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Tag Archives: Jersey Shore Food

 

Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a cocktail to pair with your meal, and the right cocktail can complement a dish by either matching or contrasting its flavors. The great thing is you don’t need to be a master mixologist to dream up exciting pairings.

The key to great pairings is to consider flavors, just as you would do with wine. Olive oil in a dish might consider lemon as in a Lemon Drop, while something in a butter sauce might work great with a vanilla infused drink. 

One thing to consider is how your cocktail will match or contrast the flavors in a particular dish. For example, Bourbon is often paired with barbecue because the smoky flavor of the meat goes well with the smoky, woody flavor of the spirit. By the same token, something hot and spicy like an Asian dish or a spicy tuna roll would work well with the cooling flavors of a cucumber-watermelon Mojito.

When contrasting or complementing flavors, you need to make certain that the cocktail choice won’t overpower the dish. Pairing whisky with raw oysters is a bit of overkill, but the whisky would work well with duck or even a sloppy joe. A Manhattan would be a poor choice for sushi, but a cucumber martini would be quite complimentary.

Herbs in your cocktail also add a bit of interest and flavor, and give your drink a chance to bond with the meal. If you use herbs to match similar flavors in your drink and food, you add an extra layer of complexity to your meal and cocktail. You already know mint gives Juleps and Mojitos a delightful boost, so why not pair sage with tequila or gin with rosemary? Remember, you don’t always need to muddle; sometimes just a sprig as garnish provides the aromatic touch you need.

Just remember, there are NO RULES and all that matters is that a IT TASTES FABULOUS!

Let’s not call the whole thing off!

tomatoesGrowing up in New Jersey, a state known for the best tomatoes, brings back memories of my grandparents. My brother and I knew summer was coming, grandpa was preparing the garden. Mixing the soil perfectly, he said was an integral part to the chemistry of growing the best tomatoes, THE JERSEY TOMATO. Growing up we loved visiting, especially in the summer, the eating would always be good. Fresh vegetables and herbs straight from the garden. Grandpa Mark would love the whole process, weeded for hours. The best part for us was when he would walk us to his garden and let us pick our own tomato. A perfect tomato is sweet, tender and juicy. We would run back to the house and Leeping Lena, my grandmother would rinse, slice, salt and add it to a slice of Italian bread, this is what summer was about.

Sitting around eating and enjoying the fruits, or should I say vegetables, of his labor, and praising the harvest the debate would begin. What is a tomato? I was taught the tomato is a fruit, it has seeds, what were you taught? The NJ government determined that the tomato is a vegetable. It is the state vegetable, the blueberry is the state fruit.

jersey tomatoesThe classic jersey tomato is a BEEFSTEAK tomato, and we all know from gardening friends that the entire crop seems to ripen all at once in August. So what is one to do with all their tomatoes? Here are some of the things my Grandmother has passed down.

Simple Sauce

Using ripe tomatoes, chop them up with some crushed garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil. Leave them to marinate while you cook some Pasta. Then simply drain the pasta and combine it with the sauce topped with some shaved Parmesan cheese. Great when you want something quick after work.

Roasted

Halve ripe tomatoes and place on a lined baking tray cut side up and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and garlic, roast for one to two hours in a very low oven until just beginning to brown around the edges. You can serve them either warm or cold. I put them over pasta or as a condiment on any sandwich. I also pour everything into a jar and they and they last in the refrigerator.

Simple Salsa

By simply dicing up some lovely ripe tomatoes and combining them with diced red onion, finely diced chilies (red or green, it’s up to you and how hot you like it), cilantro, lime juice and salt, you have a nice Tangy salsa that pairs well with chips. I have also been known to add canned corn and pineapple to round out all the flavors for my taste buds. Other fruits I have added are peach or mango.

Stewed Tomatoes

Crush and peel tomatoes, Sauté in butter. Add 1 tsp sugar, chopped celery and onion, and a pinch of red pepper. Put on anything you like.

tomato jamTomato Jam

This is one of my favorites and I have tweaked Grandma’s version.

  • 6 Jersey Tomatoes
  • ½ Red Onion
  • 1tbsp Garlic
  • Sauté and cook

Add:

  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Sweet Chili Sauce

Cook down to Glaze.

This treat is great on tuna, chicken, pasta or just Italian bread.

My grandfather’s pride was his tomatoes. Try it yourself and tell us how it comes out!

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Untitled1The other night I was out with a few friends having dinner. Two of them ordered the same dish, one was happy, the other not so. I sat there and listened what each one said, it was the same, but one liked it: WHY? Has this ever happened to you?

My background is in physical therapy so I started thinking from the anatomy side of my brain. Are all taste buds created equal? Taste buds have microscopic hairs that send messages to the brain: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. There is a new one now, umami; savory. When I was in school I don’t think it was discovered yet.

Taste buds are replaced every two weeks, maybe that is why some things tasted better last week. As we age we have fewer taste buds, among other things.

Untitled2Taste buds can only take some of the credit for your favorite foods. Let’s hear it for the Nose, the good olfactory receptors that send messages to your brain that makes your mouth water when you know it is going to taste good.

Untitled3Last our eyes, definitely if it looks good it usually tastes good.

Now that we have everything working together, here are a few other issues to think about:

This all can be affected with a cold, allergies, or your mood. Doesn’t food and drinks taste better when your Happy? So is good tasting a science? I think so.

When we are creating food or drinks at Mister C’s Beach Bistro we really try to make sure we are hitting every sensation possible. The sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. Next time you’re creating, think what flavors you like paired together.

I know I like the taste of chocolate with salt, or prosciutto with pineapple or a peach, mango bloody mary. The perfect preparation: All the flavors working together to cause an explosion on my tongue, with a splash of olfactory, garnished with a good mood, it definitely tastes good!

Without your tongue, nose, eyes and good mood life would be flavor less, or should I say TASTELESS!

Citrus rosemary

The Ingredients, Fresh!

  • Mandarin Vodka
  • Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • Fresh Rosemary

Shake it up Garnish with rosemary.

Pair it with our famous Roasted Beet Salad with endive, pistachios, blue cheese crumbles, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. Or. skip everything and go right to dessert!

Funnel Cake FriesIMG_0730

With caramel and chocolate dipping sauce.