festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Besides stunning scenery and super-friendly locals, the one thing that Grand Cayman Island clearly doesn’t fall short on is flavor. While visiting this tropical paradise during the Cayman Cookout, I was fortunate enough to savor some of the very best that the isle has to offer. From just-caught Ahi tuna and Wahoo fish, to locally grown breadfruit and cassava, to small batch rum that’s barrel aged under the ocean, the island-inspired cuisine of Cayman is undeniably distinctive, fresh and vibrant.
Cayman Cookout headlining chefs Eric Ripert, José Andrés and Dean James Max have shared a few of their recipes that capture authentic island flavor, yet can be easily created using ingredients found Stateside. For a true taste of the Cayman Islands at home, try the zesty chicken and mushroom paella that José fired up during his beachfront cooking demo, Eric’s grilled swordfish that he served at the Barefoot BBQ event, or Dean’s refreshing tuna coconut ceviche from the Harvest Dinner at The Brasserie. Bon appétit!
Chicken and Mushroom Paella (serves 6)
Recipe by José Andrés, as served during his Cayman Cookout Demo
Slice tomatoes in half, and grate each on a box grater over a bowl. Discard skins; set pulp aside. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Lightly season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides until deep golden. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Fry mushrooms until browned in oil and chicken fat. Set aside. Set 18-inch paella pan over two burners at high heat on the stove top, and heat 1/3 cup olive oil. Add tomato pulp and cook until darkened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and saffron, and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken pieces and mushrooms; add sherry and cook until evaporated. Add chicken stock; bring to a boil.
In a food processor or mortar, puree parsley, garlic and almonds, with a tablespoon or two of water until smooth and stir into pan. Sprinkle rice across the pan and stir until the grains are submerged, then don’t stir again. Cook on high heat for 10 minutes, rotating the pan on the two burners to distribute heat. Using a small spoon, test rice and stock and add salt as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Test rice again. If it is still hard, continue cooking for 2-4 more minutes.
In the final 2 minutes, sprinkle frozen peas over the top and return heat to medium-high, listening for a crackling sound to ensure the bottom is toasting but not burning. Remove from heat, cover with paper towels and let sit for 5 minutes. Use a metal spoon to scrape toasted rice from bottom of pan and serve.
Image courtesy of Creations Unlimited, Cayman Islands
Grilled Swordfish with Fennel & Tomato Vierge (serves 6)
Recipe by Eric Ripert, as served at the Cayman Cookout’s Barefoot BBQ
Grilled Swordfish & Fennel
Season the swordfish fillets with salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, and olive oil. Reserve. Grill to desired temperature.*Swordfish can be replaced by Striped Bass or Halibut
Place the sliced fennel in a small bowl; dress with lemon vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Top fish with this mixture before serving.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over fish of choice.
Trim and cut tuna into smaller workable portions. Slice tuna into thin strips and small dice.
Dice the peppers (keep seeds for extra spicy) and ginger. Add to the pot with the coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a low simmer for about 10-15 min. Take off the stove and let sauce completely cool. Strain and refrigerate.
Chop the cilantro; thinly slice the bell pepper and Serrano peppers. Slice the green onions and combine all the ingredients together.
To Serve: In a bowl, add the diced tuna, the ceviche mix and coconut sauce. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve in coconut shells over ice!
Sauté onions and leeks with butter in a small stockpot until soft. Add the chopped garlic and lightly sauté. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the squash and add it in the mixture with the honey and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and bring the soup back to a boil. Season with clove, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Blend the soup in your bar blender, strain, and reserve. The soup can be held in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cayman Land Crab
Brown butter in sauté pan, once golden remove most of the oil and leave browned butter solids. Heat pan on medium heat and sauté seasoning pepper and chives for 3 minutes. Turn heat up to high and add land crab quickly sauté crab for 2 minutes. And season with salt and pepper.
Place the warm land crab equally in 6 serving bowls. Spoon a tablespoon of cream next to the crab. Pour the hot soup in the bowl and garnish with the chives.
Image courtesy of The Brasserie
Happy one year anniversary to Alobar! Since opening in November 2011, this cutting-edge dining destination in Long Island City has taken “pub grub” to new heights, and has become renowned for serving rustic nose-to-tail American fare paired with carefully selected craft beers, whiskeys and handcrafted cocktails. Alobar even earned a coveted place on Michelin Guide’s 2013 Bib Gourmand List.
To celebrate its first anniversary on November 15th, Alobar is hosting a week of especially delicious events:
Whiskey Tuesday with Four Roses Bourbon | Tuesday, November 13th: To kickoff the celebrations, Beverage Director Chess Lankford presents a complimentary tasting of Four Roses Bourbon, along with a brand rep to share insights on each variety of the Kentucky spirit.
Alobar Charcuterie Night | Wednesday, November 14th: Paying homage to its favorite meat curing styles, Alobar is offering one large platter of eleven of the tastiest house-made delicacies ($50; serves 2-3), with varieties including: Pig Ear Terrine, Duck Breast Prosciutto & Foie Gras-Apple Terrine.
Anniversary Beer Dinner | Thursday, November 15th: Commemorate Alobar’s one-year with an indulgent 5-course menu (including Smoked Trout, Grilled Quail & Rosemary Sausage, Roasted Rack of Lamb & Braised Shoulder, and more) paired with beers from San Diego’s Stone Brewing Company ($50 for dinner & pairings, view the full menu here).
Weekend Pig Roasts | Friday & Saturday, November 16th-17th: Kick up your heels and get ready to pig out at Alobar’s weekend-long pig-filled feast served family-style ($30 per person for mains & sides).
Reserve your spot today! AlobarNYC.com | 718.752.6000 | 46-42 Vernon Boulevard, LIC NY
And to savor the flavor of Alobar at home, mix up their addictive Maple Bacon Popcorn recipe:
Maple Bacon Popcorn | Recipe from Alobar (serves 6)
Preheat an oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon strips and cook until crisp, turning occasionally. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings.
Crumble bacon. Toss bacon, drippings, maple syrup, black pepper, and salt with popcorn. Spread popcorn mixture in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes, rotating trays halfway through, stirring occasionally. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Images courtesy of Alobar Restaurant
Early Monday, as New York City and the rest of the East coast was preparing for the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, an unyielding urge to get in the kitchen and whip together something comforting came over me. While I still had gas and heat and power, maybe only for a short duration, cozying up to a big bowl of creamy risotto seemed exactly what I needed to help weather the impending storm.
This decadent butternut squash risotto is chock full of fall flavors, with velvety Monterey Jack cheese, toasted pine nuts, and smoky pancetta adding savory richness and depth. Serve yourself a heaping bowlful, pour yourself a glass of a crisp Chardonnay, and settle in to a perfectly satisfying autumn meal.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta & Jack Cheese
Preheat oven to 475°.
Place squash on a nonstick jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 20 minutes or until tender, turning after 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Combine broth, water, wine, and rosemary/tarragon in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat.
Cook pancetta in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan; drain on a paper towel. Discard pan drippings. Add onion and oil to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add rice to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. (Do not stir; rice will have a liquid consistency similar to stew.)
Place pan in oven; bake at 325° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Stir in the squash, pancetta, cheese, salt, and pepper. Cover with a clean cloth; let stand 10 minutes (rice will continue to cook). Sprinkle with pine nuts. Garnish with rosemary/tarragon sprigs, if desired. Serves 4.
Love butternut squash? You’ll fall for the flavors in this Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Soup recipe.
September is a time for new beginnings. And whether you’re going back to school or settling into a fall schedule, nothing helps you power through the day like a delicious, energy-packed lunch.
