Around the Table – Trading Places, New Faces – In the Kitchens

Pictured above left to right: Executive Chef Chef Robert Wysong, Brian Freeman, Garde Manager Chef, and Chris Weil, Sauté Chef.

If you noticed the new staff announcements last week, I’m happy to report that “Trading Places and New Faces” also applies to our culinary team, and the timing could not be better. The softer summer season allows us time to dream up new ideas, hone our training and bring a renewed focus to our programs. Here’s what you can expect from the culinary staff as we transition through the summer:  

WHAT IS DIFFERENT

Several new members have joined the team, and that’s very exciting! We look forward to you meeting our new crew members and enjoying what they bring “to the table,” so to speak!

Veronica Dempsey
Veronica leads the preparation of employee dining as the Team Meal Chef, feeding 120 staffers daily throughout the week.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jill Hurley
Jill has joined us from the Ford Plantation, and will devote her efforts as Line Chef to Sunday Brunch, baking and banquet, and event preparations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anthony Guiliano
Anthony will assist in management and oversee the Club’s a la carte dining services as Chef de Cuisine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WHAT WILL CHANGE
Enhanced Creativity
With more team interaction comes better collaboration on all levels.
Refreshed Perspective
Our experiences dictate what we bring to the table and “new blood” pushes us forward.
New Ideas
Exciting viewpoints and the exchange of information is the key to our growth.

WHAT REMAINS THE SAME

Commitment to Quality
The only choice for Colleton: Hand-selected Nebraska Beef, local seafood delivered daily, and specific local, seasonal produce.
Commitment to Service
While transitioning, our commitment to your dining experience is our priority.
Commitment to Consistency
At all levels, all the time.

David Hills, Chef – Rotisseur

In short, there is much work to do. But as a team we are reinvigorated and truly excited to provide the very best service to theColleton River Club membership.
We will continue to bring you the outstanding culinary experiences that you’ve come to expect from the kitchen—and we hope to keep surprising you along the way. Have a wonderful week!
—Chef Robert

 

Around the Table – June 19, 2019

Summertime Revisited

When I think about summer, I’m reminded of classic summer picnic foods. Growing up in the 1970s in the suburbs of DC, summer meals were just basic. Occasionally we would go out, but mostly we stayed at home for dinner. (Six o’clock sharp!) Daylight lasted far longer after dinner, which meant more time to play, and more time for the folks on the back porch to talk late into the night. I’m sure it really isn’t that much different now but thinking about summertime dinners always brings back memories of simpler times, the sound of crickets as a backdrop to the evening and the vague smell of summer just hanging in the air somehow.
 
My favorite summer foods now are the same ones that I loved then—corn on the cob, chilled watermelon, fried chicken and, if we were lucky, steamed blue crabs covered in Old Bay seasoning. There was no butter, no cocktail or lemon—but maybe the opportunity for a swig from an unattended National Bohemian or Pabst Blue Ribbon if nobody was looking!
 
These days I’m thinking about how to infuse those summertime favorites with new life, creating lighter profiles and layering unexpected flavors, but still in keeping with all the best of childhood recollections. While you savor summer, I hope you’ll try and love these updated classics just as much as I do!
 
Watermelon and Feta Salad
Cube a very ripe watermelon (about 4 C.) and 1/2 C. feta cheese. Add 1 T. packed fresh mint leaves, sliced, a bit of thinly sliced jalapeño(about half of a small one), a squeeze of fresh lime, a drizzle of high-quality olive oil and a pinch of coarse kosher salt. Toss together lightly to combine.
 
 
Summer Grilled Corn
Grill corn in the husk until charred. Peel and cut the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife. Meanwhile, grill a red bell pepper until charred. Dice and combine with the corn kernels. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and finish with a sprinkle of a little chopped cilantro or basil.
 
Crispy Szechuan “Hot” Chicken
Marinate four boneless, skinless chicken breasts for several hours in a mixture of 4 oz. honey, 12 oz. buttermilk, 1 oz. salt and 1 oz. crushed Szechuan peppercorn.
 
Remove chicken from marinade. Set chicken aside and add the marinade to a medium saucepan. Simmer mixture over low heat until just combined, about 10 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, dust chicken in 6 T. flour seasoned with 1 T. salt and 1/2 T. pepper. Shallow fry in 6 T. of canola or corn oil until done & crispy (about 5-6 minutes per side); drain on paper towels.
 
