I recently learned that on Tuesday night of Masters week, the reining champion hosts a dinner for all previous tournament champions, an elite group indeed. Not only does he get to choose the menu but he also is responsible for the check. And, adding to the pressure (in my opinion) if the guests don’t fancy the menu that the host offers they are allowed to order something else off the regular clubhouse menu. I can only imagine how busy the clubhouse kitchen was in 1989 when Sandy Lyle served Haggis and mashed turnips to his fellow golfers.
Tiger served cheeseburgers, french fries and milkshakes following his first Masters trophy in 1997 (perfect for the youngest Master Champion at 22) and since then he has served porterhouse steaks twice and then a Mexican style fajita dinner in 2006. Understandably, players like to tout their own local cuisines….. wiener schnitzel for Bernherd Langer, fish and chips for Nick Faldo and paella and tapas for Jose Maria Olazabal. Check out VJ Singh’s menu: seafood tom kah, chicken panang curry, baked sea scallops with garlic sauce, rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce, baked filet, Chilean sea bass with three flavor chili sauce, lychee sorbet. YUM!
And so this week, Phil Michelson hosted his third Champions dinner. After his first win in 2004, Phil served lobster ravioli in tomato cream sauce, caesar salad and garlic bread and then moved on to more casual fare (barbecue ribs, chicken, sausage and pulled pork with cole slaw) for his second go round. I understand that this week he hosted a spanish feast to honor his friend and Spain’s greatest golfer, Seve Ballesteros, who is unfortunately quite ill and could not attend.
What follows is my interpretation of this years menu from the Champions Dinner at Augusta National.
Now I admit, this is not “authentic” paella. But you should really make note of this brilliant recipe from Bob and Melinda Blanchard. In it’s original form, it is Tequila Shrimp with Saffron Rice from their book,Cook What You Love. I’ve made it many times and will give it to you verbatim so you can too. For my spanish feast, I’ve substituted fresh clams for the black beans to give it a real paella look and taste. If you choose to do that as well, add the clams when you stir in the rice as they take longer to cook than the shrimp.
1/4 cup olive oil
5 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 pound chorizo, thinly sliced (I tend to use about half that amount and I like the spicy chorizo)
3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped (use one can chopped tomatoes if out of season)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups tequila
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large pinch saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large, shallow ovenproof casserole, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, Add the chorizo and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and beans and sir well. Increase the heat to high and add the tequila, chicken broth, rice, salt, saffron and turmeric and stir well again. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the shrimp, mix well, and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked and the rice has absorbed the liquid. Serve right away. Serves 6
Arugula with Gazpacho Vinaigrette
During my quick research into the Champion’s Dinner menu for this year I found descriptions of two different salads. One a simple mesclun with sherry vinaigrette and olives and one a mixed salad with a gazpacho dressing. I think that the latter sounds more interesting so here is my version. I used spicy arugula, which really holds it own with the bold flavor of this vinaigrette. You could make this in a blender to get a smooth dressing but I kind of like the colors and textures that hand chopping delivers. This dressing comes from a recipe for a lovely new potato salad in a little book called Vegetable Sides, published by Rylan, Peters and Small.
2 large ripe tomatoes, halved, seeded and diced
2 ounces roasted red peppers (from a jar) diced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
a bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put all dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over fresh arugula.
Filet of Beef with Smoked Paprika and Garlic
Phil’s menu calls for prime beef tenderloin with manchego cheese and smoked paprika demiglace. This reminded me of an excellent yet very simple recipe for a whole tenderloin that I cut out of Gourmet Magazine (July 2008) and have adapted here to create a quick and east way to impart warm, wonderful spanish flavors to the tender beef filets.
2 large garlic cloves, minced finely
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 beef tenderloin filets
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Mix garlic, paprika, cumin and olive oil together and rub this mixture into the filets. Cover and let marinate several hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator. Stir together the mayonnaise and the paprika and cumin and set aside. Grill steaks until desired doneness and serve with the spiced mayo and lime wedges.
Apple Empanadas with Vanilla Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche
The Champion’s menu called for an ice-cream topped apple empanada. I’ve chosen to top the ice cream with dulce de leche and serve the pastries on the side. Adapted from a recipe for Sweet Apple Cinnamon Empanadas by Marian Blazes in an article on South American Food (About.com), these melt in your mouth pastries can be dessert one night and breakfast the next morning.
For the pastry:
1 cup butter, chilled
8 ounces cream cheese, chilled
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
For the filling:
4-5 Granny Smith Apples
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar for sprinkling
1. For the pastry, put flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly. Add the butter and the cream cheese and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together. Add the vanilla and pulse twice more. The mixture will look crumbly. Turn it out onto a piece of plastic wrap and bring the dough together and pat it into a disk. Wrap well in plastic and chill for at least 2 hour, or overnight.
2. For the filling, place the apple cubes in a saucepan with the butter, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Stir over medium heat until the apples are tender then add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and cool then chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
3. To shape empanadas: Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch. Cut out 4 inch circles, gathering scraps and re-rolling as necessary. Wet the edge of a dough circle slightly, all around the perimeter. Place one scant tablespoon of filling in the middle of the dough. Fold the circle in half, enclosing the filling and press the edges together firmly, flattening and extending them slightly as you pinch them. Fold and crimp the flattened edge over itself to seal. Repeat with the remaining empanadas.
4. Chill empanadas for about and hour for best results (or 15 minutes in the freezer). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix egg yolk with a little bit of water and brush over empanadas. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
5. Serve warm or room temperature with vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche, or your favorite caramel sauce. (pastries may be reheated in a low oven if you like)