Category Archives: seafood

jun-aug13 292wmCrispy seared sea bass, Spanish saffron basmati rice, organic spring peas, locally produced chorizo, chardonnay butter, organic parsnip & carrot chips

While a pinot gris or chardonnay seem like a natural pairing choice, this wonderful end of summer seafood dish would actually pair perfectly with a wide array of interesting wines. The combination of rich, lightly acidic chardonnay butter and aromatic saffron basmati offer a powerful counterpoint when paired with a California Pinot noir. Alternatively, the richness and fat content of the sea bass seem to pair very well with a luscious syrah and even stood up nicely to an Argentine malbec. Unusual yet delicious! What would you pair with this dish to go with some of the other components like salty-savory chorizo, spiced parsnip-carrot chips or the sea bass itself?

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Photo Gallery: Safety Harbor Food Truck Rally

So wow! I had the opportunity to attend the 1st annual Safety Harbor Food Truck Rally today and it was fantastic! Among some of the delicious foods I tried were: 3 Suns Organic Bistro, Sweet Ida Mae’s Bakery, Stinky Bunz, Just Smokin’ BBQ, Keep’n It Reel, Fire Monkey Food Truck, Tasty Stacy Food Truck, This ‘n’ That Mini Doughnuts, Mr. Empanada, Whatever Pops and The pizza Guy.

Okay, so yeah, I ate everything in sight and loved it! All the food was totally delicious and the service was quick and friendly. Add to that the beautiful weather, good live music and a whole bunch of great friends and it made for a pretty awesome day!

Thanks to all the great vendors who came out to feed us today and also to the city of Safety Harbor for putting on this great event…lots of happy faces out on Main Street today, can’t wait for the next one! Enjoy the gallery!

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Recipe: Gulf Shrimp Ceviche

As a young man growing up in Key West Florida, I was exposed to a variety of fantastically flavorful ethnic dishes from an early age. Dishes that I would, over the years, constantly try to recreate or infuse into new ideas. South Florida in general is home to a diverse multi-cultural landscape of people, rich in tradition and passionate about the foods of their homeland. The bounty of both fresh produce and super fresh seafood readily available in Florida at any given time gives chefs the opportunity to come up with almost limitless inspiration and flavor combinations. Bahamian Conch Ceviche, Cuban Ropa Vieja, Puerto Rican plantain mofongo, Hatian Oxtail stew, these are all dishes that take me back to my childhood. One preparation always stood out for me, especially because I tend to go for fresh and spicy, flavor packed foods with a simplistic approach…seafood in particular, it was Ceviche. Fish, Shrimp, Conch, whatever…I LOVED ceviche.

Long before I ever dreamed that I would end up being a chef, I had the good fortune to eat many, many times at a little place called Louie’s Backyard in Old Town Key West. You see, my mother was a huge foodie and luckily for me, introduced me to all kinds of strange and exotic foods from an early age. The owners of Louie’s had recently brought in a young chef named Norman Van Aken, who would soon blaze a trail for what would one day become known as “New World Cuisine”, he was and still is the father of it…a new world Escoffier of sorts…Norman is obviously a culinary genius, few would argue that.

I used to love the irreverent cooking style and seemingly bizarre, yet playful flavors Norman created and there was definitely a buzz going around about his cooking from very early on. After finishing culinary school, I sought Norman out at his restaurant in Coral Gables and hung around until I was able to work my way into the kitchen, it was a brief time that would change my perception of what food could really be and how far an idea could be taken. Hopefully Norman knows what an incredible impact he has made on so many young chefs, including me…I doubt I could ever really fully thank him in a way that sounds as good as it does in my mind but, thank you Norman.

Now,  looking back on a successful career as a professional chef for the last 15 years, I have begun to seek out the flavors that remind me of my childhood. Afterall, isn’t that one of the great things about food? The fact that one bite can transport you back to a certain time and place…remind you of good times or bad, connect you with a family memory or simply remind you of sunday dinners at grandma’s house. Food connects us with our roots in a way that few other things in life can and I think that any great cook, at any given time, draws inspiration from or strives to re-create dishes that remind them of something dear to them.

My take on a wonderful recipe by Chef Rick Bayless– Chef of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, creator of  Frontera Gourmet foods, cookbook author and host of “Mexico One Plate at a Time“. This recipe is from his cook book “Mexico One Plate at a Time.” A must-try!

