It’s a Pig in a Box

What is better than a beach party? A beach barbecue!

What’s better than a beach barbecue? A beach pig roast!

The perfect beach feast!

Chef Mat prepares to carve a pig at a beach wedding at Oppenheimer Bay

If you are ready to create a memorable party with something fun that brings the whole crowd together, consider this unique addition to your event.

Not only is it a crowd favorite, it is also a favorite of Chef Mat. He loves the island vibe that a pig roast creates. It is communal, casual, and as Mat says, “you can’t be pretentious at a pig roast.” Kick off your shoes, enjoy the view and the company–and of course, the smell of roasting pork mixed with the salt air.

La Caja China

La Caja China

While you don’t have to have your event on the beach, you do have to be somewhere outside with space for the portable oven, known as La Caja China, or the China Box. The wooden box has a metal liner and a grate to hold the pig, then a metal tray that sits atop the pig that holds the coals and a lid to seal in the heat. This unique cooking technique cooks the meat in about 6 hours from start to finish–about half the time as a traditional spit does–but the preparation at St. John Catering starts at least a day before.

Chef Mat says that the first step is that the pig is marinated by injecting a chimichurri type sauce called mojo that is bursting with citrus and herb flavor directly into the meat. It is then rubbed in salt and left for 24 hours to cure.

On the day of the event, the coals are lit and once they have come to temperature, the pig is laid belly side down and will roast for about 3 hours. Then it is carefully turned over and roasted for an additional hour. The pig then rests before slicing. The end result is a moist and tender meat with a smokey, crisp skin–the perfect combination and what every grill master is after.

Done to perfection

Done to perfection

The meal is complete with a selection of sides including a skillet cheesy cornbread with scallions, potato salad, pasta salad, a variety of vegetable sides and fresh green salad with homemade dressing.

A pig roast is perfect for a welcome party, a birthday celebration, and is absolutely ideal for a beach wedding or any gathering with 40 people or more.

The pricing is $75 per person and includes two chefs to cook and carve the pig, all sides, set up and clean up. Servers are also available at additional cost.

Contact Mathayom and St. John Catering to set up your pig roast today!

Finding the Booty

The tale of the Java Booty Rub dates back to the year 2010, when Chef Mat was busy working to create a signature hot sauce, and was confronted with the new regulations of the TSA that denied liquids over 3 oz. Still wanting to make sure that visitors were able to take home a memorable (and tasty) reminder of their stay on St. John, Java Booty Dry Rub was born.

The treasured Java Booty Rub

The treasured Java Booty Rub

Drawing inspiration from this Thai background and wanting to create a flavor profile that excited all parts of the tongue, Mat spent hours measuring and adjusting and a week of tasting to make it perfect. The end result is a smokey, earthy, sweet and spicy rub that works on any protein or vegetable and will please a wide audience of diners.

After gaining popularity during private diners, weddings, and other functions, there was a demand for Java Booty with locals and tourists alike. With that, the rub was packaged and offered at Starfish Market in the Marketplace, and most famously at St. John Spice in Wharfside Village, where about 100 pounds are sold annually. There are even diehard fans in the state that receive Java Booty by the pound in the mail.

So much flavor in this little cup!

So much flavor in this little cup!

Wondering what the secret is? We can’t give it all away, but the stars of the mix include coffee, smoked salt, coco powder, brown sugar, chili, paprika, cinnamon, and SECRETS! The current proprietary blend does contain semolina flour as an anti-caking agent, however a gluten-free mix is in the works!

To get your own taste of this treasure, book with us today and request it on your protein! Stuck stateside for awhile? Send a message directly to mat@stjohncatering.com and inquire about having some sent to your doorstep–just in time for summer grilling!

Can We Be Gluten Free?

Yes!

We work around food allergies and aversions every day in the kitchen. We can easily tweak menus for those who avoid gluten by using alternative starches like rice or potatoes, or grains like quinoa. If you check out our Guest Selection Formal Menu selections for our In Villa Private Chef Services, you will see that most of the dishes that are offered only need small changes to make it appropriate for a gluten-free diet.

Or, let us do what we do best and use our creativity! Selecting the Chef’s Choice option, we are able to use our skills to create something exciting with the most fresh ingredients.

That’s what Gluten Dude, the celiac food blogger, did on his trip to Virgin Gorda in the BVIs (we work on all of the Virgin Islands) this past December and he was NOT disappointed! In fact, he was so impressed he gave us quite the shout out in his blog.

Those who suffer from food allergies are at the mercy of a busy, distracted kitchen whenever they go out to eat and although your server may alert them, the chance of cross contamination is exponentially higher than when being prepared by a private chef. Gluten Dude opted to have a chef for multiple meals.He mentioned the ease of not having to explain his allergy every time they went for food and that he “Never got glutened. Heck…I never even got a stomach ache. Crazy, right?”

From breakfast with complete with GF pancakes to lunch where “we were met with one glorious creation after another” and even a round of sunset appetizers before dinner and dessert, Mathayom was able to impress in every course.

