INTERNATIONAL COFFEE DAY!!

Hey guys, today, (Sept. 29, 2014) is International Coffee Day. Some of the establishments that are participating in this freebie of the good ole coffee beans are:

**DUNKIN DONUTS

**KRISPY KREME DONUTS

**McDONALD’S

**STARBUCKS

and many more coffee houses.

Guys, go out there and get your coffee fix NOW!

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THE ELEGANT BOSC PEARS POACHED IN RICH MERLOT

Let your Fall pears (Bosc) stand out further by poaching them in a vibrant hue of Merlot wine. These pears are excellent for poaching because they retain their shape beautifully. With a sprinkle of cinnamon spice and a touch of honey or any sweetener, you can transform them into a great snack or dessert.

Do allow your pears to slowly simmer on low heat and catch the flavors and the bright burgundy/red color for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure to turn on all sides for even absorption. Do keep an eagle’s eye out as your merlot  bath will simmer into a sweet reduction. This reduction is excellent for a beautiful drizzle over ice cream.

Cool and then chill your merlot  poached pears and serve with/without a scoop of vanilla or any other flavor ice cream of your preference. The bold yet sweet flavors will explode in your mouth and make you feel like you’re in the picturesque hills of Tuscany overlooking the bay; or, Napa Valley with a harvest moon.

Salud my Foodies!

WARM THE STOMACH/HEART WITH OLD FASHIONED OATS INFUSED WITH CRUSHED RIPE BANANA

Now a days, it seems like we are losing control with the sugar content in our foods. However, not to worry, we can regain some form of control by utilizing good old-fashioned oatmeal. Compared to regular cereals, it’s still fairly inexpensive. A great way to obtain your money’s worth is to buy in bulk form.

Thus, on a fall morn as this,although it still feels like summer in my vicinity, I decided to warm my stomach with a great bowl of old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast. Moreover, I had a few over-ripened bananas on hand, so I crushed and tossed merely a half in. So great to have potassium in this dish. With a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, a small drizzle of vanilla, my dwelling was enveloped with aromatic smells. So, I sweetened with a pinch of dark sugar and a little honey, all I needed to do was to top my dish with a few raspberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Oh, I was so glad to regain a little control and of course, satiation. Needless to say, my heart was happy.

FALL IS HERE….OH, I’VE A CRAVING FOR A HEARTY LENTIL SOUP

As I glimpse outside my glass door I realize that there’s a transformation that is gradually in progress. If you’re not cognizant, you might just miss the changing of the guard. Lately, the sun is quite late to rise its head. And, when it does, it shines so brilliantly, but, I’ve also noticed that it’s quick to disappear behind those dark clouds.

Without a doubt, summer is bowing out; and fall is officially here. So funny how my palate knows and start to crave the hearty and comforting foods. Maybe, it’s time I head on down to the farmer’s market and fetch me some ingredients to make me a hearty pot of soup. But darn, there are so many to choose from. I love me a nice bowl of roasted pumpkin soup, or a classic Jamaican chicken noodle soup,and even clam chowder soup with a couple of pieces of crusty grilled artisan bread to complete it.

But alas, at this time, I’m craving none of them. Somehow, my taste buds are leaning towards a hearty bowl of lentil soup. I know what I’ll do, already I’ve a pack of lentil in my pantry. I’ll pay a visit to my neighborhood veggie stand. I’ll fetch me a few firm carrots. Oh, the color is so vibrant. I’ll also get me a bunch of celery, and bell pepper, any hue will do.

I’ll return to my humble kitchen and chop me some onions, the carrots and other root veggies. It’s time to grab my stock pot and heat a little olive oil. But first, I’ve to render me a few strips of bacon. Hmm, I do believe I’ve beef, smoke one at that. I’ll make it crispy and set it aside for a great topping on the finished dish. Then, I’ll drain off the excess oil. All I need is the flavor. With a drizzle of olive oil, I’ll gradually add all my root veggies and season along with cracked black pepper, a pinch of salt and a dash of cumin. Then, I’ll add my rinsed lentil to the pot.

