FIBER!!!!!!!#FIBER FEST ##ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS

I’m a great lover of nature.I can’t help myself. I’m that bird who tries to catch that worm (now, if only I could catch a few ‘worms’, but, I’m still trying). Anyway guys, I guess you could consider this a good ‘worm’ story; sort of a food idea. Well, my community is populated with quite a few ducks. I reckon it’s because of the waterways in the form of canals. Canals are so essential for excess water from those precipitous months of the year here in South Florida.

Moreover, these canals beautify and attract animal lives in the form of my dear ducks. Oh, I love to watch them do their flips for worms/fish and form their famous ‘V’s’ as they paddle across the canal. Anyway, these adorable ducks also love dry land and grassy vicinities. What I’ve observed is that they garner quite a lot of their food from the grass. They graze for extended times. As I thought about same, I smiled and said to myself, “Hmm, no wonder they poop so often”.

Believe or not, that’s when I got a brainstorm. I realize that these birds’ diet is made of enormous fibers. And perhaps, we humans could learn a little from these creatures. So, after my sweat fest on the outskirts, I made my way to my kitchenette and whipped up a fibrous batter that contain kale and zucchini. I created a zucchini/kale fritter dish.

MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS
MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS

With the aid of my box grater, I shredded a small zucchini and finely chopped a handful of kale. I tried to keep a fine balance; so, I combined half and half of whole wheat and all purpose flour, pinch of salt, black pepper, baking soda, nutmeg, finely chopped onion, scallion, one beaten egg with a splash of milk.

I made a simple batter with the addition of some tap water to dry ingredients. Then, I added all the other ingredients and folded them together.

ZUCCHINI AND KALE BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING
ZUCCHINI AND KALE BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING

In a hot skillet, I input a combination of canola and olive oil under medium heat. It was time; so, I dropped each fritter and watched them brown to perfection. After a few minutes (6 to 7 minutes on each side), I flipped each one.

ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS IN SKILLET
ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS IN SKILLET

I made sure to drain my fritters on paper towel to remove excess oil. Zucchini and kale fritters were served with toppings of finely chopped kale and strips of zucchini. On the side, I also added a dollop of sour cream for dipping with a couple wedges of orange slices.

ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS
ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS

As I sat and devoured my fritters, I thought of my dear ducks. I do think that they would love this dish. Eh.., there would be a food fight(me and those ducks).

A RUSTIC KIND OF A MEAL #PAN-FRIED SNAPPER AND CREAMY TURNED CORNMEAL (POLENTA)

Fetched me a couple of whole snapper fish at the market. The cute fishmonger was kind enough to scale and clean them thoroughly for yours truly.  I took them home did a quick rinse and scored my ‘boys’ and seasoned the with salt and black pepper.

SEASONED AND CORED WHOLE SNAPPER FISH
SEASONED AND  SCORED WHOLE SNAPPER FISH

Scoring facilitates a better entry of seasonings and spices. The marks are also excellent for presentation. After drying of my snapper with paper towel, I placed them in a hot skillet with garlic-flavored canola oil. It took approximately five minutes on each side medium heat.They were then placed on paper towel so as to drain excess grease.

I topped my fish with a spicy and slightly sweet pickled vegetables. Pickled sauce was made from a generous splash of distilled vinegar, fresh orange juice, a pinch of salt and pepper along with crushed pimento (all spice) and chopped scotch bonnet pepper. This was served over a bed of smooth and creamy turned corned meal (polenta).

CREAMY TURNED CORNMEAL (POLENTA) SIMMERING ON LOW HEAT
CREAMY TURNED CORNMEAL (POLENTA) SIMMERING ON LOW HEAT

LIGHT AND EASY CAME TO MIND ##CHICKEN TENDERLOINS ON A BED OF GARDEN VEGGIES

I had a rather challenging and super-busy day. Lunch was a jerk chicken dish with spinach rice, steamed cabbage and of course, plantain. I grabbed this bite at a popular Jamaican restaurant called Golden Crust. It’s like a fast food eatery with home-cooked Jamaican meals. I made sure to get extra jerk sauce on the side. As expected, the food was very tasty.  I was quite satisfied.