If you have a sensitivity to gluten, be sure to contact us for some of the best gluten-free dishes on the island.

 

 

The Dish on Fish

When traveling, it is only natural to want to try what is fresh and local.

Here on St. John, we are most proud to offer a selection of beautiful fish caught right from our Caribbean waters. We reach out to local fisherman who line catch the fish that is available during the season. Usually we will get in touch to see what they have brought in, and on occasion we can put in a request for a specific fish.

Mahi Mahi

Chef Mathayom breaking down a 45-pound fresh Mahi 

One of the most popular fish we serve is Mahi Mahi (also known as Dolphin Fish or Dorado) which is available year round. It is a gorgeous fish with a very mild flavor. It’s large moist flakes are firm but tender and it is slightly sweet. Because of it’s versatility, we use Mahi as a blank canvas–we can prepare it to your liking or use our creativity to create something unique and memorable.

Wahoo

Chef Tyler displaying a beautiful fresh Wahoo

In the winter months we are able to get a mild, firm, nearly steak-like fish called Wahoo. It has a mild flavor profile and large circular flakes. This fish is best served grilled or seared about medium rare. It is a fish that can be easily overcooked, so leave it to our talented chefs to perfectly prepare it for you.

 Yellowfin Tuna

A perfectly seared Yellowfin Tuna appetizer with avocado mousse

A favorite world wide is Yellowfin (or Ahi) Tuna. This sushi grade fish is a deep red color with a mild-medium flavor and is very firm. It is absolutely delicious raw in a tartare, or seared rare. Tuna is also really wonderful grilled with a dry rub. We are also sometimes able to get in smaller tuna known as Skipjack or Blackfin. Tuna isn’t as common as Mahi but we will do our best to secure one for your event.

Caribbean Lobster

Caribbean Lobster tail entree

Caribbean (or Rock) Lobster is a treat much unlike Maine Lobster. Unlike lobster from the Northeast, Caribbean Lobster do not have claws so their meat is all in the tail. The flavor and consistency is different too. It is more of a texture like shrimp and a sweetness like crab. While this is pretty hard to procure locally, we do come across it from time to time and would be happy to include in on your menu if it is in the kitchen.

Conch

Last but not least is local Conch. This is a rare find as it is a local West Indian favorite so it is usually snatched up, but when we are able to get our hands on some it is a fantastic choice. It is a sweet, white meat that is great as a ceviche, or pounded thin and lightly sauteed. In fact, it can be served most ways : baked, broiled, grilled, fried, poached, steamed, even smoked. Not only is it a wonderful treat, the mollusk’s shell is gorgeous and quite the souvenir!

 

When planning your next event, be sure to ask our staff what type of fish is in season or put in a request for “fresh fish” and leave the rest to us–you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

Wedding Catering Love

We love catering weddings. From the first interactions with the bride and groom to saying our farewells after the event, the excitement of being part of their big day is something we all look forward to.

With our wedding planning friends here on island, we work together to combine the best food and drinks with the perfect island decor and settings to put together many magical evenings.

Villa Carlotta as photographed by Elisha Orin

A few months ago, we had an event at the beautiful Villa Carlotta in Upper Peter Bay where we served a beautiful group of people who had just come from the wedding ceremony at Trunk Bay of bride and groom, Margarita and Mark.

Beautiful table photographed by Elisha Orin

The table was gorgeous–one long table with Chiavari chairs (available for rent) and was adorned with decorations by wedding planner Mary Bartolucci.

Chiavari Chairs photographed by Elisha Orin

 

The couple chose to have a fully stocked bar and bartender, as well as staff that served passed appetizers to the party. For dinner, they opted for a formal sit down dinner and dessert, all included in the Maho Bay Package.

We had a seamless event and were happy to be in the writeup on the event featured on the Jet Fete Blog.

Check out the beautiful pictures by photographer Elisha Orin and take some notes for your big day!

Supper Club

Lunch On Vacation

Bored? Got the winter blues?  Gather up a group of friends and plan a supper club.  It’s an easy, fun and social way to try new foods and pass the time on Saturday nights.  Choose a theme like “Italian” or “Asian” and pair up in teams.  Each team is responsible for one course and an appropriate cocktail or wine to pair with it.  Everyone brings wheat they need to serve their dish and drink and away you go!

Each team takes a turn in the kitchen and is first responsible for washing the dishes from the course before.  Then, they prepare and serve their dish.  After that, the next team clears and washes the dishes and then prepares and serves their dish.  At the end, the first team has to clean up the last dishes.

Rotate hosts and get as fancy as you’d like with the décor.  It can be a ton of fun.  With the right group and a bit of guts in the kitchen, you can forget the hassle and expense of dining out and find a new restaurant right in your own homes.  If you’re the organized type, have everyone print out their recipe and compile a cookbook.  After a few rounds, you’ll have quite a variety.

Here are some theme ideas to get started with:

1.    Regional: Italian, Asian, Indian, Mediterranean
2.    Special Ingredients- choose one fun thing:  pasta, figs, prosciutto, bacon, beer, etc.
3.    One pot dishes
4.    Grilled dishes
5.    Local-Organic
6.    30 Minute dishes
7.    Seafood
8.    Leftovers
9.    Pick several recipes from a favorite chef’s cookbook
10.    Vegetarian

Have fun…get in the kitchen!  It’s a great way to save some money and entertain yourselves.

Fresh Pasta 101

Channel your inner Italian and whip up a batch of your own fresh pasta.  You’ll feel satisfied that you created something real and delicious and it’s much easier than you think.  No, really…it is.

Here’s one easy recipe that’ll have you throwing together fresh pasta dishes in no time.  Making your own fresh pasta is fun, easy and impressive and can be used in a million different applications.  When it’s done, it can be cut into any shape you want.  Stuff little cutouts to make ravioli, cut large rectangles and make real lasagna, snip into strips and call it tagliatelle.  No matter what you make of it, it’s delicious and worth the investment.

 

Fresh Egg Noodles

This recipe makes about a half pound of pasta (2 servings).  Using all-purpose flour will help cut down on your kneading time a bit.  You can use completely all-purpose if you can’t find semolina.

1 c all-purpose flour
1 c semolina or durum wheat flour, as fine as you can get it
2 whole egg
1 tsp Olive Oil
About ½ cup water (variable)

1.  Start by mixing and sifting your flours.  Form a mound with a well in the center to hold your wet ingredients.
2.  Crack the eggs into the center of your mound, break the yolk with your finger, and add the oil. Begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape.  The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated. At this point, start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands.
3.  Once there is a good ball, remove the dough, scrape up and discard any leftover bits, and lightly re-flour the board.  Continue kneading for about five or six more minutes.  It should be elastic and a little sticky.
4.  Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for about 30 minutes before you roll it out.
5.  Roll out dough using a rolling pin or pasta maker and cut into desired shape.  Blanch quickly (1 minute) in boiling water and enjoy!

 

Easy Pickin’s

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Shopping SpreeYou know those pre-cooked rotisserie chickens that every supermarket in America has?  Let’s say you get one from the local Chicken Shack (Rawk!) and have leftovers.  Here are several simple ideas for a 15-20 minute dinner:

–    Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and Fresh Dill (mayo, dill, grapes, Worchester – mix it in a bowl) served on baguette
–    Chicken Noodle Soup (canned or frozen chicken stock, celery, carrots, onion, fettuccine)
–    Chicken Fajitas (flour tortillas, shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa)
–    Chicken Alfredo (cooked pasta, cream, parmesan, peas, bacon or ham)
–    Chicken Fried Rice or Stir Fry (oil, day old rice, onions, carrots, fried egg, soy sauce, broccoli, fresh basil, lime juice)There are countless variations of each of these basic dishes.  Mix it up!  Use what you have on hand and experiment with new ingredients.

Chicken is very forgiving and takes on whatever flavor you want to give it.  Just be sure to add it at the end, since this chicken is already cooked and you don’t want to dry it out.

 

 

Set the Table

They say that you eat with your eyes first.  So vamp up the visuals by setting a beautiful table for your fabulous feast.  With some simple strategies, you can take any tabletop from dull to decadent.  Here are some of our favorite ways to doll up yourdécor.  Choose one or two, or use them all together.

  1. Tealights.  Who doesn’t have a bag of tealights hanging around?  Grab some regular glasses of different heights and pour a touch of water in each one (to keep the wax from sticking to the glass- makes cleanup a breeze).  Place as many tealights as will fit in each glass and stagger across the center of the table for a multi-height centerpiece in minutes.
  2. Use festive fabric.  Make a runner out of an old scarf or tapestry.  Fold the fabric into a long rectangle and lay across the center of the table.  Or, if you have two, use them as long placemats for either side of a rectangular table, leaving the center clear for your other decorations.  Keep the look casual by laying the fabric in a gathered and random way.  Fill in the pockets with candles, flowers, fruit.
  3. Give the table a little lift.  Make “risers” out of regular kitchen items like pots and pans, or boxes of dry goods from the pantry.  Lay your first table cloth on the table.  Then, place your “risers” in a staggered row across the center of the table, varying heights to create interest.  Cover the risers in another cloth, gathering the excess at the bases to make a beautiful pool of fabric.  When you present the dishes on the table, the varying heights will offer extra interest.
  4. Flowers, greens and goodies.  A little nature goes a long way.  Find inexpensive flowers at the local florist or grocery store and separate bouquets into small arrangements.  Using vases or glasses that you already have, make arrangements of varying heights.  White carnations look like a million bucks and greens from your yard are free!  You don’t need to break the bank to help your table sparkle.
  5. Colorful fruits in clear containers give a punch of color to a dull setting.  Use vases, glass mixing bowls or serving bowls.  Lemons and limes are cheap and beautiful and can turn into delicious beverages (lemonade, margaritas) after the centerpiece is gone.