We recently had the pleasure of sailing with Chef Maria Hines on our James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise of Spain and France. While on board, Maria prepared nightly specials for diners in AmphorA. The watermelon carpaccio topped with whipped fresh cantaloupe and ricotta was a particular treat with melons fresh from the local market, and she wowed guests throughout the voyage with an array of simply and beautifully prepared fish she sourced from local fishmongers, along with Windstar’s talented culinary staff and Executive Chef Michael Sabourin.
Winner of the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, Maria has been turning heads and palates on the national culinary scene since she took the helm at Earth & Ocean in 2003. In 2005, she was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs. Maria opened her own restaurant, Tilth, in September 2006. Tilth is certified organic and features New American cuisine, and in 2008, The New York Times named Tilth one of the top 10 best new restaurants in the country. She has since opened two new restaurants in Seattle to great acclaim: Agrodolce and Golden Beetle. Given that Windstar Cruises is headquartered in Seattle, Maria was a natural choice for sailing as a selected guest chef on our series of James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruises.
With a long-standing commitment to preparing cuisine using seasonal and organic Northwest products, Maria is no stranger to seafood, so it’s no surprise that her cooking demonstrations on board focused on using the freshest ocean-dwelling ingredients in simple but elegant meals. She also spent time with guests explaining her top choices for sustainable seafood, as well as ways to be a more educated consumer. (One quick tip: avoid farmed fish unless you know the conditions and parameters of the operation, as many fish and seafood product farms do more damage ecologically than good.)
Our favorite recipe she demonstrated on board Star Legend was her Lobster Risotto, which was shared with everyone in attendance by our lovely dining staff. Can you blame us for it being our favorite? You KNOW we love us some lobster on Windstar Cruises (deck BBQ anyone?!). Give the recipe a try at home, and let us know how it turned out in the comments! Bon Appétit.
2 CUPS CARNAROLI RICE
½ YELLOW ONION (MINCED)
¼ CUP WHITE WINE
¼ CUP UNSALTED BUTTER
1tsp. MINCED GARLIC
½ tsp. KOSHER SALT
8 CUPS CLAM STOCK (YOU CAN PURCHASE PRE-MADE)
2 CUPS LOBSTER CLAW MEAT
1/8 CUP FINELY GRATED PARMESAN
2T. TOASTED PINE NUTS
1 CUP DICED TOMATO
In a shallow sauté pan over medium high heat, add one half of the butter, the onion, and garlic. When the onion turns translucent, add the rice and toast, stirring often. Meanwhile, heat your stock in a separate pot over high heat.
Add the stock, a 6-ounce ladle at a time, to the rice mixture, while stirring constantly to release the starches in the rice. Keep adding the stock a ladle at a time, allowing the liquid to absorb between ladles, until it reaches your desire texture.
Remove the pan from the heat and add one last ladle of stock. Add the remaining butter, parmesan, pine nuts, tomato, and lobster. Season with salt and pepper and add a squeeze of lemon (about a quarter of a lemon) for acidity. Top with chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy!