Oktoberfest

Fall Offers a Feast of Ingredients

Delicious Surprises In Season at Cuisine on the Green
By MARIA SCANDALE | Oct 03, 2017

“If food were paint, the palette now is huge for the next few weeks,” described chef and culinary instructor Ian Smith at Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis Golf Course, Little Egg Harbor Township.

Customers savor the creative menu with autumn views of the golf course, while behind the scenes, adult students of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School Culinary Arts Training Center are crafting the dishes.

This is the season you might opt to move inside from the chill on the bistro terrace to sip the mug of craft beer in the warmer pub.

But in the back, the school’s herb and veggie garden is still determinedly producing. So are other Jersey Fresh farm suppliers.

“Right now in our garden, herbs are flourishing, we have the broccoli growing. We’re still getting great peaches. You have your apple cider – there really is a wealth of fresh products, because you have the tail end of summer and the beginning of the fall crops,” Smith said.

“That’s my big thing now, revisiting dishes that we might have enjoyed in the summer but utilizing the new current ingredients.”

To illustrate colorfully, he brought out an adorned risotto-scallop dish, oh, so satisfying on a cool day, yet zested with vestiges of summer. It exemplified Cuisine on the Green’s goal to be “seasonally influenced in representing the school’s philosophy: FRESH, LOCAL, RESPONSIBLE,” as the motto reads.

Smith introduced the dish. “It’s an acorn squash risotto with last-of-the-season grape tomatoes; wild baby arugula, which is totally in season right now; and its Viking Village scallops, pan-seared. The sauce is a honey-cranberry-apple cider reduction.”

A risotto “may not be something that you want to do in the summertime, necessarily. It’s a heartier dish. But you can put all the late-season ingredients in there but introduce the new things – the new squashes and the Brussels sprouts.”

Speaking of that inspiring color palette that the chef saw, enter purple cauliflower.

“When we get the cauliflower in October, it’s different colors: a purple/white, orange; there are all different colors of cauliflower.”

Surprises are satisfying in their own way. Even salads can take a taste twist.

“In the fall, I do a salad with shrimp and chicken and various roasted squashes. For the longest time, beets have been popular, but you can substitute all the different squashes in salads.”

In that line, spaghetti squash picks up new potential when its fibers are chopped and mixed into a salad. It’s “the contrast of textures,” Smith pointed out.

By the way, the culinary garden is getting a second shot of certain lettuces and greens. The same cool temps that nurtured the spring crop, plus the dewy nights, are bringing fresh salad to the fore for early fall.

 

Not only the fall ingredients themselves, but the way they are cooked can spark new interest.

“You can make risotto with apples,” Smith suggested, “but we’re using squash. We have a sort of predetermined outcome that acorn squash has to be roasted with brown sugar. But it doesn’t; it has a whole other flavor when you sautee it.”

Early fall – the body tunes itself to the temperature change, the lifestyle adjusts, so does the menu. It all blends.

“In the summer we’re so geared toward barbecuing, we don’t do as much of the slow cooking that we can do now while you might be indoors more,” Smith explained. So the chefs get into the glazing and the stewing when the time is right.

Sooner or later, when the frost is on the pumpkin, so to speak, the restaurant will celebrate with Oktoberfest specials. Wine will pair with hearty roasts, and spirits will warm to the occasion.

Whatever the season, Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis hosts cooking demonstrations and events. Banquet facilities include the Atlantis Room, seating up to 100 for special occasions.

The Tuckerton Room, aptly named for its collection of local lure, offers fine dining in an intimate setting with a beautiful fireplace and personal service.

For more information, go to the website cuisineonthegreen.com or call 609-296-2137. Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis is located at 261 Country Club Blvd., Little Egg Harbor.

The Courses

Leading to the Main Course

OCVTS Cuisine on the Green is the result of a partnership with the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. A decision was made to utilize the restaurant at Atlantis Golf Club to provide Southern Ocean County with a state-of-the-art training facility as well as a dining venue for local residents.

The teaching philosophy at Cuisine on the Green involves a curriculum and training program incorporating a foundation of ecology, wellness and responsibility. The use of locally sourced foods, responsibly caught seafood and environmentally conscious practices such as energy conservation, materials usage and overall reduction of the environmental footprint in the culinary industry are essential elements of the program.

This program offers an accelerated approach to developing skills needed for employment in food and hospitality industries. It is open to adults, 18 and over, with a high school diploma or GED. Students may qualify for federal financial aid or veterans benefits.

Areas of instruction include: Introduction to Culinary Arts, Applied Culinary Skills, The Science of Food, American Regional Cuisine, International Cuisine, Restaurant and Dining Room Operations, Dessert Preparations, Restaurant Management, Food and Beverage Service. Students can receive the ServSafe Food Protection Manager certification from the National Restaurant Association. Articulation agreements have been established with a number of regional colleges, allowing students the opportunity to earn college credits upon completion of the program.

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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