FLORHAM PARK - Last Thursday evening the weather was cold and rainy but inside the temperature was sizzling at Bin 37, where the New York Jets hosted their final 2019 Cooking School with cornerback Aaron Beasely as the guest chef.
For those of you who don’t know Bin 37, I’m going to let this secret dining and drinking gem out of the bag. Located inside the Shoprite of Morristown on Hanover Avenue, Bin 37 serves 6 New Jersey craft beers on tap, as well as a large selection of wines and cocktails. There are numerous 80 inch TV’s spread across the bar, just perfect for watching your favorite sports. Bin 37 offers daily dining specials and there is ample seating at the bar as well as tables. Bin 37 also offers adult and kids cooking classes and hosts private parties and events at reasonable prices.
Bin 37 is the perfect backdrop for the New York Jets Cooking School, which features hands-on cooking classes for fans through its Rewards program, all under the watchful eye of Shoprite’s Certified Executive Chef Danny Arturo. The event was sponsored by Clorox, Green Giant and Victorinox Swiss Army.
Guest chef Aaron Beasley played for the Jets 2002-2003 and is currently a nominee for the NFL 2020 Football Hall of Fame. Beasley, with his magnetic personality, was comfortable in the kitchen and was overheard telling guests he cooks for his wife and three girls frequently. He lives in New Jersey and is the founder of Athletic Business Alliance (ABA). According to the Facebook page, ABA help athlete “decide what they would like to do after sports.” He appears to have transitioned successfully.
Meanwhile the New York Jets, still celebrating their last minute win against the Dolphins, were in Baltimore for Thursday Night Football against the Ravens who were coming into the game with an 11-2 record. The theme of items to be prepared by 50 lucky and enthusiastic fans was Baltimore-inspired dishes such as Maryland Crab Cakes, Fried Chicken and Waffle, and Baltimore Pit Beef sandwiches. The mixology station featured a prohibition style bourbon old fashion, a perfect drink to warm the body on a rainy night.
As guests filtered in to Bin 37, they were greeted by a glowing fireplace and a warm, mouth-watering appetizer of Onion, Gruyere and Bacon dip served with one of the event sponsor’s popular and versatile product, the Green Giant Cauliflower Tot. The dip was so delicious I’ve decided to share it with you:
Onion, Gruyere & Bacon Dip with Green Giant Cauliflower Tots
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3.5 cups chopped onions
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded and divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives, divided
- 1/3 cup canola mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4-6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- 1 bag of Green Giant Cauliflower Tots sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Add onion to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook 30-35 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon chives.
- Combine remaining cheese, caramelized onions, remaining chives and the rest of the ingredients in a greased small glass casserole or baking dish.
- Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons cheese.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.
- Serve with Green Giant Cauliflower Tots sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning
After the appetizer was devoured, guests were divided into 5 groups and each was assigned to a cooking station or the mixology station. Fans were encouraged to mix, measure, and ask questions of assisting chefs; conversation with Beasley was light and filled with laughs and remembrances of his playtime with the Jets. Beasley worked the chicken and waffles station, where he offered the fans the chance to deep fry the chicken strips alongside him while others made individual waffles. Chefs at the other stations expected fans to interact and help prepare the other items on the menu, getting them ready for cooking.
The final results of everyone’s hard labor were spread out on tables for all to consume and enjoy. Fans were lucking to receive a New York Jets cutting board with a Victorinox knife as a bonus for attending as well as a New York Jets cooking apron, which many had autographed by Beasley. Let’s hope we don’t get the apron too dirty next time we decide to surprise our guests with the food we learned to make that evening. Beasley’s autograph will be treasured when he is inducted in the Hall of Fame.