Hotel Thrillist + Grilled Sea Bass with Jalapeno Citrus Beurre Blanc

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Hotel Thrillist Phoenix was one of the highlights of my summer. Good food, tantalizing cocktails and great company made for a perfect weekend. Thrillist had everything on point, from the music and the vibe, to the entertainment (mermaids in the pool, drones potentially crashing into things, custom decor, etc.). It is actually difficult to sum it up in words because it was just that fun, but I will do my best.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix - cocktails

Hotel Thrillist

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast

For one night, 16 amazing local restaurants came together on the rooftop of the W Scottsdale to serve up some of their best dishes, including some special off-menu items. The W Wet Deck bars mixed Jack Fire with magic to make a sweet tea cocktail that tasted like autumn in a glass, even though the weekend made it feel like summer would never end in Arizona.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Autumn Cocktails

In my opinion the two winning restaurants were Gadzooks and Sumo Maya – not that it was a competition, but Gadzooks served a ridiculous taco. Starting with handmade half corn/half flour tortillas, they piled on tomatillo roasted chicken, sweet slaw, spicy-sweet cornbread, and drizzled creamy flavor-packed sauces on top and I just couldn’t tear myself away. But luckily I saved some room because we made it to Sumo Maya’s booth near the end of our evening, and OH man, maybe I’m just a sucker for sushi, but I couldn’t get enough. It didn’t hurt that there were flower petals on top.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Gadzooks Taco

Gadzooks Taco

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Tacos from Diego Pops

Diego Pops Tacos

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Sumo Maya

Sumo Maya

Some of my other favorites included Diego Pop’s, Tabasco’s chocolate fountain (!!!), Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles, and Snooze Eatery.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix

Hotel Thrillist Pool Party

For some reason I thought the good eats were reserved for Friday night only, but I was wrong. The chefs for the Hotel Thrillist Pool Party seriously delivered, serving up roasted pork bahn mi, boozy shaved ice, a DIY taco bar, sweet corn and crab bites – and – Grilled Sea Bass with Citrus Jalapeno Beurre Blanc (recipe below). I was completely enchanted by this grilled sea bass. The grill itself was somehow a cross between a mini smoker and a grill and I now need to figure out how to make one for myself, because this sea bass needs to be a regular thing at my house.

Hotel Thrillist - Grilled Sea Bass

I want to cook everything on that grill. It had pieces of wood sending smoke straight up into the fish like grilled heaven, but it was the sauce that completed it; creamy, vibrant, and impossibly silky. You have to taste it to believe it because words do not do it justice.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Pool Party - Sweet Crab Salads & Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Sweet Corn & Crab

On this day, the W Wet Deck bars mixed even better cocktails which I did not know was possible; I was so not a whiskey person but now I am? and I know I need to keep Jack Fire and Jack Honey on hand so that I can sip Autumn cocktails and (alcoholic) apple pie in a glass whenever I feel like it. These cocktails perfectly set the tone for the beginning of Fall and I’m excited to whip them up come Thanksgiving. Check out the recipes below for an easy Autumn cocktail & grilled Sea Bass. If Hotel Thrillist is featured in your city next year, you can’t miss it!

Fiery Smashed Apple Cocktail

1 ½ oz Jack Fire
1 oz sour mix
Fill with apple juice (chilled)
Build ingredients in order in a glass with no ice.

Chilean Seabass Skewers with Citrus Green Jalepeno Tabasco Beurre Blanc

Hotel Thrillist Sea Bass

1 1/4 lb Chilean Seabass (if not readily available, Salmon, Shrimp or even Scallops make a great substitute)
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 orange (Zested and Juiced)
1 lemon (Zested and Juiced)
1 lime (Zested and Juiced)
1 diced jalepeno
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2oz Green Jalepeno Tabasco
4 tbsp cold butter
Cilantro and/or micro greens, to garnish

Directions

Place milk, cream, garlic and Jalapeno together in a sauce pot and bring to a slight simmer. Remove from heat and strain. Add to the strained cream the zest and juice from the three types of citrus and return to the stove and reduce by half.

Once reduced, remove from heat and add Greem Jalapeno Tabasco and 4 tbsp butter. Whisk together untill butter is completely melted.

Cut fish into 1×1 cubes and place 4 pieces on a skewer.
Place skewers onto a hot grill and cook both sides till cooked through (about 3 minutes per side)

Generously coat skewers with Beurre Blanc sauce and top with chopped cilantro and/or micro greens.
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Coconut Date Syrup Macaroons with Mocha Chocolate Ganache

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Coconut macaroons sweetened with date syrup and gently infused with date coffee, dipped in velvety chocolate ganache. Perfect for festive holiday meals and dessert tables!

