Double Avocado Toast – Not Really a Recipe

Double Avocado Toast – Not Really a Recipe

This is the second post in my new series called “Not Really a Recipe”. These will be non-recipe posts that just give ideas on how to fix meals that are tasty and require very little work.

This dish is perfect for lunch, brunch or cut into slices for an appetizer. The dish is made using grain-filled bread that’s buttered and lightly toasted then topped with my Zesty Guacamole recipe, slices of avocado, cilantro leaves and edamame. Right before serving, I squeeze some lime juice on. Simple to make and boasting big, perfect flavors.

Let me know if you try this!

Cheers,

Veronique

Happy National Wine Day

Happy National Wine Day

It’s #NationalWineDay – have you tried a wine I should be sampling lately?

Easy Cheesy White Grits

Easy Cheesy White Grits

Easy Cheesy Grits

I make creamy polenta all the time, but for some reason, I don’t make southern-style cheesy grits that often. Some would say that polenta and white corn grits are the same thing, but for me, polenta is made using fine to medium ground yellow or white corn and southern-style grits are simply coarsely ground bits of white corn. In my polenta, I like to add Parmesan cheese. In my grits, I use sharp Cheddar.

This recipe yields four side dishes or two entrée portions of grits. You can eat them on their own of top them with sautéed shrimps and hot sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup white corn grits (I use Bob’s Red Mill Southern Style White Grits)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 tsp. softened butter, optional

Grits Cooking

Directions:

  • In a deep saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the grits in a slow, steady stream. Whisk to break up any lumps then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching, then cover the pan and allow the grits to rest with the heat off for 5 more minutes.
  • Add the 4 tablespoons of butter and the cheese to the grits and stir until fully incorporated and creamy.
  • Top each of four servings with a teaspoon of soften butter, or each of two servings with 2 teaspoons, if using.

Cheers,

Veronique

Tito’s Handmade Vodka to Give Back During New Jersey Pride

Image may contain: plantI love Tito’s and its branding efforts. Very worthy cause/event – hope you can all join!

WHO: Tito’s Handmade Vodka +  Garden State Equality (GSE), New Jersey’s largest advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

WHAT: As part of New Jersey Pride, Tito’s will host a pre and post parade party at Johnny Mac’s on Sunday, June 4. For every Tito’s cocktail purchased throughout the day,  $1, up to $5,000, will be donated to GSE. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Love is Love float in the parade.

WHEN:  Sunday, June 4

  • 10A.M. – 3PM: Pre-Party featuring $3 Bloody Mary’s & free omelets for Parade Volunteers

*$1 of every bloody mary purchased will be donated to GSE

  • 12 P.M – 2PM.: Parade

  • 7 P.M.: Post-party celebration with live music by The Nerds for parade-goers

*$1 of every cocktail purchased will be donated to GSE

WHERE: Johnny Mac

208 Main St.,  Asbury Park, NJ 07712

WHY: To encourage our fans to spread the love within our local communities.

Tailgating Party by Denville Meat Shop

Tailgating Party by Denville Meat Shop

I’ve written about Denville Meat Shop (see past post here) in the past and how amazing it is on all levels: to-go foods, meats, service, classes, etc….the past weekend, I was privy to its delicious, meaty catering via a tailgate party at MetLife Stadium.

The private tailgate party served about 15 of us with lots of leftovers. Denville Meat Shop owner, Jeff Orel, personally manned the grill, which was a treat, and served a variety of meats: ribs, brisket, steak, pulled pork, sausages, hot dogs and burgers. There was also potato salad and coleslaw. Note that the package of store-bought cookies and the bags of burger and hot dog buns in the photos were brought by me and NOT short cuts by Orel.

Not sure how this was possible, but the brisket was perfectly tender and juicy, not an easy thing to do via catering. The ribs were meaty and flavorful; the burger meat with bacon-packed; the hot dogs snappy and some of the best I’ve had; the steak was expertly-grilled and med-rare; the pulled pork was juicy with great porky flavors.

Denville Meat Shop offers tailgating packages, so don’t feel like this amazing lineup can’t happen to you too! Orel also offers a variety of catering options and even ‘rents’ himself out as a chef for private events – he was, after all, an executive chef before opening the shop.

Just a great experience with some amazing foods that my group is still talking about!

Denville Meat Shop – 28 Diamond Spring Rd, Denville, New Jersey 07866.

Cheers,

Veronique

Salmon with Avocado Mash – Not Really a Recipe

Salmon with Avocado Mash – Not Really a Recipe

This will be the first in a new series I’m going to do called “Not Really a Recipe”. These will be non-recipe posts that just give ideas on how to fix meals that are tasty and require very little work.

This dish is one I eat often…..blackened salmon topped with my Zesty Guacamole recipe. I use good quality salmon, sprinkle blackening seasonings on it, sear in a very hot cast iron pan, squirt some lime juice on and top with the guac. Simple, low-carb and most importantly, very tasty.

Let me know if you try this!

Cheers,

Veronique

2012 Weingut Stadt Krems Riesling Reserve Grillenparz Kremstal

2012 Weingut Stadt Krems Riesling Reserve Grillenparz Kremstal

Friend shared this bottle with me over oysters and fish. Love this style wine and never a bad bottle by this producer.

