If you like good food, laughter, the sounds of exuberance and celebration, a mostly loud festive atmosphere then you will enjoy Osaka Japanese Grill in Mesa, Arizona at Power Road and US 60.   They specialize in Teppanyaki cooking  which is an entertaining dining experience where the food is cooked on a large hot griddle.  Everyone seats around the Teppanyaki and enjoys the show.  The food probably tastes even better just because you have the pleasure of watching a specially trained Teppanyaki chef  while they prep, chop, dice it up and cook your food.

chef

We had six of us for dinner on  Monday night and thought it would not be extremely busy.  Not… it was hopping anyway.  We arrived a little early for a 7:15 reservations and sipped a wine while waiting for the show to begin.  While it took awhile for the cook to make his rounds to our table we watched and laughed at the antics at the other tables.  While ordering drinks we also placed our food orders.  Drinks came promptly for those who had not already ordered one at the bar.  We continued to be amused by our surroundings and then received our salads and soup some 15 minutes after ordering.

The salad and soup were both good from my perspective.  The soup was a delicate and mildly flavor of mushrooms and onion. The salad was too small and due to the size too heavy in dressing.  Other diners at the table didn’t care for the dressing which had a little too much ginger.

soup salad

Now it is 8:15 and we are all getting very hungry but there is a lot of fun going around us so we are still entertained.

Peter, our chef finally makes his appearance and all was forgiven for the wait the minute he started entertaining us.  He was delightful, fun, comical and made the dinner most delightful.  Mr. B ordered scallops and shrimp. Gus, Ms. T, Ms. K, Mr. D and I had filet mignon and scallops.  Osaka makes a fried rice standard at their restaurant which is not typical of all Teppanyaki restaurants.  Usually it is an upcharge.  Now for the cooking show…

Dinner served as prepared.

Well we are all so full and it was worth the wait.  Peter was diligent with his required Saki pours that were squirted right into your mouth.  I was afraid that I would be wearing the drink down the front of my shirt but he was so practiced that not a drop was spilled.  I do believe they were diluted since I didn’t get stinkin’ drunk.

Someone gave Peter the idea that it was my birthday so they did the traditional birthday celebration with carnival mask and candle lit cake.

mask1 bday

Five Star Rating from KCinAZ

:star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

Osaka Japanese Grill and Steakhouse
6730 E Superstition Springs Blvd Mesa, AZ 85206
Phone: 480.830.8884

Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu… How I wish I could lay claim to this wonderful recipe and the picture but alas I can only share it here at KCinAZ.  I absolutely love baking this dish and it has the fame on BigOven as one of the “Top Ranked” recipes.

From the Author: I have been making this recipe for years now. It is such a wonderful and tasty dish…not to mention that you can prepare it in advance. I always fall back on this recipe when I have dinner guests. It is pretty nice to be able to enjoy their company without worrying too much about dinner. I usually prepare the chicken rolls in the morning, place them in the refrigerator and then bake them right before dinner. Alternately, you can freeze the rolls uncooked and defrost and bake at a later date.

Baked Cordon Bleu from Big Oven
Baked Cordon Bleu from Big Oven – Click Image to go to BigOven Recipe

Ingredients
5 chicken breasts; split in 2 (total yield 10 pieces)
4 tbsp butter; melted
4 tsps onion powder; divided
3 tbsp olive oil; or canola
3 cups fresh bread crumbs
10 slices deli ham; sliced thinly
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
10 slices Gruyère/Swiss cheese
salt/pepper; to taste
basil/parsley ; optional sprinkle

Preparation
Process a few slices of bread in food processor to make about 4-5 cups of fresh breadcrumbs. Add Parmesan and 2 tsp onion powder. Set aside. Melt butter in a bowl and mix with oil. Set aside. Wash and clean chicken breasts. Pat dry and cut each breast into two pieces. You will have two pretty thin slices.Place a chicken piece on a cutting board. Lay a plastic wrap over the chicken piece and pound with a mallet to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Take care not to pound too hard because the meat may tear or create holes. Do the same thing with all the chicken pieces. You should have 10 chicken pieces to the original 5.

