Chef Tony Galzin and Lisa Mays Fire Up the Grills for an Italian Grilled Dinner at Pop Nashville Dinner-My New Obsession, Playing with Fire!

An evening of Italian regional specialties all cooked over an open flame!

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Chef Tony Galzin (Sycamore Nashville, Deli House) and I teamed up to fire up the grill at POP Nashville to recreate some our favorite regional Italian dishes for an unforgettable culinary event! I guess it was meant to be. During a conversation with Caroline Galzin, Tony’s wife and manager of POP, wanted to know more about what I was doing with the new Arrosticini grill and thought that teaming up for a dinner was something Chef Tony has been wanting to do for a while. Tony and I are both of Sicilian heritage and we knew we were on to something special! We all got together one Sunday evening and tested out our recipes at my home in my pizza oven (hearth) and my new Abruzzo-style arrosticini grill. The menu was a collaboration of both of our recipes that we love and honor our Sicilian Italian heritage. We just knew it would be a winning combination!

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This Italian Girl Plays with Fire! 

It must be fate! Several months ago, I became intrigued with Abruzzo-style grilling after catching a glimpse of an article on Facebook! I have two grills now, both are imported, professional grills ready to use for my second business, This Italian Girl Grills! (More information about this to follow).

This is my first Arrosticini grill for Abruzzo-style grilling and this is what started it all!  The long and narrow grill is designed to cook skewered meats such as lamb and also cooks the Olive Oil Marinated Shrimp Spiedini to perfection. We put all the grills to work that  night!

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We had two seatings 6p & 8:30p and both were sold out! Lots of laughter and talk made its way back to where we were grilling. The wait staff assured us that there were many audible expressions of delight from our guests as they made their way through each course.

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Caroline, Tony and I tasted wines with our friends and local distributors of 100 Percent Italiano wines and we selected several of our regional Italian favorites for suggested pairings with each course. Our selections were a big hit with everyone!

2013 Claris Pinot Grigio has the characteristics of a flavorful and complex This Pinot Grigio is similar in the characteristics and flavor profile from the Alto Adige region of Italy while maintaining an affordable price. Wondering about the name? Yes, the winemaker is a huge fan of the movie, Silence of the Lambs!

Suri Rosso Barbera D’Asti   This dry red wine is low in tannin and high in acidity. Barbera is the 3rd most planted grape in Italy. It is a full body wine, fruity, fresh, and rich, with a bright ruby red color, intense scents of cherry and red fruits and a spicy finish.

The regional wine of Abruzzo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo complements the earthy, rich lamb is the that is served with the lamb in Italy.

Arboreto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a great Italian Trattoria wine. This is a medium light to medium bodied inky purple wine, that is generousl with blackberries and a touch of earthiness. The surprising structure matches well with pasta and grilled meats especially lamb. It is deeply colored, naturally sweet tannins, low acidity,fruity softness is drinkable immediately and ages well.

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It’s about time for the first seating. The plates are lined up for quick assembly of the fruits of our labor!    First Course: Burrata, house-made coppa and Peperonata-grilled and marinated peppers.Burrata_8135Chef Matt Clement who has recently joined the POP Nashville team was in charge of making and baking the the house made sourdough foccaccia and rustic italian bread.ChefMatt_8134     Foccacia_2418   Calvorfiore Piccante, is pickled purple and white cauliflower with my homemade chile bread crumbs. We love this recipe at my house and thought it would be great for the dinner!  The colors are vivid and is a refreshing balance with the grilled meat and seafood.Cauliflower_2384 BowlCauliflower_2385Caponata is my traditional family recipe for this Sicilian dish. Since this was a grilled dinner,I decide to grill the eggplant and add grilled zucchini and yellow squash in addition to capers and olives as well as other special ingredients.  This brings out the intense flavors of the vegetables and creates a new dimension of this traditional dish.CaponataIMG_2374

Second Course: Spiedini di Gamberi, perfectly grilled olive oil marinated fresh Gulf shrimp with caramelized lemon. Shell-on shrimp and lots of olive oil ensures that the shrimp remain succulent and juicy.

