing.

Migas, a rural rustic dish from the countryside, is made with hard bread, bacon, chorizo, garlic, onion, and paprika. Originally consumed at breakfast to utilize old bread, today locals consume it at lunch or the start of dinner, preferably with a glass of Cariñena.

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Teruel earned fame for its ham or jamón serrano. Producers cure the dark, rich meat it in the dry, windy climate. The exceptional flavor and quality earned Teruel’s dry-cured hams regulatory protection. The DOP, or denominación de origen protegida, functions like a wine appellation.

Other Aragonese dishes include hearty stews, as well as eel and trout pulled from the mighty Ebro River. Beans, onions, asparagus, olive oil, pears, apples, cherries, plums, strawberries, and peaches, plus pulses and grains, all contribute to the variety of flavors found in Aragonese cuisine. The guiding premise of regional cooking: let the ingredients shine.

Of course, the adage “what grows together goes together” applies emphatically to the wine and food of Aragón. The reds of Cariñena, whether Garnacha, Cariñena (Carignan) or blends, are always welcome at the Aragonese table.

For a taste of Aragón at home, Spanish Chef Albert Bevia created several recipes with Cariñena wine pairings. Chef Albert is the author of food blog Spain on a Fork, where he shares Spain´s famous dishes as well as other Spanish-influenced recipes that he creates. He focuses on healthy recipes using simple ingredients with big Spanish flavors. Give these easy food and wine pairings a try.

Goat Cheese Croquettes with Honey and Dried Fruits

Wine Pairing: Monasterio de las Viñas Reserva 2016


  • 8 oz (200 grams) log soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup flour (34 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (119 grams)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • Honey, to drizzle
  • Dried cranberries, to sprinkle
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds, to sprinkle
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to season
  1. Cut 1 log of soft goat cheese into 1-inch-thick pieces. Using your hands, shape each piece of cheese into a ball.
  2. Add 1/4 cup (34 grams) all-purpose flour into a bowl.
  3. Crack 2 eggs into a separate bowl, season with sea salt, and whisk together.
  4. In a third bowl, add 1 cup breadcrumbs, season with sea salt & black pepper, and mix.
  5. To create the croquettes, first dip the balls of goat cheese into the flour, then dip in the egg wash, then dip in the breadcrumbs. Follow process once more, dipping flour, eggs, then breadcrumbs for a second coating.
  6. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat and add in 1/2 cup (125 ml) sunflower oil.
  7. After 5 minutes of letting the oil warm, add the croquettes into the pan in a single layer. Turn every 1- 2 minutes, to ensure they fry evenly. After a total cooking time of 5-6 minutes, the croquettes should be golden in color.
  8. Transfer croquettes to a serving dish, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Spanish Cod with Roasted Peppers

Wine Pairing: Bodegas San Valero Celebrities Old Vine Garnacha 2016


When I started this site, it was mostly about cooking techniques and not recipes but over time, I included more and more recipes to help demonstrate how those cooking techniques worked. Plus, everyone loves great instructions for preparing a meal.

There are a lot of recipes on my site and here is where you can find them. Some like fish chowder are going to show up under multiple categories including fish and soup, so they’ll be plenty of ways to find the one you are looking for.

When you browse some of these categories, I’m pretty sure you’re going to see what type of foods I like best because they’ll be a lot more recipes in that group.

We eat a lot of chicken in our house so you’ll find more poultry recipes. I’m big on making sauces, so you’re going to find a lot of sauce recipes. The category I’m working to grow is side dish recipes because you just can’t have enough of them.

And if you are into baking recipes, you’ll find some very good ones especially when it comes to baking and pizza. If you want even more detailed baking advice, I suggest you visit Pastry Chef Online where my friend Jenni Field offers exclusive baking advice.

