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How to Win at Valentine’s Day This Year

win at valentines day dinner for twoStanding in line at the local drug or big box store the day before Valentine’s Day, holding a heart-shaped box of mass-produced chocolate candies and a card with poorly written sentiments is NOT the way to win your love’s heart! With a little planning and creativity, you can win at Valentine’s Day this year. All it takes is a little inspiration, and someone who can execute the perfect romantic dinner for two!

So, how is all this going to happen, you may ask? How do I plan, shop, and cook for this romantic dinner? Believe it or not, you don’t need to do anything, it’s as easy as a simple phone call to make it all happen. And the best part about this plan, is that the sky’s the limit as far as the menu, timing, and delivery goes. If you want to impress your Valentine this year, here are some ideas for what to serve and how to do it.

One of the most popular menus for a romantic dinner for two (and it doesn’t have to be just for Valentine’s Day) is a surf-and-turf. A combination of seafood and beef is always sure to please because it provides something for everyone. Things like crab cakes, salmon, or shrimp can be paired with filet mignon, beef wellington, or prime rib cooked to perfection go beautifully together. Simple side dishes like roasted potatoes, julienne carrots or roasted asparagus are the perfect complement to delicate main courses. Even Lobster or crab bisque soups or Risotto with your favorite fish, like shrimp, lobster, or scallops can add just enough warmth and romance to any dinner for two. Any of these main courses paired with the right wine, or even champagne, are a sure bet for this Valentine’s Day.

We would never forget dessert, so a decadent serving of chocolate lava cake, or even apple cobbler served warm with ice cream are very popular finishing touches. Chocolate dipped strawberries, or even a berry tart can work beautifully with flavors, textures, and color to serve for dessert. And if your sweetheart is sensitive to any ingredients, or is watching their weight, a beautiful fruit arrangement or other light-style dessert can be provided.

win at valentine's day with chef prepared valentine's day dinners Dinner for two is romantic any time of the year, and David’s Culinary Delights will bring your vision to reality with just one phone call, especially for Valentine’s Day! We will customize your menu to be sure your significant other is treated to everything they love, right in your own home! We will even arrange to have a licensed massage therapist provide massages while Chef David prepares your 3-course meal. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than over-processed candy or fighting the crowds on Valentine’s Day? Call us now at 609-251-4137 or visit our website today for details on our Romantic Dinner for Two Packages.

Big Game Day Foods Customized Just For You

Big Game Party Foods One of the best things about the New Year is looking forward to the playoffs, and that Big Game day! If you are the type of host that loves to have everyone over to watch the game, you know that it’s really important to have the right eats, and plenty of them! There are some staples that are “must-haves” your fellow sports fans will expect, but then there are other options to personalize and surprise your guests with a little something they weren’t expecting. Having your Big Game Day party catered is a great choice because it frees you up to cheer on your favorite team. Here are some great food ideas for Big Game event.

Tasty starters to whet their appetite

Obviously, the food is going to make or break your party. So, I recommend starting with incredible appetizers that are unique and tasty, like whiskey or bourbon meatballs. These are a popular, modern twist on a game day staple. There are many types of dips to serve with vegetables, bread, or crackers, like crab or artichoke dip. But, even more healthful options like hummus and beet dip can give your guests the richness of dip, without the heavy fats. And, what would appetizers be without nachos! These are a great game-day favorite that offer the flexibility for toppings so you can really make it your own.

Main courses with proteins as the hero

Next up, you can serve an amazing chili, that can be more of the traditional red chili made with beef and tomato base, or you can go a little leaner (without compromising taste) and do a white turkey chili. There’s also a vegetarian option, if you and your guests aren’t feeling it with the meat. Another great main course we love are sliders; and you can go with two types, regular burger sliders, or a delicious pulled pork. Served on the best rolls with all the fixings, sliders are popular game day fare. Don’t forget the bar-be-que ribs! What’s a game day party without them? Slow roasted, with choice of sauce, these can be tender and delicious as your main course. Whatever your fancy, there’s a game day version that can be perfect for your party.