So what to make when you’re brown-bagging it? It’s easy to get stuck in the same boring weekday routine, but my friends at Food Network aim to change that. They’ve invited me to be part of today’s Communal Table lunch party, where members of the online food community share recipes for midday mealtime inspiration.
My lunch table contribution is a simple, satisfying sandwich recipe that tastes sophisticated, yet is easy to put together on busy mornings (or the night before). This chicken salad’s high protein content will help combat mid-afternoon slumps, while hearty cashews, curry powder and sweet-tart grapes deliver a dynamic flavor and texture punch.
Since this recipe was adapted from Cooking Light, it’s a wholesome option for school lunch boxes too! Kids are sure to love the combination of crunchy nuts and juicy grapes—plus, the curry is subtle enough that it won’t overwhelm picky little palates.
Dig into the recipe at the bottom of this post, and check out the below links for more fantastic lunch ideas from around the web. Want to join the party? Get in the conversation and share your favorite recipes on Twitter by using hashtag #pullupachair (@FoodNetwork @ThisGirlCanEat).
Tidy Mom: Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter Cookies
Made by Michelle: Almond Butter and Banana Sandwiches
Chez Us: Healthy Tuna Salad
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox 2012: The Ultimate Collection
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Back to School Roasted Chicken Legs
Bacon and Souffle: Gruyere Grilled Cheese With Apple Salad
Zaika Zabardast: Fresh Corn Cakes With Black Bean Salad Tossed in Cumin Vinaigrette
This Girl Can Eat: Cashew Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Spicy-Korean “Ramen” Noodle Soup
Haute Apple Pie: Edamame Hummus
Feed Me Phoebe: Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches
Creative Culinary: Margarita Watermelon
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Swiss Chard Turnovers With Parmesan and Pistachios
Cashew Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches (serves 2)
adapted from Cooking Light
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Add chicken, celery, cashews, and green onions; stir well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve chicken salad on rolls and garnish with lettuce and tomato (optional).
Say ciao to your new favorite summertime cocktail. Aperol, an orange-based liqueur made by Gruppo Campari, is the best-selling spirit in Italy and one of the fastest-growing in the world. It’s fruitier and less bitter than Campari, and is low in alcohol, which makes Aperol a fantastic aperitivo before a meal.
Showcasing this herbal, citrusy spirit, the Aperol Spritz cocktail caught on like wildfire in Italy and quickly became the country’s most popular mixed drink — first created in the Veneto region, where Prosecco is made. Light, refreshing and eye-catching, the Spritz is a perfect beverage for warm weather sipping. After just one taste of this stunning sparkler, I was head over heels in amore.
Fill a wine glass or rocks glass with ice. Pour in Prosecco and Aperol, then top with a splash of soda. Garnish with orange slice (squeeze into drink and stir before sipping).
Taste the sunset, smile, repeat. Salute!
This March 17th, you won’t need the luck o’ the Irish to find a perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert recipe. Get the shenanigans started with easy-to-bake, homemade chocolate brownies spiked with luscious Irish Cream. These flavorful, fudgy treats are surprisingly light, so you can indulge and still have room for all that green beer. Cheers!
Irish Cream Brownies (makes approx. 16 brownies)
Recipe from Cooking Light
For home cooks who don’t own The Meatball Shop Cookbook yet, it’s time to get on the ball.
After rolling out three successful restaurants in New York City, The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow are sharing the secrets behind their award-winning dishes with meatball lovers everywhere. Their debut cookbook is filled with fun, witty narrative, helpful tips and nearly 100 approachable, comforting recipes that are both flavorful and easy to execute—what more could you ask for?
With Super Bowl Sunday this weekend (go Giants!), now’s the perfect time to give the Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls recipe a whirl. For this year’s party, bench the expected plate of hot wings and serve these spicy and tangy, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs instead. Pair your balls with creamy homemade Blue Cheese Dressing (you’ll never go back to store bought!) for a dish that’s sure to be a game day winner, even if your team isn’t.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE