In the kitchen with: Cary and Ivan Morrow, owners of Cave & Ives Portico Grill
Cary Morrow's kitchen in his Phoenix home is chic, modern-looking (complete with a stainless steel fridge, dark wooden cabinets and a marble tile counter top) and filled with family photos. His wife, Jan, has a "Groove Lounge" station playing on the couple's sound system. Jan, along with Cary's 16 year old daughter Anna and the restaurant's general manager John Windels, shuffle in and out of the kitchen. Morrow's wearing a plain black t-shirt and white khaki shorts. His brother Ivan arrives with the meat already ground--also wearing a black t-shirt (a polo) and white khaki shorts.
But they insist they don't always match.
Still, it's evident the brothers are on a similar wave length. They've been working alongside each other for so long that they hardly need to verbalize what tasks go to who. If one needs help, the other jumps in.
Once the two begin laying out the groundwork of the meal ahead (Ivan continues to prep the meat while Cary sautes a medley of veggies in olive oil to go on top of the links later--red and green peppers and onions, touched off with Mediterranean seasoning, salt and pepper), it isn't long before someone opens a beer.
Ivan brings ingredients to make three different types of sausages: a spicy Sicilian, a chicken and apple, and a Merquez sausage. Cary already has the specially made condiments ready to go: curry ketchup, Cave & Ives extra stout pub mustard and Mostarda di Fichi--a fig-based mustard ("We're sort of condiment fiends," Ivan admits).
The Merquez Sausage is made up of 2-2.5 lbs ground lamb, 5 large fresh minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of fresh minced cilantro, 1.5 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon of lightly toasted cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of Harisa Paste and 2 tablespoons of minced fresh Italian parsley--all to be ground and stuffed in sheep casings.
|Ivan and Cary Morrow saute vegetables and prepare sausage in Cary's Phoenix home. |
Although the seasoning has already been done, the stuffing of the sausages is a lengthy process that leaves room to get to know the guys--and their family.
The brothers joke about the pranks they pulled on each other while growing up in rural Kansas. That slapstick humor in the family comes out when Cary trips and falls onto the kitchen floor as Ivan juggles to keep the sausage stuffer from crashing down along with his brother. Everyone in the kitchen erupts in laughter.
Cary is pretty accident-prone, according to his wife, Jan. He shows off battle scars on his arms.
The mood remains light, despite the tedious accuracy that goes into stuffing the sheep casings with the meat. More beer is sipped (and sometimes poured into the skillet of veggies) as Jan helps herself to some red wine (it's her birthday).
And of course, plenty of sausage jokes are being dished out by the guys (i.e: "How do you know whose sausage is whose?" asks Windels, to which Cary replies, "Mine's bigger.") When asked how many this huge meal would feed, the brothers joke that it's enough for one brother, maybe both.
Humor remains a necessity in this kitchen.
But the guys are pros and take their cooking very seriously. Both have done extensive traveling, which has inspired their tastes.
"I just fell in love with the different and different cuisines," says Ivan. "And I just picked up different cultures and mixed and mashed'em."
Their influences range from European food to African. But they've also taken a page out of their mother's book, who made it near impossible to have a favorite dish because she exposed her children to so many foods.
"I enjoy the diversity in cuisine. In fact, it's rather frustrating. It's not like mom making fried chicken once a week. My mom had 20 or 30 hardcore dishes she'd rotate out," says Ivan.
Eventually, it comes time to grill the links. Cary stands over the gas grill as Ivan brings out the plates piled with sausages. Not even 10 minutes later, everyone is gathered around trying a link paired with a different condiment and topped with the veggies. They also grab a toasted hoagie roll to go along with it.
Despite her father's preference for serious cooking, Anna opts for some reheated mac & cheese and eats it at the end of the counter.