Later on, returning to my nest, to tell you the truth, I was in no mood to sweat over a range. However, my palate nudged me and requested something else. Being the pleaser that I am, I granted its wish. You see, I had a few pieces of chicken tenderloin already defrosted at the bottom shelf of the fridge. Pan-seared tenderloin strips were on my mind along with  salad. So, I went to work.

I made sure to further slice my tenderloin a little thinner. With a dash of salt and black pepper along with crushed garlic, my tenderloins were seasoned. Instead of all-purpose flour, I lightly dusted my chicken in a little whole wheat flour. Then, they were placed in beaten egg solution in order to have the panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) adhere to chicken.

PREPPING FOR PAN-SEARING OF CHICKEN TENDERLOINS
PREPPING FOR PAN-SEARING OF CHICKEN TENDERLOINS (EGG WASH, PANKO BREAD CRUMBS AND FLOURED CHICKEN TENDERLOINS

Chicken tenderloins were browned for approximately four to five minutes in a combination of olive and canola oil. Excess oil from chicken was drained on paper towel. I still have a portion of cilantro. A few sprigs were finely chopped and added to a store-bought ranch dressing along with a squeeze of lemon to freshen dressing.

I served my chicken tenderloins with a garnish of cilantro and placed same on a refreshing bed of garden salad. This was made up of avocado, iceberg lettuce, tomato slices, scallion, and shredded carrot.

 CHICKEN TENDERLOINS ON A BED OF GARDEN VEGGIES
CHICKEN TENDERLOINS ON A BED OF GARDEN VEGGIES

Guys, my palate and I were super-happy and well satiated.

BREAKFAST WAS A MIXED/COLORFUL BAG #SARDINES,SPINACH/EGGS/AVOCADO/FRUITS/ETC.

I’m proud of yours truly. Just came back from a powerful workout on the outskirts. Managed to eradicate unwanted calories from the Easter week-end (well, I hope, I sweated like a ‘pig’). Anyway guys, arriving at my humble abode, one main thing was on my mind…..BREAKFAST. I wanted to keep the healthy and balance in check.

I had quite a few left-overs in the fridge. So, being the thrifty gal that I am, I retrieved:

  • Calaloo (Jamaican spinach)
  • Nature’s butter (Avocado)
  • Tomato slices

In addition to my left-overs, I boiled me a couple eggs and sliced one and a half for my plate. Omega fatty foods were on my mind; so, I headed to pantry and pulled out a canned of sardines in olive oil. Okay, I know I’m a tad out of whack when it comes to sardines; but, sometimes I like to warm my sardines. Yes, I said it! Hence, I grabbed my skillet and warmed a drizzle of olive oil. To that I added few slices of onions.

After sauteing my onions, I added sardines with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of black pepper. Needed a little sweet tooth for a  balance to my dish. Thus, I fried a few pieces of plantain and draped them with a few slices of cool cucumber after I sprinkled them with a pinch of salt and black pepper. A few small slices of left-over avocado were on hand; so, I also included.

It was time. I quickly cleansed my palate with segments of orange slices. I was ready to dig in my mixed-bag of breakfast plate. But first, my kettle was calling; I couldn’t ignore. I poured boiling water on my lemon green tea and allowed it to seep. Then, I went for the ‘kill’. I was fulfilled.

CUP OF LEMON GREEN TEA ALONG WITH MIXED BREAKFAST PLATE
CUP OF LEMON GREEN TEA ALONG WITH MIXED BREAKFAST PLATE

HERB/CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE

It seems like guacamole was on my mind. Maybe because I had a couple of the main ingredients (cilantro and avocado) on hand. Never went there though. Instead, I prepped a combination of chopped avocado and cilantro and sprinkled with a pinch of salt and black pepper with a squeeze of lime. I placed that to chill in the refrigerator for a garnish.

My intention was to cook a roasted chicken with a crust of herbs (cilantro/thyme), bread crumbs and cheddar cheese. And that’s what I did. With the drizzle of  olive oil, my crust was ready to be administered on my chicken parts (legs/thighs) when the roasting was completed.

CRUST MADE UP OF BREAD CRUMBS, CHEDDAR CHEESE, THYME, CILANTRO, OLIVE OIL
CRUST MADE UP OF BREAD CRUMBS, CHEDDAR CHEESE, THYME, CILANTRO, OLIVE OIL

Chicken parts (legs/thighs) were seasoned with salt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic from the previous night. Decided to cook my chicken in a cast iron skillet as it’s a great conductor of heat. So, after my skillet was heated stove top, a drizzle of coconut oil was added.  Garlic was removed from chicken parts and then they were dried with paper towel. Chicken were seared on both sides.

BROWNED CHICKEN PARTS READY FOR ROASTING IN OVEN
BROWNED CHICKEN PARTS READY FOR ROASTING IN OVEN

A splash of water was added to skillet along with thyme/cilantro. Chicken was placed in a heated oven on 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Chicken parts were turned once. Then, the herb/cheddar cheese crust was added to each piece. Skillet was then placed back inside oven for another five to six minutes under broiler.

CHICKEN PARTS WITH HERB/CHEDDAR CHEESE CRUST FOR COMPLETION UNDER BROILER
CHICKEN PARTS WITH HERB/CHEDDAR CHEESE CRUST FOR COMPLETION UNDER BROILER

While chicken was completing I did a quick sauce of carrot and ginger root.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/GINGER SAUCE
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/GINGER SAUCE

Carrots, a small piece of ginger(a little goes a far way) were chopped and placed in a small stock pot along with a sprig of cilantro and water for approximately 12 minutes. These were cooled and placed in food processor along with a dollop of sour cream, pinch of salt and pepper. This was pureed to a thick but runny consistency.

CARROT/GINGER SAUCE IN FOOD PROCESSOR
CARROT/GINGER SAUCE IN FOOD PROCESSOR

After herb/cheddar crusted roast chicken was finished,

FINISHED HERB AND CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN IN CAST IRON SKILLET
FINISHED HERB AND CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN IN CAST IRON SKILLET

it was served on carrot and ginger sauce with a garnish of avocado and cilantro.

PLATED DISH OF HERB & CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE WITH GARNISH OF CILANTRO/AVOCADO
PLATED DISH OF HERB & CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE WITH GARNISH OF CILANTRO/AVOCADO

Guys, the finished dish was amazing. All the flavors and spices came together in a very tantalizing way. By the way, I added a little Jasmine rice to the mix.(not in pic). After all, I had that beautiful bed of carrot and ginger sauce to soak up. The chicken parts were still crusty with the mix of cheddar cheese and cilantro. Nature’s butter (avocado) provided a smooth and velvety balance to the dish.

GUILT-FREE EASTER/PASSOVER SMOOTHIE #KALE/STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

It’s the Easter/Passover week-end. Without a doubt, we’ll all be going a bit overboard when it comes to our culinary intakes. Many of us will be indulging with a few extra slices of roast, fried fish,potato pancakes, pies and cakes and more. I know that I’ll be doing same. But, I have a perfect plan to help ease the guilty feelings within.

Head for your refrigerator and grab some greens and a few other items.That’s what I did. In my standing blender (one of my perfect partners in the kitchen), I toss in a handful of kale. To that, I added four strawberries, fresh chopped ginger, a half of a ripe banana,the juice of an orange, and a half pint of water. With a few pulses, my smoothie was pureed to a perfect finish.

Kale and strawberry smoothie was just the way I like it. There was no added sugar because the banana,orange juice, and strawberries provided all the natural sweetener that my taste buds required. I was super happy knowing that all these ingredients gave me great vitamins, minerals antioxidants, fibers and a host of other nutrients. Moreover, it was smooth, tasty and refreshing.

