Chow Bella

Preston Smith, What Are You Eating?

Preston Smith

Preston Smith

The improviser, director, instructor and marketer for Jester'Z Improv Comedy in Scottsdale performs regularly with the troupe.

What'd you eat for dinner last night? I teach improv comedy, and a student brought me a pie to the last class. I took it home and forgot about it until that evening when I was hungry but not motivated enough to make anything. It was this little homemade pie that was called Sexy and from a company called Saffron Kitchen. The pie was brilliant: loads of cheeses, spinach, mushroom and spices! I was so amazed by the pie that I looked into the company and found that it was local...and to my lament was only available at a Saturday famers market in Scottsdale and a Thursday famers market in Tempe.

Favorite food: Comfort food--big burgers, barbecue, pies, French fries, home cooking, ribs, pancakes, waffles, fried chicken (organic, healthy (or not), rich and fresh.)

Least favorite food: Pickles! It is really unnatural how much I hate pickles. I see it as a serious problem, so much of a problem that this year I am going to be a pickle for Halloween, in hopes that I can overcome my hatred for pickles. Not that I will ever eat a pickle, but I am just hoping to bring harmony into my life.

Favorite dessert: My sister's red velvet cake. I try red velvet cake everywhere I go, trying to find one that I like better than my sister's, and it hasn't happened yet. Although, Tammie Coe and Chelsea's Kitchen makes a mean red velvet cake/cupcake.

Favorite local restaurant and meal to order there: Fuego Bistro--pernil asado, with jalapeno creamed corn and chipotle cheddar mashed potatoes on the side.
I literally have dreams about this dish!

Favorite local bar and cocktail to order there: I don't drink, but I have a serious love for gourmet soda, and the best place in the country to get gourmet soda happens to be in Scottsdale--Pop: The Soda Shop! And my favorite soda is Thomas Kemper Oregon Marionberry. It has a very unique berry taste, is made with real marionberries and is not 99 percent sugar. Also, check out: Jackson Hole High Mountain Huckleberry, Faygo Rock & Rye and Sprecher's Cream Soda.

Favorite thing to cook at home: Pasta with bolognese Sauce. I really just like cooking the sauce because you start with a bunch of fresh veggies, meat and spices, and several hours later, you have a yummy meat sauce for pasta or to just eat. The transformation is magical.

Favorite memory involving food: Waking up in the morning as a kid to the smell my mom making Hootenanny pancakes and going out into the kitchen singing the Hootenanny song with my siblings. "Hootenanny! Hootenanny! Ra ra ra, I'm a nanny, you're a nanny, ta! ta! ta!" This is not a joke.

Recipe or food tip to share: If you happen to find some huckleberries, here is an amazing huckleberry ice-cream recipe:

3 cups milk
2 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups half-and-half
6 cups cream
1/2 gallon huckleberries, available this time of year at area farmers' markets
1/4 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
6 Hershey bars, broken into pieces

Scald milk, white sugar and salt over medium-high heat, until bubbles just begin to form on the surface. Remove the milk from the heat, and combine with the half-and-half and cream. Saute huckleberries with butter to release the juices. Add brown sugar and simmer for 10 minutes. Chill huckleberries. When cold, combine with cream mixture. Chill that mixture overnight or place in ice cream maker with rock salt and ice. After 20 to 30 minutes, remove the ice cream and fold in Hershey bars. Chill in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

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Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero