Ask Justin Timineri what he does for a living and he will tell you that he has the best government job available. It may be difficult to argue with him once you hear that Timineri's office is a kitchen, and instead of paper and pens he budgets for pots and pans.
"I'm the only full time agricultural chef in the entire country," says Timineri.
As the Executive Chef for Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services it is Timineri's job to promote awareness of Florida's agricultural goods. He does this by emphasizing what is in season. "We need to understand the growing seasons," Timineri explains. "We need to go to the market first, find what's fresh, what's seasonably available and what looks the best, buy that and then come home and find a recipe to match what's in season."
"There's over 200 eatable commodities that we have grown here but when people think of Florida they think of citrus," says Timineri, "Florida is way more than that, I mean the amount of strawberries we grow, the amount of blueberries, tomatoes, fresh market corn, it's just unbelievable what we have here."
Let's not forget about a Florida delicacy, alligator; but you have to know how to cook it correctly. Timineri points out that "Most people come to Florida or they go to Louisiana and they order alligator and it comes to them fried and its been overcooked. But when gator is cooked properly I think it’s really phenomenal and it's lean and it's tasty."
It is so tasty that Timineri was willing to pass on one of his favorite gator recipes, and as a good government employee it includes a lot of homegrown ingredients.
Citrus Glazed Gator Ribs
1 cup Florida orange juice
1 cup Florida orange juice
Prepare a citrus marinade by combining all ingredients except alligator ribs in a glass bowl; blend thoroughly. Set aside 1/2 cup marinade for basting. Pour remaining marinade over ribs and thoroughly coat all pieces; refrigerate in covered bowl or sealed zipper-type bag for 1 to 3 hours.
Remove ribs from marinade and discard used marinade. Heat stove top grill or gas grill to medium heat. Grill ribs for 45 minutes or until tender, basting frequently with reserved 1/2 cup of marinade.
Prepare Citrus Glaze while ribs are grilling by combining all glaze ingredients, except butter, and simmering for 15 minutes or until thickened. Add butter in small pieces; heat until butter is melted. Keep warm at low heat until ready to serve. Remove ribs from grill and baste with Citrus Glaze.
Kimberly Segal previously wrote about the splendor of Jersey subs
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