Thursday, February 28, 2013

High West Distillery Enters James Beard Semi-Finals

The James Beard Foundation named Park City's High West Distillery and Saloon a semifinalist and one of just 25 bars in the country for the Outstanding Bar Program category for the second straight year.  The Foundation also nominated James Dumas, High West's Executive Chef, as one of only 22 people nominated for Best Chef: Southwest. High West was Utah's first distillery to open since 1870.
"We're once again both thrilled and humbled to be recognized by the James Beard Foundation," High West proprietor David Perkins said. We bring to our restaurant the same passion, joy and craftsmanship that we do to our distillery and the whiskies we make."
The Beard Awards are a culinary equivalent to the Pulitzer Prizes, representing the highest honor that a North American chef, bar or restaurant can attain. They are named for James Beard, a cookbook author and teacher who championed American cuisine.  Final nominees for the Beard Awards will be announced May 6 at a ceremony in New York City. The nominees will be announced live on Twitter (@beardfoundation).
High West's Beard nomination is the latest in a list of significant accolades for the restaurant and distillery, which opened just five years ago.  Whiskey Advocate Magazine named High West its 2011 Whiskey Pioneer of the Year, readers of Salt Lake City Weekly voted High West the Best Park City Restaurant in 2011 and 2012, and the distillery and its products have been featured in publications ranging from Wine Spectator and the Wall Street Journal, to Huffington Post, Delta Sky Magazine and the Boston Globe. 
 Located at exactly 7,000 feet above sea level in historic Old Town Park City, High West is the world's only ski-in gastro-distillery. High West's passion is crafting unique and exceptional whiskeys and marrying them with outstanding food. For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Utah Blogger is a Reynolds Real Mom Finalist — Vote Now

 After searching across the country for moms to share their tips for making meal time easier, Reynolds announced the ten finalists competing to become a Reynolds Real Mom for the year.  One of them is Karen Petersen of Farmington, the author of  and the popular cookbook, "365 Days of Slow Cooking." 

Starting today, the moms will compete on the Reynolds Wrap Facebook page, showcasing their best tips and tricks for cooking and baking. 

Reynolds will feature a tip from each mom every Wednesday through March 27. Fans are asked to vote and help choose five of the ten finalists to become an official Reynolds spokesperson for 2013. So yes, Karen could use your vote!

Besides Petersen, other finalists are:

 Trisha Furrow-Haas, Theodore, Ala. 
 Tiffany Merritt, Chattanooga, Tenn. 
 Katie Goodman, Erie, Colo. 
 Utokia Langley, Bowie, Md. 
 Emily Lyon, Yuba City, Calif. 
 Whitney Gainer & Ashley Turner, Colleyville and Justin, Texas 
 Rachel Matthews, Corpus Christi, Texas 
 Maria Long, Henrico, Va. 
 Jennifer Mercurio, Kissimmee, Fla. 

“We know the kitchen is the center of where moms connect with their families,” said Ken Lane, Vice President of Marketing, Reynolds Consumer Products. “To make cooking and baking easier, Reynolds provides the tools necessary to help moms – from prep work to cleanup and everything in between. The Reynolds Real Moms will highlight how to simplify mealtime with creative ideas, tips and techniques using our products.” 

Visitors to the page will learn everything from how to create foil packets to how to line a pan with parchment paper to make clean up a cinch. 

The five winners will be featured in Reynolds advertising, attend media events and will continue to provide recipes and tips in the kitchen online. 

The ten finalists were chosen after a nationwide search to find real moms to share how to make cooking and baking simpler or easier every day. The brand invited these women to be finalists based on their creativity and passion to become a Reynolds Real Mom. 
For more information about the Reynolds Real Moms contest, please visit

