Friday, November 27, 2009

Join the Cuisineist as we cook with Dos Caminos Corporate Executive Chef Scott Linquist and Executive Chef Roberto Hernandez and enjoy a great meal

Dos Caminos Corporate Executive Chef Scott Linquist made his mark in Mexican restaurants throughout the country. Scott began his long relationship with Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of the renowned Border Grill while still at CIA.

After graduating , he worked at the Boulevard in San Francisco and Lutece and Gotham Bar and Grill in New York. Mary Sue and Susan asked Scott to become Chef of Border Grill and help with expansion. He went back to California for two years and then moved on to Southwestern Restaurant Arizona 206 in New York were he created his well known upscale Mexican dishes . Chef Scott also returned to his alma mater of CIA for a teaching position as well.

Dos Caminos is Scott's current home and he has taken over as Corporate Executive Chef. The New York Dos Caminos has been doing themed cooking demonstrations for many occasions throughout the year. Scott decided to come to Dos Caminos located in the beautiful Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas to share his award winning skills along side Executive Chef Roberto Hernandez.













The Cuisineist met up with both Chefs and enjoyed a two day education on upscale Mexican dishes and participated in making fresh Guacamole.

The first word that comes to mind with Dos Caminos Las Vegas is "BIG ". Dos Caminos Las Vegas offers authentic, inventive Mexican dishes along with a bar that is large and and has a "scene" of its own. Using the foundation of classic Mexican staples of guacamole, empanadas and tacos, the menu also includes signature items created exclusively for Las Vegas by Chef Scott Linquist, who has overseen the brand expansion and openings of all Dos Caminos locations as well as co-authored the Dos Caminos cookbook, Mod Mex.

The Menu tantalized us with dishes including Roasted Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Poblano and Salsa Verde, Lamb Shank Barbacoa, Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Frijoles Borrachos and Roasted Tomato Salsita as well as Chilean Sea Bass Veracruzano. It also features such brunch offerings as Dos Caminos Rancheros, Chilequiles Con Huevos (Baked Tortilla Casserole with Sunny-Side-Up Eggs), Pan Torrejas (Mexican-Style French Toast with Toasted Pecan Maple Syrup and Fresh Berries) and Mexican Benedict, available daily. A "MUST " is the made-to-order guacamole heralded by Food & Wine magazine as "New York City’s Best."












The cooking class opened our eyes to what upscale Mexican cuisine really is. The interactive lesson on making fresh Guacamole was a true experience.

Each guest attending the class were given the classic ingredients of cilantro leafs , yellow onions , Jalapeño and Serrano chiles , Avocado ( of course ) plum tomatoes and lime. Then it was time to go to work. With the coaching of both Chefs , guests learned how to "properly " score an avocado and remove the seed. Then after mashing and mixing in a specific order , the Guacamole was finished to each individual taste.













The absolute best way to learn something is by doing it with the ever watch full eye of a true professional and cooking is no exception.













Along with the exceptional guacamole, we sipped on El Caminos Classic Margarita and the Pomegranate Sangria. Up next, we were instructed on creating roasted plantain empanadas filled with black beans and cotija cheese topped with chipotle aioli. Each of these bocaditos or little starters was savory and filling.




We then watched As chef prepared the main course or platos principales, Arrachera-Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Frijoles Borrachos. The secret to the flavorful steak was the aromatic marinade of lightly toasted cumin seeds combined with olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno chiles, garlic, salt, and black pepper pureed until smooth and them rubbed into the meat. The meat is then rolled into light logs, put into resealable plastic bags and then refrigerated 24 hours.




After grilling the steaks until seared 3-4 minutes, they are left to rest for 5 min.and then sliced across the grain into thin strips. Served with the frijoles barrachos, our palates were delighted and our stomachs satiated. But there was more to come! The dessert prepared by Chef Reyes was worth putting the fork down to rest between courses.


Pastry Chef, Hugo Reyes, flew in
from New York for this cooking
occasion and we were very glad
he did. His postres Y Dulces or
sweets and pastries are his passion.






We were shown how to make his Crepas de Cajeta. The Crepas
or crepe is filled with the cajeta that is made from goats milk, sugar and vanilla extract that is heated and reduced into a condensed
milk consistency. This creamy sweet mixture is spooned over the
crepas that are filled with bananas warmed with a brown sugar and vanilla mixture and then served with a scoop of house made vanilla ice cream. (Fresh ice cream is made daily at the restaurant). Candied Pistachos are spoon over the top, for
a delicately sweet and satisfying dessert.












Just when the guests thought It could not get any better, some returned for a Mexican 6 course dinner with new signature cocktails in the large and spacious dining area.

The architecture , with its marble floors, lighting , statues and booths rivaled any Michelin restaurant we have dined in. At times, it reminded us of a South Beach restaurant with a hip , easy going vibe.















The classic dishes started to arrive with the award winning Fresh made Guacamole & Tortilla chips served family style. For many , this was a meal in its own right but we were just getting started.




TUNA CEVICHE

Appetizer








LOBSTER CEVICHE
Appetizer







ANCHO SEARED TUNA

Crispy Yucca Fries, Hot Papaya Salsa , Herb Salad, Pasilla Oaxaca Vinaigrette












POLLO AL PLANCHA CON POZOLE VERDE


Crispy Skin Spiced Rubbed Half Free Range Chicken , Fall
Vegitables , Hominy , Roasted Tomatillo -Hojo Santa broth , Herbed Mojo




GRILLED MARINATED SKIRT STEAK SALAD
Baby Arugula , Spinach , Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, Butternut Squash , Roasted Jalapeno-Blue Cheese Dressing








CREPAS de CALABAZA
Dessert







APPLE and SWEET CHEESE EMPANADAS
Dessert



WHITE AND DARK CHOCOLATE FONDUE






We have stopped in at Dos Caminos on many occasions and took full advantage of the large and spacious bar with one of the best Tequila lists we have seen in Las Vegas. To have the opportunity to enjoy a fabulous meal and learn how make many of these signature dishes from such renowned Chefs was an honor and an experience . We look forward taking advantage of upcoming cooking classes at Dos Caminos at the Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for upcoming dates !

Join The Cuisineist as we learn how to cook some of these dishes, make Guacamole and speak with Chef Scott Liquist about Dos Caminos and his book Mod Mex.

For more information please visit www.palazzolasvegas.com/doscaminos.aspx or if in New York visit www.brguestrestaurants.com/restaurants/dos_caminos_so.

video video

Monday, November 9, 2009

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake a decadent twist on a Thanksgiving tradition


We are coming up fast on the Holiday season which is all about tradition. Here at The Cuisineist we will try to keep it traditional but with an interesting twist. We tried this recipe in the Cuisinest's kichen and it worked fabulously . This is an easy recipe that will make you look like the culinary star that you are !




DOUBLE LAYER PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE


Ingredients :
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.
  5. ENJOY !

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A great place for a real lunch in Las Vegas off the "strip" Terra Rossa in the Red Rock Resort

Most people look at lunch as a late breakfast or early dinner. Many Americans choose the type of lunch you can eat in the car.

However, Most parts of the world may not feel that way. Even in the culinary epicenter , Las Vegas, A good healthy lunch may not be too easy to find.

When Terra Rossa in the Red Rock Resort located in Summerlin opened for lunch we welcomed a chance for an opportunity to experience Las Vegas fine dining in the middle of the day. The Cuisineist held our breath and jumped into Terra Rossa and hoped to find a mid day dining oasis.
















Terra Rossa Italian Restaurant offers authentic Italian foods such as homemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, fresh fish and an extensive antipasto table. Their wine room hosts a collection of 1,500 bottles of premiere Italian and California wines. From his post in the open kitchen, Chef Nicola Nieddu, from Sardinia brings the authentic flavors and warmth of Italy .


The restaurant’s intimate setting brings the feeling of a Tuscan villa and overlooks the outdoor pond and water fall. You get the best of both worlds with a choice of indoor and outdoor seating.




Secondi

salmone rustico…grilled and served with sautéed rapini and extra virgin olive oil
pesce spada…swordfish and grilled vegetables, with Mediterranean relish
scaloppine al limone…with lemon sauce, served with spinach “all’agro”
scaloppine al marsala…with sauteed mushrooms
pollo ai carciofi…chicken filets sauteed with artichokes in lemon white wine sauce
pollo alla piccata…free range chicken breasts with lemon caper sauce and spinach
pollo alla parmigiana…breaded, pan fried and finished with tomato sauce and cheeses
pollo al mattone...whole hen cooked under a brick with mustard wine sauce and rapini


PASTA

Pasta capellini al pomodoro…angel hair pasta with tomato, garlic, basil and olive oil
capellini primavera…with fresh garden vegetables, plum tomatoes and basil
spaghetti a la Renato…tossed in tomato sauce and finished with butter and parmesan
spaghetti con polpette…with tomato sauce, parmesan and meatballs
pappardelle al ragu’…tossed in our three meats sauce
linguine alle vongole…with clams in a lightly spiced white wine garlic sauce
penne al pesto…fresh basil pesto with green beans and potatoes
gnocchi…soft potato dumplings tossed with tomato sauce and basil
tortiglioni con salsiccia...with peas and sausages in tomato cream sauce
agnolotti…filled with Italian ricotta cheese and sauteed with tomato and basil sauce
ravioli…filled with spinach and ricotta with three meats ragu
( you can add chicken or shrimp )

Desserts

tiramisu
espresso soaked ladyfingers layered with marscapone creame, served with Tuscan biscotti

fresh fruit and sabayon


amaretto sabayon, fresh seasonal berries, shortbread cookie
chocolate molten cake a warm chocolate cake with homemade vanilla gelato
fresh cannoli stuffed with sweet homemade ricotta cheese, toasted hazelnuts and pistachios
cheesecake ricotta and marscapone cheesecake topped with whipped cream
homemade gelato and sorbetti










With each course we were able to breath a little easier and knew that we found a great way to dine in Las Vegas for lunch. This is a lunch that we will have to repeat as the choices were too much to experience in just one visit. We do know however that we will breath a sign of satisfaction the next time we want to enjoy a great lunch off the strip in Las Vegas. Enjoy and Bon Appetit !