 

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Shellfish is perfect for the grill and the juicy grilled mussels with smoked sea salt and lemon/olive oil dressing was another great course!

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Hearth(oven) roasted whole red fish with an Italian Celery Fennel Caper relish.

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The Third Course: Abruzzo-style lamb skewers or Spiedini di Carne which is traditional Arrosticini, is olive and garlic marinated lamb with Herb Hazelnut Pesto

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Here it is! Apparently the pesto was also a hit! Although traditional arrosticini is not usually served with a pesto, I thought this would complement the rich, earthy flavors of the grilled lamb—and it did!

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Arrosticini on the grill. This is the how it’s done in Abruzzo, Italy.

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I love the idea of grilling meatballs! They were mouthwatering, moist, perfectly seasoned and finished with Tony’s spicy tomato sauce.

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My father and brother are hunters and I grew up eating quail for Sunday dinners and special occasions. This is definitely a family approved course of smokey grilled quail with lemon, rosemary and herbs !

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When Tony and Caroline came over for dinner to test out our recipes, I grilled peaches and served them with cherry coulis and mascarpone and whipped cream. For the POP dinner, Tony added his amazing olive oil cake which competed this amazing dessert!

Grilled peaches with house-made olive oil cake, cherry coulis and mascarpone whip

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Teaming up with Chef Tony for our grilled was an honor and so happy to have had the opportunity to cook at POP Nashville. This  has been one of the highlights of this year.

I was simply and completely in my element.

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My new obsession, playing with fire!

Ciao, baby!

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08 2014

Chef Michael Symon Will Create Paella Perfection at the 2014 Music City Food + Wine Festival Sunday September 21st

Paella is the most vibrant and spectacular rice dish from Spain and Chef Michael Symon will show us how it’s done right!

2014 Music City Food + Wine Festival in Nashville, Tennessee at the Red Bud Tent 1:15 to 2pm Public Square Park & Walk of Fame Park in Nashville, Tennessee

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 My Interview with Chef Michael Symon, the Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and television personality

When I discovered that Chef Michael Symon was attending the second annual 2014 Food + Wine Festival AND whipping up my favorite dish ever, I wanted to know more!

There are many food festivals across the country every year. Yet, after appearing last year at the inaugural event, he said (to Caleb Followill guitarist of Kings of Leon and Chef Jonathan Waxman) to “count him in” for next year! Chef Michael Symon is a huge fan of Nashville. He immediately embraced the Nashville vibe, the combination of food and music and said that Nashvillians are very friendly and welcoming.

Well, next year is here and I couldn’t wait to talk to Chef Symon about his passion for paella and how his love for Nashville drew him back this year (even on his birthday weekend!)

Chef Michael said he just loves to demo paella! And, just by learning a few proper techniques, you can feed a few or a crowd! This communal dish can feed a huge crowd 2 to 20 and beyond.

 Is Paella a trend?

Chef Michael said: Paella is a classic regional dish of Spain. Although this ever-popular dish might be trending right now, its probably because restaurants are beginning to make it correctly.  Chefs are using authentic techniques and incorporating the essential ingredients such as Bomba rice (the quintessential Paella rice) and properly forming a soccarrat. This is the prized crusty, caramelized rice at the bottom and edges of the paella pan.

Paella represents the Mediterranean lifestyle of locally sourced produce, community and sharing with each other the love of life and food.

Paella can be traced back even before the 18th century in Valencia, Spain. This colorful and traditional dish was once cooked out of necessity and eaten directly out of the pan with wooden spoons by peasants who worked in the rice fields near the Mediterranean Sea. Although paella has transcended time with more elegant paellas loaded with chorizo, chicken and seafood, it has remained a present day popular dish. Paella is a classic dish, a family affair and still a communal dish. It’s a great excuse for a party or celebration of any kind, even tailgating!