What’s on the side counts

Just as important as appetizers, what you serve on the side can complement your main course. We love a good creamy coleslaw, but there are many different versions of this favorite staple. We would recommend trying a light, vinegar coleslaw which features a cider vinegar and sugar dressing that gives it a tangy yet sweet taste. Apple slaw is another trending favorite which provides both a tartness and fruitiness that is undeniably delicious. Potatoes also make a great side, especially with the sliders. You can do roasted potatoes with olive oil and herbs, or even for a change try some sweet potato fries. Potato salad is great for a cold side.

Game day food can be just as important as the big screen TV your viewing it on! So don’t wait until the last minute to plan your menu. You don’t want to end up shopping the pre-packaged and frozen food aisle in the grocery store. Be sure to check out catering options from David’s Culinary Delights. We can customize your menu and deliver your food, fresh, on game day. Call us at 609-402-6281 or visit our website today.

And, don’t forget, once the Big Game is over, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. We have a great Romantic  Dinner and a Massage package that will delight and impress your significant other. Take a look here for details.

 

 

Fall is Here!

Some of us may welcome the cool weather, some may not! Here in NJ it does bring us the changing of colors on trees. Plus a whole new variety of new fruits and vegetables. So I would like to go through the  seasonal fruits and vegetable that are or soon to be available to us, mostly from New Jersey.

fall-chef-meals

Apples

To begin with, Apples! Yes there are other states, Washington being one,  that produces the delicious Apple. From them we make cider, soft or hard! Eat them as a snack, plain or with peanut butter, apple sauce or coat them with candy or dip them in caramel? Heck,we even bob for them. We make pies and cobblers. But did you know if you eat an apple a half hour before dinner you will consume less calories? By the way, you can eat the whole apple, seeds and all!When picking apples, the should be firm not hard. Avoid bruised or any that have their skin pierced. Did you know NJ is the third largest producer of cranberries in the US?  From juice to sauce to adding them to stuffing, cranberries are a great fruit.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a great fall vegetable. The heads should be tight, consistent color no spotted yellowing or flowers. The florets are delicious by themselves or mixed with other vegetables in a medley. The stalks can be used to make soup.  Speaking of mixing vegetables, cauliflower is another fall vegetable. It mixed well with broccoli or by itself. You can saute, roast or even grill for a wonder full flavor. You can mash cauliflower and it resembles mashed potatoes. If you are trying to get your kids to eat more vegetables! Cabbage is grown in south jersey. You make traditional cole slaw or use it as a base for a variety of different types of slaw! Braised cabbage and sauerkraut are made from cabbage as well. There is even the Cabbage Diet!

Grapes

Grapes are in season now. New Jersey wineries are getting better at producing some excellent wines. They should be plump, no matter how big they are. When they come off the vine easily is a good indication of their ripeness.

Peaches

Although peaches are just going out of season, with the warm fall we had you can still find some available.   And Peppers are great this time of year. Arguably the most versatile so far. Eat them raw with dip add to salads and mixed with salsas. You can stuff them with vegetables, rice, or  beef. Add them to  mixed vegetables, sausage, fajitas, meatballs or fish.

Garlic

California is #1 in the US for growing garlic. Garlic can be added to almost anything you want. Another root vegetable is ginger. Used a lot in Asian/Oriental cooking. Good for an upset stomach also. Brussels sprouts, in the cabbage family are delicious sauteed, roasted or mixed. They look kinda funny on the stalk they grow on.    Beans, peas, parsnips and pears all are in season. Onions, which are used in so much of cooking.

Mushrooms

Pennsylvania is the Mushroom capital of the US. Grown mainly underground in caves available all year, as unfortunately most of everything I mentioned in this post.

Squashes Pumpkins and Rutabega

Then we have  the squashes, Pumpkin, Rutabaga, and potatoes which get harvested once a year.  I may have left a few out but please enjoy these while they are in season. Why, because they taste best when in season.

If you have any questions about the above mentioned or any other foods, feel free to contact me.

How Good Does Your Fresh Food Look?

We seem to be brainwashed into the whole good looking appearance thing. Our cars have to look good, our significant other, clothes, hair, face, furniture everything has to look “good” for us. We spend millions of dollars on advertising and consuming products that are made to look good. But, is the best looking anything really the best?

fresh-food

Take fruits and vegetables. They are grown naturally, in soil along with rocks, bugs, and other animals, with sunlight, wind, rain or not! They are not grown in a perfect environment, nor should they. Just a good one.  Companies have spend millions of dollars and hours to help make our food look good for us to buy. From the perfect shape, to color, we even go as far to put wax on our food to make them shiny so we buy them! And then say not to eat the skin. Which by the way has most of the nutrition in them. Then we even publicize the “The Ugly Tomato”

But why do we have to buy raw products without blemishes? Lets take vegetables, for example. We buy them and we cut them into pieces, cook them, then we eat them. So do they really need to look that good when we first purchase them if we are going to change them into something else anyway? What about fruit you might say? We eat a piece of fruit raw. Yes we do. But do they have to look perfect in order to enjoy that delicious apple, pear, plum, peach or any other. What about oranges or melons where we cut the skin off? Does the skin have to be perfect in order to enjoy the fruit on the inside?

Why do our fruits and vegetables have blemishes on them on the first place? Is it how or where it was grown? As our food grows it may run into obstacles that may cause imperfections to them. Or maybe it is getting old and starting to get rotten? There are many reasons why a fruit or vegetable may have a non perfect skin or outer layer. Does this make it not tasty? After all we do eat to enjoy the taste, don’t we?  If we compare to humans, babies are born with soft smooth as silk skin. As they grow they may get cuts, scraps or bruises that leave a scar. Does this make us not good because we have a scar on our skin? The older we get, the wiser we get. Which is better, isn’t it? Same goes for food we eat.         People do not like fruit that is not ripe. It may be hard and not taste very good. In fact we go to great length to purposely ripen our bananas, tomatoes and others before we eat them.  So a piece of fruit with a small blemish might just be ripening. Which means it may taste better as it is producing the sugars in them that make them sweet.

So, keep in mind when picking fruits and vegetables like anything else, the best looking are not always the best. As is the bigger is not always best either. Large fruits or vegetables sometimes have stayed on the plant too long and can be tough, stringy or too starchy. Don’t be afraid to pick something that does not look “perfect” because it usually is not! Looks are deceiving.  We need to look at the whole picture before we make the decision to purchase.  How much do we need, what are we using it for, and when do we plan on using it.

Next time I will give some tips on how to pick some fruits and vegetables. Till then, enjoy all the fresh foods available to us this season.

 

Why do we eat when we eat?

I recently shared a post on Facebook, some of you might have seen it. It made me think about how our eating habits have changed and how they even got started.

FoodI did some research and found that the Romans did not really eat breakfast. In fact, it was frowned upon. They usually eat on big meal a day at lunch.
In the Middle Ages, monastic life largely shaped when people ate, says food historian Ivan Day. Nothing could be eaten before morning Mass and meat could only be eaten for half the days of the year. It’s thought the word breakfast entered the English language during this time and literally meant “break the night’s fast”.
But it is work that started to dictate when we eat the meals and times we do today. Laborers needed to fuel up to sustain themselves at work. When they got hungry, lunch time, they would eat a big meal. People would get up earlier and go to bed early as well.
It seems like up until the Industrial Revolution, well artificial light, did people around the world start eating later, dinner. Seems for obvious reasons, it is hard to cook in the dark!
At the turn of the 20th Century, breakfast was revolutionized by American John Harvey Kellogg. He accidentally left some boiled maize out and it went stale. He passed it through some rollers and baked it, creating the world’s first corn flake. And it was the Earl of Sandwich who gave us the sandwich. There are different stories on how but all say it was the Earl who first put meat between bread.
There is a little history for you. Now let me ask you. If the locale bakery or coffee shop had muffins half the size for half the price would you buy more often? Or if the dinner portion at your favorite restaurant was smaller along with the price. Would you eat there more?
To be clear, it is not necessarily the cost of the food in a establishment that dictates the price. It is labor, rent, equipment, utilities, insurances, plates, tables, and everything else you see and do not see that it takes to keep operations going. So you know.
Would you rather eat less and more often? Do you have the time? Still work and to a small degree life is dictating how we eat. Along with being brainwashed into when, what, how often/much we should be eating. Eat what you “like” when you like. But whatever you do enjoy the food you eat!
Just some food for thought………..
Chef David