Monthly Archives: April 2017

Beyond the Shot: Secrets to Cooking with Tequila

Did you know tequila pairs well with other garnishes besides lime and salt—and in configurations other than shot glasses? While margaritas are a must for every Cinco de Mayo party, the dinner and dessert menu can include pops of tequila, too.

Tequila: A Cooking Alcohol?

Cooking with tequila is totally possible, much to the surprise of many home cooks. This alcohol is distilled from the blue agave plant and is native to the Jalisco region of Mexico. It typically has a distinct smokiness that can add sophistication to your meals.

In cooking, tequila binds food compounds and evaporates rapidly. This wafts those compounds into your nose and makes the food smell even better. Since cooking and eating are about using your senses, the increase in aroma elevates the flavor of the dish.

Use More Tequila This Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is coming up, so I recommend cooking with tequila in honor of the holiday! Since it’s pretty diverse, you can try it in salad dressings, marinades, sauces or desserts. Add it to a citrus-based vinaigrette, or use it to enhance the acidity in tomatoes. Tequila complements rich chocolate and helps transfer flavor compounds from marinades into meat bound for the grill.

Think: Tequila-Marinated Grilled Chicken, Mahi Mahi Tacos with Tequila-Lime Crema and Vanilla Ice Cream with Tequila-Spiked Hot Fudge.

Our Favorite Pairings

Here are a few of tequila’s flavor affinities from Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s The Flavor Bible. Mix and match items from the list below to create your own tequila-inspired dishes. Or, use these ingredients to prepare the perfect margarita!

• Chile peppers
• Cilantro
• Cointreau
• Ginger
• Grenadine
• Lemon, lime or orange juice
• Pomegranate juice
• Sage
• Vermouth

We particularly like the combination of tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and sage. Experiment and see what combinations unfold for you.

One Tequila, Two Tequila…Wait, I’m Lost

Want to do more cooking with tequila, but not sure how to incorporate it into your menu? Let us help! Our catering services can make tequila the centerpiece of your Cinco de Mayo celebration—or any occasion, for that matter. Contact us to discuss your menu.

4 Smart Reasons to Shop at Your Local Farmers Market

Some people look forward to baseball in the spring. Others look forward to flowers in bloom. I’m a chef, so naturally I’m ready for farmers market season!

One of the most exciting things about the coming of spring is the re-opening of farmers markets here in Delaware. Your local farmers market is THE place to find that fresh produce you’ve been craving all winter long. Berries, spinach, stone fruit…ah, I can’t wait!

Beyond the food, farmers markets provide so much to the local community. From fair price points to neighborhood gardens and everything in between, there are so many reasons I shop at farmers markets for my family and my clients:

Quality
The best meals start with the best ingredients—and small farmers truly care about reducing waste, eliminating chemicals and treating animals ethically. Sometimes, they can’t afford organic or humane labels, but are every bit as conscientious (if not more) than their industrial counterparts. Talk to your farmers to learn more about their farming practices. They’re always happy to help!

Savings
Did you know that shopping for seasonal food (at the farmers market or grocery store) could actually save you money? This is because in-season ingredients are more abundant. It’s simple supply and demand. The more you have the less you charge. Plus, if your food doesn’t have to go far, purveyors can cut down on travel expenses. This is better for your wallet and the environment.

Community
Local farmers markets often support local communities. At the Southbridge Popup Farmers Market, you’ll find chemical-free and discounted produce. As an added bonus, all proceeds support the market and community garden. Do some research to learn more about giveback campaigns and volunteer opportunities at farms in your area.  

Health
If you stop and think about it, eating seasonal food just makes sense! There’s a reason we naturally crave soups and stews to keep us warm in the winter, just as we crave light salads and fruit in the spring and summer to keep us cool and energized. Eat in accordance with nature and you’ll have all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Ready to start shopping?

Throughout April and May, look for:
• Asparagus
• Artichokes
• Fava beans
• Peas
• Spinach
• Rhubarb
• Radishes
• Any other local favorites!

Don’t have time to get your family to the farmers market? I’ll bring all the fun and seasonal food right to your table with my Delaware-based personal chef services. Contact me, and let’s talk!