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This picture is from when I made the dish a few years ago and posted the picture on BigOven

Season each chicken piece with a bit of salt/pepper and the remaining 2 tsp onion powder. Be careful not to over salt the chicken as it is quite thin and the cheese and ham are also salty. Bring all the other ingredients in close proximity. Take out the deli ham and place on a plate.Take cheese out…I usually like to cut the cheese slices in half in case I have to overlap them.Take a chicken piece and place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese(or 2 if you cut the original in half).Roll chicken …making sure you tuck the sides in as much as possible(this prevents the cheese from oozing out too much in the final baking time). You can secure it with a toothpick. I have, as of lately, started to omit this step. But if you are doing this for the first time, it might help to secure it with the toothpicks. Take the chicken roll and dip into the melted butter/oil…make sure all the sides are well coated.
Take the butter coated chicken roll and then roll it in the breadcrumbs/Parmesan mixture.Place in a casserole dish or plate. Finish with the rest. You can sprinkle some dried herbs of your choice if you like. I sprinkled some dried basil. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to ensure that the breadcrumbs stay put on the chicken:). When ready to bake, place each chicken roll on a parchment lined jelly roll pan(this will help with the cleaning later) making sure you don’t overcrowd them.Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 15-20 minutes. Place the pan on the top third rack. Don’t over cook the chicken. You can easily do this in a toaster oven as well.

Viceroy at Mead's Bay

We departed from Simpsons Bay on the Dutch side of St. Martin early enough in the morning to catch the draw bridge at Marina Port de Blaisance and motor to customs right away.  In order to depart from St. Martin the Smitten Kitten’s captain, Stuart, had to speed off to clear all those aboard through customs so that we could go into International seas and set sail to Anguilla.  We were pretty much first in line, though a hot-shot from another charter (to remain un-named) did try to one up us.  He almost “tagged” us as he tried to snuggle between us and the shore.  He gave up quickly, rounded about and moved away to allow for clearance. After clearing customs, we set sail along the coast of St.Martin heading towards the French side.

Stmartin

As we sailed along the North West side of St. Martin (French Side) we passed several sights of interest including a mansion in Meads Bay that sold a few years back for 11 million.  This same mansion was awarded the best worldwide architectural award 2012-2013 by International Property Awards and was the winner from over 2000 entries.

Very close to this mansion is a timeshare resort called the Viceroy. It expands the coast line on Mead’s bay for quite some time.

Viceroy at Mead's Bay
Viceroy at Mead’s Bay

Along the way to Viceroy on our first day sail to Road Bay and Anguilla,  Stuart, our captain made us up some of the best pain killer cocktails ever.  You have got to try them and the secret to the recipe is the nutmeg topper. I was hoping to get the actual recipe but have guessed at the measures.  I’m going to experiment diligently but until then here is my best guess.

Captain Stuart's famous Pain Killer
Captain Stuart’s famous Pain Killer

Pain Killer Cocktail

Fill blender with Crushed Ice
1 can Coco Lopez
1 cup Orange juice
1 small can pineapple juice
Caribbean Rum to taste!!
garnish each cocktail with ground nutmeg

The mid-day appetizer made especially delicious by Jenny, first mate on the Smitten Kitten, featured spring rolls, fresh ginger and a wakame seaweed salad.  I’ve never liked seaweed but this was different.  It was light and slightly sweet.  A lovely taste.  I was surprised to see a package in Costco back in Arizona a month later that looked very similar to the seaweed that Jenny served.  Maybe it was the same dish.  This seaweed salad doesn’t have that typical taste of seaweed which I normally do not like.  I didn’t buy it to try because it was to large a package for two people but I was tempted.   These were some yummy Appetizers.

Spring Rolls with Fresh Ginger and Seaweed Salad
Spring Rolls with Fresh Ginger and Seaweed Salad

Dinner that same night was chicken stuffed with goat cheese and lemon sauce over pasta noodles. A very original dinner served by Jenny and with the help of Stuart.

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese
Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese

We were to have continued on to Road Bay to dock for the evening but the waters were rough enough that we decided to stay where we where over night.  I for one was in favor of anchoring the boat and our butts right there and not pitching with the waves to make our way onward so quickly.

