Jeff and I were in Arizona this past weekend for the Sonoma Showcase Festival. (Yes, the name was sold and "Sonoma" is now being sold as a brand. Why didn't we think of this?) We were there to do cooking demonstrations at the event. Their fabulous PR person, Sandy Painter, arranged for us to promote the event by going on 3 different morning news shows.
For the show on Thursday morning, Sonoran Living, Jeff prepared "Dungeness Crab Stuffed Avocado with Mango and Red Chile Dressing", from his cookbook, Down Home to Downtown. While finishing up the first show Jeff was asked if he could prepare some food as props for the news broadcast the next morning out at the event location. Sure...Jeff is an agreeable guy! Since it didn't need to necessarily be what we were demonstrating that weekend, Jeff just ...created some dishes! It was pretty fun walking around the giant grocery store thinking of what food would project both Zin Restaurant's style of food while also staying seasonal AND available.
Jeff came up with three dishes, one of which was Butternut Squash Hash with Applewood Smoked Bacon, using Zin's house bacon, of course! I don't have to be psychic (which I can be on rare occasions!) to know you will want to know what else he served: Wild Mushroom Barley Risotto (which was fantastic!) and Zin smoked Fennel Sausage with Sauteed peppers. Mind you, it was just for a prop, but Jeff made sure it was seasoned properly! We were just to place the food on the plates, set them on a display table and then make ourselves scarce. As it turned out, Jeff was interviewed live on location and did a GREAT job!
At the end of the shoot, Sandy explained she has lost her Saturday morning "cooking guest" and asked us if we could appear on yet another show the next morning! We agreed and after watching everyone devour the squash hash, decided to present that dish. We were supposed to only get 2 minutes of air time but it turned into 5! The only segment available online is the Friday show. Here is the link to that one: Jeff and Susan on ABC 15
For those that have requested it, here is the recipe for the Butternut Squash Hash with Applewood Smoked Bacon. We are making a big batch for dinner Thursday!
By Chef Jeff Mall – Zin Restaurant – Healdsburg, CA
1 medium butternut squash – peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion - peeled and diced
2 slices Applewood Smoked Bacon – diced
1 red bell pepper – diced
2 leaves fresh sage- chopped
2 oz. unsalted butter
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
½ cup chicken broth or stock
Heat large skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until almost crisp.
Drain half of the fat. Add butter.
Add chopped onion, red pepper and sage.
Cook until onions are translucent.
Add butternut squash and toss with ingredients.
Add chicken broth and continue to cook until squash is tender.
Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Have a wonderful dinner and be sure to express your gratitude each and every day, not just on Thanksgiving!