TAKE A SPIN ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRITTERS -#CODFISH PLATTER SHAPE

These are Jamaican faves, (salted codfish fritters). These spicy and flavorful fritters can be had as snack, horderves, breakfast, or as a great side dish for brunch. They are staples in a Jamaican kitchen. Over the years, I have indulged in this dish repeatedly. I seem to get the urge for this salty and crispy delight on a week-end when it rains or a little cool on the outskirts.

CODFISH PLATTER
CODFISH PLATTER

Over the years, I’ve attempted to make the dish somewhat figure friendly. Thus, I’ve included less all-purpose flour in the batter and incorporated mainly whole-wheat flour. This time it’s no different. Moreover, I’ve made a tweak with the dish by doing a platter shape instead of the individual fritters. Maybe, pizza was on my mind.

Ingredients:

  • whole-wheat flour (3/4 cup)
  • All purpose flour (1/4)
  • Flaked salted codfish (1/2 cup)
  • Diced onion(2 tbsp
  • Diced bell pepper (tbsp) any hue
  • Diced scallion(stalk)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Garlic (for flavoring oil) (optional)
  • Olive/canola oil
  • Finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper(optional)
  • Tap water (1/2 of a cup and add if needed)

Method:

  1. Extract excess sodium from codfish by rinsing with cold tap water. Then boil for approximately five minutes. And repeat the process. Do a taste test to determine the amount of sodium left.
  2. When cooled, flake fish and set aside.
  3. In a hot skillet with a drizzle of oil, add finely chopped onion, scallion, bell pepper and soften for a few minutes. Make sure to season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add flaked codfish and scotch bonnet pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, add flour (2) types, a pinch of salt and pepper. Add water and make a thick batter.
    Salted codfish batter ready for frying
    SALTED CODFISH BATTER READY FOR FRYING

    Codfish batter frying in skillet
    CODFISH BATTER  FRYING IN SKILLET
  5.  Add flaked codfish and sautéed veggies and fold in batter.
  6. In a skillet, add oil and flavor with a clove of garlic. Remove to prevent burning.
  7. Do a taste test of one fritter. Cook on low to medium heat.
  8. If satisfied, add the entire batter to skillet and allow it to cook thoroughly inside and out for approximately 6 to eight minutes. Flip codfish to the other side. It should be crispy on the outside and well cooked internally.
  9. Drain excess oil on paper towel and serve hot.

Guys, I served my codfish platter with left-over steamed cabbage after I sliced them in rectangle shapes. The dish was just as I anticipated, flaky on the outside and well cooked on the inside. It was packed with amazing flavors and spices. The tad of spice was just right for my taste buds.

 

 

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PERFECT COMPANIONS: STEWED BEEF IN RED WINE SAUCE AND SWEET/SOUR CABBAGE

Guys, it’s the week-end…..yippee! TGIF! Yours truly, is in a laid back mood. And when I’m in this mind-set, I’ve to have comfort foods. I won’t apologize for what I indulged in. The dish involved beef for stewing, red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon) and sweet and sour cabbage.

STEWED BEEF/VEGGIES ALONG WITH RED WINE READY TO BE BRAISED
STEWED BEEF/VEGGIES ALONG WITH RED WINE READY TO BE BRAISED
SHREDDED CABBAGE (RAW) FOR STIR-FRYING
SHREDDED CABBAGE (RAW) FOR STIR-FRYING

The thing is, I’ve been a very good girl all week. I ate my many garden salads, wholesome grains, drank gallons (well, a few pints) of water and believe it or not, I also had cup cakes made from black beans. Made them a few weeks ago and had them in the freezer. Yes, I went there. Said I wouldn’t but for the sake of extra fibers, I ate a couple of the healthy brownies. Oh, I’m not over the moon; but, it’s not the end of the world.

So, it had been sometime since I had beef (not a big lover); however, once in a while, I like to indulge. I had about cup of Cabernet Sauvignon and decided to ‘go to town’. I decided to cook a braised (stewed beef) in red wine sauce. With the helping of a few root veggies, a simple dish turned out to be spectacular.

Ingredients:

  • Beef for stewing
  • Red wine (1cup) any red wine will do
  • Root veggies (carrots, celery, onion)
  • Garlic (3 cloves)
  • Thyme (1 teaspoon)
  • Scallion (2 stalks)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Parsley
  • Dried basil

Method:

  1. In a sturdy skillet, I heated a little canola oil.
  2. Crushed garlic pieces were removed from seasoned pieces of beef.
  3. Then pieces of beef were lightly dredged in flour and placed in skillet for browning.
  4. After browning of beef, red wine was added so as to glaze the pan ensuring to remove all the good bits at the bottom of skillet.
  5. Root vegetables were then added. These were seasoned with a pinch of salt, pepper, dried basil, all spice (pimento), a squeeze of ketchup, drizzle of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and additional crushed garlic and thyme.
  6. Cold tap water was added to cover ingredients and the lid was placed on skillet.
  7. Stewed beef was simmered and cooked for approximately two and half hours under low to medium heat.
  8. Every half hour, additional water was added to continue the cooking process.
  9.  When stewed beef was fork tender, it was served in bowl with a garnish of scallion and parsley.

