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.

Salivating Over Sea Salt

With the official start of summer all I’ve been thinking about is the ocean breeze, soft shell crabs and other tasty treats from the sea. Hard to believe perhaps but I’m especially salivating over Sea Salt.

Unrefined, natural and nutrient rich, sea salt offers more than a salty bite. As someone who serves up heaps of flavor, the right sea salt adds color, texture and grain too, taking a dish over the top. Here’s a sprinkling of salts and salt blends that are sure to melt in your mouth:

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Fleur de Sel

Fleur de Sel or ‘Flower of Salt’ is fine, fluffy salt crystals hand-harvested from France’s Atlantic Coast. This moist French salt has a delicate flavor, distinct taste and refined quality, making it one of the best finishing salts. It is beloved by cooks all over. Use it to prepare dishes or sprinkle on just before serving.

Himalayan Pink Salt    

Himalayan Pink Salt is another gem in the kitchen. Known for its taste and rich trace minerals, this rock salt ranges in size from small crystals to large stones. Because of this, it offers a multitude of uses – mills and grinders to large stones for grating table side, to chunks that are best for brining. Himalayan pink salt range in color from white to deep pink – even red, and makes for a vibrant finish. It is said to be the purest of all sea salts.

Smoked Salt

Smoked sea salts add an extra layer of flavor to foods. Smoked on a variety of woods including apple, hickory and oak, these salts offer more to savor. Lightly smoked salts are great on veggies, while the more robust work wonders atop grilled meats. Boost your backyard BBQ to a new level this grilling season with smoked sea salt.

Flavored Sea Salt

Whatever your creative culinary mind can conceive it probably exists as a salt blend. Among my favorites are Habanero Salt, Black Truffle Salt and Lime Salt, but there are literally dozens on the market. Sriracha Salt, Rosemary Salt and Merlot Salt are a few others.

With so much to choose from it can be difficult to make that choice. Hawaiian-style Red Sea Salt and Mediterranean Black Sea Salt are eye-catching with their deep, bold color. Talk about making an entrance! Whatever you fancy you can just about find it. Not sure what you fancy? No worries. Ideas and inspiration abound at SaltWorks and Williams-Sonoma.

To be balanced, research is crystal clear that too much sodium is not good for you. But cooking without any salt whatsoever is just plain blah. You can take that with a grain of salt or you can find your perfect pinch.

On the Road Again

Travel isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a food and special events business. But, when you’re based in New Jersey with a region that spans New York to Washington, D.C., the miles add up fast. Trips to the Hamptons are all in a day’s work… a very full day. And you find yourself on the road again and again.

As Memorial Day ushers in the unofficial start of summer, for JADE it signifies the beginning of the summer entertaining season. Just as private dinners and cocktail parties are a lifestyle for many clients, traveling is part and parcel of how JADE operates; a specialized service that brings food and flavor to the comfort of a client’s home, or during this time of year, their home away from home. So, travelling the distance is our normal.

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This photo was captured recently in Water Mill, New York, a hamlet of Southampton. This Memorial Day weekend will find me heating things up on the eastern end of the south shore of Long Island in East Hampton.

There’ll be many more days like this one. A long drive; quiet time to think, plan my next adventure. It’s quite a trip but I think I rather enjoy it.

Happy Memorial Day!

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.

Dining In

Will you be dining in? How often do you hear that line? These days it doesn’t quite mean the same thing as it did before. Today dining in encompasses a new way of experiencing food.

There’s a difference between dining in and eating in. Eating in generally refers to eating what you yourself have prepared at home. It also refers to ordering in, or ordering takeout and bringing it home or having it delivered. Dining in is eating in compliments of a personal chef.

A number of companies offer this specialized food service. Each brings their own unique spin that differentiates them from the competition of course. But the premise is the same; a skilled chef, willing to travel to your location, to prepare a restaurant-style meal, complete with five-star service, then cleaning and leaving the space spotless as if they were never there to begin with. All this, so you can fully experience the occasion and your guests.

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Consumers choose from fine dining, formal dinners with three or more courses, dinner buffet, family-style service or even a backyard barbecue. The date and time are determined, party style is finalized based on the client’s preferences, and the chef and host curate a personalized menu – taking into consideration dietary restrictions and allergies. Remaining details of the dinner party are hashed out. And a flawless evening of food, flavor and fun is on tap.

More and more people are opting for dining in to celebrate the many events in their lives; anniversaries, birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, other wedding-related events and much more. These personal chef services are especially prominent in major cities like New York and San Francisco, as well as vacation destinations like the Hamptons.

I’ve been part of this personal chef service for a couple of years. Having done dozens of them, I speak for many when I say dining in on the right occasion is dinner done right.

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.

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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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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!

 

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.

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!