The retractable roof was rolled back and the sunset was a soft pink hue Thursday evening when the New York Jets held their second 2019 Jets Cooking School in Bin 37 at the ShopRite of Greater Morristown.
Sponsors of the event were Calandra's Bakery, Clorox, Green Giant, Bernzomatic and Victorinox Swiss Army.
Thursday night was the kickoff to the 2019 NFL season, with the Green Bay Packers playing the Chicago Bears in a rivalry that began in 1921, and celebrating the start of the season was on the minds of approximately 30 Jets Rewards fans.
Nick Mangold, former center who played for the Jets from 2006 to 2016 was the guest chef and he mingled with the fans before they all got down to business doing some food prep, cooking, grilling and enjoying the signature drink of the night, the MetLife Margarita.
The theme of the evening was "Kickoff to the Season" and on the menu was Green Giant broccoli and cheese stuffed potato skins, grilled buffalo wings with homemade jalapeno jelly, New Jersey Italian hot dogs, pulled pork sliders and grilled Bananas Foster s'mores. The list alone made the fans eager to start cooking and eat.
Fans were divided into small groups and the fun began. My group started with the preparation of the broccoli and cheese stuffed potato skins. In a bowl we combined Green Giant Veggie Tots with scallions, avocado, sour cream, lime juice, cilantro and spices and stuffed the hollowed out potatoes. We wrapped the stuffed potatoes with bacon, crisped the bacon with a Bernzomatic hand torch and sent them off to the oven to be eaten at the end of the evening.
Our next stop was the New Jersey Italian hot dog. We thinly sliced and sauteed red, green and yellow peppers along with sweet vedalia onions and threw deep fried red skin potatoes cut in thin slices into the pans until all ingredients were softened. We finished off the Italian hot dogs on the grill and moved on to the wings.
The meaty chicken wings had been marinated overnight in Frank's Red Hot Sauce, and we placed them on the hot flaming grill skin side down. We used the Bernzomatic torch again, crisping the top side of the wings until they slightly blackened. After a few minutes the wings were turned over and cooked slightly, and then we placed them on sheet pans for the final step in the oven. Yum. Due to time constraints, we moved on to the dessert station.
The dessert preparation was Nick Mangold's station, where we all participated in making grilled Bananas Foster s'mores. We took ripened bananas still in their peel with the tops split open. With our fingers we pressed open the slit, packed them with chocolate chips, marshmallows and crumbed graham crackers, then torched the tops with the Bernzomatic until the marshmallows were crispy. Afterwards we wrapped then in aluminum foil and the chef took them back to the kitchen to bake.
Next, we got verbal instructions on how to prepare the rub used on the pulled pork at that station and watched the chef make an amazing fresh coleslaw for the topping.
Our final stop was the MetLife Margarita mixology station. Our host Connor emptied limeade, tequila, triple sec, Grand Marnier and Miller Light beer, yes beer, into a large pitcher filled with ice . The margarita was amazing and the perfect accompaniment to the food we were about to consume.
The chefs at Bin 37 brought out all the food from the ovens and the group was extremely quiet as the products of our hard labor were consumed, along with the cold margaritas.
Afterwards, Nick Mangold signed our aprons, our memorabilia and even signed our recipe books. He was funny, approachable and a great cook! The New York Jets ended the night by giving all participants goodie bags with the 2019 Jets yearbook, a Victorinox knife, a cutting board and coupons from Green Giant.
It was an awesome experience.