Overnight there was a constant patter of evening rain on the decks.  The poor Greek hubby left side port window open and he got late evening bath.  In the dark of night, I had to help him close the window.  I don’t think he had ever closed them himself.  Oh, well…. he demanded to sleep on that side of the bed.  His loss!  My gain!  Of course, I would probably would have closed the window a little better than he did.

Up next… Day 2 Anguilla and Guadalupe.

Scott Cawley and Pam Contes, our good friends,  really know how to throw a sweet customer appreciation party at their specialty hot rod showroom in Gilbert Arizona appropriately named Steel Dreamz.   The Greek and I were there earlier this week for their happy hours celebration.  This was Scott and Pam’s prelude to the hottest week of car auctions in the Scottsdale Arizona area; Russo Steele and Barrett-Jackson Car Auctions.   Steel Dreamz have several of their best cars up for auction in the Russo Steele Auction that is this week in Scottsdale.

If you are looking for that perfect sport car, hot rod or muscle car or if you would like someone for a consignment of your own muscle car then send an email to Pam at pmcontes@hotmail.com for more information.  She knows muscle cars!

The showroom is strategically appointed with muscle cars, auto memorabilia and a diner style loft above the courtesy bar.  It has the look and feel of a night club as much as a hot rod showroom.   The cars range from the very affordable for the newbie buying their first muscle car to the seasoned collector looking for that special treasure.

Steel Dreamz (the 2nd showroom)
335 North Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85234
Ph. 480-545-6605

Captain Stuart's famous Pain Killer

While stopping for a swim and at anchor along the Viceroy (a time share resort) on our first day sail to road bay Anguilla,  Stuart, our captain made us up some of the best Pain Killer Cocktails ever.  We also enjoyed a lovely spread of appetizers which will be in a different post.

You have got to try this delectable desert like drink and the secret to the recipe is the nutmeg topper.  It is rich and creamy like a robust Pina Colada but much better.  Stuart and Jenny are top-notch and I submit my vote for the best Captain’s and First Mate of the Festiva Sailing Fleet if not for their fine hospitality and vibrant smiles, then just for the great cocktails alone.  The Greek and I hope you enjoy the recipe for Pain Killer Rum Cocktail.

Captain Stuart's Pain Killer Cocktail
Captain Stuart’s Pain Killer Cocktail

Pain Killer Cocktail
Fill blender with Crushed Ice
1 can Coco Lopez
1 cup Orange juice
1 small can pineapple juice
Caribbean Rum to taste!! (Try Captain Morgan for great spices)
garnish each cocktail with ground nutmeg

Add crushed ice to blender, then the remaining ingredients, except nutmeg.  Run blender at the appropriate mix speed on your blender to crush ice and mix drinks.  Immediately pour into chilled glasses.  Sprinkle nutmeg lightly on top of drink.  Add straw and serve.

If you like the recipe from Stuart and Jenny, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun drink recipes.

We had eight of our closest friends at our home to celebrate and ring in the New Year.  Cocktail and appetizer hour started at 7pm and dinner was ready to serve an hour and half later.  The twice baked potatoes were prepared the day prior and were ready to place in the oven for the final baking one hour before dinner.  The tenderloin smoked for 1 hour, grill seared for 15 minutes and then slow cooked in the oven (on and off) for the balance of the day before carving to serve at a delicious medium-rare.

Oh how I wish I were better at remembering to take pictures.  The appetizer table was adorned with so many good foods brought by our friends to share while we enjoyed each others company.  There was a splendid crudités platter.  I just learned this phrase when my friend who just returned home from living in Italy asked if she should bring crudités or humus and chips.  I had to asked what crudités was and learned that it’s vegetable tray.  Another friend brought smoked salmon served with several very tasty spreads and toasted French baguette.   We provided a cheese platter, beef and salami slices and an assortment of crackers for additional noshing.

The table was preset so that it was easier for serving buffet style and so that I was not so rushed at last-minute.  I’ve found that this makes life much easier, less stressful and then I’m able to enjoy the company of my friends without looking frazzled when they arrive.