Brush the crispy chicken with the sauce or toss together for a deeper, more robust coating.
                                           
 
Last, but certainly not least, be sure to keep an ice-cold beer nearby (don’t take your eye off it, now!) and enjoy the best of summer. Cheers!
 
-Chef Robert
 
 
 
 
 
NAME THAT COCKTAIL CONTEST RESULTS
After tabulating votes for our 16 entries, the winning name
for the Fourth of July specialty cocktail is…
 
Yankee Doodle Dickel Dandy
 
The winning entry was submited by Sandy Wooster, who will receive
two free drink coupons to enjoy this delicious summer concoction.
Congratulations, Mrs. Wooster!

Around the Table – June 12, 2019

The Simplicity of Thai Cuisine
I often wonder where I would be if I hadn’t been lucky enough to experience Thai food. The first time was many years ago in a tiny storefront restaurant with my older brother, a former US Navy man. It actually changed my life.
 
I often look back on that experience fondly, recalling the freshness of the cooking, the simplicity of preparation and, of course, the uniqueness of the sauces—Wow! The dark nuance of basil, vegetables, the spiced layers of the red curry duck, the subtleties of great pad Thai…I could literally drink those sauces. Fortunately, there were even better things to drink, including the Singha beer and Thai iced coffee!
 
How had I missed this my entire life? From that moment on, wherever we lived, I made it my mission to find the best Thai restaurant and immediately make myself a regular. Mostly good and sometimes great, I made a strong case for frequenting those favorite haunts as much as possible. Selfish, but true!
 
The traditional taste of great Thai lies in the perfect balance of the four key tastes recognized by the human tongue: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. This balance is evident in some of the most recognizable dishes such as Pad Thai, Thai Green Curry Vegetables, and Basil Duck. Heat from fresh chili peppers (aka Thai bird pepper and Thai hot)—often recommended by the wait staff and frequently grown by the chefs and restaurateurs themselves—serve as the spark that keeps the dishes and condiments interesting.
 
Thai cooking is distinct for its combinations of aromatic spices and ingredients: The Thai basil, ginger, chili pepper, mint and lemongrass; the garlic, the fish sauce, coconut milk and, of course, the curry pastes. Combined correctly, these individual actors can produce something simply mystifying, yet its aroma beckons as though your palette always knew this taste experience was out there somewhere but was just waiting for a proper introduction.
 
Rice is a huge staple of Thai cuisine, accompanying almost any dish prepared with a sauce. Such complex dishes pair beautifully with fragrant Jasmine rice, simply, perfectly steamed and dished from a tin-plated vessel, as they do with thin rice-flour noodles, another popular foil for dancing Thai flavors.
 
It’s difficult to overstate the important role fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs play in so many Thai preparations. Interesting combinations of sprouts, eggplants, beans, various peppers, squashes, tomatoes, broccoli and all kinds of onions; melons, pineapple, coconut, mangoes and papayas, to name a few. All of these contribute to the healthful, lighter qualities associated with Thai cuisine.
 
Here is a fail-safe recipe I hope you’ll try at home. The ingredients are pictured above. You can get everything at Publix, with the exception of perhaps the palm sugar, which you can get at any Asian market. If you do make it, please take a picture, send it to us at shelleyk@colletonriverclub.com and we will publish it in a future edition of Around the Table! -Chef Robert

Around the Table – June 5, 2019


With July Fourth just around the corner, we at Colleton River are elbow-deep in planning. This year, we’ve decided to add a fun contest, but we need your help!

The Problem: Below is the recipe for a specialty All-American cocktail that we will feature at the Fourth of July Cookout, but the poor thing is nameless.

Your Challenge: Submit your entry to name it in our online event registration portal, then come back to vote.

The cocktail recipe, full contest rules, details on entry and the contest prize follow below. Now it’s up to you!

THE COCKTAIL

Ingredients:
1 ½ oz. George Dickel 12 Tennessee Whiskey
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 Dixie Crystals sugar cube
1 oz. Fresca or lemon–lime soda
2 dash Fee Brothers black walnut bitters

Glassware:
Mason Jar, paper straw

Garnish:
Lemon wedge & mint leaf sprig

Method:
Combine all ingredients except the soda in a mixing tumbler.
Add large ice cubes, shake vigorously, pour into the jar.
Top with the soda and garnish with lemon and mint leaves.


THE PRIZE

The winner will receive two coupons. The bearer of each coupon shall be entitled to receive one free glass of this winning cocktail from the Nicklaus Clubhouse Pub during posted hours of operation. Coupons expire at 11 pm, Saturday, July 6, 2019.

THE RULES

Timeline
Entries may be submitted June 5-10, 2019.
All entries will be posted in the June 12 edition of “Around the Table.”
Votes may be cast June 12-17, 2019.
The winner will be announced in the June 19 edition of “Around the Table” and in the June 24 edition of the Monday “Communique.”

Entry Rules
You may enter only once. Entries may be submitted June 5-10, 2019.
You may edit or cancel your entry up to one hour before the deadline at 12:00 am, June 11, 2019.
To enter a cocktail name: log into the Colleton River Club website. Select Events & Accommodations tab. Locate “Name That Cocktail” under Upcoming Events. Select Register. Enter your cocktail name in the blank provided and save your registration.

How to Vote
All members may vote for their top two entry choices. You may vote only once. Votes may be cast June 12-17, 2019.
To vote: Log into the Colleton River Club website. Select Events & Accommodations tab. Locate “Vote That Cocktail” under Upcoming Events. Select Register. Click to select your top two cocktail name entries and save your registration.

I hope you’ll help us name this delicious summer “sipper” and join us to enjoy a round at the Fourth of July Cookout! Until then, cheers!
-Chef Robert

Around The Table – May 29, 2019

Summer Stock

As we get into serious summer weather, let’s face it, it’s just too hot to think about shopping for ingredients and preparing complicated dinners.

This list of must-have ingredients will prepare you for a no-fuss summer of culinary success!
THE CAST
Let’s begin with ingredients. Everything you want is ripening soon or ready in the markets. Fruits, summer vegetables, and the herbs that tie it all together will soon be plentiful and at the peak of taste quality. Below are some favorites with quick suggestions on how to employ them.

Cherries
In many varieties, get them while you can. They’re wonderful for snacking and, of course, in baked items.

Peaches
Pies, cobbler and crisps, raw slices with ice cream, pureed for bbq sauce or grill brushing.

Watermelon
In gazpacho and in salads, a fun twist on caprese with feta cheese, or spike a whole one with Titos vodka!

Plums & Apricots
Plain and simple is best, a must on summer salads!

Greens
Basil: At its utmost peak of flavor. Look for Thai and Opal varieties to mix it up.
Arugula: As a salad with olive oil & lemon, or quickly sautéed as with spinach.
Spinach: Spinach, spinach, spinach! Also spinach.

Lettuces
Butter lettuce, Boston lettuce, and don’t forget the mighty iceberg wedge—ice cold!

Bell Peppers of every persuasion
Stuffed, grilled, oven roasted. Enjoy alone with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Summer Squash & Zucchini
Julienne for salads, grill it, sauté it, stuff it.

Eggplant
Marinate it, grill it, slowly caramelize it, bake it with tomato sauce and cheese.

Green Beans
Most tender and sweetest in the summer. Serve them hot, cooked and served cold, or pickled.

Figs
Best for appetizers, snacking and as dessert. Stuff these beauties with goat cheese, wrap them in bacon, or broil them with balsamic—trust me on this one!

Chiles & Hot Peppers
Bring it on with grilled fish, steaks, ribs—virtually anything off the grill.

Cilantro
Try it on anything grilled.

Limes
Limes are at their best in the heat of summer, which means skinny Margaritas, Mojitos, tonic & lime drinks.

PROPS DEPARTMENT
Keep these other summer supplies on-hand to pull together a hit show:

Tomato Paste in a Tube
Add a squirt for flavor and to help caramelization. Remember to pop the cap back on. It will deepen the flavor of your clam soup and Picatta sauce.

Anchovy Paste in a Tube
See “Tomato Paste in a Tube.” Repeat!

Selection of Nuts
Toss dry-roasted peanuts in your next stir fry to add a salty crunch.

Whole Garlic
Fresh only—it goes in everything.

Various Oils
Have EVOO for finishing, corn oil for shallow frying, dash of sesame for stir frying and non-aerosol pan spray for the grill.

Lemons & Limes
Squeeze something fresh on everything—whether grilling or tossing a salad, and drizzle on anything else for the perfect finishing touch.

STAGE CREW
No matter how beautifully you play, using an old, worn-out instrument will hurt your performance. If you replace just one piece of equipment all summer, make it this one:

A New Grill Brush
Retire the old stuff and start fresh. You’ll thank me later.

Summer is a great time to buy local produce. Look for ways to buy fresh, buy less, buy less plastic packaging and for ways to keep shrinking that footprint!

-Chef Robert

Around the Table – May 22, 2019

Ode to the Watermelon

So…is it a fruit? Or a vegetable? Or what?
Watermelons grow like fruit and are commonly considered fruit because they are sweet. However, watermelons are known to grow in the garden right next to the corn, squash, and peas. The watermelon is actually botanically classified as a gourd, which family includes the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin.

Go ahead and eat the whole thing!
The sweet flesh of a chilled watermelon is the ultimate warm weather snack. We all typically nibble right up to the rind and then move on to the potato salad. But hold on there a minute! Don’t throw that rind away! Did you know that watermelon rind can be a tasty pickled or candied treat? If you didn’t, this will blow your mind: stir-fried watermelon rind with tamari, grated ginger, a sprinkle of raw sugar and a dash of fish sauce. I’m not kidding. You’ll love it. Even the seeds can be dry-roasted and salted—the perfect snack to munch on while you binge-watch the latest Law & Order marathon.

Drink up to hydrate
A watermelon is 92 percent water, which gives you even more reason to enjoy it! If you enjoy it more with a little vodka or in this delightful Watermelon Mohito from Food & Wine, I have no quarrel with that.

Variety is the spice of life
There are 1,200 known varieties of watermelon. The four major categories are seeded, seedless, or mini or “icebox,” and yellow. Some favorite varieties are:

Bijou
round, deep red, firm-fleshed, early maturing

Captivation
Large, seedless, red flesh and deep green rind

Harvest Moon
Oval, dark green with yellow markings (moons), early to ripen

Traveler
Very large, seedless, deep red color, sweet

Modify your watermelon? No way!
Seedless watermelons are not genetically modified. They are hybridized, and hybridization is a natural phenomenon. (Whew!) As a result, once hard-to-find seedless watermelons are now commonplace. The little white seeds you see in a watermelon are empty seed coats that are perfectly safe to eat.

South Carolina’s own heirloom watermelon: The Bradford
The sweet Bradford was created by Nathaniel Bradford of Sumter County in the 1840s. Because of its soft skin, it was very difficult to transport and became commercially obsolete. The Bradford family was able to keep it going for generations and, thanks to the great, great, great grandson of Nathaniel Bradford, it is now available on the market for you to enjoy.

The humble watermelon…State Vegetable of Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Senate named the watermelon as its State Vegetable for its contribution to their agriculture, but quite controversially so. It lost out as State Fruit to the already-designated strawberry (likely leading to many an argument and perhaps a bar fight or two). If you happen to find yourself in Oklahoma on the second Saturday in August (and, really, who hasn’t?) be sure to visit the annual Rush Springs Watermelon Festival and Rodeo, held continuously since 1948, to watch competitors vie for coveted honors in the seed-spitting contest.

There can hardly be a more perfect food than watermelon—well, at least not one whose seeds are quite as much fun to spit! -Chef Robert Wysong

The Perfectly Grilled Steak – Step by Step – May 15, 2019


Greetings from the Clubhouse!

Summer is here, and there’s almost nothing better than a sizzling summer grill, so after the prime beef soapbox of last week, I thought it important to offer some insight on producing a perfectly grilled steak. There is some great beef out there, and there is also a lot that is mediocre. The key to great steak success is buying a good quality cut of your liking, practicing at the grill, and treating your steaks well by following a few simple steps.

I crave a great steak now and then, and when that craving hits, only a thick ribeye from the outdoor grill will do. The ribeye contains several muscles, which provide different textures and flavors, and it’s a is a bit fattier than some cuts, which imparts both flavor and moisture to the finished product. (And yes, you can trim away the fat after cooking.)

Remember, every steak, every grill, every cook, and every outcome will be unique. The purpose of this advice is to even the odds as much as possible, so please use the steps below as a guideline to grilling your steak the way you want it—and not just by luck:

Step 1 – Important – Source a beautiful, well-marbled steak, the cut of your choice.
Step 2 – Very Important – Allow steak to come to room temperature, at least thirty minutes.
Step 3 – More Important – Season liberally and thoughtfully – you have choices here:
-Standard approach: Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
-Natural enhancement: fine sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil
-Robust flavor: brushing of olive oil, freshly minced garlic and parsley, salt and pepper
Step 4 – Prepare the grill and get it hot! Use a natural, non-aerosol pan spray to coat the grates.
Step 5 – Sear the steak over high heat, then transfer to an indirect position and lower the temperature. Trust your senses, and refer to my handy Steak Grilling Guidelines below, as needed.
Step 6- Most Important! Let the steak rest at least five minutes before slicing or cutting.
-The internal temperature will rise 5˚ or more while at rest.
-Trust your senses!


Like anything you want to master, grilling takes practice. At least with steak, you get to enjoy the results of each test run! Until next time, fire up the grill and show that New York Strip who’s boss!
-Chef Robert Wysong

Around the Table-May 8, 2019

Colleton River Beef
The finest beef available. Period.

Many of you are great fans of our beef program here at Colleton River, though I’m sure there are some who haven’t learned much about it yet. Today I’m taking a moment to describe our program in detail.

First and foremost, it’s a premium program that is set up specifically for our Club. With a craving for high quality beef and an eye toward healthier dining, we’ve sought out the very best produced and best handled beef available, yielding some of the leanest “center-of-the-plate” options we enjoy here at Colleton River.

Facts on the cattle itself and how it’s raised:

-The cattle are Aberdeen Angus stock with no outside influences
-It’s mostly raised in Nebraska and Georgia by cattlemen we know
-The genetics of the bulls are specifically developed for flavor and taste
-Herds are carefully fed in Nebraska and Iowa by ranchers we know
-The cattle are never treated with growth hormones
-They enjoy an organic corn diet and pure water from the Nebraska aquifer

That’s a great beginning, but how is it handled?

-The cattle are carefully selected for very specific characteristics
-Production is by an independent packing house located in Omaha
-Our cattle are humanely treated at the time of production
-Finished-cut items are produced to our specification
-Careful USDA grading and selection processes yielding the prime designation
-We enjoy a direct shipment from processing plant to Colleton River

With that said, you know the taste quality because:

-The reputation of Aberdeen Angus breeding stock
-The quality care and feeding programs by our friends in Nebraska and Iowa
-Rich marbling from the all-corn diet
-Our in-house aging processes to enhance the taste quality
-Our simple, product-first cooking approach

In summer…

or winter…

count on the very best in Colleton Beef!

I hope this helps you appreciate the uniqueness of our program. I also hope that you will try a New York strip or a filet mignon with us very soon! Also remember, you can pre-order and pick up these steaks for your grill by contacting the Nicklaus front desk at 843.836.4400. Until next time, have a “beefy week”!
-Chef Robert Wysong

Around the Table-May 2, 2019

Cooking with Herbs
Welcome to my table! This is the very first edition of my blog, and I’m really looking forward to sharing tips, tricks and my own culinary point of view with you. “Around the Table” will publish regularly each week and, if you enjoy exploring food a much as I do, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun. For now, let’s dive right into today’s topic—herbs.

Spring has sprung and so have the herbs! The garden store shelves are full of healthy-looking plants in need of good homes. Herbs are sturdy, forgiving to grow, and can add so much flavor to your spring and summer cooking.

Some of the garden’s returning guests are already making a strong comeback, which is nice to see. Below are few of my absolute favorites with some notes on their uses and unique qualities. These herbs are already growing like crazy and bursting with flavor!

Chocolate Mint
Rich, unique, rounded and mild for a member of the mint family.

Lavender & Rosemary
Considered to be very strong and specialized, but nothing more wonderful with a grilled lamb T-bone.


Oregano
Along with my good friend parsley, can wonderful in pasta dishes, pasta salads, on your grilled vegetables or meats.

Thai Basil
Another obscure favorite, known to be pungent, spicy, exotic and a bit mysterious. This unique variety is easy to grow, interesting, and can bring out the best flavors in your cooking. (Try some freshly torn leaves in your quick stir-fried vegetables to see what I mean.)

I look forward to spring each year because it’s the absolute best time for planting, growing, and cooking with herbs—period. Summer is nice but give me the spring. Here are a few more herb–to-main-item accompaniment suggestions you’ll want to try out in your own kitchen:

With Chicken, Fish or Shrimp
Chopped Tarragon and a Squeeze of Lemon
Thyme or Lemon Thyme
Chopped Cilantro, Fresh Squeezed Lime & Minced Jalepeno

With Sautéed Squash & Zucchini
or Fresh Tomatoes
Opal Basil
Genovese Basil
Snipped Chives

With Roasted Potatoes
Minced Rosemary & Olive Oil
Minced Chives, Black Pepper, Fine Sea Salt

I hope you’ve enjoyed our visit and will join me again next week to see what I’m cooking up for the next installment of “Around the Table.” See you then!
-Chef Robert Wysong