The MVP of the Super Bowl

Who will nab the top spot at Super Bowl 50? With so many candidates vying for MVP, it is anyone’s guess. Will it be a runaway quarterback, the halftime show, a blow-out team performance or will a commercial steal the show? Perhaps it will be something else altogether? Let’s run the plays.

In years past, super bowl commercials have made the game worth watching, especially when the game itself was a letdown. When the only saving grace is a bag of Doritos or a heart-warming doggie adventure, commercials can have just as big an impact on game night. In fact, the ad themselves have a way of picking up the slack after an epic fumble. With host city San Francisco predicting bright skies and warm temps, there’s a chance Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” could ride in and save the day.

Perhaps it will be the halftime show. It is expected to be an extraordinary performance as Coldplay will be joined by Beyonce on stage. We can look forward to a lot of rocking and popping at Levi’s Stadium. Here’s hoping everyone’s jeans stay up and there are no wardrobe malfunctions.

Noteworthy is the fact that 2016 marks a special super bowl celebrating the 50th anniversary of American football. Will the moment create a thrilling game for the record books or will one man stand and deliver? All eyes have been on star QB Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, which is the team favored to win. But the chatter has left fans wondering if there is just way too much pressure. We’ll find out soon enough when the game gets underway this Sunday.

But for those not sitting in the stands at kickoff, there is always that fifth option: the food!

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Much like the super bowl, party hosts are relying on the pros to deliver the goods, hiring personal chefs and private caterers to feed big game appetites. But game day has gone gourmet, dishing up more than just pizza and wings. I for one will be leaving it all on the field with a spread that includes Mini Crab Cakes & Mango Sauce, Pan-seared Salmon with Fresh Lemon Drizzle, and fall-off-the-bone Pineapple Teriyaki Short Ribs. And that’s just some of the highlights.

No one knows how this will all shake out. And of course there’s bound to be the usual monday morning quarterback post game. But what’s not up for debate? Sitting down to a feast and not lifting a finger except to reach for a scrumptious bite. Touchdown! When it’s all said and done the MVP of your Super Bowl may very well be the food!

 

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Tea Still Hot After All These Years

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Warning! The contents of this article may cause severe burn.

If you’re a coffee enthusiast you may be surprised to learn that next to water, Tea is still the hottest beverage around! That’s right. Not java, not joe, Tea. Ouch!

Outside of the United States and in many parts of the world people are partial to tea. British, Asians, Islanders and others regard tea as a staple, consuming it day and night. What coffee is in American culture tea is elsewhere.

The free ranging properties of tea for one thing make it plentiful. In essence, the ingredients used are simple and readily available. In the Caribbean for example, you can boil many “bush” to make tea. Where coffee constitutes some variation of coffee beans, tea can be made using tree leaves, flowers, herbs, spices, fruit, fruit rinds and other edibles. Therefore, anyone can enjoy tea time anytime and anywhere.

Still haven’t warmed up to the knowledge that tea is still hot after all these years? Consider the many benefits; it soothes, it relieves, it fights against, and it heals. It also comforts. And on a cold winter’s day doesn’t it make you warm all over to know that if Starbucks, Keurig, and coffee pots should suddenly evaporate you can still enjoy a hot cup of tea? Now, that’s refreshing!

Are you a tea lover? Share some of your best concoctions. Or EMAIL for recipes.

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A Fresh Start

Much like this salad, the new year brings with it a fresh start; an opportunity to do a new thing. Even if you’re pursuing the same dreams, going after the same goals, working the same resolutions, it’s your chance at doing it differently.

It’s been said, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is foolish. So, what better time to toss out the old?

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Here are the five steps I’m employing as I press my way to a spectacular 2016:

Go Organic

Strip away all the baggage, dirt, and junk of 2015 and leave it all behind. Take only the lessons. Garb a hold of that fresh start and forge ahead. That means no pollutants; only sustainable practices that will move you closer to your field of dreams.

Plant that Seed

Get out there and work that thing! Enough said.

Water It

What can you do to ensure that newly planted seed will grow? Water it, of course! Put in the time, effort and resources necessary to set yourself up for success. Follow-up, follow through, and repeat.

Build & Grow

As you work and water do so with the expectation that your seed will sprout. Before you know it your tree will be blossoming.

Root it Up

Sure you’ll pause to take it all in. We all want to enjoy the fruits of you labor. But, don’t get so enamored with the pretty flowers that you stop planting for tomorrow. Go back to the root, the source and keep planting, watering, building and growing so you can get to that full blown harvest.