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About Kent Rollins

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Hartstone Inn & Hideaway , Camden, ME

Called a "culinary destination" by Fodor's, this inn is known for its award-winning cuisine. There is an on-site restaurant open to both the public, which serves a five-course dinner and lengthy wine list. You can sign up to be "Chef for a Day" and join the inn's Chef Michael Salmon for a one-on-one cooking lesson. There are also scheduled group classes from November through May, or you can schedule a private group class and choose from one of 25 different cooking courses. Additionally, the inn hosts several foodie adventures a year outside of the inn, including an excursion to Tuscany. The inn’s freshly-made breakfasts vary with seasonal ingredients and alternate between sweet and savory.

Hottest Culinary School Vacations

Though serious chefs-in-training flock to New York’s Institute of Culinary Education hoping to become the world’s next Daniel Boulud, you can still take part in one of the hundreds of recreational cooking classes that the award-winning school has to offer. Bust out your Crocs, because you’ll want to sign up for everything from “Techniques of Italian Cooking” to “Supper Downstairs at Downton Abbey” and “Vegan Donut Workshop,” all taught by instructors whose résumés list top New York restaurants like Le Cirque.

First-timers to NYC will love the institute’s market tours of Chinatown and Union Square Greenmarket. And those looking to up their cooking game can take multisession immersion courses, such as the art of bread making or a butchering workshop. Once class ends, ICE offers plenty of containers to wrap up all the goodies you’ve made -- so you can enjoy a nice afternoon of freshly cooked (or baked) items in nearby Madison Square Park.

2. Take a Coastal Maine Culinary Tour


On a culinary tour of southern Maine, you could spend days researching the perfect roadside lobster roll or -- for the ultimate insider’s guide -- you can sign up for Willing Foot’s Coastal Maine: Food and Wine excursion. Starting with the cobblestone streets of Old Port, Portland, you’ll spend the afternoon savoring the unique grassy flavors of artisan cheeses, detecting the sweetness of scones slathered in blueberry preserves and sipping artisan ales at bars with the locals.

Another recreational cooking school in Maine worth trying is Salt Water Farm. Here, you’ll learn classic garden-inspired meals and sample wine at Cellardoor Vineyard in nearby Linconville. No visit to Maine would be complete without the slap of salty, wet air you’ll experience just that on a guided schooner tour of Camden Harbor offered by the school.

3. Learn Authentic Mexican Cooking


A food truck staple, Mexican food is often viewed as one-note, but nothing could be further from the truth for David Sterling, a chef trained in classic French cuisine who came to Mérida, in the heart of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and fell in love with the richly varied cuisine of the area. Sterling opened Los Dos Cooking School in 2003 in a magnificent colonial mansion.

With the fragrant and colorful Merida as their inspiration, students tour the huge and colorful Lucas de Gálvez market, where they see unusual spices and condiments, piles of recados (the "curries of Yucatán") and seasonal fruits like guanábana (soursop) and marañon (cashew apple). Students also learn classic Mayan dishes, such as sikil pak (a dip of ground squash seeds and tomatoes) and sopa de lima (chicken soup with limetta, a local variety of lime.)

By the end of the week, you’ll be charring chilis and tomatoes on an open flame, rolling your own tamales like a pro and grinding spices in a molcajete, a volcanic stone mortar and pestle.

4. Soak Up French Country Cooking


Duck confit and foie gras are staples of any French menu, but what you might not know is that these dishes actually derive from the Gascony region, an area in the southwestern part of France known for its robust, lively and daring spirit, made famous by those Gascon rascals, the Three Musketeers. American professional chef and cookbook author Kate Hill found herself head over heels in love with this area after years of traveling around Europe she’s been teaching the basics of the region’s bold, rustic cooking style ever since at the culinary school she established here in 1991.

Under Kate’s careful guidance, you’ll learn about French cuisine in situ, breaking down a whole 400-lbs. charcuterie pig, canning your own foie gras and cassoulet, and going on day trips to a nearby market for a glass of rosé. You’ll take home the ability to determine your menu by what’s at the market that day you’ll also be left with an indelible picture of “the generous Cascon cooks who create an edible landscape at each and every meal.”

Recipes from the Spanish and Portuguese Grill

In Spain and Portugal, the grill is an indispensable tool, whether it be a flat-top griddle (plancha), a wood-fired pit, or a traditional barbecue, fueled with a fragrant mix of charcoal and hay (like those used to grill calçots). Unlike “American Barbecue” that focuses heavily on sauces, marinades, slow-cooking, and smoke, Iberian barbecue is all about fresh flavors, prime ingredients, and not too much fuss.

The dishes that grace the summer tables of Spain and Portugal are many, and it can be difficult to choose what exactly to savor with so many aromas and flavors enticing your appetite! Whether eating perfectly grilled baby lamb chops, plump sausages, beef and bay leaf skewers, grilled sweet potato flat bread with garlic butter, wood-fired paella, smokey clams, tender spring onions, or warm chard tomato salad with creamy goats milk cheese and sherry vinaigrette, spirits are always high and stomachs are rightfully full! When friends gather to enjoy the weekend sun that hangs long into the evening before setting behind the mountains, or across the ocean, good food is not an exception, nor a rule it is an integral part of life.

No wine goes better with the heat of summer, and the varied fare of an Iberian barbecue, than a dry rosé. Produced all over Spain and Portugal, rosé wine (rosado) is cool and refreshing, with enough crisp fruit to dance delicately beside veggies and seafood, and enough subtle body to take on the lean charred meats that are most commonly prepared! Though beef is certainly prevalent, Spain is well known as the land of pork giving a perfect opportunity to ‘cross over’ in you wine pairing.

A “cross over” wine pairing is applied to a dish that could comfortably span the gap between hearty white and light red wine. A great example is roasted pork lean and delicate enough in flavor to potentially pair with a full-bodied white wine like a Garnatxa Blanca from Terra Alta (Spain), or a Dao (Portugal) white with Encruzado, Bical and/or Malvasia Fina. Conversely, the ‘cross over’ can work the other way, pairing the same pork dish with a light-bodied red wine like a Pinot Noir from Bairrada (Portugal) or a Prieto Picudo from Bierzo (Spain).

However, one excellent way to simplify the classic quandary of ‘red or white’ is with a vinorosado! Of course, in the case of hearty, richer food, a red wine should probably step in, and vice versa with lighter veggie dishes and cold, acidic white that is elegant and invigorating.


Valencian pork chops with smoked paprika marmalade

“A bright, smokey, succulent, and simple dish for summer.”
Serves 4-6


  • 8 pork chops (Iberian, if available)
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary (leaves and stems separated)
  • 3 sweet Valencia oranges
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 rosemary stem
  • 2 tsp smoked, ‘sweet’ Spanish paprika (pimentón dulce)

Make the marmalade ahead:
Begin by washing the oranges well before removing the zest (orange part of peel only) with a vegetable peeler. Avoid the white pith, as it is bitter. Cut the orange peel into thin strips (julienne) with a sharp knife and set aside. Next, discard the seeds and white pith membrane from the orange pulp and mince the pulp well (or pulse in a food processor).

Place the zest, pulp, water, and rosemary stem in a small sauce pan. If the water doesn’t cover the oranges, use a smaller pan or add a little more water. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered. After 20 minutes, stir in the sugar and continue to simmer for around 10 minutes until the mixture is quite thick. To test the thickness, drop a small spoonful of the mixture onto a ceramic plate that you have frozen in the freezer. If the marmalade is still runny after setting for 30 seconds, continue cooking.

Once the marmalade is ready remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for 30 seconds before stirring in the paprika (this can burn easily). Pour the marmalade into a heatproof bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

To Serve the pork chops:

Mince the rosemary leaves, then rub both side of the pork chops with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Make sure the pork chops are at room temperature and your grill is very hot before cooking. Grill the pork chops for around 4 minutes on each side (depending on thickness) then test the internal temperature (they should come off the grill at 138° F (58°C), so that it can rest and continue cooking, ultimately to be served at a juicy 145°F (62°C). Serve the pork chops with a spoon full of paprika marmalade and enjoy!

