We live in the Garden State and we are surrounded by fresh fruits, vegetables and livestock. Everybody wants to support local farms and eat healthy, but it's hard to find the time to buy locally grown, fresh ingredients in between the chaos of everyday life. That's where Chef Jason and his company, The Pivotal Plate come in.
The Pivotal Plate offers cooking classes, meal prep, and private chef services. At the core of each service is the farm to table philosophy. Chef Jason came over to our house and we were privileged to experience one of his classes. The three course menu was built around fresh ingredients he purchased at NJ farms. With a passion for food and a great relationship with local farmers, Jason provides an enthusiastic, educational and fun class. He brings the farm to table philosophy a step further and literally brings the farm (ingredients) to your kitchen.
Our education began with stretching mozzarella (while sipping on some of our favorite red wine). Can there be a better, more Jersey way of kicking off your night? Chef Jason takes you through the step by step process of this, while your hands are submerged in the warm water and you're caressing the forming mozzarella. Before you know it you, you have stretched and formed a perfect ball of mozzarella. The cheese was sliced, placed on fresh baked bread with a dash of ghost pepper sea salt and a drizzle of wonderful olive oil.
Now for the Main Course! We had free range chicken breast served with smoked jersey tomatoes and sautéd ramps on a beautiful bed of millet risotto. Even though risotto has a reputation of being difficult to make, Jason makes it accessible and easy for everyone to learn. We were introduced to ramps, which happen to be in season now. Ramps are a wonderful vegetable that taste like a combination of garlic and light onion. Jason sautéed them in olive oil and they were extremely fragrant and delicious. Ramps will definitely make an appearance in our future #TwoDopesHomeEdition dishes - Thanks Chef Jason!
1-cup Millet seeds 3-6 cups Vegetable Stock 2 tbsp. unsalted butter 1⁄2 cup grana padano cheese 1⁄2 cup parmagiano reggiano 2-3 tbsp. olive oil salt /pepper
Start off by heating 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a saucepan, then add your millet seeds. Toast for approx. 1 minute then add chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to medium and allow to cook for 35- 40 minutes adding more stock as each cup cooks down. Finish with butter and cheese and serve hot.
Millet should have a slight bite but not mushy.
For our third and final course, we made (healthy) chia chocolate brownies with cinnamon spice cream. We hand whipped the fresh cream, using the newly learned techniques from Chef Jason. After a bit of hard work, we had wonderfully light and airy cream. You would be surprised at how delicious this healthy dessert really is.
Chia Chocolate Brownies
1⁄2 cup Chia Seed ground 3⁄4 cup honey or similar sweetener
1⁄2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. baking powder 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon 1⁄4 tsp. Salt 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter 3 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate 4 large Eggs
1⁄4 cup coconut milk 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8x11 square baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together chia seed meal, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate together over a double boiler or in the microwave whisking until smooth. Let cool for 2-3 minutes. Whisk eggs and syrup together then slowly incorporate the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture.
Combine the dry mixture into the wet ingredients whisk until smooth. Spread batter in the prepared pan and bake 35 -40 minutes or until when toothpick inserted comes out clean. The brownies will still be soft but wait until they cool! Let cool completely before cutting.
The Pivotal Plate is a dynamic company with a philosophy that is rooted (pun intended) in preserving the quality and integrity of what you’re eating. By supporting The Pivotal Plate, you are in essence supporting Jersey farmers and keeping true to the Jersey Fresh campaign. To learn more about Chef Jason and what he is doing at The Pivotal Plate, check out the www.ThePivotalPlate.com.