Rovali's in Ogden Offering Express Lunch

Rovali's new express menu boards

Rovali's on Ogden's Historic 25th Street is now offering an express lunch menu with quick-serve items such as pizza by the slice, calzones, salads, lunch combos, awesome sandwiches including our brand new pizza sub, take-out and curb side pickup.
Rovali’s Ristorante Express Lunch idea was created to give downtown business people another option when they have only 30 minutes or less for lunch.  And for the budget conscious; we have our pizza by the slice for as little as $2.75 or lunch combo that includes a half sandwich, bag of chips, soft drink, cup of soup or side salad all for $9.99!  We also have our call-ahead ordering if you want to dine in.  If you haven’t tried our espresso bar or homemade desserts; you are in for a real treat! Our Express Lunch is offered Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Rovali’s Ristorante Italiano is located at 174 25th Street Ogden, Utah (online at
"We think this will be a great option for people who don't really have much of a lunch break, but still want to have  a quality meal, " said owner Alex Montanez . "We say, why settle for fast food when you can have great homemade food fast?" 
Rovali's Ristorante, located at 174 25th Street, is a family-owned and operated restaurant that has been in business for nearly 7 years and on 25th Street for three years. 

Mandarin In Top 25 Chinese Restaurants in America

Are the throngs of people lined up at the doors of the Mandarin in Bountiful every weekend on to something? Apparently so. 
Mandarin Restaurant in Bountiful was featured as one of the top 25 Chinese Restaurants in America by Travel and Leisure magazine.  Considering there are at least 41,000 Chinese restaurants scattered across the United States, that's pretty darn good.
"We’ve been working hard for 36 years and are thrilled about the recognition," said Angel Skedros Manfredini, pastry chef and part owner of the Mandarin, who emailed me with the news.
The Mandarin has been a popular Bountiful mainstay for years, ever since owner Greg Skedros opened its doors. Yes, it's owned by a Greek family; but the chefs are Chinese. 
 The Mandarin was doing "local, seasonal" ingredients long before it became trendy. Back in 2006, I did a story for the Deseret News on some of the high-end restaurants that were buying from local farmers and ranchers. Angel told me that the Mandarin bought its green beans, zucchini, eggplant and bell peppers from Bangerter Farms in Bountiful every summer, and that the customers could definitely tell the difference. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Daily Dish: Mega Mushroom Soup

Making Rosemary Potato Corn Chowder on Good Things Utah.
I made my Mega Mushroom Soup today on the Daily Dish (video shown here),  and my Rosemary Corn Chowder on Good Things Utah. (video here)  It was windy outside, and I can see that I should have run a comb through my hair before going on the air. Oh well!

I've posted the Rosemary Potato & Corn Chowder on this blog before, but not the Mega Mushroom Soup.  I got the SOS call yesterday that GTU had a last-minute cancellation and needed someone to fill in. I picked the Rosemary Corn Chowder because I'm comfortable with it, since I've done it in a few other classes and demos.  I've  really wanted to demo my French Onion Soup recipe, but I wouldn't have time to slice the onions and caramelize them in the five minute segment allotted on TV. However, I think it would be perfect for my 45-minute cooking demo at the Standard-Examiner's Home Show on March 1, 11 a.m., at the Weber County Fairgrounds.

Here's the Mega Mushroom Soup recipe. The major expense is the package of mixed dried mushrooms (you can usually find them in the produce area of your supermarket). They are around $5 for a one-ounce package. Don't waste your money on dried cremini mushrooms — they are almost the same, flavor-wise, as plain white button mushrooms. I happen to think that porcini mushrooms give off a stronger, more earthy flavor. If you can happen to have a variety of fresh mushrooms, add them t o the mix!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Makes about 6 1¼ - cup servings

This soup's deep, earthy flavor comes from dried, fresh, and canned mushrooms. You can puree it for a smooth texture, or leave some of the mushrooms chunky. 

1 (1-oz.) pkg. dried mixed wild mushrooms 
2 cans beef (or vegetable) broth 
2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
2 (8-oz.) pkgs fresh sliced cremini or button mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
(or 1½ cups frozen chopped onions)
1½ cups cream or half-and-half 
1 small can sliced mushrooms, stems & pieces 
1 tsp. dried rosemary
½ tsp. dried thyme

1. Place dried mushrooms in a microwaveable 3-C. bowl. Pour 1 can of broth over the mushrooms. 

2. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes, or until stock is boiling. Remove from microwave and allow mushrooms to steep in the broth for about 10 minutes.

3. While mushrooms are steeping, melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan on low heat while you slice or chop onion. 

4. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add fresh mushrooms and onion. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring so that the vegetables don't burn.

