Hitting the Jackpot with Jackfruit

The name Jackfruit has been popping up lately. Do you know what a Jackfruit is? If not you should. Recent trend reports suggest it might become a staple at the breakfast and dinner tables. As someone who grew up eating Jackfruit like Americans eat apple, I can assure you if this trend holds true you’re hitting the jackpot with jackfruit. Big time! 

Jackfruit is an oversized fruit with a yellowish-green bumpy skin, with yellow fleshy pods on the inside. Both the flesh and seeds are edible. The flesh is firm, sweet and flavorful, and tastes like a bunch of tropical fruits rolled into one. The seeds are just as yummy when roasted.

But one thing stood out to me when I read a recent article. So many of the foods I grew up on are now all the rage. Avocado, Coconut, Pomegranate are fruits I devoured as a child. Every yard had some sort of fruit tree in it so there was easy access. As a matter of fact, these fruits were so plentiful that many times they had fallen off the tree and you were doing yourself or someone a favor picking them up off the ground. Seriously, that’s how abundant these superfoods were. And, no doubt, still are.

As I said, I grew up on these. Jackfruit is no different. I was so excited when I came across another article from Whole Foods that I contacted them immediately to see if they had it in store. And they do!

I will be updating this post as soon as I get my paws on some Jackfruit. Please post your comments if you’re trying it for the first time or if your first bite brings back memories of childhood days.

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Coconut Set to Sale Higher in 2017

There’s no shortage of predictions for 2017. From cool tech and funky fashion to moody color palettes, forecasters have weighed in on what we can all look forward to in the new year. On the culinary side, researchers and retailers are anticipating a rise for Coconut.

Given the coconut water craze of the last few years, one would think this hard-shelled fruit would have lost her luster by now. Not so. When it comes to food, apparently, there’s always room to grow, even in a seemingly saturated marketplace. The verdict: coconut set to sale higher in 2017!

Coconut

Consumers have had their eye on healthy, organic, cholesterol-free coconut for some time. But how familiar are most with edible coconut – that is, beyond the bars, water and infused products? Here’s a look at some that have been on store shelves for ever, some newer to the marketplace, and what’s projected to give foodies a run for their money.

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk is a staple in Caribbean cooking. Made from the ‘meat’ of the coconut, the milk is creamy and rich in texture. In Jamaica for example, coconut has never been reserved just for drinking. Coconut milk is used in dishes like Rice & Peas, and in other savory delights of fish, stews, and more. Coconut milk is also a gem in Asian cuisine and is part and parcel in curry and other dishes.

Coconut Cream

Coconut Cream as the name suggests is a creamier, more concentrated version of coconut milk and is used for similar purposes. Both the milk and cream form of coconut has been around for a very long time.

Coconut Sugar

Although Coconut Sugar has been popular in other cultures, its rise in the United States is relatively recent. Also referred to as Coconut Palm Sugar, it is mild in taste, has slightly fewer calories than refined sugar, and is regarded as an alternative sweetener. Coconut Sugar is a good source of potassium, zinc and other vitamins and minerals, and goes great in tea, coffee and other beverages that require sweetening. It also serves as a sugar substitute in baking.

Coconut Flour

Although it doesn’t fully replace wheat and grain-based flours, coconut flour is a great partial substitute in baking. Made from the ‘dried’ coconut (oil and fat removed), the flour is high in fiber and protein. Best of all, it is naturally gluten-free.

Coconut Butter

Coconut butter – not to be confused with coco butter, is the smooth, creamy and spreadable finish of the flesh of the coconut. It can be used in place of butter, cream cheese and other spreads. It is decadent, adding amazing taste and texture to smoothies, shakes, and sauces.

What’s on tap for next year? Whole foods and exotic foods! Organic, raw, plant-based fruits and veggies like coconut!

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A Good Day to Air Things Out

Whenever you have the opportunity to share major news on air count it a good day. And that’s the day Jade Jamaican Grill enjoyed recently when I stopped by Good Day Philadelphia to dish about my company’s participation at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

This wasn’t my first time on television or at FOX 29 News for that matter. I’d been on with host Mike Jerrick and his colleagues numerous times over the years. But this particular appearance with Jerrick and his co-host Alex Holley took the cake!