Creating an Authentic Paella: It’s all about technique

As Chef Michael discussed:  To make an authentic paella, you have to learn and use the correct technique for forming a good soccarat which is essential to a quality paella. Once you learn this basic technique, you are on your way!

*It is important to use seasonal and local ingredients, where ever you are. You will then embrace the essence of this regional dish. He also makes his own Spanish chorizo and will be bringing it to use in September!

*You don’t necessarily need a paella pan to make a great paella –just some type of pan big enough to accommodate the crowd you are feeding! And, he cooks his paella on his grill!

*Chef Michael’s heritage is Greek, Sicilian and Eastern European. As a fellow Sicilian, I liked his comparison of the paella to your Italian grandmother’s pasta sauce (gravy). Each family has their own cherished recipe that is passed down through the ages and will often vary in ingredients, yet each are equally as authentic as the next!

Tailgating: What better way to feed a crowd?

Chef Michael looks forward to tailgating season and cooking paella for his crowd of of friends in his hometown of Cleveland. He can’t wait to go to his favorite market to load up the paella with locally made kielbasa. West Side Market is a locally owned, historical market with 100 vendors of great ethnic diversity.

Best memory of paella in Spain…It’s not just about the dish

After 8 long hours of traveling to Spain, the owners of the villa where he was staying made a traditional paella to share with the tired and jet-lagged travelers.  He has great memories of relaxing after a long trip in a beautiful country and enjoying the paella feast and conversation with family and friends!

What paella is Chef Symon preparing for the demo at the Music City Food + Wine Festival?

You’ll have to wait for that but-as we discussed our favorite essential ingredients and how important it is to use local ingredients and then I made a suggestion. I will leave this as a surprise!

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Tickets & More Information: Single Day Passes are available!

Music City Food + Wine Festival ticket options include a Saturday Day Pass, Sunday Day Pass, Harvest Night Pass or All-In Pass; all attendees must be 21 years of age or older.

The Saturday Day Pass ($150 per person) includes single-day access to festival programming Saturday, September 20, at Public Square Park, including cooking demonstrations, wine, beer & spirits tastings, intimate panel discussions, book signings and Saturday’s Grand Taste tents.

The Sunday Day Pass ($150 per person) includes single-day access to festival programming Sunday, September 21, at Public Square Park, including cooking demonstrations, wine, beer & spirits tastings, intimate panel discussions, book signings and Sunday’s Grand Taste tents.

Harvest Night ($225 per person) passes are available for the first time as a stand-alone ticket option. Hosted at the Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville, Saturday’s Harvest Night will offer guests the opportunity to sample signature dishes from over 15 of the nation’s most decorated chefs, paired with live music and curated by Kings of Leon.

The All-In Pass ($500 per person) enables guests to experience the full weekend of Music City Food + Wine Festival, including access to cooking demonstrations, wine, beer & spirits tastings, intimate panel discussions, Saturday & Sunday’s Grand Taste tents, Saturday’s Harvest Night (held at Walk of Fame Park), and a one-year FOOD & WINE Magazine Subscription (US Only).

See you there! Cheers!

 

21

08 2014

Music City Food + Wine Festival 2014 Announces The Grand Taste Schedule and Line-up, September 20 and 21st!

More Than 30 Local Chefs & 60 Artisanal Purveyors, Restaurants,
International Wineries & Spirits Featured at Second Annual Food + Wine Festival,
September 20-21, 2014, in Downtown Nashville

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 Get your taste buds ready for a palate-pleasing weekend!

If this year is as amazing as last year, you will be in for a unforgettable culinary treat! The culinary masters of Nashville, celebrity chefs and the best wines & spirits gather under the bright white tents for a food fest like you’ve never experienced before! Read below for the seemly endless list of culinary bliss!

For The Grand Taste lineup, please visit The Music City Food + Wine Festival Grand Tasting Line-Up!   Here’s a “sneak peak” of the Star-Studded Event!

Grand Tasting Tents

Saturday and Sunday, September 20 & 21st, 2014

The tents will  showcase more than 30 of Nashville’s most beloved chefs and restaurants, alongside more than 60 international and national wineries, spirits purveyors, breweries, restaurants and other artisanal purveyors. Located in Public Square Park, in the heart of downtown Nashville, The Grand Taste tents will provide attendees the opportunity to meet and mingle with the festival’s top talent in an intimate setting while sampling signature dishes, drinks and bites from a star-studded line-up.

Saturday, September 20, 2014:

The Grand Taste will feature different chefs and restaurants each day. On Saturday, September 21, scheduled participants include Kahlil Arnold (Arnold’s Country Kitchen); Carey Bringle (Peg Leg Porker); Larry Carlile (Silo); Chris Carter & James Peisker (Porter Road Butcher); Lisa Donovan (Buttermilk Road); Matt Farley (The Southern Steak & Oyster and The Acme); Giovanni Francescotti (Giovanni Ristorante); Sarah Gavigan (Otaku South); Robert Grace (Kayne Prime); Hal M. Holden-Bache (Lockeland Table); Todd Alan Martin (The Treehouse); Trevor Moran (The Catbird Seat); Barclay Stratton (Merchant’s Restaurant); Tandy Wilson (City House); and Karl Worley (Biscuit Love Truck)

Sunday, September 21, 2014:

On Sunday, September 21, The Grand Taste tents are scheduled to feature Roderick Bailey (The Silly Goose); Matt Bolus (The 404 Kitchen); Tyler Brown (Capitol Grille); Trey Cioccia (The Farm House); Daniel Dillingham & George Harvell (Loveless Café); Jay Flatley (Tavern); Josh Habiger (Pinewood Social); Betsy Johnston (Adele’s by Jonathan Waxman); John Lasater (Hattie B’s); Andrew Little (Josephine); Pat Martin (Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint); Margot McCormack (Margot Café & Marché); Arnold Myint; Deb Paquette (Etch); Nick Pellegrino (Mangia Nashville); and Jake Strang (1808 Grille, Hutton Hotel).

On Saturday and Sunday, The Grand Taste will also highlight more than 60 international and national restaurants, wineries, spirits purveyors, breweries, and other artisanal purveyors! Click here for the list!

Tickets & More Information:
Music City Food + Wine Festival ticket options include a Saturday Day Pass, Sunday Day Pass, Harvest Night Pass or All-In Pass; all attendees must be 21 years of age or older.

The Saturday Day Pass ($150 per person) includes single-day access to festival programming Saturday, September 20, at Public Square Park, including cooking demonstrations, wine, beer & spirits tastings, intimate panel discussions, book signings and Saturday’s Grand Taste tents.

The Sunday Day Pass ($150 per person) includes single-day access to festival programming Sunday, September 21, at Public Square Park, including cooking demonstrations, wine, beer & spirits tastings, intimate panel discussions, book signings and Sunday’s Grand Taste tents.

Harvest Night ($225 per person) passes are available for the first time as a stand-alone ticket option. Hosted at the Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville, Saturday’s Harvest Night will offer guests the opportunity to sample signature dishes from over 15 of the nation’s most decorated chefs, paired with live music and curated by Kings of Leon.

The All-In Pass ($500 per person) enables guests to experience the full weekend of Music City Food + Wine Festival, including access to cooking demonstrations, wine, beer & spirits tastings, intimate panel discussions, Saturday & Sunday’s Grand Taste tents, Saturday’s Harvest Night (held at Walk of Fame Park), and a one-year FOOD & WINE Magazine Subscription (US Only).

See you there! Cheers!

 

19

08 2014

Wine with Lisa Hosts a Paella Party! The Hit of the Summer! Enjoy the Art of Cooking Spanish Paella with Lisa!

I have been sharing my passion and the art of cooking Spanish Paella with friends and family for over 20 years!

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My Paella will travel to you!