5. Pour reconstituted mushroom/broth mixture, rosemary, thyme, cooked mushroom/onion mixture and canned mushrooms in blender, making sure to scrape the pan for any browned bits. Puree until smooth. 

6. Pour back into saucepan and stir in remaining can of beef broth and cream. Allow to cook until heated through.  

Options:  For a chunky texture, only puree the reconstituted mushrooms and half of the mushroom/onion mixture.  Also, if fresh wild mushrooms are available, they make a nice addition.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Zermatt Resort Hosting Chocolate Festival Feb. 23

Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah. Photo by Valerie Phillips

Zermatt Resort in Midway is hosting its first annual Chocolate Festival on Saturday, Feb. 23. From 2-5 p.m., local Utah chocolate makers will be on hand to show off their products. The Homestead Gift Shop will present  their famous homemade fudge. Others are Ruth Kendrick of Chocolot Artisan Chocolates, Millcreek Cacao Roasters, Fernwood Finest Candies, Food of the Gods Chocolate and Hatch Family Chocolates.   There will be cupcake decorating for the kids, and live music from acoustic guitarist, B.D. Howe. 

Admission is free for the first 50 people to call the resort at 1-435-709-9532. Regular admission is $11.99 per person. 

If you want even more of a chocolate fix, that evening Z's Steak & Chop Haus is hosting a Chocolate Themed Dinner. The menu is: 

Dark Chocolate and Espelette Soup
Golden Beet and Strawberry Carpaccio, Arugula, Chocolate-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Basil and Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut
White Cocoa Gnocchi, Buttermilk Chocolate Sauce

Cocoa Cured Duck Breast
Wheatberries, Swiss Chocolate and Pequillo Pepper Mole

Mint Chocolate Chipped Granita

Z’s Famous Chateaubriand with Bittersweet-Zinfandel Sauce
Mushroom Tart, Asparagus

Warm Cinnamon Donuts with Swiss Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Price is $59.99 per person, wine pairings are available  for $35.99
Reservations required.  Call 435-709-9572 to reserve your table.

Valentine's Day Brownie in a Mug

Molten Mug Brownie     Photo by Valerie Phillips

A microwaved brownie in a mug is a quick and easy Valentine's Day treat, as detailed in my Standard-Examiner column yesterday. Here are the directions:

1. Pour a cup of your favorite packaged brownie mix into a mug. 
2. Mix it with 1/4 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. 
3. Zap it in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes. 
4. Pour about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on top of the brownie mixture and zap another minute.  (You could also add a tablespoon of cream cheese or a marshmallow at this time.)
5. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so that it can finish cooking on the inside. Serve it while it's still warm.
You've got a rich, gooey chocolate fix that's big enough for two people to share — a romantic form of portion control.And you don't have a mixing bowl or baking pan to wash.   
Make sure to choose mug that's microwaveable and at least 12 to 14 ounces. (The one in my photo actually holds about 16 ounces, which gives the batter a lot of room to puff up during cooking. It could overflow a smaller size cup. 
I also experimented using vegetable oil instead of butter, and I liked the buttery flavor best.  
A glass of cold milk is a good accompaniment.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Biggest Loser: Who's Gonna Win?

After never losing a weigh-in, the Blue Team finally cracked last week. I wasn't surprised to see that the team member they voted off was Oklahoma policeman David Jones. I found David to be very likeable, but he ended up injuring his knee the first week of training, and was unable to do the same exercises as his teammates.  Again, it's one of those "Don't Try This At Home" things. When you've got 300-pound people running, doing squats and other hard-on-the-knees exercises, it's a wonder more of the cast members aren't seriously injured.

Anyway, I think David's teammates figured he was their weak link because he couldn't compete in a lot of the physical challenges. It would have been smarter to send Jeff home, because he's bigger and stronger, so he's the biggest threat on the team. But some players recognized that if David was already losing weight consistently while injured, he would be quite a threat once he was physically able to push even harder.

No matter. David seems like he's doing great — down to 220 pounds after starting the show at 307.  He   feels good about wearing his police uniform and has inspired the guys in his department. He was seen taking his daughter Tiffany for a walk. She has Rett Syndrome and needs a lot of care. David said that now he's stronger and in better shape to help with her care. I think our hearts went out to David, because we've all been in the situation of putting everyone else's needs first — because you just can't abandon your commitments and the people who need you. But sometimes there are ways to juggle your priorities to give yourself some time as well.