As I stir and remove all the bacon bits, I’ll do a quick pot roast of all the ingredients. After all, they need to get acquainted.I’ll add a couple of cloves of garlic and a nice sprig of thyme. Then, I pour me some tap water to cover all the ingredients. I’ll lower the heat to a low to medium. I’ll allow my hearty lentil soup to cook until all the ingredients are fork tender. In between the cooking time, I’ll do a test taste of the concoction. Maybe a pinch of salt or a dash of something.

Finally, I’ll cool my soup and ladle it in my standing blender. Before that though, I’ll make sure to fish out the woodsy part of the thyme. I’ll puree my lentil soup to and set it in a white bowl so as to set it apart and make it pop. My soup will not be complete without a dollop of sour cream. This would be the perfect time to drop my crispy pieces of bacon and garnish it with parsley I have on hand.

I know my hearty lentil soup will be mouthwatering as I envision the changing of the leaves to varied hues. Maybe, you never know, if I’m lucky, there will be a harvest moon.

PAN-FRIED LEMON SNAPPER FISH WITH CREAMY POLENTA/JAMAICAN SPINACH (CALLALOO)

This dish brings me back to my roots (my Jamaican roots). However, I’ve tweaked it a bit. Before I fried fish, I infused oil(combination of canola/coconut) with garlic, pimento(all spice) and thyme on low heat. Then I pan-fried fish and generously squeezed fresh lemon. Instead of a mainly vinegar-based topping of escovitch sauce, I incorporated fresh orange/lemon juice along with a drizzle of vinegar, pinch of sugar, salt and cracked black pepper. Onions,sweet bell peppers, scotch bonnet peppers were then added to sauce for a spicy and tangy finish.

In Jamaica, we have a cornmeal dish called “Turned cornmeal”. This was a staple in my household as a child. I must have consumed this dish dozens of time. There are different variations to the dish. However, it’s consisted of cornmeal, fresh coconut milk, seasoning of finely chopped onions, scallion and bell peppers. I made a slight tweak to this dish by adding shredded parmesan cheese. I guess Italy was on my mind.

For me, no dish is complete without a side of veggie. So, I served a delicious side of steamed callaloo (Jamaican spinach).A fresh ginger/apple/Jamaican rum martini completed the dish. Yeah mon!

CURRIED CHICKEN WITH AN INFUSION OF COCONUT MILK

Guys, lately I’ve been feeling like an “all you can eat Chinese restaurant” where you can choose from 100 chicken dishes. You see, I’ve been consuming quite a lot of chicken in different styles. What can I say? I love the dear bird. Moreover, it’s still relatively inexpensive compared to meats.

Once again, today I made the decision of having chicken. Guys, “BINGO!” It was the correct move. I went somewhat South Asian and of course Jamaican. You see, in countries like India, the curry powder, cumin, coconut are popular spices and product in dishes. And because the Jamaican cuisine is one that is rich and consists of many influences of the past, like the Asian, these spices are widely used as well on the island.

Ingredients:

* Chicken (legs/thighs (skinless/bone-in)

* Coconut milk

* Curry powder

* Cumin

* Salt/pepper

*Ginger

* Pimento(allspice)

* Onions

* Scallion/thyme

* Scotch bonnet pepper (optional)

* Garlic

* Coconut oil

Method:

1. Chicken parts were chopped to bite-size pieces and then rinsed with cold tap water. (Make sure to sanitize cut-board and kitchen sink with a cap full of beach or any sanitizer after handling poultry)

2. Chicken was seasoned with dried spices, salt/pepper along with crushed garlic and marinated for approximately 2 hours (overnight would be perfect).

3. In a sturdy skillet, a few drops of coconut oil was heated then chicken was added.

4. Chicken was sauteed for about five minutes on medium heat. Chopped onions, bell peppers, scallion, thyme and ginger were added.

5. Coconut cream was then added along with cold tap water to cover chicken parts.

6. Chicken was simmered on low to medium heat for approximately 30 minutes or until fork tender. Chicken was stirred and turned over during cooking.

The coconut cream and other exotic spices brought my dish to another level. The marrying of the flavors heightened my taste buds in a rich and delicious way. I served my curried chicken with some left-over Jasmine rice I had in the freezer along with a medley of greens.

Guys, I hate to toot my horn, but, sometimes you got to give a shout out. MY DISH WAS A WINNER! To say that I was happy is an understatement. I was overjoyed.

Guys, as always, be kind to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.