Make your own tomato onion pie.
Castle Hot Springs
Located a little over an hour northwest of downtown Phoenix, Castle Hot Springs Resort is one of Arizona’s premiere wellness retreats. Originally established in 1896, it reopened last fall after extensive renovations. The 34-room property contains three pools filled with naturally-heated spring water. Food served here maintains a healthful-yet-playful approach, thanks to the innovative techniques of executive chef and food & beverage director Christopher Brugman. During closure, he’ll be hosting virtual cooking classes through the Castle Hot Springs Instagram page. Here’s an exclusive interview with the chef, followed immediately by a recipe for this replenishing dish. It’ll surely bring renewed vigor to your home kitchen.
How are you holding up during these turbulent times?
Honestly, it’s been a bit of a shock to the system. Initially I struggled to find continuity in my daily routine. I felt like I needed to be doing something productive with every single second of the downtime. But at the end of the day you have to be ok with being present…thankfully I was able to find some peace with that and redirect my energy towards some cool projects we are working on for when we reopen.
What are some basic tips we can use to find nourishment when we’re holed up at home?
You would be surprised at how resourceful you can be when you don’t have access to normal everyday ingredients! Try to use something from the fridge, pantry (dried goods, beans, canned soups) and freezer every day. If you have a bunch of canned tuna, make a big batch of tuna salad that you can snack on over the next few days. Try to balance some healthy items into your daily diet that you can find in your pantry, like almonds or granola or dried fruit. If you don’t have access to fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables work when you are in a pinch.
What are some things that you’re doing to pass the time/preserve your well-being?
When all this happened, our farm was in the middle of full spring production. With the help of our farm team led by Resident Agronomist Ian Beger, we pivoted quickly to figure out how we were going to utilize all of our produce & vegetables so that absolutely nothing goes to waste. We have been pickling, preserving, fermenting, canning, dehydrating and juicing just about everything you can imagine, helping to preserve the farm’s bounty. When we realized we had more than we could use and store we decided to create a CSA produce box program at Castle Hot Springs, which people can purchase and pick up locally while practicing social distancing. We offer boxes with everything from lettuce greens, vegetables and herbs to jams, pickles and spice rubs. All proceeds are donated to St. Vincent de Paul, a great local charity and food bank here in Phoenix. We are able to practice sustainability while making a small impact by providing nutritious food to the people who need it.
Why do you feel as though the Tomato Onion Jam recipe is a particularly comforting dish for home preparation?
I think it’s a fun way to transform everyday items in ways you normally wouldn’t. I find comfort in the “process” more than anything. Cooking has always felt so therapeutic for me, so taking some beautifully ripe tomatoes and preserving it into a versatile jam that you can eat on toast for breakfast or a beautiful piece of halibut for dinner is as comforting as it gets for me! Preserves and jams are a great way to extend the season’s best.
What are some key ingredients that are vital to have stocked in your kitchen while you’re stuck at home?
Eggs, flour, milk, butter, garlic, fresh herbs, bone broth, ramen, peanut M&Ms
Any good shows, albums, or books that you can recommend for quarantine consumption?
- Tiger King (was there really any other choice?!)
- Miles Davis – Blue in Green
- Mastering Pizza – by Marc Vetri
- 1lb. Chopped tomato, preferably soft and about to spoil
- 1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
- 1 C white onion, chopped
- 1 C shallot, chopped
- ½ C garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Sea Salt
- ½ Tbsp. Black pepper, ground
- 1 Tbsp. Agave syrup
- 2 Tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and onion, continue to stir in pan, sweating the onion. Add shallot and continue to stir avoiding color. Once onion is transparent add garlic and stir. Add salt and tomato, turning up the heat to a rolling boil. In with black pepper, sherry, and agave. Cook until jam is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer to heat-safe vessel and cool overnight in fridge.
Executive Chef Christopher Burgman
Everyone is hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. And these are particularly challenging times for food and beverage professionals. It is estimated that upwards of 7 million restaurant workers could lose their jobs within the next few weeks, alone. In order to support the industry while encouraging creativity in the kitchen, we present to you this ongoing series featuring easy-to-follow recipes from some of the world’s finest chefs, eateries, and resorts. If you like what you taste, consider donating to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.