So who do you think will win? Danni seems to be extremely strong, both mentally and physically — she had to be to survive Jillian!  Now that Jillian has abandoned her negative tactics, Danni has done even better. Perhaps Jillian would have more of the White Team left to train if she had dialed herself down at the very beginning.
I'd like to see Jackson make it to the Final Four. I think his likable personality has kept him from getting voted off so far, but it would be a mistake for anyone to underestimate him. Joe definitely considers himself the top dog of the Red Team, but he could get blindsided.  Francellina did well this week.
One the Blue Team, Gina seems too whiny, and doesn't have as much weight to lose to get a huge percentage in the end. Alex and Jeff are both inconsistent with their weight loss. So I guess Michael Dorsey would be the one to beat.

The Boat Show - Rosemary Potato & Corn Chowder

Tonight I made my Rosemary Potato & Corn Chowder at the Boat Show at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.  I was invited by "Bakin'" Bill Johnson to cook a recipe from my cookbook using a Dutch oven, as part of the International Dutch Oven Society's presence at the show.

Although I didn't attract a huge audience, I got to watch the wake boarders next to use, who DID attract a crowd.  A lot of people who sampled my soup asked for the recipe. One guy said he's a Boy Scout leader and it would be an easy dish to make the next time they go camping. He's right; there's no prep work and very little clean-up involved!

I was able to meet the family who runs Grandpa's Kitchen, which makes gluten-free baking mixes. They did a cooking demonstration after mine, and I thought it was pretty interesting! I feel a column coming on ...
Photo by Valerie Phillips

Prep time: 30 minutes
Makes 6 1 ½-C. servings
         Thanks to O'Brien-style frozen hash browns, you can avoid peeling or dicing potatoes, onions and peppers. Packaged bacon bits eliminate the messy job of bacon-frying, and they contain 50 percent less fat than regular bacon. Using fat-free half-and-half further slashes the fat and calories without losing flavor. You could also use skim milk, but your soup will be less thick and creamy.  The rosemary gives a subtle pine-ish flavor.
         2 14-oz. cans chicken broth (or 4 chicken bouillon cubes and 1 3/4 C. water)
         1 28-oz. package O'Brien-style diced hash brown potatoes
         1 3-oz. package shelf-stable bacon bits (or about 3/4 C. of cooked, chopped bacon or 1 C. finely diced ham)
         1 15-oz. can corn, drained
         2 tsp. dried rosemary or 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
         3 Tbsp. cornstarch
         1/4 C. water
         1 1/2 C. half-and-half, fat-free half-and-half, or milk
         1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
         Optional garnishes: grated cheddar cheese, bacon bits, rosemary sprigs
                   1. Place chicken broth, potatoes and bacon in a large pot over high heat.
                   2. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to keep the soup gently boiling about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add corn.
                   3. Mix cornstarch and water to a smooth paste. Stir cornstarch mixture into the gently boiling soup, and continue stirring until soup thickens.
                   4. Turn off the heat and stir in milk or half-and-half and pepper, until mixture is well-blended and the soup re-thickens.
                   5. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings as desired. Ladle into serving bowls; garnish each with a tsp. of shredded cheddar, bacon pieces or a rosemary sprig.
         Slow cooker directions: Place all ingredients except cornstarch and 1/4 C. of water in a slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours; on low for 5-6 hours. Mix cornstarch and water into a smooth paste and stir into the soup. Turn the soup to high and leave the lid off, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, until soup thickens.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Mandarin Celebrates Year of The Snake

Ring in the Year of the Snake 2013 at the Mandarin Restaurant, at 348 East 900 North in Bountiful. This two-week celebration is from Monday, February 11 to Saturday, February 23. 

The lively and colorful Traditional Lion Dance will be performed by an 8-person troupe on Tuesday, Feb. 12 and Wednesday, Feb. 20.

The Lion Dance is thought to ward off evil spirits and welcome the New Year with a bang. The Lion makes its way through the Mandarin interacting with guests, eating lettuce for good luck and blessing the kitchen. 