Guys, I served my stewed beef in red wine sauce with a beautiful bed of sweet and sour cabbage and some pasta (not included in pic). The red wine gave my dish additional bold and rich flavors. The different spices and seasonings permeated my space and certainly tickled my taste buds.

Now, it’s time; it’s time to catch up on my guilty pleasures of ‘Empire’, ‘Sandal’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murder’. Of course, I’ll be sipping away on glass of Merlot (I see my name on it). Cheers!

WARM YOUR STOMACH & STIR-UP THAT APHRODISIAC WITHIN..#ASPARAGUS/BROCCOLI SOUP

The winter weather is here and is at its peak. During this time, we all wish to keep warm and indulge in comforting foods. A great way to do same is to whip up something rather tasty and nutritious as well. A trip to the veggie tray can yield an amazing and delicious soup.

And, that’s what I did.

INGREDIENTS FOR ASPARAGUS/BROCCOLI SOUP
INGREDIENTS FOR ASPARAGUS/BROCCOLI SOUP

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Chicken broth
  • Salt/pepper
  • Parsley
  • Sour cream
  • Thyme
  • Scallion

Method:

  1. In a stockpot, under low to medium heat, olive oil was drizzled and finely chopped onions,celery and garlic were sauteed. Ingredients were seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Roughly chopped asparagus (after removing woodsy ends), broccoli, thyme, scallion were added and combined with other ingredients.
  3. Chicken broth was then poured along with two cups of tap water. Then lid was placed on pot allowing soup to simmer under low heat.
  4. After ingredients were fork tender, one teaspoon of cornstarch was dissolved in milk and added to soup for thickening.
  5. Soup was allowed to simmer for an additional ten minutes.
  6. After cooling of soup, it was placed in standing blender and pureed to required consistency.
  7. Pureed soup was poured back in stockpot and heated under low heat.
  8. Sprinkled cheddar cheese was then added after removing pot from burner.

Pureed asparagus and broccoli soup was served with a dollop of sour cream and a garnish of parsley. Rye bread was buttered and grilled, then rubbed with fresh garlic which turned out to be a fantastic dipper.

USHER IN THE WARM AND THE EXOTIC FLAVORS ##GRILLED SHRIMP IN A COCONUT/CURRY SAUCE

It seems like the whole world is under a cold spell. The blizzard of 2015 has made its mark on the New England region of the United States and other locales. Even sunny South Florida is experiencing 40’s and 50’s in temperatures. But, I’m not complaining; I’ve decided to go Jamaican with an infusion of Mediterranean spices and flavors.

GRILLED SHRIMP IN COCONUT/CURRY SAUCE WITH JASMINE RICE/WARM KALE/SALAD
GRILLED SHRIMP IN COCONUT/CURRY SAUCE WITH JASMINE RICE/WARM KALE/SALAD

I simmered some fresh coconut milk to a custard-like consistency on low to medium heat. To that I added a pinch of curry power about 1/4 teaspoon, chopped onion, garlic, minced scotch bonnet peppers (optional), thyme, all spice (pimento), a pinch of salt and pepper. Had a few grape tomatoes on hand and decided to toss in with a pinch of sugar.

At this point, my Georgie (George Foreman grill) entered the picture (so glad I decided to pay him a revisit). A drizzle of olive oil was added to shrimp. Then, salt and black pepper were added to taste along with a pinch of curry power and crushed garlic.  After removing garlic from shrimp, they were then placed on heated/oiled grill for 2 to 3 minutes.

Grilled shrimp were then added to coconut/curry sauce (off the burner) in order to soak up all the delicious and exotic flavors.  Shrimp dish was served with steamed Jasmine rice along with a warm kale salad.

Guys, my palate was transported to Jamaica and the Mediterranean isles with the coconut/curry sauce. Now, those are what good things are made.

A NUTRITIOUS/DELICIOUS SOUP TO WEATHER THE BLIZZARD ##ROASTED PUMPKIN/CARROT SOUP

Depending on where you reside, once again, Mother Nature is causing you to hibernate. Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to replenish and stockpile a few much-needed food supplies. Bravo to you! So, while you will be catching up on your favorite television or cable shows, this is the perfect time to hop in the kitchen and make yourself some tasty and heartwarming soup.

Grab a baking sheet and roughly chop your pumpkin(squash), carrots, onions, and garlic. Drizzle veggies with a little olive oil or any good oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and roast in oven for approximately 30 minutes at 380 to 400 degrees. The roasting will bring out the nuttiness and natural sugar in these veggies.

Spoon roasted veggies in a blender and add chicken broth (or, fresh tap water will do). Puree veggies to the consistency you prefer; then add to a sturdy stock pot. Do a taste test and if needed further add more seasoning, toss in fresh thyme or any dried herb. Allow pureed soup to simmer on low heat with lid on for a few minutes.

Serve your pumpkin(squash)/carrot soup with a crusty garlic bread or warm croutons. Garnish with fresh herb of choice.