Homemade Coconut Macaroons with Mocha Chocolate Ganache (Passover Kosher & Gluten Free!)

While I was living abroad I was blessed to be the marketing assistant to a woman with a truly incredible company: she leads food tours through the markets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There were many perks that came with that job, like the best burekas with the most luscious fillings, learning where to buy high quality spices and hard-to-find “foreign” ingredients (like brown sugar), and which shops were truly worthwhile.

I’ve been home for a while, and she and I have kept in touch. She initiated a new start-up that would allow people in the United States to subscribe to a food delivery box filled with artisan foods and treats from Israel. During that time I had the pleasure of finally getting paid to do what I love: recipe development.Homemade Macaroons (Passover Kosher & Gluten Free!)

ingredients for homemade coconut macaroons

Actually, that wasn’t the only passion that I was getting paid for. In the span of a month and a half I had my 2nd catering gig, I taught my first cooking class plus I developed recipes for Koofsa. It was so validating and special to finally get to use my passion for cooking in that way; I felt a surge of motivation and fulfillment.

This is one of my favorite recipes that I developed for her company. These macaroons are so much better than store bought, and that’s coming from a girl who can go through a container of Manischewitz macaroons in no time at all. These mocha coconut macaroons, dipped in a velvety mocha dark chocolate ganache, stood no chance in my kitchen. We devoured them, and I know you’ll love them too!

Homemade Coconut Chocolate Macaroons

This is a special and simple recipe to add to a festive meal or holiday dessert table. They are Passover kosher and gluten free with a gentle and satisfying sweetness that comes from date syrup. This recipe is loosely adapted from this one.

Coconut Date Syrup Macaroons with Mocha Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
4 egg whites
½ cup Silan (date syrup)
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp Date Bean Coffee*
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, heat ½ cup heavy cream with 2 tbsp date bean coffee in a saucepan over low heat. Once the cream is hot, but not yet simmering, turn the burner off and pull it off the heat to let the date coffee to infuse the cream.

Meanwhile, toast half of the coconut in the oven until it is golden brown. Check on it regularly and use a spatula to toss the coconut flakes around so that you can be sure they don’t burn! Remove the pan from the oven once the coconut is golden brown and set aside to cool.

Whisk egg whites, silan (date syrup), vanilla extract, almond extract and salt until frothy, and then stir all of the coconut into the egg mixture.

coconut macaroons recipe

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. If you are using parchment paper, spray the surface of the paper lightly with baking spray so the macaroons don’t stick. Take your batter and scoop a tablespoon at a time and shape it into rounds on the baking sheet, about an inch apart.

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Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

While the macaroons are baking, prepare the ganache: Heat the cream again just so it is hot but not yet boiling. Pour the chocolate chips into a heat-proof bowl and strain the hot cream through a fine mesh sieve to remove coffee grounds; allow the cream to drip into the bowl of chocolate chips. Slowly stir the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate is completely melted and the cream is fully incorporated. Resist the urge to eat the whole pot with a spoon.

chocolate ganache for coconut macaroons

Place another piece of parchment paper on a second baking sheet. Once macaroons are cool enough to touch, carefully lift them from the pan, dip each macaroon the ganache and place on the second baking sheet. Cool in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

chocolate coconut macaroons
Keep refrigerated.

*If you don’t have date bean coffee (it is a bit obscure), you can substitute your favorite ground coffee beans.

For more recipes, or if you would like to book a culinary tour in Israel, visit Delicious Israel’s website.

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Bites of Tucson

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I went to Tucson this past weekend to visit my close friend, Jen, who recently moved there. I have only been to Tucson one time; to tour U of A and then I never returned. Ever. Except to see Matisyahu once.

Where to eat in Tucson, Arizona

This time I was prepared; I asked friends where I should eat. See, pre-college I didn’t care as much about food. It was only when
a) Food Network was my life soundtrack anytime I was in my dorm room
and
b) I had to cook for myself if I wanted home cooked meals
that I fell in love with cooking. So, the first time I went to Tucson I didn’t eat at any of the places I’m about to tell you about and that was a downright mistake. I did have a slushy from eegee’s, however, which had some redeeming qualities. I digress. Here’s where and what I ate in my 27 hours in Tucson this weekend:

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon saved me, like a delicious superhero, from my breakfast- and lunch-less morning. I ordered Pho Ga (chicken pho) and Jen ordered Bun Tom Nuong (char-broiled shrimp over vermicelli and greens).

Tucson Pho: Miss Saigon. Where I Ate in Tucson.

Everything was so delicious; my favorite part about this type of foods is the fresh herbs, and they were plentiful. I typically never finish a whole bowl of Pho but I totally did this time and I felt as accomplished as the one single time I ever finished a Chipotle burrito, except I didn’t even have to try this time because it was so good. I actually had to stop myself from drinking the broth afterwards. They brought extra Thai basil to dress up my pho, along with cilantro, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce and Sriracha.

Vietnamese Pho in Tucson at Miss Saigon

Sushi on Oracle

Sushi is one of my favorite foods in the world, and I always get excited when I find restaurants with affordable and authentic fare. Sushi on Oracle delivered; I enjoyed Albacore with Ponzu, and Jen and I shared a Spicy Yellowtail Roll and a Vegas Roll.

Sushi in the Desert: Sushi on Oracle in Tucson

The albacore was so fresh it melted in my mouth. The Spicy Yellowtail Roll was also very fresh and had a really nice, delicate yellowtail flavor without being too spicy. And the Vegas Roll is essentially the dessert of sushi; melted gooey cream cheese with soft avocado, succulent salmon and sweet eel sauce is all I need to be sent into sweet sushi-coma submission. I was beside myself for the rest of the night, all I could keep saying was how good it was.

Sushi on Oracle: Vegas Roll

Food Conspiracy Co-op

I have a weakness for organic/local/artisan grocers, so naturally, we went to the Food Conspiracy Co-op twice in the span of a day and a half. Twice. No one was surprised. The first time I stood in the spice aisle for way too long reading every label and then gawking at the river that became 4th street when a hurricane-like storm swept through. A tree fell on someone’s car and the power flickered; panic rose within me at the thought of the registers failing and not being able to take home all the teas and spices and medjool dates in my basket.

Rain Storm at the Food Conspiracy Co-Op

Sonoran Sleep Tea from Tucson's Food Conspiracy Co-op

Don’t worry, I was able to purchase them. In case that visit wasn’t enough, I had to go back the next day to get more tea and more dates and some fresh figs because Jen had never had one and everyone deserves to eat a chilled fresh fig in the summer sunshine with one of their best friends. So we did that, and it was magical. I have tried 3 of the countless teas I bought and love all of them so far, and I am now completely obsessed with dried chipotle chili flakes. I have put them on almost everything savory I’ve eaten since I’ve been home. Jen is going to have to ship me a kilo or 10.

Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress

My sister’s friend told me I must order the baked eggs, and that it would be the culinary experience of a lifetime.

It was amazing.

Cast Iron Skillet Baked Eggs at Cup Cafe in Tucson

I got the baked eggs. It was a culinary experience of a lifetime. I MEAN WHO WOULDN’T LOVE EGGS WITH LOX BAKED IN CREAM???? Yeah, no one, that’s what I thought. This dish typically comes with ham in it but lox was an option and I can’t pass up lox + eggs, ever. It was so good and rich and creamy and good. If you are in Tucson, get the baked eggs. Also, I had my first bloody mary from a bloody mary bar and felt really fancy about it and loved the whole experience.

Bloody Mary with Cilantro, Cucumber, Artichokes, etc.

Now you are ready to go forth and eat baked eggs and buy 100 teas and eat albacore with ponzu and the yummiest pho eva. Report back and let me know if you loved it as much as I did.

By the way, if you’ve ever wanted to watch me cook LIVE now you can!! Join me on Periscope, a new live-streaming app, and watch me cook, meal prep and answer all of your questions LIVE! You can find me @TsiporahBlog on Periscope🙂

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Heirloom Tomato Salad & Herbs de Provence Vinaigrette

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05-06-19

A mid-summer heirloom tomato salad with fresh fava beans, basil, and an herbs de provence vinaigrette. 

The morning air carries a thick, warm, heady breeze from the night before, and all the plants seemed refreshed. Those are my favorite mornings in the summer; post-monsoon, the air vibrates with energy, nurturing our garden and our hearts. The wind buzzes with seeds of change, and I feel it.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbes De Provence Vinaigrette Ingredients

Tomatoes are bursting in the farmers markets, and the smell of them is exactly what tomatoes should smell like. Earthy and vibrant, I knew these tomatoes needed just a touch of a light vinaigrette to really shine. I paired them with fresh fava beans and thinly sliced red onion for a bit of a bite and texture. I dare say, this is the perfect summer salad.

Click here to view the full recipe on my new blog, Nourishing Wild.

Herbes de Provence Summer Tomato Salad

red onions in a serving dish

Herbes de Provence

Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad

Click here to view the full recipe on my new blog, Nourishing Wild.

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Enjoy!

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