Seven Facts About Jamaican Rum Cake

Image

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:

1452308_358084954361592_5445506444002427334_n

  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.

Pomegranate_Rum_Cupcake2

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!

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!

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!

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!

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.

1000353_220276898142399_115394980_n

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.

381321_10150487606707358_673192499_n

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.

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.

image

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!

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!

 

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.

Making the Most of Small Successes

miTZyMUEverybody wants to win. We want to win in school, at home, on the job, in business and just about every aspect of life. No one gets in the game to lose. But how do you get to the winner’s table?

I’ve noticed that people do not relate in terms of winning when discussing their personal aspirations. They instead use words and phrases like succeeding if life, being successful, accomplishing my dreams, doing what I was meant to do and so on. But one must realize that it’s not only sports teams and politicians who set out to win. That thing you refer to as a goal, a dream, a destiny, or that expectation that consumes so much of your time and effort is you ultimately trying to win. Winning is the realization of your potential.

Entrepreneurs, business owners, innovators, creators and visionaries especially, understand that there is a process to everything. But more than that, they recognize that rejection is part of that process. We hear the word “No” a lot. No, it doesn’t make sense, no, I don’t think it will do well, no, I don’t think the market is ready for that, no your price is too high, no, you’re not the right fit, no, I’m not interested, No, No, No! Eventually however, you get a yes. And it doesn’t have to be a life-altering, breakout yes that catapults you into global recognition. It can just simply be a yes. The size however, is a minor point. The power lies in the win itself. The validation signals something is working. Here’s how making the most of small successes can work for you:

Showing Gratitude

Begin by being grateful. Gratitude is the all important first step to realizing your dreams. It creates the right attitude and the right approach. It is a gentle acknowledgement in your spirit that says you appreciate where you are in the process. It’s that drop of oil in your lamp that sparks the flame that lights the fire in your belly that powers you to take your next step. When your approach is in alignment you are on a path to success; the very thing you’re trying to achieve. Gratitude is a force all its own.

Sweet Inspiration

Once you’re outfitted with the proper disposition you are ready for business. When you’re feeling good about where you are, who you are, what you’re doing, it unleashes a wellspringof inspiration. And we know when someone is inspired, truly inspired to do, to be, to create, watch out! History is the greatest teacher of what truly inspired people can be led to accomplish. Using small victories to empower and embolden you breathes new life into the every day. Inspiration is one of the greatest motivators you can have. It’s organic and it comes from within.

Motivation makes you word harder, take bold steps and make bold moves. Think of the last time you were really revved up. What happened? You went on to do that task that you’d been putting off, make that phone call that you’ve been dreading, or something else along those lines. The bottom line is when you became inspired it motivated you in such a way that things that were larger than life no longer seem daunting. Suddenly there were no fears, no hesitation and no hang ups.

Unleash Your Creativity

Inspiration breeds creativity, and creativity sets passion on fire, transforming ideas and vision into tangible results. When creativity flows momentum happens. Your labor begins to bear fruits. That no becomes yes. And that yes, even a small one, can move you closer to that goal line. So, take time to celebrate your small successes by giving yourself a virtual pat on the back.  Celebration shows approval. It says, yes, I want more of that. Here’s where the true power lies:

  1. When you accomplish even the smallest of tasks, it affirms that it can be done. How? Because you just did it!
  2. It tells you it can be done again. Why? If you did it once before it stands to reason you can do it again!

Suddenly the unreachable, unattainable and unachievable, no longer is.

Moving with Purpose

When you are close to the goal line you must be purposeful; purposeful with your time, your money, any and every resource at your disposal.

Too often in life and in business, we get caught doing things just because. We do it for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps someone else has done it, we’ve been invited to do it, or we simply had an opening in our schedule. But in order to make it to the winner’s circle you have to brush away the fluff.

Celebrating your small successes helps you do that. It acknowledges and reaffirms that you’re heading in the right direction. I did this and that happened. And why wouldn’t you want more of what actually works? When you’re focused you are more strategic, you move with intention and with purpose. It’s worth remembering everything has a season and seasons change.  Let one small victory lead you to the next and ultimately to your destiny. Here’s to small successes!

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.