  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
  • 1 generous pound unpeeled, smallish shrimp
  • ½ medium white onion, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1-2 Tbs vinegary Mexican bottled hot sauce
  • About 2 Tbs olive oil, preferably extra-virgin (optional, but recommended to smooth out sharpness)
  • 1 cup diced peeled cucumber or jicama (or  ½ cup of each)
  • 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • Salt
  • Several lime slices for garnish
  • Tostadas or tortilla chips for serving

Directions

  1. To cook the shrimp, bring 1 quart salted water to a boil and add 2 Tbs of the lime juice. Scoop in the shrimp, cover and let the water return to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat, set the lid askew and pour off all the liquid. Replace the cover and let the shrimp steam off the heat for 10 minutes. Spread out the shrimp in a large glass or stainless steel bowl to cool completely. Peel and devein shrimp. Toss the shrimp with remaining ½ cup lime juice, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
  2. In a small strainer, rinse the onion under cold water, then shake off the excess liquid. Add to the shrimp bowl along with the cilantro, ketchup, hot sauce, optional olive oil, cucumber and/or jicama and avocado. Taste and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.
  3. Serving: spoon ceviche into sundae glasses, martini glasses, or small bowls. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of lime. Serve with tostadas or tortilla chips.

ENJOY!

Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

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Tampa Personal Chef Services

Full Service Dinner Parties

personal chef tampa

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area!

Do you love fine food and wine but dread a long night out at a fine dining restaurant? In today’s dining scene, people are taking advantage of another option! If you were to compare a personal chef service to restaurant, you could think of it this way: For a restaurant, you must drive to get there, possibly wait for a table, take a chance that your server is having a good day, and if you have allergies or special requests you don’t always have the guarantee that they will be honored, since most entrees are “assembly line” ready in the kitchen.

After eating your meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and get back in your vehicle to drive home. If you have a Personal Chef Service, you can eat a wonderful entrée that has been prepared specifically for you palate and requirements, and eat it in the comfort of your own home.

How it works:
Chef Justin will help create a delicious gourmet menu suited to your particular tastes for any special dining event in your home. He consults with you about what kind of party you’d like to give, how many guests you plan to invite and any other special detail to make your party perfect. He will then design your special custom menu of four or five courses suited to your particular tastes as well as help you pair up the best wines with the cuisine. We are also happy to make changes to the menu to accommodate a guest’s special requests or restrictions. Once menus are finalized, we print up custom copies detailing your event for your guest

Chef Justin will take care of all the shopping, arrange for any rentals needed, schedule his highly professional and personable wait staff as requested and arrive a few hours before the first guest to set up the kitchen and start cooking.

He brings his own utensils and all the cooking equipment and begins the set-up for the night’s festivities. The wait staff will arrive at least an hour before your dinner, finish any last-minute arrangements and then cheerfully greet and serve your guests.

You’ll enjoy a fantastic meal and our high-end four-star service, and then, while you’re savoring dessert, we’ll scrub your kitchen spotless as you bask in your guests’ praise at what a clever host you are for bringing in a private chef to create such a delicious and memorable experience!

view our sample dinner menu!

personal chef tampa

Service includes:
An intimate, 3-5 course seated dinner party in the comfort of your home. Custom menus, menu shopping, table service, seated amusé, intermezzo (if 5 or more courses), kitchen clean up and a delicate washing of your servingware.

If you any have questions about our Tampa cooking classes or would like to book a dinner party or purchase a customized gift certificate, please contact us today at: Justin-Thyme.com

Additional Personal Chef Services Available to the Tampa area:
Personal Grocery Shopper
While we are out shopping for your menu or picking up supplies for your cooking class, we can pick up some of the extra household items you may need for an additional charge. (pet food, cleaning/laundry supplies, etc.)

Hors d’oeuvres Soiree-
A cocktail party for 20 guests with a variety (8-10) of seasonal hot and cold hors d’oeuvres.
$325 + Groceries: Prepared, packaged & left for you to serve your guests in your home
$975 + Groceries: Prepared & served with wait staff during a 2-hour cocktail party in your home

Holiday Prep
If the hassle of preparing for the holidays is wearing you down, let Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service come and prepare all your culinary delights for you. Then all you have to do is heat and eat!

Date Nights
One of the key elements to keeping a relationship interesting and exciting is the unexpected! Incorporating a “Date Night” with unique and special activities does wonders! Call us today for more details!

‘Secret’ Chef Service
If you want your friends to think you’ve been cooking over a hot stove all day in preparation for your party, let Justin-Thyme Personal Chefs take care of all the details! We will prepare your menu from soup to nuts then sneak out the back door prior to your guests’ arrival so you can take all the credit. No one will be the wiser! We also provide you with all of the recipes of the day to share with your guests!

In-Home Dinner Parties/ Corporate Luncheons
Want to create a memorable event that your guests will be talking about for a long time to come? Whether it’s a holiday party, family BBQ, a sit-down multi course meal or a corporate event, Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service can accommodate your needs, providing that WOW factor you seek.
See our sample dinner menu!

Interactive Dinner Parties
Love to host parties but dread the thought of shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning? How about having an interactive dinner party where Chef Justin provides a hands-on cooking demonstration with you and your guests. Chef Justin will help you plan a dinner menu and will bring all the ingredients to your home for the party. Once the cooking is done, you enjoy your meal with your guests while we clean up the mess in the kitchen!

