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.
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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

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  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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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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Spring Cleaning Your Pantry (Radio)

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Spring has sprung and you know what that means! Time to clean the pantry! I know cleaning isn’t the most fun, but it’s gotta be done.

On part two of my Spring Has Sprung segment with Jennifer Lewis Hall on “Life Advice” on Magic 98.3 FM, I share tips on staple pantry picks, checking food labels, organizing the cupboard for ease of use, plus infusing oils, vinegar, mustard and more for innovative culinary creations.

Take a listen (Scroll to Show #382).

For shopping tips, recipe ideas or help with a special event visit me online at www.JADEGRILL.com! And be sure to post your comments here. I look forward to reading them!

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Spring Fruits & Vegetables (Radio Segment)

ThinkstockPhotos-484168735Spring has sprung and with it a bounty of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. On a recent episode of “Life Advice” on Magic 98.3FM, I talk with Show Host Jennifer Lewis Hall on what’s in season and how to pick and prepare them.

Take a listen (Scroll to Show #381).

 

Stay tuned for the second part of my two-part series featuring spring cleaning your pantry, where I dish on staple spices, oils, dried beans and more to have handy, plus tips for whipping up a quick and delicious meal on the fly!

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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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Spicy Black Beans

These Spicy Black Beans were featured as part of my recent Spice of Life cooking demonstration at Williams-Sonoma in New York City. The audience absolutely loved it! I hope you’ll enjoy creating this zesty, spicy, flavorful dish at home!

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16 oz dried black beans

10 cups Water

1/2 cup red onion, minced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

3 garlic clove, peeled

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

2 slices Habanero or Scotch Bonnet pepper

  1. Rinse beans and soak overnight.
  2. In a dutch oven (or stock pot), add beans, salt, garlic and water and simmer for 85 minutes over medium-hi heat.
  3. Add olive oil, red onion, habanero and most of the cilantro and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from stove and cool for a few minutes.
  5. Remove the garlic cloves and habanero slices.
  6. Spoon beans into medium flat bowl and dress with remaining cilantro.

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Servings: 12

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