Call 48 hours in advance to order traditional Beijing style Peking Duck $34.99.   In addition to the regular dinner menu, the kitchen staff will prepare a special Chinese New Year Menu for  parties of 4 or more people, at $20.00 per person.

 Chinese New Year Menu includes:
Crab Cream Cheese Won Ton
Mini Egg Roll
Chicken Creamed Corn Soup or Hot and Sour Soup
Hunan Beef
Satay Pork Noodle
Honey Walnut Chicken
Coconut Thai Shrimp
Brown and White Steamed Rice
Homemade Ice Cream Trio: Passion Fruit, Lychee and Saigon Cinnamon with Cookie of Good Fortune 
Reservations are accepted for 8 or more people. Parties fewer than 8 may call ahead and have their name placed on the waiting list.  Be sure to wear RED which represents good fortune.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Daily Dish - Slow Cooker Nacho Chicken Soup

Yesterday I did two "Souper Bowl" cooking demos — one for ABC-4's Good Things Utah, and one for ABC-4's The Daily Dish.

Here's The Daily Dish recipe - Slow Cooker Nacho Chicken Soup from my cookbook, "Soup's On!"
It's super easy to make, especially if you don't like handling raw chicken. You don't have to cut it up or anything beforehand, because after it's cooked, you shred it into pieces with two forks. Here's the video link:

And here's the recipe:
Slow Cooker Nacho Chicken Soup
1½ lbs. boneless chicken breasts or thighs
2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth 
2 (7 oz.) cans diced green chiles
(substitute 1 can with jalapeños)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 cup sour cream 
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 cups crushed nacho-flavored chips
or baked tortilla chips
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 cups crushed nacho-flavored chips
or baked tortilla chips
shredded lettuce

1. Place about 1-1/2 pounda of boneless chicken breast or thighs, in the pot. 
2. Add broth, chiles, a package of taco seasoning, and cream of chicken soup. 

3. Cook on high 3-4 hours, or on low 6-8 hours. 
4. About a half hour before serving, use a large slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the pot and place in a medium-size bowl to cool slightly.
5. While it's cooling, stir sour cream, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, cheddar, beans and corn into the soup.
6. With two large forks, shred the chicken. Return the chicken into the pot and stir well before serving. 
6. Let each guest customize their bowl with options such as chopped cilantro, sliced olives, chopped tomatoes or salsa, chopped red or green peppers, diced avocadoes or guacamole, tortilla chips, grated cheese, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.
- "Soup's On!" by Valerie Phillips

Good Things Utah - Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Yesterday I did a "Souper Bowl" cooking demo on Good Things Utah. Here's the video
 Thanks, Kim, for letting me borrow your jersey, and thanks, Jess, for letting me borrow your football plates.
  This is a "souper" soup for a Super Bowl bash, or any other day of the year. Set out toppings such as olives, chopped pepperoni, shredded mozzarella or parmesan, chopped fresh herbs, or diced chicken, and let everyone customize their bowl.

2 (14 oz.) cans or 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 (9 oz.) pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 tsp. basil
1 Tbsp. dried chopped onions
1/3 cup frozen chopped green pepper
(or about ¼ cup fresh)
1 Tbsp. sugar 
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup milk
8 oz. cream cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup shredded cheddar or Parmesan
1. In a large pot, bring 2 14-ounce cans of chicken broth to a boil. Add a 9-ounce package of refrigerated tortellini to broth and cook 5 minutes. A lot of recipes have you cook pasta separately, drain it and then add it to the soup. I figure, why not make it all in one pot and avoid having to clean another pot?
2. Stir in a can of tomato paste and a 15-ounce can of petite-diced tomatoes. Then we're going to add a lot of nice Italian flavors, with 1 teaspoon basil, 1 tablespoon dried chopped onions, 1/3 cup frozen chopped green pepper (or about 1/4 C. fresh), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder. And finally, we add a cup of milk. 
Let this simmer for a few minutes.
3.While soup simmers, cut the cream cheese in several chunks. Add the chunks to the soup, and whisk until they are thoroughly incorporated.
4. Let the soup simmer about 5 minutes more to allow flavors to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set out toppings such as olives, chopped pepperoni, shredded mozzarella or parmesan, chopped fresh herbs, or diced chicken, and let everyone customize their bowl.