A Taste of the Holidays

November 29, 2013
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The Two River Times™ is featuring recipes from Two River restaurants to add to your holiday table.

Each week, you can find a savory dish to add to your holiday menu. The Dec. 6 Holiday Style will offer entrée recipes, Dec. 13 will feature side dishes and dessert recipes will be included in the Dec. 20 issue.

This week, three chefs offer tasty appetizers to start off the festive season.


Ama Ristorante

“There is no better time of the year than the Christmas holidays to share the seasonal fruits of life with both family and friends.”

– Executive Chef Pat Trama, Ama Ristorante at Driftwood, 1485 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright, 732-530-9760, www.amaristorante.com


Warm Baked Robiola Cheese with Whipped Sea Shore Honey, Toasted Chestnuts and Abate Fetel Pears

Servings: 6

8-ounces Robiola due Latte

1.5-ounce whipped sea shore honey

4-ounces chestnuts (toasted)

2-each Abate Fetel pears (thinly sliced)

2-ounces pomegranate seeds


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put Robiola on lightly greased nonstick pan or tray. Place Robiola in oven for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven.

Place on serving platter (using a spatula). Drizzle with honey.

Sprinkle with toasted chestnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Garnish with thinly sliced pear (fanned out around cheese)

Serve warm.


Ingredients for honey:

Pure honey

Sea salt (to taste)


Add warm honey and sea salt to mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly to milky consistency.



Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Score each chestnut with knife.

Roast in oven until golden brown (about 8-10 minutes).

Let cool. Peel out of shell then rough chop.



Windansea’s Bacon Wrapped Scallops with  Maple Horseradish Glaze.

Windansea’s Bacon Wrapped Scallops with
Maple Horseradish Glaze.



Chef Robert Higgins feels that this appetizer is a great addition to the holiday season because of its classic combination and great flavor. The appetizer also reheats well and can be made ahead of time.  

– Chef Robert Higgins, Windansea, 56 Shrewsbury Ave., Highlands, 732-872-2266

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Windansea’s Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Maple Horseradish Glaze

1 lb. dry sea scallops (20/30 count per pound)

12 – 16 slices thick cut bacon

½ cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons melted butter

Salt and pepper


Maple and horseradish honey glaze:

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup horseradish

Salt and pepper

Remove the side mussel from the scallops. Place scallops in a baking dish, brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes until the edges of scallops turn a golden brown.


Lay bacon on a baking sheet and coat with brown sugar.  Bake in oven until bacon is cooked half way through and brown sugar has formed a glaze on bacon. Let bacon cool.


Cut bacon in half crossways (making sure bacon is long enough to wrap around entire scallop and overlap 1/4 inch). Wrap scallop with bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place back in oven for 12-15 minutes until bacon is crispy and browned.


Assemble the sauce ingredients and whisk together, adding salt and pepper to taste. You can alter this sauce to your palette making it sweeter with more honey or spicier with more horseradish. Cooking should be fun, not an exact science.


Spoon sauce over the scallops after removing from the oven and serve.




Woody’s Ocean Grille


“My inspiration for this appetizer brings a twist of the classic bruschetta dish. My goal for this appetizer is to showcase the squash, using the goat cheese to highlight the flavors in every bite. This appetizer is one of my favorites and never goes wrong at my table.  I hope you enjoy.”

– Executive Chef Onofrio Moscato, Woody’s Ocean Grille, 1 E. Church St., Sea Bright, 732-936-1300, www.woodysoceangrille.com

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Butternut Squash Bruschetta with Herbed Goat Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

2 butternut squash

2 (10.5 ounce) goat cheese

6 seedless French baguettes

1 bunch basil

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 bunch sage

Extra virgin olive oil


Balsamic glaze

½ pound hazelnuts (shelled)


Roasted Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and cut the squash and remove seeds and veins. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to season.

Roast in the oven 20 to 30 minutes until fork tender.

Put room temperature squash in the bowl. Add extra virgin olive oil (3 tbsp.) and 2 tablespoon of glaze. Stir to a pulp and rest on side.


Herb Goat Cheese:

In a food processor place goat cheese and whip for a minute. Add basil, cleaned thyme, and dash of salt and pepper. The texture should be like a whipped cream cheese.



Cut on bias to make 4-inch slices to ½ inch thickness using a serrated knife. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Place in 300-degree oven until golden brown.


Fried Sage Leaves:

In a shallow pan with olive oil to 325 degrees on the stove. You can use candy thermometer to check. Be very careful. Drop the sage in until the bubbles around them are gone and place them on a paper towel to drain.


Roasted Hazelnuts:

Place shelled nuts in the 300-degree oven for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Use food processor to get rough chop.


Time to put it together:

Spread the herb goat cheese on the toasted baguettes, then the butternut squash pulp, around 2 tablespoons, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Finish it with a dusting of hazelnuts, fried sage and drizzle the balsamic glaze on top.


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