Again, I forgot to take pictures of the food as it was set out  but did remember to snap on quick photo of my own dinner plate with the perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and twice baked potato served along with sautéed green beans seasoned with chipotle pepper and praline pecans.  The green bean dish was a quick change-up from my standard sautéed green beans with mushrooms and slivered almonds.  I’m still not sure which I prefer to serve.  The chipotle dish was a hot and sweet dish while the other is savory.

Beef Tenderloin:

Let the tenderloin set out on the counter until it comes to room temperature.  Remove all fat and sinew from the outside of the beef with a sharp knife.  Turn the small end of the tenderloin under and then tie the meat so that it cooks evenly.  Season the tenderloin liberally with a robust rub like the A1-Bold or Barbarian’s Steak Rub.  Liberally add ground salt and ground pepper.  Make sure to cover all the surface of the beef (top, bottom, side and ends).  Place in smoker uncovered at 225 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from smoker and place on hot BBQ grill at 500 degrees and sear top and bottom for around 7-8 minutes per side.

Next, remove from grill and place in a 175 degree pre-heated oven to slow cook for 3-4 hours uncovered.  This will ensure that the tenderloin cooks to a rare – medium rare inside temperature.  If you want the meat to be rare then remove from oven at 130 degrees and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before carving.  If you want it at medium rare then remove from oven at 140 degrees.  The tender loin will continue to cook while it rests and then be perfect when carving.

Cooking Tip:  I had to keep turning my oven on and off  to make sure it didn’t over cook.  This did lead to the crust of the beef becoming a little soft instead of the normal crusty.  If this occurs (check it before serving) then place your oven on high broil and crust up the outside again before removing from the oven.

Entertaining Tips: 

  1. Set the table the day before if you will be having a large number of people.  This can take more time than you think and will cut into your cooking time if saved to the day of the party.
  2. Set up your cocktail bar the day before.  Place a plastic table cloth under any fabric cloth to protect the furniture’s surface if it could be damaged by the drinks or ice.  Set out a few bottles of tonic water, tomato juice, fruit juice and club soda for mixers.
  3. Prepare a cooler filled with soda pop and plenty of water.  Add ice the day of the party around 3 hours before the begin time.
  4. If serving the food buffet style you can set up the buffet table and serving dishes.
  5. Do any decorating and set out centerpieces and/or candles.
  6. Prepare cheese platters, meat platters and condiments for the appetizer table in their serving dishes, cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  7. Set up your appetizer table with any table clothes and decorations.  Prepare cracker platters, cover and set on appetizer table.
  8. Make sure your champagne is in the refrigerator the day before so that it is chilled to perfection.  One bottle of champagne pours 5-6 glasses.
  9. Figuring out how much meat to buy; 1/2 pound per person to ensure there is plenty.  Allows for second servings and ample leftovers.
  10. Figuring out how many pounds of fresh vegetables; 1/4 – 1/3  pound per person.
  11. Use 1 extra-large baking potato for every two people.  Add 2 extra for those that like more or especially when making twice baked.  Often, many of your guests will share a baked potato or a large twice baked.  Bake in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If making twice baked allow to cool before handling.

 

If you like this recipe and entertaining ideas from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes for entertainment.

My kitchen was overcome with the aroma of boiled eggs which is not always a good or bad thing unless you’re the Greek critique who just stepped in the door.  Mr. Hubby didn’t like the fragrance one bit.  I hadn’t noticed but since it was 2 dozen eggs for a Christmas party the number of eggs was far greater than ever for what had been cooked and peeled in my kitchen.  I might consider buying the pre-boiled eggs next time but need to test them on us first.

The eggs were well received at the party and gobbled up quickly.  We put them out in batches of two 12 halves with the first going out with appetizers and the last two 12 halves going out with dinner.  The hostess insisted on serving in batches which did turn out well since those that missed getting one during appetizers were now able to grab one later.

2 dozen extra-large eggs,  hard boiled and then halved
1  cup mayo
2 tablespoon yellow mustard
salt to taste (careful that you don’t add too much)
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon Greek Spice (I use it everywhere)
garnish with Paprika and dried  parsley leaves.

