Recipes Of Two River Area Restaurants

June 29, 2018
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By Elizabeth Wulfhorst |

Start the evening off right with a unique cocktail for your guests, courtesy of Drifthouse by David Burke in Sea Bright. This drink comes together easily but features some unusual ingredients, like hibiscus syrup – tart, bright and citrusy, perfect for a summer drink – and Pisco, a clear spirit from the Ica region of Peru. Mixed with fresh lemon and lime juice, these ingredients make a great refreshing start to your meal.


2 ounces Pisco 100
1/2 ounce hibiscus syrup
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce fresh lime

Club soda
Hibiscus flower

Place Pisco, hibiscus syrup, lemon juice and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well to combine. Strain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with hibiscus flower.

(Recipe from Drifthouse by David Burke, 1485 Ocean Ave., Sea Bright, 732-530-9760,

Give your guests something delicious to nosh on while they enjoy their cocktails. This summery take on arancini (rice balls) from Porcini in Highlands will satisfy your dinner guests’ appetites as they await the main course. This recipe makes wonderful use of the abundant fresh basil and tomatoes readily available this time of year.


4 cups basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (or other nut of your choosing)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in a bowl. If made a day in advance, top with a little more olive oil and chill.

1 medium onion, small diced
2 cups Arborio rice

6 ounces diced tomato
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups chicken stock
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

4 ounces mozzarella, cubed small
3 eggs, beaten
Panko breadcrumbs
Wondra flour
Canola oil for frying

Heat the stock to a boil in a saucepan. In a separate pan, sauté the onion until translucent and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice with the butter. Add the tomato and cook for about two more minutes. Deglaze the pan with all of the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.

In three separate additions, add the hot stock to the rice and allow it to absorb all of the liquid before adding more stock.

After the final addition of stock, add the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese. Season the rice with salt and pepper and lay the rice mixture out on a large pan to cool.

Once cool, separate into one-and-a-half ounce portions. Take one portion of rice and stuff it with one piece of cheese. Roll into a ball and coat with flour, then egg and finally panko. Repeat the process until all the rice is used.

Set up a pot with about two inches of oil and a fryer thermometer. When the oil reaches 350°F fry the balls in small batches until they are golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain.

Serve the arancini with pesto and top with grated Parmesan.

(Recipe from Porcini Italian Trattoria, 168 Bay Ave., Highlands,, 732-291-3080)

Bay Pointe Inn’s chef Ron Ulczak brings the sea to the table with his recipe for scallops combined with some unusual ingredients. He dredges the scallops in furikake, a dry Japanese seasoning meant to be sprinkled on cooked rice, vegetables and fish. Furikake comes in a number of different flavors, like spicy wasabi and savory nori tama versions, so choose one you like for this dish. Sprinkle any leftovers on pasta, sushi or even popcorn. Bamboo rice is short-grain rice infused with juice from bamboo leaves. It tastes like Japanese sushi rice with a hint of leafy, green tea flavor. Both items can be found in Asian markets and online.


1 cup bamboo rice
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 inch section fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 pound fresh sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced

16 “U-10” day boat scallops
3-4 ounces furikake seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

6 ounces tomato sauce (your favorite)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound unsalted butter, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

Make the tomato butter: In a saucepot, add the tomato sauce and heavy cream. Bring to a high simmer and reduce until thick. Turn the heat to low and slowly whisk in your cubed butter a piece at a time. Remove from heat and keep warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the rice: Heat the coconut milk in a medium-sized pot with a tightly fitting lid and bring to a boil. Add the chopped ginger, cardamom and sugar and simmer for a few moments to infuse the flavor into the coconut milk.

Add the rice, stirring well, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to very low and cover. Cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom does not stick or burn. Add a little water if the rice seems too dry.

Stir in the snap peas, cover again and return to low heat. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the rice is tender, but with a little resistance to the tooth.

Cook the scallops: While rice is cooking, heat oil in a pan on medium.