Kids/Teen Cooking Classes
Kids/Teens are taught healthy/delicious cooking techniques, sustainable cooking/shopping and basic knife skills with every class! Cooking classes can consist of learning how to make healthy after school snacks to an entire dinner! ‘Kids in the kitchen’ is a 2 hour cooking class for ages 5-12. ‘Teens in the Kitchen’ is a 3 hour cooking class for ages 13 and up, call for details!

Personal Chef Tampa Justin-Thyme

© 2003-2010 justin-thyme personal chef service. Tampa, FL USA

Justin-Thyme Food Photography 2011

A collection of some of our favorite and/or signature dishes from the past year. Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area.

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area!

Do you love fine food and wine but dread a long night out at a fine dining restaurant? In today’s dining scene, people are taking advantage of another option! If you were to compare a personal chef service to restaurant, you could think of it this way: For a restaurant, you must drive to get there, possibly wait for a table, take a chance that your server is having a good day, and if you have allergies or special requests you don’t always have the guarantee that they will be honored, since most entrees are “assembly line” ready in the kitchen.

After eating your meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and get back in your vehicle to drive home. If you have a Personal Chef Service, you can eat a wonderful entrée that has been prepared specifically for you palate and requirements, and eat it in the comfort of your own home.

How it works:
Chef Justin will help create a delicious gourmet menu suited to your particular tastes for any special dining event in your home. He consults with you about what kind of party you’d like to give, how many guests you plan to invite and any other special detail to make your party perfect. He will then design your special custom menu of four or five courses suited to your particular tastes as well as help you pair up the best wines with the cuisine. We are also happy to make changes to the menu to accommodate a guest’s special requests or restrictions. Once menus are finalized, we print up custom copies detailing your event for your guests to keep.

You’ll enjoy a fantastic meal and our high-end four-star service, and then, while you’re savoring dessert, we’ll scrub your kitchen spotless as you bask in your guests’ praise at what a clever host you are for bringing in a private chef to create such a delicious and memorable experience.

We service the following areas:  Tampa, Clearwater, Dunedin, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Madeira Beach, Mango, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, South Tampa, St. Petersberg, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs, Tierra Verde, Orlando Fl

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Tampa‘s Premier Personal Chef!

Recipe: Mangospacho with basil infused lobster

Mangospacho with basil infused lobster

Gazpacho:

  • 2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted
  • 1 small green apple, peeled, chopped
  • 1 small celery stalk, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large jalapeño chile, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 fresh cilantro sprigs

For gazpacho:
Purée first 10 ingredients in blender. Chill 2 hours. do ahead Can be made 8 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.

For basil puree: In a blender, puree 2 bunches of picked fresh basil leaves with 4oz of canola oil and a pinch of salt. add 1TBS of rice wine and a teaspoon of sugar. Reserve half of basil puree for garnish.

For lobster: Place 4oz. Maine lobster tails in simmering water for 6-8 mins, remove from pot and shock in ice water. Shell, devein and split lobster tails in half lengthwise. Toss lobster tails in basil puree and chill for at least 1 hour.

Ladle soup into 4 bowls; top each with 1 half lobster tail. Garnish with  basil and cilantro.

mango gazpacho

mango gazpacho with basil infused lobster tail

Miso with Steamed Clams, Kalua Pig and Spinach

Here is a simple miso broth based soup that I adapted for a menu I was working on for restaurant in South Florida, it was an instant hit! I wanted to share this recipe with my readers, particularly @Fujimama, one of my absolute favorite food & recipe bloggers, who posted a recipe for a tasty sounding miso-steamed clam soup on her blog (here) earlier today… enjoy the recipe & let me know what you think, photos to follow!

Miso with Steamed Clams, Kalua Pig and Spinach

Miso Broth:
3 cups dashi soup stock
3-4 tbsps miso paste
1/4 cup chopped green onion

Put dashi soup stock in a pan and bring to a boil.  Scoop out some soup stock from the pan and dissolve miso in it. Gradually return the miso mixture in the soup. Stir the soup gently. Remove from heat and add chopped green onion. Remember not to boil the soup after you put miso in.

Soup Ingredients:
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup quartered shiitake mushrooms
2 cups firmly packed baby spinach leaves
20 Manila Clams, washed
2 cups Kalua Pigrecipe here
4 oz cooked Portuguese sausage sliced thin- purchase online here
1/4 cup finely diced tomatoes
1 bunch thinly sliced green onion

Place clams in a large, smoking hot pot. Add 2 cups hot water. Cover pot tightly with lid. Steam until clams open 3-4 mins. Remove from heat, drain water and cover to keep the clams warm.

To assemble soup:

Place the following ingredients in large soup bowls in this order:

pinch of spinach leaves
3-4 oz. warmed kalua pig
4-5 slices cooked Portuguese sausage
1/4 tsp fresh minced ginger
4-6 steamed clams around the inside rim of your soup bowl
1 tbsp shiitake mushroom
6-8 oz HOT miso broth

Garnish soup with chopped tomato a pinch of green onion. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service