I know it will be hard. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. But day by day, week by week, month by month…

What are you doing differently this year to ensure you’ll have your heart’s desire? Share it. Perhaps I’ll pick one or two to add to my mix.

Happy New Year and all the best for a bountiful and prosperous 2016!

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A Prosperous New Year

A heartfelt thank you for supporting JADE and FullOnFlavor this year. I could not have done it without you! Wishing you a year filled with peace, joy and prosperity.

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See you in the New Year!

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Seven Facts About Jamaican Rum Cake

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For Jamaicans, Christmas is synonymous with Rum Cake. You simply cannot get through the year end holiday season without enjoying at least one slice of this dessert. And chances are if you’re eating rum cake you are not stopping at just one slice. Here are seven food facts about Jamaican Rum Cake to chew on:

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  1. Referred to as Fruit Cake
    1. As the name suggests, the main ingredient is fruit; candied, chopped fruit consisting of orange peels and pineapple, along with raisins and cherries. But unlike other traditional fruit cakes, Jamaican Rum Cakes are made with grounded or pureed fruits for a smooth consistency.
  2. Also called Black Cake and Christmas Cake
  3. It is the choice for wedding cake in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean. Because of its popularity at weddings, it is sometimes referred to as Wedding Cake.
  4. Dark in color
    1. Color ranges from dark brown to black. If you’re not careful, you’ll mistake it for a chocolate cake at first glance. In some cases, depending how it is cut, it can resemble brownie too.
  5. Traditionally a very dense cake
  6. Made with rum and wine
  7. Fruits are soaked in wine [and rum] for many weeks or even months prior to baking.

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Today, like most other products, rum cakes come in all shapes and sizes, including cupcake. For example our JADE cupcakes feature minis as well as standard cupcake size, and with a variety of icings.

When it comes to fruit cakes Jamaican Rum Cake takes the cake.

Merry Christmas!

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Peppy Seasoning Blend

‘Tis the season! No, not holiday cheer and deck the halls. I’m talking sugar and spice and everything nice!

This Peppy Seasoning Blend combines sweet, savory and a little heat for just the right amount of pep. Here’s what you’ll need:

 1/4 cup light brown sugar

 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

1/4 tsp. sea salt

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, grind red pepper into smaller flakes.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together red pepper, parsley, sea salt and brown suagr.

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Tips for Enjoying

Perfect on sweet potato fries.

Great dry rub for a rack of ribs.

Sprinkle on fresh-baked savory pastries for added flavor.

Make larger quantity, store in airtight container, and use as needed.

 

Comment & Share

Questions or comments post them here. But don’t be a Grinch! Share this season with friends and family!

Want more food and flavor this season? Visit JADE and learn how we can add the merry to your holiday events!

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Thanksgiving Made Over Easy

Decisions, decisions, decisions! What to do with all the leftovers after Thanksgiving?

A few years ago I received a call from my friends at FOX Philadelphia. They were doing a Thanksgiving Leftover Extravaganza and were asking a handful of area chefs to come up with creative ways to enjoy the remains of the holiday feast.

The premise was to create a dish using four traditional Thanksgiving foods: turkey, stuffing, mashed potato and cranberry. To make it interesting, each chef could add one secret ingredient of their choice. Watch as I rolled over these four holiday staples and my secret ingredient into a savory gourmet delight – all while having a little fun with my spicy cohort Mike Jerrick, Co-host of Good Day Philadelphia.

 

How cool was that? Thanksgiving made over easy!

Want more to savor this holiday season? Start with these Tuna Pastry Cups. They are inexpensive, easy to make and are a great first bite to the festivities. Be sure to include my Candied Sweet Potatoes & Raisins – a savory side even the pickiest eater will love.

For still more ways to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers post your questions in the comments section or email flavors@jadegrill.com!

 

Brought to you by JADE… Food, Flavor, Fun!

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Tuna Pastry Cups

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The holidays are fast approaching. Oh what fun it is serving up something new and exciting. Lucky for you, your foodie and chief flavor head at JADE has you covered! These flaky and flavorful Tuna Pastry Cups are delicate and delectable all in the same bite. Why not spread some gourmet goodness this season?

2 Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed

2-4oz. cans Albacore Tuna in Water, drained

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tsp. spicy brown mustard

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1/4 tsp. paprika

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

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  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, add tuna, paprika, salt, ground pepper, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil and mix evenly. Set aside.
  3. Using a round, crinkle cookie cutter, cut out 12 rounds from each pastry sheet. (Yields fewer for supermarket pastry sheets. Refer to Note below).
  4. Stuff cutouts into muffin pan to form 24 cups.
  5. Using a teaspoon, fill cups with tuna mix. Press gently with finger.
  6. Bake pastries until nicely browned.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit 3-5 minutes.
  8. Remove from muffin pan and serve.