Espetada of Beef, Bay Leaves, and Garlic with Piri Piri Chili Sauce

“A popular dish from the island of Madeira. Grilled beef skewers with bay leaves, garlic, and a traditional spicy condiment from piri piri chilies.”
Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp of fresh, red chilies (Piri Piris are also known as African Bird’s Eye chilies, but Thai chilies will do)
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice (and 1/2 lemon’s zest)
  • 3 Tbsp of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tarragon, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh and crushed)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 thick-cut rib-eye steaks
  • 16 fresh bay leaves
  • 24 garlic cloves
  • 8 bamboo skewers (soaked in water)
  • Koser salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Begin by making the piri piri sauce. This will keep at room temperature for a day or two, but is best fresh (refrigerate for up to two weeks). Start by placing all of the ingredients except for the oil in the bowl of a food processor (or a mortar if you desire an authentic, rustic purée). Purée/mash the mixture until very smooth before adding the oil in a thin stream (machine running). Once all the oil is incorporated you are ready to enjoy your sauce.

To assemble the espetada, soak your bamboo skewers in water for several hours beforehand to avoid splitting when they are placed on the grill. Cube the rib-eye steak into bite-sized pieces (3/4”x3/4”) and build your skewers like this:

Garlic, beef, bay leaf, garlic, beef, bay leaf, garlic (extra garlic to hold the skewer together).

Season the skewers well with coarse salt and fresh black pepper, and grill them on a hot grill for around three minutes per side. Serve the beef medium-rare with a spoonful of piri piri sauce on top (or on the side).

Wine Pairing

Wine: Bobal de Sanjuan Rosado. Cherubino 2012 (Red)
Grape: 100% Bobal
Region: D.O Utiel-Requena (Valencia)
Winemaker: Cherubino Valsangiacomo
Alcohol: 12.5%

This wine a young and juicy, the Bobal varietal bringing aromas of the Mediterranean: watermelon, pomegranate, minerals, and wild herbs. Very easy to drink and extremely refreshing, this rosado is the perfect bbq companion. Equally well-equipped to pair with the tart, sweet, and smokey pork chop as well as to cool and contrast the charred, spicy beef (and complement nicely the soft, herbal flavors of bay), this wine breathes summer!

Wine: Fitapreta, Palpite Reserva 2009 (White)
Grape: Verdelho, Arinto de Bucelas, Antão Vaz
Region: D.O. Alentejano
Winemaker: David Booth
Alcohol: 12.5%

To hold up to the bold smokey and charred meat flavors, this rich Alentejano white wine is wood aged giving it great structure but still retaining its succulent peach and apricot fruits. This is a lovely wine to not only enjoy with the above recipes, but also with fatty fish, such as salmon, or creamy pasta dishes. This wine was rated one of the Top 50 Portuguese Wines by Master of Wine, Julia Harding.

Retro Boho-Chic at The Kimpton Goodland

Unlike any hotel in Santa Barbara, you&rsquoll find an under-the-radar boho-chic vibe at The Kimpton Goodland. Wake up and practice yoga in your room (complimentary mats provided) or join one of their fitness classes.

Featured in Travel & Leisure, &ldquoevery room at Kimpton&rsquos Santa Barbara outpost, The Goodland, comes outfitted with a retro Crosley record player. If you&rsquore looking for the perfect music to accompany the room&rsquos boho-beach vibes, but don&rsquot know your Beach Boys from your Best Coast from your Beach Slang, simply call up the hotel&rsquos record concierge. The resident vinyl-head will help guests choose the perfect soundtrack from the hotel&rsquos library of vinyl.&rdquo

BOOK: The Kimpton Goodland, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta, CA

Hotel Milo and Kimpton Goodland photos courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara.

Watch the video: Μία ανακοίνωση!+Γιατί πηγαίνουμε συχνά στο Ηράκλειο! #vlog #makeuplenak


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