Cookbook touts eateries along the shore
by Judy O’Gorman Alvarez
Deborah Smith, author and food blogger with a palate for tastes and trends, shares collected recipes in her new book.
“The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors From the Boardwalk and Beyond,” contains 50 recipes from 50 restaurants, bakeries and markets from Keyport to Cape May.
“I included only towns that touch the water,” said Smith.
Although the 160-page cookbook features 50 signature recipes from some of the Shore’s most popular restaurants, eateries of all kinds are included. “It has everything from diners to fine dining,” she said. “We got a hot dog guy in there, a diner and an upscale grocery market.”
Smith, executive editor of JerseyBites.com, says she’s “all about food.” Her blog was probably what attracted the Philadelphia-based publisher Quirk Books to suggest she author the cookbook.
With tight deadlines – the publisher wanted to release the book in time for the summer vacation season – Smith spent last summer researching, writing and of course tasting.
“It was up to me to find the restaurants and to orchestrate the types of recipes,” she said. “We wanted recipes to have Jersey fresh ingredients, Jersey-caught seafood. I wanted to spotlight New Jersey in the best way possible.”
Among the Two River area eateries that contributed recipes are Ama in Sea Bright, Bahrs Landing and Inlet Café in Highlands, and Beach Tavern and Kitchen Witch in Monmouth Beach.
A Red Bank native who was grew up in Fair Haven – Smith’s uncle is the Jack from Jack’s Music Shoppe – she once worked for the Red Bank Chamber of Commerce. “Monmouth County is definitely my church,” she said.
“I live in Point Pleasant now and my daily walk is on the boardwalk,” said Smith, who owns Foxtrot Media, LLC, a full service digital marketing company. “I’m very much a Jersey Shore girl.”
In addition to familiar sites along the shore, research for the book brought Smith to smaller towns she knew little about. “I got to learn all about Stone Harbor and Avalon that so many of us never go to. So few of us jump off the parkway on the way to Cape May. It was a lot of fun.”
“I wanted to capture what it’s like to live or vacation by the Shore,” she said. “Sometimes you’ll go out for dinner and sometimes you’ll cook in.”
She hopes to follow up with future volumes, or even a book about local sustainable fish. “We have wonderful fish,” she said. “And there’s no shortage of restaurants that we could include,” she said.
Most importantly, Smith wanted to share the Garden State’s appreciation of good food. “To show how beautiful and diverse and how healthy food in New Jersey can be,” she said. “We’re not all fried Oreos!”
An upcoming book signing and cocktail hour will be at Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 7. Tickets, $50 per person and $75 per couple, will feature a signed copy of the book, chef demo and $15 Ama reward card.
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