We asked Tucson chefs: What’s your favorite dish to make at home?

November 1, 2014

Issue 9: November/December 2014Voices

Shrimp Ceviche


Danny Perez — Executive Chef, JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa

I chose to make ceviche because it is something that I have made for years. My family and friends love it. It has a place on the menu almost any time of the year. It is fresh, simple, and fast to make. Plus Mexican beer is always a great paring.


  • 2 pounds of shrimp (rock shrimp or chopped up large shrimp)
  • ½ of celery, diced small
  • 2 cucumbers, diced small
  • 1 medium red onion, diced small
  • 2 bunches of green onions
  • 4 tomatoes, diced small
  • 2 quarts of fresh lime juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 – 3 Serrano chiles
  • 2 quarts of clamato juice
  • Avocado, for garnish


  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces of Worchester sauce
  • 2 ounces pickle juice
  • 1 ounce Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt

Marinade (cook) shrimp in lime juice and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Mix all vegetable ingredients in a bowl or container—you can cut all the vegetables while the shrimp is cooking. Add Clamato and seasonings. Adjust to your liking with the remainder of lime juice and spicy it up as needed. Drain the lime juice from shrimp, discard, and add to your other ingredients. Adjust seasoning if needed. Garnish with avocado and cilantro. Serve with corn tortilla chips.


Early October Migas


Rani Olson — Executive chef, Food for Ascension

Migas is more a concept than a specific dish. It’s basically a Spanish casserole that uses the leftover items you have in your kitchen. There are usually corn tortilla strips, stale breads, or corn chips in the dish, sometimes rice, sometimes potatoes, vegetables, beans, meat, cheese, etc. It’s basically a collection of kitchen eats, cooked together in a pan. You can bake it, too. Here’s one idea. It will serve two hungry people.

You’ll need an oven-safe vessel, a knife, cutting board, sauté pan, wooden spoon to stir, oven mitt. Rather than using table salt, do your self a favor and have good sea salt in your kitchen. Do yourself another favor and keep a jar of infused olive oil going in your kitchen. Fill a jar about a fourth of the way with dried red chilies, salt and peppercorn, and some dried herbs. Fill with olive oil and let sit a week before using.


  • 2 medium potatoes, roughly chopped in 1 – 1½” pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise (do not core)
  • 1 patty pan squash, cut into 8 wedges from top to bottom
  • 1 cup kale, ripped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup corn chips scraps (the small pieces at the bottom of the bag)
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup broth or water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted or raw
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole
  • Good quality salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Herb and chili oil

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat pan on medium-high. Add herb-and-chili oil to coat pan and immediately add potatoes, onions, and salt to taste. Cook 5 minutes. Add white wine, herbs, kale, corn chips, squash, and spices. Stir. Put lid on for another 5 minutes.

Divide into 2 oven-safe vessels and add ½ cup of water to each vessel. Place tomatoes in the dish, flesh side up. Drizzle with herb and chili oil on top and sprinkle with salt. Crack two eggs in the center of each vessel and sprinkle with pepitas. Place whole garlic cloves randomly in each vessel.

Bake for 10 minutes. Top cracked peppercorn and a sprinkle of a good quality salt. Have some fresh herbs on hand? Great, add those.

That’s it!


Vegetable, Egg, and Cheese Tarts


Renee Krueger — Renee’s Organic Oven

With these vegetable tarts, it’s so easy to change up your favorite ingredients and add seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Start with a savory pastry shell formed into 4 ¾ inch diameter into a fluted tart mold with a removable Bottom for easy plating. Use either homemade pastry dough that you’ve made ahead of time, or use store bought.

Vegetable Tart


  • 2 cups beets, peeled and diced
  • 3 carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • 3 small squash, shaved into ribbons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Add a bit of olive oil to sauté pan. Add beets. Cook until tender. In a separate pan, sauté squash and carrots. Salt and pepper to taste. Add all vegetables to your formed tart shell. Optional: Add cheese on top of the tart. Bake for 7 – 8 minutes. Remove from oven and add fresh herbs, like chives or basil.

Egg & Cheese Tart


  • 3 garlic gloves
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¾ cup fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg

Add garlic, cheese, nuts, herbs, salt, pepper, lemon juice, to food processor. Drizzle in olive oil as you pulse the mix (about 1 – 1½ cups). In a bowl, scramble 1 egg with a touch of heavy cream, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into formed tart shell. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove from the oven, add fresh pesto, and serve.

Put the remaining pesto in an ice cube tray cover in plastic wrap and freeze it for future quick meals.


Wolf Lollipops


Mike Hultquist — Chef/Co-owner Lerua’s Fine Mexican

This dish is really cool because it takes no time at all and looks like you spent hours in the kitchen. It takes 1 knife, 1 cutting board, 1 bowl, and 1 prep plate. Really.

I like to grill on my day off. When you work in a kitchen six days a week, there’s nothing like being outside. I like crisp salads with bright flavors to compliment fatty delicious meats off a grill. I choose rack of lamb often, mainly because they look and taste like fillet mignon medallions and you can eat them with your hands, almost like a caveman. My family calls them “wolf lollipops,” because they’re meat on a stick.



  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to taste


  • Mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup yellow grape tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • 1 shallot, small, sliced


  • Mini sweet peppers
  • Rack of lamb
  • McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning (On a day off, I’ll cheat with this awesome seasoning)

Set grill to medium heat. Using one knife following these steps in this order: Slice tomatoes in half. Peel avocado and cut into slices. With the same knife, slice grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime in half. Finely chop the shallot. Set these ingredients aside. Now, cut rack of lamb into sections. Begin with tenderloin facing down and bone up. Coat each lamb “lollipop” lightly in olive oil, and season with McCormick Montreal to taste.

Throw whole mini peppers and seasoned wolf lollipops on the grill. Grill each lollipop on one side for 3 minutes, then flip meat grill for 2 more minutes or until cooked. Remove the lamb and mini peppers cover with foil and let rest.

To make dressing, take your 4 citrus fruits and squeeze their juice into a medium bowl, add champagne vinegar, Sriracha, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. In a bowl, combine mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, shallot, and toss with your dressing. Sprinkle with feta cheese.




Poisson Provençal (Provençal fish)


Coralie Satta — Ghini’s French Caffe

Even though I never list my recipes with ingredients first, the way to get any recipe correct every time is to read the entire recipe first and then set up your entire mise en place, so that you can place each item in order without omitting any items, or burning or overcooking anything. Mise en place means to get everything in its place. So when it says you need 6 ounces of red onion and 1 head of garlic, you’ll have all those items ready, chopped, and weighed before you begin cooking. Serves 2 – 4.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces or 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 entire head or 1½ ounces fresh garlic, chopped
  • 2½ or ¼ cup provençal (oil cured) black olives
  • 9 ounces crimini mushrooms or baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 ounces or 8 campari tomatoes, diced
  • 2 6-ounce halibut, cod loin, or sea bass fillets

In a 10” sauté pan, add mushrooms, onions, garlic, olives, and oil. Once the items have sweated and reduced of all liquid, sauté until golden. De-glaze with ½ cup of white wine and reduce to dry, or until all liquid is cooked out. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer for 5 – 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove tomato mixture and set aside. Heat pan and add extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides of fish fillet. Cook on each side on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add tomato mixture to the top of the fish in the 10” pan. Sprinkle some thyme over the top, put a lid on the pan, and turn the heat off. Let fish and mixture sit for 5 minutes. Serve with fresh spinach and goat cheese, sautéed with olive oil. Serves 2 – 4.

You can replace fish with pounded chicken breast, pork loin, or tofu.


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