Having it Your Whey with a Cheese Board

Before saying cheese, ask yourself am I feeling sweet or savory?

There are a few things to consider when putting together a cheese board. Here are some guidelines on achieving an appetizing board whatever your preference.

Cheese Board

Taste

On taste, first decide between savory and sweet. A savory plate such as an Antipasto will include meats like Salami or Prosciutto. You can enhance the flavor profile further by choosing flavored meat as opposed to regular cuts. Olives, roasted vegetables, oil, crusty bread or sliced baguette may also accompany a savory board. Similarly, adding herbs and spices like pepper flakes, basil or oregano to olive oil will give more to savor.

A sweet board on the other hand, incorporates fruits – both fresh and dried, as well as nuts, jams and, or jellies. Here, crackers, not bread is ideal.

Texture

In terms of texture, cheese range from soft to hard. Soft cheeses include Brie, Mascarpone, Cottage and Ricotta. Semisoft include Provolone, Fontina, Mozzarella, Blue and Feta. Cheddar and Gouda constitutes hard cheeses; and Parmesan and Asiago some of the hardest on the block.

When assembling your cheese board, use a variety of textures. For a normal size board or party, three cheeses will do. Use four or even five for larger gatherings.

Nuts & Bolts

Other than cheese, nuts can add an extra bite to a dessert board. Almonds and walnuts offer up a nice crunch and an additional layer of flavor. Complete your board with dried fruits like apricots, cherries, cranberry and raisins to round out a dessert cheese plate.

Fruity & Fresh

While dried fruits have their place on a sweet plate, cheese and fresh fruit alone can be enough. Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and figs can sweeten the deal here. Fruits not only add layers of flavor but a range of vibrant color that stand in contrast to the more subtle hues of cheese. As previously mentioned, fruity spreads like jams, jellies and even honey, makes for a luscious finish.

More Tips

More than just taste and texture, you can create a themed board with cheeses from a particular region. For example, an Italian inspired board might have Gorgonzola and Mascarpone cheeses, while a French plate might include Brie, Goat, and Camembert. To go all out with your theme, serve wine from each region.

For a really large party, opt for two boards; one savory and one sweet. Your guests will thank you before you can say cheese!

Whether soft, hard, sweet or savory, having it your whey with a cheese board can be a delectable start or sweet end to a party.

What is your go to snack cheese? Whey in here and I’ll respond to your comments.

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Crafty Cooking with Beer

There’s a distinct taste that comes from cooking with beer. The depth of flavor is unlike any other; a robust and sharp finish.

Adding beer can add an extra twist to an otherwise OK dish. Dark beer especially smacks full of flavor; a nuanced punch that lingers long after the first bite. Personally, I’m partial to Guinness Extra Stout. But any dark beer will get the job done. Here are four satisfying ways for crafty cooking with beer:

Baked in Beer

Roasting chicken or pork in the oven? Dress in spices and herbs per usual, then replace the water you would normally add with a cup of beer. Baste with the juices about every 20 minutes. Not only will the roast be palatable but you’ll enjoy a nice browning to the skin or exterior of the meat from the constant wetting.

These Ginger Beer Short Ribs were seasoned with sea salt and ground pepper and slow-baked with Guinness Extra Stout and fresh sliced gingerroot for a savory and saucy rib dish.

Ginger_Beer_Short_Ribs

Stews with Brews

Cooking a stew using beer boils down to a heavenly one-pot wonder. If you own a slow cooker a bottle of beer is a great ally to have in the kitchen. Chicken, beef, pork and veal come alive when simmered with beer. Add an entire bottle and let slow cook for hours.

Beer-battered

Perhaps one of the more traditional ways of cooking with beer is to marinate in or dip in a beer batter. It’s still a great way to extract that awesome beer taste. Try it on not just chicken, but on any fried or deep fried dish.

Crafty Sauces & Spreads

Dips made with beer are some of the most appetizing. And it doesn’t require much to get it there. A cup of dark beer, simmered with tomato puree, mustard, and select spices makes for a delicious dipping sauce. Or a couple teaspoons added to a vanilla or chocolate frosting is a deep and decadent way to top off dessert.

Are you a crafty cook? Share your beer infused cooking techniques here.

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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.

Peppy_Seasoning_Blend

 

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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Tuna Pastry Cups

Tuna_Pastry_Cup 2

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

Puff_Pastry_Crinkle_Cutouts

  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
Puff_Pastry_Muffin_Filled
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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Candied Sweet Potatoes & Raisins

Although we can generally find sweet potatoes year round, they are synonymous with fall. There are a variety of ways to cook these root vegetables. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes for enjoying this savory super food. And as we inch closer to the holidays what better time to learn how to make this dish. It will undoubtedly make a great addition to your Thanksgiving and Christmas table!

2 lbs sweet potatoes

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. water

Sweet_Potato_Slices

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and slice diagonally in half inch pieces.
  3. Lay potatoes in baking pan.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey.
  5. Cut butter in 4 and add to pan.
  6. Add raisins and water.
  7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from oven.
  9. Remove cover, spoon liquid over potatoes and bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes.

Candied_Sweet_Potatoes

Bake Time: 40 minutes

Servings: 4

 

Nutrient Note (Sweet Potatoes)

Two times the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A.

Has almost half the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C.

Good serving of dietary fiber.

No fat, no cholesterol!

 

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The Flavor of Fall

Summer hasn’t officially ended, but with Labor Day behind us and the weather already showing signs of cooling, I think we are well on our way to Autumn. The change in season ushers in much to delight in; fruits and vegetables in vibrant display, rows of apple trees ripe for the picking, hayrides through pumpkin patches, and the most fragrant of culinary herbs.

One of the things that bring me great appreciation this time of year is the peppy
glow of fall. To behold the leaves on the trees as they change color beneath the sun’s rays. The breathtaking view driving up the New York State Thruway – as I did in college – and seeing the warm hues of red, orange, yellow and brown as the trees slowly shed their summer green. The earthy fragrance of allspice mixed with cloves that awakes you each morning and lets you know, yes, it’s fall. For me fall just has a special way of coming to life. That’s the flavor of fall.
fall-foods-superfruit-redone

More than the vivid nature of the season is the food. Although you can find just about every eat year round in today’s global marketplace, nothing is as satisfying as enjoying it in season, at its due. Everything is better when it’s at its best. Pomegranate and cranberries are redder in color and richer in taste. Apples and pears are just peachy. Brussels sprouts and bok choy are crisper, and giant pumpkins serve up big, bold taste.

Oh, the dishes you can dig into this time of year. Soups, stews, compotes and cobblers rooted in home-cooked goodness. If there’s ever a season readymade for a hearty meal it’s fall. Chunky, chicken vegetable soup made with butternut squash, potatoes, carrots, turnip, and celery, and flavored with fresh parsley and thyme. And after dinner, a generous slice of Cranberry-Apple Pie or a heap of warm fruit compote to top two scoops of your favorite ice cream.

If home is where the heart is and there’s no place like home, fall is the season you get to come home. Welcome home.

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Grilled Baby Bella Mushrooms

Looking for a succulent side dish to serve on that summer plate? These Grilled Baby Bella Mushrooms in Garlic Butter make the perfect addition. They’re earthy, flavorful, from the grill and pairs nicely with that fillet of fresh fish!

1-10oz. pkg. baby bella mushrooms

4 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ tsp vegetable oil

½ tsp sea salt

Grilled_Baby_Bellas

  1. Shave (cut thin) garlic.
  2. On the stovetop, heat 10” skillet at medium temperature.
  3. Add butter, shaved garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, wipe mushrooms with slightly damp paper towel, snip stems and cut into ¼ inch slices.
  5. Heat grill at high temperature.
  6. Brush grates with vegetable oil.
  7. Grill mushroom s for about 90 seconds on each side.
  8. Remove sautéed garlic from stovetop.
  9. Add sea salt and grilled mushrooms and toss.
  10. Serve as a flavorful side dish.

Servings:  4

Mushroom Facts

Baby Bella mushrooms are a type of brown mushroom. They are young, not fully matured Portobello mushrooms. Also known as Cremini mushrooms they are low in calories and a good source of antioxidants and other nutrients.

Note: Tableware provided by Libbey Foodservice.

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The 123’s of Barbecue Bites

It’s official. Summer is here!

One of the staples of summer is a good old-fashioned barbecue. But, if you’re counting calories you’re probably wondering just how much heat these backyard classics are packing? Before taking a bite out of the savory side of grilling season here’s the skinny on how the numbers add up.

BBQ Calorie CountUntitled presentation (1)

Data Guidelines

  1. Hot dog and hamburger depict one each and includes bun.
  2. Wings are three whole.
  3. Ribs are three pieces.
  4. Additional items are the equivalent of one serving size.
  5. Items do not account for condiments or extra toppings.
  6. Caloric information may vary based on individual style of preparation.

 

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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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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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