It all started with architecture and a love of life for Mark Candelaria after he graduated from Arizona State University about four decades ago. From there he worked designing projects with his mentor George Christiansen, got married, started his family and began as we like to say at ICONIC LIFE, Living Beautifully.
In 1999, he started his namesake firm and has been in growth mode ever since, all the time amazing his clients and friends with his capacity to embrace all the beauty in life, including piano playing, singing, cooking, painting, traveling, leading international tours, and appreciating fine wines and cigars.
Today, he is cooking for family, friends and clients regularly from the test kitchen he built in his design studio during an expansion last year. With the contribution of Monogram appliances, Candelaria is now a prolific chef hosting guests every month. Here are two dishes we’ve enjoyed with him. Thanks, Mark for sharing your recipes here.
We are loving Candelaria’s beef wellington recipe with a southwestern twist! This dish will wow your guests and has recently become a holiday favorite in the Candelaria family. Publisher Renee Dee was an invited guest and observed the making of this dish, a true work of art. The key to success with beef wellington is patience while assembling the dough lattice and cooking the meat to the proper temperature. Candelaria is an intuitive chef and creates lots of fun and camaraderie in his kitchen.
• 2 to 3 tbsp olive oil
• 2 finely chopped shallots
• 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
• 1 pound of finely ground button mushrooms
• 2 tsp of red chile powder
• ½ tsp of black pepper
• ¾ tsp of salt
• ¼ cup of bourbon
• 3 to 3 ½ pound beef tenderloin cut from the thick part of the tenderloin—not the ends—well cleaned of all fat
• 1 tsp of red chile powder
• ½ tsp of ground cumin
• 1 tsp of salt
• 3 tbsp avocado oil
• ¼ cup of Dijon mustard
• 4 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto
• 3 sheets (18-ounce) of puff pastry, thawed if frozen, but still cold
• 2 beaten egg yolks combined with 1 tbsp of water
• In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, add the oil and sauté the shallots and the minced garlic until they are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
• Then add the ground mushrooms, red chile powder, salt and pepper, and the bourbon. Cook until the mushrooms have released whatever moisture they have left, and the mixture has become dry and paste-like; this will take about 10 minutes or so. Remove from the pan and let the mixture cool.
Beef Preparation and Assembly
• Season the beef with salt, chile powder and cumin.
• In a very hot cast iron pan, sear the beef in avocado oil browning all the sides.
• Remove the beef and let cool. Brush all sides with the mustard.
• On a floured surface, roll out one puff pastry sheet slightly to make a rectangle that is about 2 to 3 inches larger on each side of the width of your beef. Place the other sheet in the refrigerator until needed.
• Layer the prosciutto on the puff pastry sheet in an area that is the same size as the beef. Top the prosciutto with about ¼ of the mushroom mixture.
• Place the beef on top of the prosciutto and mushroom mixture and cover the beef with the remaining mushroom mixture. Layer the remaining prosciutto on top of the mushroom mixture so that the beef is completely encased.
• Roll the puff pastry around the beef and fold up around the sides. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.
• Then place the extra sheet of puff pastry on top of the beef, pressing it around the beef so that it overlaps the bottom sheet that was folded up the sides to encase the beef. Press the two sheets together so they make a tight fit. Roll up the encased beef in plastic tightly and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that it firms up.
• After 30 minutes, place the beef on a well-greased baking sheet.
• Brush the beef roll with the egg wash and then get a third sheet of puff pastry and use your dough lattice cutter to make your dough lattice which you will lay over the entire top side of the beef pastry roll. Brush the top pastry with more egg wash for a nice golden color finish.
• Bake in a 425-degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and check with your meat thermometer for a temperature of 120 degrees. If not to temperature, place back in oven and then check every 5 minutes until the meat reaches 120 degrees.
• When done and removed from the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes on a wire rack wrapped in foil before serving.
• Transfer to a serving dish and garnish the beef wellington with roasted vegetables and diced parsley.
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Recently, Candelaria, Dee and Monogram hosted a VIP dinner at the Candelaria Design studio where once again, chef was cooking in all his glory in his Monogram test kitchen. This time, dinner was a savory Halibut Puttanesca served with Lobster Risotto. Paired with wines from Adobe Road, a salad by Dee and a butternut squash bisque starter, this dinner was a highlight of the season. Here is Candelaria’s recipe to try for yourself.
• Olive oil and a tablespoon or two of butter.
• 4 to 6 4-inch square Halibut filets—skin on or off to your preference
• ½ onion chopped or 2 chopped shallots
• 6 cloves of garlic, diced
• 1 tsp or a dash of red chile pepper flakes
• 2 to 3 slices of prosciutto diced (eliminate for pescatarians)
• 1 pint of cherry tomatoes sliced lengthwise or as many as you want to fill your pan
• 1/3 cup of dry white wine
• 1/3 cup of Kalamata olives
• 1/3 cup of rinsed capers
• ¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
• zest of ½ a lemon
• Kosher salt and finely ground fresh pepper
• 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley
• Lemon wedge for garnish
• Dry filets, and salt and pepper all sides.
• In a high-sided saucepan set over medium high heat, warm the olive oil and butter. Brown the fish on both sides for about 2 minutes so it has a nice golden color. Remove from the pan and set on a clean plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
• In the same skillet add the onion or shallots and the garlic and cook until translucent and soft. Then sprinkle in the red chile flakes.
• Next add prosciutto if desired, and let this cook and crisp up slightly.
• Now toss in cherry tomatoes and white wine, and let the tomatoes cook and soften about 7 to 10 minutes.
• Add the kalamata olives, capers and lemon juice along with the lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste and cook this all down into a nice sauce.
• Let this simmer and thicken up, and then nestle the halibut filets back in adding some of the tomato sauce over the top of the fish so the fish is covered.
• Cook the fish about 5 minutes with a cover on the pan to basically steam the fish.
• Serve immediately and garnish with the chopped Italian parsley, sprinkles of the red chile pepper flakes and a lemon wedge.
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