They call me the “Culinary Performance Chef of Paella”

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On any given weekend, you will find me with my very large paella pan and paella burner in someone’s backyard for a casual dinner under the moonlight for an evening of Spanish paella, tapas and wine. Lately, I’ve been hosting Paella Parties around the Nashville area. I show up with all of the ingredients ready to create one of the most authentic and delectable paellas around. Paella equals “instant party.” A paella is a communal dish meant to be shared with friends, family and celebrations. I bring that to the party!

What is Paella?

Paella is the most popular and well known dish of Spain. It is a vibrant rice dish often cooked outdoors over an open flame. The passion and spirit of Spain are reflected in its food. My paellas ingredients include Gulf shrimp, mussels, Southern clams, fresh fish, chicken, locally-sourced smoked chorizo sausage and vegetables with a rich homemade broth bursting with rich, complex flavors  There are so many different recipes for paellas that I can’t count.  Although my Paella Mixta (a mix of seafood, chicken, sausage) is the most popular, I also “custom make” just seafood, meat or even vegetarian paellas. My paella can be created to suit everyone’s palate. paella

Paella Passion

 There is something so passionate about paella; at least it’s that way for me. I am from Louisiana and of Sicilian decent by the way of the North Delta of Louisiana and Mississippi. We are referred to as the Delta Italians. My culinary skills were directly influenced  from New Orleans’ Cajun and Creole as well as the Sicilian Italian family I grew up in. I have always had the knack and passion for cooking and paella is just one of the ways I express it; Just wait until you experience it and you’ll see why I’m so passionate about the art of paella!

Paella and Jambalaya are cousins

That’s right! The Spanish explorers brought paella to Louisiana. Instead of the precious and pricey saffron, tomatoes add the color and crawfish and andouille make the signature Cajun jambalaya. 10390438_10202192090555071_4802122087320036037_n The original paellas were cooked and eaten from the paella pan out of necessity in the rice fields of Spain by the peasant farm-workers. Paellas are made with seafood if near the coastal waters or rabbit and snails if inland. Bomba rice, the special paella rice of Spain, is grown only in Spain and is an essential part of what makes an authentic paella. Some paellas are not made with rice but with thin noodles. This is a Catalan Fideuà, made with fideo (Spanish noodles). At the most recent gathering, this is what I made. It was devoured by all! 10616200_10202219415758184_7390739496721215551_n For a couple of years, I have hosted Paella Dinners at Natchez Hills Winery. What a beautiful location right outside of Nashville to enjoy the cool breeze, wines made at Natchez Hills Winery and Vineyard paired with a rich, vibrant paella. NatchezWineryPicMonkey Collage Salud Cooking School at Whole Foods in Green Hills has been another way I have been able to share my passion for paella. I teach classes on paella, tapas and cajun cuisine! As long as I have a cooking surface large enough to accommodate my pan, we are in business! WholeFoodsPaellaPicMonkey Collage Backyard Paella Parties with My Paella Travels have become very popular this summer. While I’m preparing the paella, guests enjoy the Spanish Tapas I’ve prepared, sip on wines that I have chosen and usually gather around the pan watching the performance. I have fun talking about the history of paella with guests and they always have great questions. PanPicMonkey Collage

Tapas

My Spanish Tapas is always a hit! Usually, I’ll have a variety of Spanish cheeses, Marcona almonds with my “special” seasonings and my own recipe of marinated olives. My grilled bread always seems to be a crowd pleaser as well as the Croquetas filled with warm and gooey Manchego cheese and Serrano ham with Smoked Paprika aioli. CroquetasPicMonkey Collage   TapasMorePicMonkey Collage Smokey bacon wrapped around chorizo-filled dates baked with a Smokey Romesco sauce and tomatoes until it’s bubbly, is another one of my popular tapas recipes. And what about those Seared Lamb Chops with Curry Aioli? My absolute favorite dish! WinepairingPicMonkey Collage   1620523_10201178954187295_1109739112_n

My paella will travel to you, too!

 Lisa@winewithlisa.com

MyPaellaTravels@gmail.com

Save room for a bite (or two) of homemade Chocolate Treś Leches Cake! This creation is one of my favorite desserts ever, especially after a big plate of Paella!

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08 2014