Cooking and Catering Blog | Chef Chic, Tucson

BBQ Menu: 5 Gourmet Essentials for Summer Grilling

June 19, 2017

If you live in Arizona, you’re probably looking for any reason to avoid the kitchen. It’s getting hot (oh, so hot!) and cooking indoors isn’t appealing at all. Thankfully, most of us have grills we can turn to for easy meals and entertaining. To make your outdoor season extra special, we’ve devised a chef-approved BBQ menu with all the essentials you’ll need for summer grilling.

Keep this checklist on hand to make sure you don’t skip a beat. There’s nothing worse than running out of ketchup or forgetting the pickles on burger night. Plus, we’re sharing our best menu ideas to keep you inspired throughout the season.

Gourmet BBQ Menu Essentials

  1. Quality Meat
    Meat is usually the star of the show, and at Chef Chic, we like to think outside of the box. Burgers are great, but what about grilled pork sliders with caramelized onions or mahi mahi burgers with mango salsa? Greek souvlaki, cherry-glazed ribs and blistered bratwursts are also favorites.
  2. Seasonal Veggies
    Veggies often take a backseat, but spice (and grill) them up and they’ll be just as coveted as the main dish. Skewer peppers, onions, mushrooms and summer squash. Make a lemon-tahini dressing or basil pesto to drizzle over the top. Toss dough onto the grates to make vegetable pizzas. Or, try grilled portobello mushrooms to use in place of hamburger buns.
  3. Homemade Marinades
    Every good BBQ menu should feature a show-stopping marinade. A simple lemon, garlic and thyme dressing works well for lamb and seafood. Teriyaki sauce offers a sweet-salty balance to chicken and fish. You can even try your hand at homemade BBQ sauce for a healthy, unique take on a summer staple. Check out this Spicy Maple BBQ Sauce for ribs and bone-in chicken.
  4. Unexpected Condiments
    Here’s where you can show off your culinary savvy! Have the staples on hand, but also add a few gourmet options like: mango chutney, Bavarian mustard and tomato jam. Pickles and sauerkraut are great, but spicy kimchi is even better!
  5. Wine & Cocktails
    Cap off every BBQ menu with a bottle of wine or a signature cocktail. The Boisset Collection is our go-to for the best wine pairings. A crisp Chardonnay or fruity Rosé are awfully refreshing on a hot day. For spirits, mojitos and margaritas always hit the spot.

Let Us Plan Your Next Gourmet BBQ

Like our ideas? This is just the beginning! We can prepare a summer BBQ like no other—featuring an inspiring menu and wine pairing. We’ll also bring the plates, silverware and everything you’ll need.

If you’re a regular client, ask how we can add BBQ meals and marinades to your regular menus. Call us for details: (520) 406-2757

Cooking with Kids: Teach Them to Love Food

June 12, 2017

I love cooking with kids! If you have picky eaters at home, inviting them to participate in the kitchen will encourage them to try new and healthy foods. My niece and nephew are always up for trying a dish if we’ve talked about it or if they’ve helped make it—and that includes vegetables!

Parents benefit, too. If you like to travel and explore new restaurants, expanding your little one’s palate will open you up to a world of family food adventures.

Cooking with kids or just getting them involved in meal prep can be really simple with some organization (and a dash of patience).

How to Cook and Meal Prep with Your Kids

  1. Find Simple Recipes

Let your kids put together a menu from several choices (determined by you) and prep 1-2 simple recipes. Some suggestions…

  • Personal pizzas. Buy good-quality dough, and have the kids roll it out and add their toppings of choice.
  • Burritos. If your kiddos love Chipotle, prep ingredients like rice, beans, chicken, beef, avocado and fresh herbs. If you’re a Chef Chic client, let us do it for you. Then, have everyone build a customized burrito bowl or wrap!
  • Sweet Treats. For dessert or snack, whip up no-bake cookies, like this recipe from Paleo Grubs. For advanced chefs, try something a little more challenging, such as homemade granola bars or cupcakes with piped frosting.
  1. Enlist Help

You don’t have to prepare a meal from scratch together to introduce your kids to the kitchen. Just ask them to help you. Next time you’re planning a menu, get their opinion and take them to the grocery store.

If you’re a Chef Chic client:

  • Share the menu at the beginning of each week.
  • Talk about the meals they’re going to have.
  • Let them help reheat dishes and dress salads.
  • Ask them to set the table.
  1. Talk About Food

Whether the kids cooked the dish or if you’ve gone out to eat, ask them how they’re enjoying their meal. If they don’t like something, see what may be turning them off. Maybe they actually like broccoli, they just don’t like it when you add garlic. Or maybe they eat carrots, but only if they’re raw. Be sure to ask what they DO like about the meal, too. You may be surprised to learn your kid really loves basil!

Try Our Kid-Friendly Meals

We specialize in cooking healthy, kid-friendly favorites for special occasions and daily meals. Call us for details: (520) 406-2757!

Try These Tasty Summer Dishes to Beat the Heat

June 23, 2017

There are several types of starters, salads, main dishes, and desserts that are perfect for catered summer parties in Tucson. Ceviche, sorbet, and sandwiches all come in light and refreshing flavors to cool anyone off. Let’s take a look at some tasty summer dishes.

Sushi

All types of sushi can make a perfect summer dish. Sushi rolls and nigiri sushi are some of the most common found in Tucson, because they blend flavorful fish with interesting flavors and textures. Sushi makes a great starter or main course meal when looking for a fresh and cool dish for summer.

Sorbet

Instead of choosing traditional ice cream, fruit sorbets are the perfect way to get a sweet treat and beat the heat. The fruit flavor is perfect for palette-cleansing between meals, and it is intense and refreshing. Sorbet can come in multiple fruit flavors with fresh fruits and juices.

Salad

There are countless types of salads that will make a perfect summer meal or starter. Cobb salads, Greek salads, citrus salads, and asparagus Caesar salads provide various textures and flavors in wonderful mixes of refreshing and tasty summer salads.

Ceviche

Ceviche is a common fish dish found in Peruvian, Mexican, and Spanish restaurants. Ceviche is typically made up of chunks of raw fish or shellfish and an acidic marinade. This is a simple way of “cooking” the fish without heating it up. The acidic marinade adds a bit of flavor and tartness to the dish, and it is often served as a dip for chips or pita bread.

Sandwiches

Sandwiches make a great meal for summer, because they often require cold deli meats, refrigerated condiments, and fresh vegetables. These ingredients make the perfect refreshing and tasty summer meal.

Chef Chic serves Tucson with over 600 recipes featured at our restaurant, in our personal chef’s menu, and through our catering services. Call us at (520) 406-2757 to speak with our chef about some great dishes for the upcoming summer.

How to Raise Your Picky Eaters to Enjoy All Foods

June 9, 2017

If you have a child who is a picky eater, then you are not alone. Many children are scared to try out new flavors and textures, so they will stick with the dish they know. However, you can use the following, simple tactics to raise your picky eater to enjoy all foods.

Keep Portions Small

When you are introducing a new food or dish, make your child’s first portion smaller than usual. Do not overwhelm your child with a new food, because he will likely resist even trying the new food. Instead, put a small portion on his plate—about a tablespoon’s worth—and ask him to eat the entire portion. Praise him for trying it and encourage him to eat more if he likes the dish.

Provide Various Flavors

It may be easier at times to let your child’s picky tastes dictate his dinner, but you can still provide different flavors for him to try. These flavors can be included in his favorite dish or as part of other side dishes. Encourage him to try at least one bite of every new dish on his plate. Once you and he find other appealing flavors, then you can branch out to other dishes.

Try out Different Textures

Consider if your child is responding to specific textures for foods he likes and dislikes. He may prefer a smooth food like macaroni and cheese because he does not like crunchy or tough textures of vegetables and meat. You and your personal chef can find different ways to make other foods resemble your child’s preferred texture.

Don’t Complain About Food

Your child will learn much of his food behavior from you, so it is essential that you not complain or turn away food in front of your child. Encourage everyone in your family, including yourself, to try out new foods and dishes.

Work with Chef Chic to give your entire family a great meal selection for daily eating or catering in Tucson. We are available for more information at (520) 406-2757.

The Complete Guide to Wine Tasting at Home

June 5, 2017

You may have visited all the wineries in Tucson and Sedona. Maybe you’ve even been to renowned wine regions like California, Italy and France. But how much more enjoyable would the experience be if you didn’t have to leave home, jump on a plane or rent a party bus?

Hosting a food and wine tasting at home is an elegant way to share your passion for the best varietals from around the country. Plus, you can customize the menu to suit your personal preferences.

As you probably guessed, the key elements of a food and wine pairing are food and wine. But randomized selections just won’t do.

Select Impeccable Wines

When you want to choose the best wines to impress your guests, go straight to the Boisset Collection. Offering a diverse selection of innovative and authentic wines, you’ll discover unique varietals and coastal favorites to excite your palate with every sip.

Don’t waste your time roaming around the local liquor store. As a member of the Boisset Collection, Chef Chic can help you source an exclusive selection of wines for you and your friends to enjoy.

Serve the Perfect Pairing Menu

When we plan our menus, we consider how tannins interplay with fat, the best way to balance acidity and lots of other subtle nuances of texture and flavor. But don’t worry about becoming a chef overnight. Just take a page from our 4-course tasting menu:

Heirloom tomato salad over baby lettuce and basil vinaigrette

with Wattle Creek Sparkling Shiraz

Seared scallops over white chocolate parsnip puree with chipotle glaze

with Raymond 2014 Signature Series Chardonnay

Rosemary rack of lamb with preserved lemons, spring pea risotto and baby carrots

with Frenchie 2013 Coronation

Goat cheese cheesecake with wine gelee

with DeLoach 2014 Forgotten Vines Zinfandel

Wait, this is WAY too complicated…

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, hire Chef Chic to plan and execute a stylish food and wine tasting in the comfort of your own home. Call us to book your event: (520) 406-2757.

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