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Flavors to Savor

By Karen Werner   |  photography by Andrew Purcell

 

MENU

Seared Shrimp & Scallop Salad with Arugula, Crispy

Prosciutto, Phyllo, and Sweet  Four-Pepper Vinaigrette

Cremini Mushroom & Potato Bisque 

Pan-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Stacked Sun-Dried Tomato Polenta, Grilled Zucchini, and Pistachio Demi-Glace  

Apple Oatmeal Crisp

“I don’t want people coming to Mii amo thinking they’re going to a salad bar,” says Steve Sicinski, the spa chef at Sedona, Arizona’s renowned destination spa. That’s why he and executive chef Steve Bernstein work so hard to create eclectic, fresh and satisfying meals.

Bernstein has been cooking this way for years—he worked for five years at Miraval before coming to Sedona. But for Sicinski, who was a sous chef at Enchantment before moving over to Mii amo last year, this is new. “It’s taking all the things I love about French cuisine and making them fit the spa agenda,” he says.

Think demi-glaces, cream sauces, and the finest, freshest ingredients, which makes these Mii amo men perfect for creating luxurious holiday fare.

The menu the duo designed for Healing Lifestyles & Spas is traditional, but with some twists. Mushroom soup—a staple in Sicinski’s Polish family—is topped with a wonton-wrapper tortellini. Shrimp and scallops are a sophisticated alternative to shrimp cocktail. Rack of lamb makes an impressive—and surprisingly lean—entrée, while polenta and zucchini bring in holiday hues. And the cobbler that tops things off is, in Bernstein’s words, “warm, comforting and simple.”

Of course, simplicity is relative at a place that flies in meat and makes everything from scratch every day. But Sicinski says that’s part of high-end, healthy food. “It’s starting with good stocks and reductions and putting in the time, so you get the results without the extra fat,” he says.

Those who put in that time will be rewarded with a sumptuous meal low in calories and fat. But Sicinski has another tip for those who don’t have the time or inclination. “Around the holidays, people try to recreate old family recipes, though they’re often filled with ridiculous amounts of unhealthy ingredients. I encourage people to use common sense. You can probably pull off grandma’s stuffing with a bit of modification,” he says.

It’s that approach that keeps Mii amo’s cuisine evolving. “I love to experiment,” Sicinski says.

Cremini Mushroom & Potato Bisque

Serves 6–8

SOUP INGREDIENTS

1 tsp. olive oil

4 cups yellow onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, smashed

6 cups sliced cremini (or white) mushrooms

3-1/2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup dry sherry wine

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 bay leaf

1 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. fresh dill

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 qts.  fat-free half & half  (recommended) or low-fat plain soy milk (vegan option)

salt and pepper to taste

SOUP GARNISH INGREDIENTS

2–3 portabella caps, gills and stems removed

1 tsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbs. diced chive

PREPARATION

Heat oil in large saucepan, over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and potato. Season with salt and pepper. Sweat over low heat until moisture is evaporated, 30–45 minutes.

Add sherry and reduce until wine is nearly dry. Add herbs and stock and cook until stock is nearly dry.

Add half & half (or soy milk) and bring to a simmer over very low heat. Stir occasionally—do not boil! Simmer about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and re-season, if necessary. Put soup in blender and blend well. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Cool quickly if reserving, or keep warm for immediate use.

FOR GARNISH

Slice portabellas into long strips, about 1/4-inch thick. Toss in bowl with oil, salt, and pepper. Grill or sauté until just cooked through and reserve. Handle carefully to avoid breaking. Garnish soup with portabella strips and diced chives.

Portabella Tortellini

Tortellini:

Ingredients

1 cup yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

6 large portabella caps, gills and stems removed

1 tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup part-skim ricotta

2 tbs. chives, minced

1 pkg. round wonton papers

1 egg

1 tbs. water

1 tbs.  canola oil

Preparation

Run onions, garlic and mushrooms through food processor or mince very, very finely. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauté pan. Sweat onion/mushroom mixture over medium-low heat, until all liquid is evaporated. Stir frequently and season with salt and pepper. Cool and reserve for later use.

Combine cooled mushroom mixture with cheese and chives. Mix well and reserve. Beat egg and water together in bowl until well incorporated.

Lay wonton wrappers on lightly floured surface. Scoop about 1 tsp. mushroom mixture onto center of each wrapper. With finger, wipe egg wash around one half of the perimeter of the wonton, fold in half and seal with fingers. Dab one corner with more egg wash and fold the two corners so they meet. Seal again with fingers and place on lightly floured baking sheet.  Repeat with whole package of wonton papers (approx. 40).

Bring large pot of salted water (12+ quarts) to a vigorous boil. Add tortellini and cook about 2-3 minutes, or until just tender.

In a separate pot, make an ice water bath. Scoop tortellini out of boiling water and immediately shock in the ice water bath. Allow to cool 2 minutes & drain well in colander. Toss cooled, drained tortellini in canola oil, cover and refrigerate until used.

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