Baking time: 18-20 minutes

Servings: 8
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Note: This recipe was made using two large, restaurant-style puff pastry sheets. When using pastry sheets from your local grocer, substitute about 8 pastry sheets to yield 24 rounds. Recipe requires a 24-cup Nonstick Mini Muffin Pan (or two 12-cup pans) and a round cookie cutter (crinkled or plain). 

 

Tips & Techniques

When thawing pastry, remove paper underneath sheets.

Dust cutting board (or other surface) with flour to prevent sticking.

Frozen puff pastry generally thaws within 10-15 minutes.

 

These Tuna Pastry Cups present like crab but for a fraction of the cost and are the perfect appetizer to get your holiday party started! Visit www.JADEGRILL.com for more Food, Flavor, Fun!

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Brought to you by…

Have you ever been on television?

I’ve been fortunate to do it both live and taped. My television debut began about seven years ago shortly after starting my food business. I had contacted my local PBS station WYBE-TV channel 35 about hosting a show on Jamaican culinary tradition. I pitched the idea of The Pepper Pot, a 5-minute cooking series. With the help of a few friends I hosted and produced seven episodes.

WYBE would later undergo a rebranding. When the newly formatted station launched as MiND TV, The Pepper Pot: Curry Chicken segment was the first show that aired.

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Since then, I’ve made numerous guest chef appearances on FOX Philadelphia and NBC-Philadelphia, and most recently PHL-17 TV with Jennifer Lewis-Hall. Actually, you could say my first stint on network television was brought to you by PBS. As luck would have it, one of my pepper pot segments caught the eye of the planning editor at FOX-Philly. It wasn’t long before I was spicing this up with Sheinelle Jones, Anthony Gargano, Mike Jerrick and the rest of the FOX-Philly team. I even did a live segment on FOX representing Cabot Creamery. FOX lead to quite a few delightful segments on NBC with Bill Henley.

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This latest video, however, is a slightly different take. I produced this 3-minute clip recently as a special project. It’s not the usual recipe or how-to video as that was not the intent. The purpose was to produce a piece that highlights my cooking and on-camera skills while engaging the audience and viewer effortlessly.

Brought to you by Janet Davis, CEO, Executive Chef & On-air Talent.

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Working with Williams-Sonoma

As I sat at my desk outlining my fall calendar a few weeks ago it occurred to me how fortunate I am to be working with Williams-Sonoma. With two upcoming food events at the gourmet retailer, I began to reflect on how our collaboration began. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share how it all came to be.

Our relationship is no accident. I had taught cooking classes at another chain store. After about three years, I decided to fold it into my own product offering as Pantry Parties – private, hands-on instruction in the comfort of the client’s home. So, I’d been there, done that so to speak.

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Seeking to establish my brand as a flavorful food venture- not merely a Jamaican one, I set my sights on a company whose name is synonymous with taste, quality, style and functionality.

If you’re a food connoisseur,           Williams-Sonoma’s high quality cookware, specialty products, gourmet foods, in-store culinary events and stylish home furnishings are familiar. And it’s not just passionate foodies; professional chefs are hot for the brand.

Not long after I formed my namesake JADE in the fall of 2013, I contacted the Princeton, New Jersey store to see whether they offered cooking classes and how I would go about getting on the roster. During our conversation I fired off my list of accomplishments – numerous television appearances on NBC and FOX, a cooking series on PBS, mentions in the local print press, having taught culinary demonstrations previously, and so on. They were impressed and we scheduled a meeting and site tour. I followed-up with an email, included the standard accompaniments – my resume, bio, head shot and media clippings.

We met, all went well and we booked my first cooking class. Thrilled about my score I wasted no time. I telephoned the flagship store at Columbus Circle in New York City. A similar scenario transpired. After a site tour the assistant manager and I discussed how we would incorporate my brand of flavor into the mix. Long story short, we settled on a date for demo number two.

My first demonstration was a success. So much so that by the time I reached out to the King of Prussia store the following Monday they were well aware of who I was and equally as excited about me doing a demo there.

Since then I’ve taught almost ten classes, in five cities and three states in under two years. I’ve loved every minute of it! And from the fact that they’ve invited me back numerous times – I think it’s safe to say they relish having me there too.

And that’s how the story goes!

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