Bring a large pot of water to slow simmer.  Using a spoon or egg cradle, lower each egg into the water.  Make sure the water covers the eggs.  Return the eggs to a slight bubbling simmer and then begin your timer to cook at simmer for 5-7 minutes.  I test one egg after 5 minutes to see if it is now hard boiled.  Using the egg cradle, remove the eggs one by one from the hot water and place in a cold water bath to stop the cooking.  If you cook the eggs too long then they will have the grayish edge.  Carefully peel each egg and then cut in half.  These two dozen eggs fit nicely on a full size cookie baking sheet.

Place the egg yolk into a medium size mixing bowl.  With a fork, cut the egg yolk until it is tiny little bits.  Add the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, salt, pepper and Greet Spice.  Mix with spoon and then with hand held mixer on low if necessary.  Whip up well and make sure to get out any lumps.  If you are used to using a decorating tube then select the largest decorating tip that you have so that the egg  yolk mixture doesn’t get stuck in the tube.  Swirl the egg yolk mixture into the empty egg halves so they look like a swirled ice cream cone.  Or, if you haven’t learned how to use a decorating tube, then spoon the egg mixture into the halves.  Garnish with Paprika and dried parsley.

 

If you like the recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

Chipotle Shrimp on the Grill
Chipotle Shrimp on the Grill

Who would have thought that I would still be grilling outdoors in the middle of December!  It wouldn’t surprise me as much but we are again at Ironworks and the temperature was a brisk 45 degrees outside when I put the shrimps on the grill.  I cook year round at our home in the Valley of the Sun but never dreamed it would be the same here.  I did not serve the shrimp as a surf and turf which what I first thought of doing.  Instead we enjoyed them as an appetizer before dinner along with a sun-dried tomato artichoke dip and crackers.  Hope you enjoy the shrimp recipe and the cooking tips that follow for grilling times.  Non-vegetarians there is a section for grilling steak along with for a Surf and Turf.

Grilled chipotle shrimp

Dozen jumbo shrimp raw
1/4 c chipotle mayo spicy
couple of shakes of chili powder or chili spice (or more if desired)
couple of shakes of chipotle pepper spice (or more if desired)
2-3 twists ground pepper in marinade
fresh ground pepper at the grill

Place shrimp and chipotle spicy mayo sauce in baggy and mix up.

Let shrimp rest in fridge for 15-30 min then gingerly place on hot grill.

Carefully grill until shrimp turns pink turning once while cooking.  I like to add a little more ground pepper while on the grill to jazz up the warmth a bit.  Place the shrimp carefully on the grill so that they don’t fall through.  Grill on hot flame quickly — 1-2 minutes per side.  Place in foil container that can be also topped with foil to keep warm until ready to serve.  Can be a surf and turf or a pleasant yet spicy appetizer.

Grilling shrimp time table
3-5 min per side jumbo
2.5-4 min per side large
2-3 per side med 

Can pan grill if necessary.  Remove shrimp from grill  and place in fresh foil. Seal foil around shrimp to keep hot until ready to serve.

VEGETARIANS – STOP HERE!!

Sorry for the vegetarians, but I love to serve this shrimp with seasoned grilled beef tenderloin with fresh ground pepper and salt. Add a robust beef rub like A1 bold or Barbarians steak rub from Barbarian’s Steak House  in Toronto, Canada.  You can contact them direct to order.  I love it!  Let the steak come to room temperature while you marinate the shrimp.

Barbarian's Steakhouse
Barbarian’s Steakhouse Ribeye

Remove shrimp from grill and keep warm while grilling sirloin, tenderloin or other steaks for surf and turf.  If your steak is 1″ or less they will cook quickly. 2-3 min per side for medium (or if larger use the grilling table below) turning to score in patchwork pattern before flipping to the other side.

Grilling Tenderloin
2″ thick time table
Rare 3-4 min per side
Medium Rare 4-5 per side
Med 5-6 per side
Well-Done 6-7 per side
Plus standing time of 3-5 min depending on how large of cut

 

If you like the recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.