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Here I was – one of a select group of small business food vendors chosen to provide tantalizing tastes at this major national event. And not just one event either. JADE was selected for two; the Media Party on Saturday, July 23rd at Citizens Bank Park and the Welcome Delegate Party at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, July 24th.

So a few days prior to the start of the convention I took the opportunity to air things out on live television by showcasing the bites JADE would be serving at the DNC. Let’s just say our hosts could not keep their forks or fingers off the food. I mean chunks of spicy Jerk Pork and heaps of savory Rice and Peas disappearing in plain view. You can’t make this stuff up. See for yourself.

JADE Jamaican Grill at the DNC

It really was a good day to air things out!

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DNC Picks Jamaican Foodie for Events

Have you heard? JADE is heading to the DNC!

JADE Jamaican Grill has been selected to participate in the 2016 Democratic National Convention coming to Philadelphia. The DNC will be taking place July 25th through the 28th and our company is among a select group of food vendors chosen to satiate the palates of tens of thousands at this national event.

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We will be serving up some of our signature Full on Flavor fare at the Media Party on Saturday, July 23rd at Citizens Bank Park and at the Welcome Delegate Party on Sunday, July 24th at the Kimmel Center. How lucky are we? By luck I mean preparation, hard work, sacrifice and perseverance coming face to face with opportunity.

I thank the DNC for this tremendous honor and I look forward to taking part in what will be an amazing event.

For the latest news and to learn more about our company visit us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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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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Savory & Sweet Summer Salads

Summertime is the absolute best time to enjoy salads. From light, crisp and cool to straight from the grill, these six salads can be a refreshing start, a savory side, or flavorful finish to any meal.

Grilled Corn Salad                                                                                                    

Grilled yellow corn (cut from the cob), chopped iceberg lettuce, diced cucumber, tomato, and avocado, and finely chopped scallion tossed in sea salt, ground pepper, fresh squeezed lime juice and avocado oil.

Grilled Corn Salad

Citrus Garden Salad

Spring mix (or your favorite salad greens), sliced cucumber, bell peppers and avocado, grape tomatoes and shredded carrot tossed in a zesty citrus dressing made with a Dijon Honey Mustard, fresh squeezed lime and orange, sea salt, ground pepper and vegetable oil blend.

Summer Fruit Salad                                                                                            

Cut peaches, pineapple, watermelon, mango, kiwi, strawberry and blueberry drizzled with balsamic reduction and sprinkled with Chia Seeds.

Cucumber Salad                                                                                                    

Chopped cucumber, tomato, and scallion tossed in white vinegar and sea salt and dusted with ground pepper.

Grilled Vegetable Salad                                                                                  

Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, Asparagus, Porcini Mushroom, Bell Peppers, Corn and Shallots sprinkled with coarse sea salt and drizzled with olive oil.

Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad                                                                        

Cubed watermelon, wetted with balsamic reduction, topped with crumbled goat cheese and adorned with fresh mint.

Watermelon & Goat Cheese SaladEnjoy these savory and sweet summer salads all season long. For more recipes visit us at www.jadegrill.com for these and other recipes.

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Fried Chicken Tenders with JADE Pickled Pepper Preserve

After a three-month, two-state round of spicy cooking demos at Williams-Sonoma stores in New York and New Jersey, my spring demos have come to an end. But, don’t worry about a thing. You can have your spice and eat it too all year long! The Spice of Life menu featured Jerk Salmon with a Citrus Garden Salad, Spicy Black Beans, and Fried Chicken Tenders with my JADE brand Pickled Pepper Preserve.

Some recipes – including the Spicy Black Beans and the Citrus Dressing were featured in earlier posts. Today, however, you get to feast on Fried Chicken Tenders with JADE Pickled Pepper Preserve – juicy white meat that’s tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, and hot and flavorful all over.

Frying Flour Mix

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour                                    

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp sea salt                                                              

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 pinch ground ginger

  1. Combine ingredients in a 1-gallon food storage bag, seal tightly and shake until blended.

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Fried Chicken Tenders

2 pounds chicken tenders                                          

1 batch Frying Flour Mix (See above)

3 cups vegetable oil

  1. Add vegetable oil to medium frying pan and heat at medium temperature.
  2. Place half of chicken tenders into flour mix and shake to coat.
  3. Lay tenders into hot oil and let fry 4-5 minutes on each side.
  4. Remove tenders and lay on paper towel to drain and cool.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to fry remaining tenders.
  6. Place fried tenders on a serving platter.