Guys, keep warm and as always, be kind to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates. Grab for that ‘blankie’ or fave sweater. Be safe!!

A BRAIN BOOSTER TO START THE DAY ##BLUEBERRY/BANANA SMOOTHIE

I’m glad to see that one of my faves (blueberries) is slowly hitting the shelves with a tad lower in prices compared to a few weeks ago.  I can’t wait for them to plummet further so that I stockpile in my freezer. But anyway, I couldn’t help myself; I fetched some and have put them to use in my diet.

Thus, on this cool morn when brain could do well with a little brain boost, I decided to make a great smoothie. In my standing blender, I added a freshly squeezed orange, half of a speckled ripe banana, two strawberries, and of course, a generous handful of blueberries.

A splash of cool water was also added. I blended my way to a superb serving of fiber, potassium, vitamins and antioxidants. My smoothie was just perfect with the right amount of natural sugar. Already, I feel my brain power has taken a sizable leap in clarity; (well, in my mind’s eye). Studies have revealed that the consumption of blueberries over a period can enhance memory.

Bottoms up guys!!

DESSERT/COCKTAIL TO CLIMAX MY MEAL #GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH STRAWBERRIES/CREME

Sometimes, my dear palate has a mind of its own. Went a shopping a day ago. There I beheld golden and juicy pineapples beautifully displayed. What do know? My palate hopped out of the box. After all, it’s winter, Florida-style of course (temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s). It’s such a treat to be able fetch these types of fruits all year round.

Being receptive to my twin (my palate), I decided to grab one. Oh, fantastic choice. As I told you before, I’ve resurrected my dear George (George Foreman grill). So, I retrieved my cut board and cut my oh so amazing pineapple in slices and dried off. And, with a drizzle of a little Pam, I grilled a couple of pineapple slices. Hmmmm, such a wise choice.

Sliced pineapple
Sliced pineapple
Pineapple slices ready for grilling
Pineapple slices ready for grilling

Guys, it was an awesome decision. The pineapple turned out to be super sweet, just about right for dear palate. I served my grilled pineapple slices with sour cream and strawberries along with a garnish of fresh mint. On the side of course, I had to pair with a glass of Merlot. Cheers guys!!

Merlot and grilled pineapple with strawberries/creme
Merlot and grilled pineapple with strawberries/creme

LOOK YE HERE! LOOK YE HERE! I STILL HAVE SOME JAMAICAN RUM MARINARA OVER HERE ##EGG CUPCAKES

My Jamaican rum marinara sauce has some long legs. Had a few leftover spoonfuls on hand and decided to ‘rock’ it with a couple of eggs. Grabbed my whisk, tossed in a pinch of salt, cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese (love to keep that in the freezer), a splash of milk, and of course, my recent concoction, Jamaican rum marinara sauce.

Egg cupcakes ready for the oven
Egg cupcakes ready for the oven

Had cupcakes on my mind; so I decided to download my batter in a muffin tin. Placed in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. The result was soft and flavorful cupcakes. I served my cupcakes on two slices of grilled rye bread which were drizzled with a little olive oil and rubbed with garlic.

With fresh straw and blue berries, my palate was refreshed and so was I. To say I was happy is quite an understatement, me and my palate were on cloud nine. Guys, that’s what beautiful things are made of.

THE REEMERGENCE OF GEORGE ##GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL#GRILLED TILAPIA

Dear George and I have been detached for quite sometime. Due to the uprooting in my life, he (perhaps, I should say ‘it’), somehow got shuffled amid the pots and pans in my cupboard. That is to tell you how much I grill and needed another piece of gadget.

You see, the real George Foreman has a convincing way of letting the mass know how much a gadget is needed. That trusting face and salesman talk will get one purchasing absolutely anything. By the way, doesn’t the guy age? Love that smile of his and baby face. Many of us should take a big cue from him. He’s certainly knows how to reinvent himself.

Anyway, just the other day, while I was rummaging through and rearranging my pots and pans, there under a huge stock pot was my George Foreman grill. I yanked it out and smiled. Somehow, it brought back memories of when I couldn’t put it down. I used to grill everything in sight.

And so, I dusted and cleaned the ‘old guy’ off and made me a grilled salmon dish. True to form, it worked quite excellently with all the marks. And so, on this day, I have decided to revisit dear George. After all, it’s a new year, and I’m trying to be healthy as much as I can.

Thus, I decided to grill yours truly a few pieces of tilapia fillets.

Seasoned Tilapia fillets on George Foreman Grill
Seasoned Tilapia fillets on George Foreman Grill

Fillets were seasoned with salt, pepper to taste along with a clove of crushed garlic. I made sure to remove garlic before I placed on oiled grill. Also a drizzle of olive oil was added to both sides of fish. It took approximately six minutes to grill same along with the sliced lemon on top.

I served my grilled tilapia fish with a lemon/white wine buttery sauce with bits of red bell peppers as toppings. In addition, servings of seasoned yellow rice and garlic kale completed the dish.

Something tells me that I will be utilizing ‘Georgie’ a lot. I’m happy.