A LIGHT SPRING TREAT ##ASPARAGUS/BROCCOLI SOUP WITH CRUSTY FLOUNDER CATCH

With spring in the air, I decided to tread on the lighter side of things.Thanks to my refrigerator, it had just the supplies I needed for a quick and easy asparagus and broccoli soup along with a crusty serving of wild flounder.

THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR ASPARAGUS AND BROCCOLI SOUP
THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR ASPARAGUS AND BROCCOLI SOUP

The ingredients:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Broccoli
  3. Kale
  4. Onion
  5. Garlic
  6. Water (cold tap) or chicken broth
  7. Salt/black pepper to taste
  8. Cheddar cheese
  9. Sour cream
  10. Whole milk
  11. Lime
  12. Wild flounder
  13. Whole wheat flour
  14. Olive oil

Method:

  1. Vegetables were roughly chopped and added to a heated stock pot with a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. After a quick softening of veggies, cold water was added along with a veggie bouillon cube, salt, black pepper, thyme,garlic. Didn’t have chicken broth so veggie bouillon cube was added for extra flavors.

    VEGETABLES/OTHER INGREDIENTS IN STOCK POT FOR ASPARAGUS AND BROCCOLI SOUP
    VEGETABLES/OTHER INGREDIENTS IN STOCK POT FOR ASPARAGUS AND BROCCOLI SOUP
  3. When pot came to a boil, soup was simmered on low to medium heat until veggies were fork tender.
  4. After soup was cool enough to handle, this was placed in standing blender along with a handful of kale for extra green hue.
  5. Pureed soup was returned to pot with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese for a quick heating to melt cheese.

I served my broccoli and asparagus soup with a crusty piece of wild flounder fish that was pan-seared in a little olive oil after a very light dredge in whole wheat flour.

CRUSTY WILD FLOUNDER FISH WITH LIME
CRUSTY WILD FLOUNDER FISH WITH LIME

I made sure to reserve a few pieces of asparagus as garnish. Also, I added a few crispy crackers (not in pic) to provide extra texture to my soup.

LEFT-OVERS TO RUSH HOME TO ##CURRIED CHICKEN #NO FAST FOOD FOR THIS GAL!

When you do the ‘grave-yard’ shift, the last thing on your mind is to cook a meal from scratch. It’s no wonder many of us head for the fast food eateries in order to satisfy the hunger within. After all, these eating joints are conveniently located at every nook and cranny within neighborhoods. And, let’s face it, when the hunger pangs call, you can’t help but to surrender with a big mac and fries.

But, yours truly didn’t cede. I had a perfect plan. I couldn’t wait to get to my abode. You see, sometime last week (oh, can’t say when with this foggy head), I made a dish of curried chicken. Had a couple servings from the batch and stored another for a ‘rainy’ day as this. When it comes to forecasting in the kitchen, you got to be on top of things; otherwise you find yourself exceeding your food budget.

The previous day, I had removed the left-over curried wonder from the freezer. I knew my chicken was little deficient in spice. So, like a true Jamaican gal, I headed for the freezer and retrieved scotch bonnet pepper. Love to store excess in the freezer in ziplock baggie. I finely diced a portion and tossed it with chicken in a small stock pot. Under low heat, in a I allowed my dear poultry pieces to heat throughout. By the way, they were bone-in…..love to suck on my bones!

I served my curried chicken with a fluffy steamed Jasmine rice along with spears of garlic-flavored broccoli. No curried dish goes without a few pieces of fried plantain. Plantain provides such beautiful medium to a curried dish. Thus, I sliced my golden ‘guys’ and pan-fried them in a little canola oil.

My curried chicken dish was even tastier than the day I made same. All the flavors came together superbly. The curry, all spice(pimento), cumin, scotch bonnet pepper and other spices and flavors united in such a cohesive and balanced way. Moreover, the other ingredients gave the dish a perfect finish to my palate. Hmmm, I was a happy camper.