Spoon some JADE Pickled Pepper Preserve into a small bowl and serve alongside tender.  Or dress tenders directly with preserve.

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Enjoy this spicy bite when only a stiff kick will do! Get it at JADE Jamaican Grill.

 

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Citrus Dressing

I’ve been mixing things up at Williams-Sonoma stores in New York and New Jersey with this zesty Citrus Dressing. It’s fresh, fruity and savory using a few staple ingredients. Just another way to dress up a summer salad, grilled veggies, seafood and chicken!

Citrus_Dressing

1/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed

2 Tbsp. lime juice, fresh squeezed

3 Tbsp. honey mustard

1/4 cup vegetable oil­­

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients and whisk vigorously until blended.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Note: Tableware provided by Libbey Foodservice.

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Go from Garnish to Gourmet

It’s that time of year when the weather begins to warm, local farmers’ market are getting ready for their season opening, and the seeds you started indoors weeks ago have sprouted. Today, however, I’m dishing out more than just your garden variety veggies. We’re going gourmet with edible botanicals – leaves, flowers, herbs, plants, and plant mixes that do more than just pretty up the plate.

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Since we eat with our eyes long before we take a bite, we appreciate the role garnish plays on a plate. Think color, freshness and overall presentation. But, why pick useless shrub when the right trim can work wonders?

Edible botanicals – leaves, flowers, greens, herbs, and plants add vibrancy, flare, flavor and function. Dressing up a dish with an orchid – neutral in taste and lavender or purple in color, adds snap without sacrificing flavor. A begonia mix boasts a zesty, crisp, tart finish – the perfect blend for a delightful citrus salad. Or spread it around a savory seafood platter in place of lime or lemon. The pretty pink petals of begonias (comes in white too) with bright yellow centers adds just the right amount of radiance for spring and summer entertaining.

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The appropriate finish can also take fare from palatable to perfection. For example, a mint mix will enhance the flavor of lamb, while it’s small, delicate, bright green leaves create a stark contrast to the seared, crusted exterior of the meat.

Island Inspired

I’m an island girl so whenever possible or as appropriate I mix in as much of the Caribbean into my culinary creations as I can get away with. And with edible botanicals I get away with quite a bit! Shoot, it’s literally a field of dreams. And the spring and summer seasons my playground – with plenty of plants to play with on my plate. The bounty of veggies and flowers found in the Caribbean are endless. Hibiscus, sorrel, cilantro, onion, turnip, thyme, mint, rosemary, orchid… Did you know Jamaica has over 200 species of orchid? Not to mention herbs. You know Jamaica has herb!

Taking Care

Now that you’re familiar with what’s on the market, here’s how to ensure you get the most use of your petite produce. Keep fresh by refrigerating immediately. Suppliers generally guarantee freshness for up to a week. However, I find that by keeping them in their original packaging, sealing in an airtight zipper bag then storing in the refrigerator you can squeeze out an extra 2 or more days.

Whatever your taste, go for plating that’s more than pretty. Elevate the experience by choosing the right green and go from garnish to gourmet!

Note: Samples for the attached photo provided by Gourmet Sweet Botanicals.

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The Green Goddess of Cooking Oils

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Move over Olive! There’s a new girl in town. And she’s not just any ole gal. She’s rich, refined, smoking hot, and best of all, she’s real good to ya.

Avocado is a super food. And its sleek, smooth, buttery oil is heating up the culinary cosmos. But this tropical fruit is not just for Mediterranean diets and health nuts. With lots to love,everyone should be digging it. Get a load of some of what this green goddess has going on:

  1. Good source of antioxidants like vitamins E and beta-carotene
  2. High in monounsaturated fatty acids (good fats that help lower cholesterol)
  3. Packed with protein
  4. Lots of potassium – more than that of a banana
  5. No cholesterol, no trans fat and no sodium
  6. Offers more benefits than olive oil

When fired up Avocados leave nothing to be pitied. With a high smoke point, Avocados are perfect for high-temperature cooking like frying and searing. But don’t be fooled. This versatile oil comes dressed to impress, and adds her own brand of flavor to salads, seafood and more.

Avocado oil does dishes well. But it does the body even better. As far as edible oils go, this virgin girl has got the competition beat. Eat your heart out!

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