Looks: Greenish yellow in the glass.

Smell: Citrus/Meyer lemon and juicy peach on the nose.

Taste: Delicious lemon/lime flavors with some wet stones notes.

Texture and Finish: Rich yet light. Crazy nice minerality and acidity with a long finish.

Pairings: Oysters/shellfish, grilled fish, seafood risotto.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Riesling

Region: Kremstal, Austria

Price: $30

2017 NJ Beer & Food Festival 6/16 – 6/18

2017 NJ Beer & Food Festival 6/16 – 6/18

Photo by Crystal Springs Resort

Now in its 9th year, the New Jersey Beer & Food Festival will once again take place at Crystal Springs Resort from June 16 – 18. Crystal Springs’ annual celebration of all things beer happens over Father’s Day Weekend with a Chefs & Brews Dinner, beer tasting featuring over 150 beers, a golf tournament and the Brews Brunch in the Chef’s Garden. Here are the details:

Friday 6/16

Chefs and Brews Dinner at 7pm featuring beer pairings from Jersey Girl Brewing Co., a local craft brewer from Mount Olive, NJ that launched in 2014. Executive Chef Anthony Bucco’s four-course menu features Mangalitsa Charcuterie with whisky soaked cherries, stout mustard and artisan breads; Berkshire Pork Belly with olives, pistachios and avocado; and Porcelet Porchetta with Pine Island potatoes, dandelion and romesco. For dessert, NJ Strawberries hit the sweet spot with lavender, shortbread and whipped yogurt. Dinner starts with a reception of passed canapés and beer cocktails. Tickets are $125.

Saturday 6/17

Brews & Birdies Tourney will be at 9am on the resort’s award-winning Wild Turkey course. The tournament will feature 18 holes of golf with stops for craft beer tastings on 4 different holes. Tickets are $195 and include admission to the Beer Festival tent. Registration for the golf tournament can be made at GolfGenius.com.

Saturday’s showcase event is the Beer Festival, will take place under a soaring tent where beer aficionados can sample over 150 beers, including many craft brews. Crystal Springs’ culinary team will grill delicious Berkshire pork, grass-fed beef, lamb, free range chickens, rabbit and more over open fire pits. Popular cover band Lima Bean Riot is a perennial favorite returning to rock the house with everyone’s favorite hits. Tickets are $75 for 3pm admission ($100 for VIP; early 2pm entry); $35 for designated drivers.

Sunday 6/18

Brews Brunch will be in the Chef’s Garden, a unique “garden-to-table” al fresco dining experience. Guests will enjoy family style dishes like Wood-Fired Mushroom Frittata, Jerk Goffle Road Chicken, Smoked Berkshire Pork Shoulder, 7X Beef & Mangalitsa Sliders and more with growlers of beer. The full menu can be found here. There will be two seatings at 10am and 12:30pm. Brunch is $39 plus tax & gratuity ($19 for kids 4-12, free for 3 and under).

Tickets for Beer Festival events are available at http://www.crystalgolfresort.com/dine/beer-fest

Cheers,

Veronique

Blueberry & Rosemary Greek Mule

Blueberry & Rosemary Greek Mule

I’m not one to turn down a Moscow Mule, a drink typically made using ginger beer and Vodka. Last summer, when I was to host a Greek-themed party, I opted to create a Greek Mule, simply replacing the Vodka with Ouzo, the famed licorice-flavored liquor of Greece. The drink was delicious and refreshing and my guests raved about it.

When the fine folks at Wish Farms announced that as part of the Food Wine Conference, they were running a berry-centric cocktail contest, I knew I had to enter with an exclusive drink: Blueberry & Rosemary Greek Mule.

This drink is very simple to make and looks amazing served in copper Mule cups. I use both Ouzo and Vodka instead of just Ouzo to tone down the licorice flavor for those who aren’t fans.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup fresh Wish Farms blueberries, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. simple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces ginger beer
  • 1 ounce good quality Vodka, I’m partial to Tito’s
  • 1 ounce Ouzo
  • Sprig of rosemary for garnish
  • Lime wedge for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. In a tall glass or canning jar, muddle about 1 tablespoon of fresh blueberries with the simple syrup and the lime juice.
  2. Add the ginger beer, the Vodka and the Ouzo to the muddled berries and stir to combine.
  3. Add ice to a mule cup and the remaining blueberries then pour the drink over the ice.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, and with a wedge of lime, if using.

Makes one cocktail.

Cheers,

Veronique

Rosé Blood Orange Lemonade

Rosé Blood Orange Lemonade

I love refreshing cocktails and am always looking for fun, easy-to-make recipes for summer parties. The nice folks at Bridge Lane Wine posted this neat recipe and photo on their Instagram account and agreed to let me share it with you. Blood orange and rosé wine – what’s not to love!?

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup Bridge Lane Rosé
  • ¼ cup blood orange juice
  • Orange slice for garnish

Directions:

  1. Stir together all the ingredients, except the orange slice, and pour into a tall glass then top with crushed ice.
  2. Garnish with orange slice.

Cheers,

Veronique