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What a fun holiday market this past weekend! We hope you enjoyed all the festive activities from unique presents, to having Santa for pictures and balloons made into holiday fun! Chef Justin Beckett and his wife Michelle joined us from Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail for a spectacular demo. Beckett’s Table started in 2010 and has become a popular Arcadia eatery with a great community feel. In 2014, it was time for Beckett to expand and he headed over to the Central Phoenix area and opened the highly anticipated Southern Rail in 2014. At Southern Rail you can find your fried green tomatoes, okra, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken and beignets but you can also enjoy lighter fare.
Which leads me to what Chef Beckett prepared for the Uptown Market this week, a beautiful Chilled Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad with ninja radish, jicama, pear, pomegranate, Crows Dairy feta, dried cranberries, smoked corn kernels, pear, salt and white pepper, lemon honey champagne vinaigrette and mint.
Chef Beckett was able to get all of his ingredients from McClendon’s Select from the dried cranberries, ninja radish, mint, pear, pomegranate to the smoked corn kernels. While two C-CAP students helped mix up the salad and dish it out into samples, Chef Beckett was able to give us a few tips on how to make this ourselves.
Brussels sprouts have become a favorite on our table throughout the year but I can remember having that preconceived notion as a child that Brussels sprouts were not something to be a fan of. Chef Beckett agrees that many people feel this way but it’s because the Brussels weren’t prepared correctly. His biggest qualm is that you and your mother or father have been overcooking these beauties all this time and he’s here to help fix that. First off you need to blanch the Brussels sprouts and that means heating up a large pot of water with a large amount of salt, something to the extent of tasting like the ocean in the spring. The pot should be ridiculously big compared to what you are putting in there because you don’t want the water to cool down. First you put the Brussels sprouts into the hot water to cook and then you need to shock them in an ice bath to stop them from cooking and that way they keep their vibrant green color and their texture.
Once you’re done cooking the Brussels sprouts, you can add ingredients to them that will bring out the flavor and help complement the dish. For this Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad, Chef Beckett wanted to add a little bit of sweet, salty, some crunchy textures and a tiny hint of smoky flavor. This dish could be served hot or cold and is great for the holidays.
Another great tip that he gave for all you pomegranate lovers is how to get those seeds out in no time at all. Simply cut the pomegranate in half and put the bottom in your hand where the seeds are and knock it good on the outside with a spoon. The seeds will all fall out into your hand and a bowl that you have underneath.
Thanks again to Chef Beckett for coming out to support our market and show all of us how simple it is to create a delicious dish using local ingredients from the market. Congrats to those that won the $50 gift cards to Southern Rail, we gave out five this weekend. Up next week is Chef Aaron Chamberlain from St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe. Stay in the know by subscribing to our weekly e-mail list and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).