Dredge scallops in furikake seasoning and sear in pan, 2 minutes on each side. Sear in batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding the pan.

Set scallops aside.

To plate: Arrange one fourth of the rice on each plate. Sprinkle with chives. Top rice with four scallops per plate. Spread a generous amount of tomato butter on the side. Serve.

(Recipe from Chef Ron Ulczak, Joe Amiel’s Bay Pointe Inn, 1 Willow St., Highlands,, 732-629-8000)

As a side, nothing beats macaroni salad in the summer. This pumped up version from Delicious Orchards melds the classic tastes of macaroni salad with the ingredients of another summer favorite – the BLT. When Jersey tomatoes are at their freshest, this dish is sure to please all your guests.


1 1/2 pounds elbow macaroni
1 cup red onion, diced
2 cups bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup red pepper, diced
1 cup plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 pound baby spinach, remove stems and chop

2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow to drain in colander.

While pasta is draining, mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Place pasta in a bowl and add in onion, bacon, tomatoes, peppers and spinach, tossing until combined. Then add dressing and, once again, toss until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Recipe from Delicious Orchards, Route 34 South, Colts Neck,, 732-462-1989)

A great meal needs a little something sweet at the finish and these Orange Chocolate Pots de Crème from Sickles Market will leave your guests more than satisfied. The French dessert, a play on custard, has been around since the 17th century and is typically served in individual ramekins.

This version features two types of custard, a chocolate one made with two kinds of chocolate on the bottom, cooked in a traditional water bath, and an orange gelatin-based one on top, giving the dessert a perfect balance of chocolate and citrus.

To really wow your guests, top the chilled desserts with whipped cream, adding a little orange zest to mimic the flavor in the crémeux. Chocolate shavings and a small orange slice wouldn’t be out of place on this elegant yet fun dessert.


3 ounces 70 percent dark chocolate (like Scharffen Berger or Ghirardelli)
4 ounces 60 percent milk chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
6 egg yolks
Zest of 1 orange
Pinch of salt

1⁄2 cup + 1 tablespoon freshy squeezed orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1⁄2 teaspoon gelatin powder

*To make the pots de crème:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place milk, heavy cream, salt and orange zest in a pot. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, combine the yolks and sugar in a separate bowl.

Once the liquid begins to boil, add both chocolates and mix until fully melted and combined (an immersion blender works well here). Slowly temper the egg mixture with the chocolate mixture, pouring little by little and whisking to avoid cooking the yolks. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or chinois to remove any lumps.

Evenly distribute the mixture among six glass ramekins or any other ovenproof baking vessel of your choosing. Place the ramekins in a larger baking dish and fill with water about half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover the entire dish with foil and bake for about 35 minutes or until the center slightly jiggles but is not completely fluid. Baking time may vary depending on the size and number of ramekins used. Allow to cool.

*To make the orange crémeux:

Pour gelatin powder over 1 tablespoon orange juice and allow to bloom.

Place remaining orange juice, orange zest and heavy cream in a pot and allow to come to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolk and sugar until it becomes light and pale in color.

Slowly temper the orange juice mixture into the yolks. Once it is fully combined, pour over bloomed gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and allow to cool slightly.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the slightly cooled crémeux over each cooled pot de crème and place in the refrigerator until set, preferably overnight. Top and garnish as desired.

(Recipe from Raechel Lebron, Sickles Market Bakery Manager, 1 Harrison Ave., Little Silver, 732-741-9563,

After patronizing all the wonderful restaurants, eateries and markets the Two River area has to offer, we hope you choose to spend a night at home and enjoy these summer recipes.

Whether you expand your palate with new flavors – like the Pisco spirit from Peru or the furikake seasoning from Japan – or use fresh Jersey produce to amp up a traditional dish, one of these concoctions may become your new summertime go-to dish.

Thank you to the restaurants, markets and chefs that participated in this roundup. Happy eating!

This article was first published in the June 21-28, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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