MY PALATE DID A LEAP! #SCRAMBLED EGGS AND AVOCADO

Breakfast was quite a satisfying one for yours truly. I wasn’t in the mood for hot or cold cereal in a bowl. Been sometime since my palate had been caressed by the creamy taste of some scrambled eggs. I didn’t need milk or cream or any other liquid. I allowed my nutritious eggs to do the talking.

Brought my beautiful eggs to room temperature.There was no need for a whisk. I allowed my fork to work its magic in my see-through bowl. I couldn’t go scrambled without a little green vegetation within. So I chopped me a few sprigs of parsley and tossed in. With a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste, my eggs were ready to be embedded in a waiting hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and pat of butter.

There was no rush. On low heat, I slowly folded my eggs, yolks and all. I watched them came together in a perfect union. It was time; it was time to add my muenster cheese. I removed my skillet from the burner and gently placed my cheese and observed it disintegrated in a few minutes.

I couldn’t wait to dig in; but first, I had to garnish with a little parsley. Love that contrasting appearance. And to top it off, I had to go there; I’m talking about nature’s butter (avocado). Oh, you’re talking about a smooth and creamy goodness. With a sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of black pepper, my breakfast was ready to please my waiting palate.

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ONE POT WONDER TO FEED EXTRA MOUTHS #LINGUINE AND SHRIMP PLUS

The past week-end was quite a treat. I had company. Got a few unexpected in numbers. What was I going do? When you have waiting palates to feed and satisfy, you find a way to make what you have stretch. Moreover, I was quite a bit weary from the ‘grave yard’ shift I pulled the previous night.

Of course, time was of the essence; so, I had to pull something ‘magical’ out of the box to feed my guests. I wanted a dish that was easy, delicious and satiating. After a visit to my pantry and refrigerator, I came up with an ideal dish. It was an Italian one that consisted of linguine pasta, grilled shrimp (shrimp I bought the previous day) and yellow squash, roasted tomatoes, and other ingredients.Pasta was cooked al dente and set aside with a little extra water on hand in case I needed same to stretch my sauce.

On my stove top, thanks to my handy grill pan, I grilled my yellow squash. These were sliced at an angle in rectangular shape,brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then they were then placed on the grill for cooking.

GRILLED YELLOW SQUASH AND JALAPENO FOR LINGUINE DISH
GRILLED YELLOW SQUASH AND JALAPENO FOR LINGUINE DISH

As soon as squash was cooked I added shrimp. These were drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt, black pepper, sprinkle of paprika, grated onion and crushed garlic. All seasoning was removed and then they were placed and grill pan and cooked for approximately two minutes per side. And because I know that seafood loves acid, I squeezed a little fresh lemon on shrimp. That move bumped up the flavors big time.

GRILLED SHRIMP READY FOR LINGUINE PASTA
GRILLED SHRIMP READY FOR LINGUINE PASTA

In a hot skillet, a drizzle of olive oil was added. To that, roughly onions, celery, bell peppers, finely chopped jalapeno were sautéed and seasoned with pinch of salt, black pepper. I had a little left-over white wine and I added same to skillet with a sprinkle of corn starch for thickening.

After simmering and thickening of sauce on low heat, pasta was added along with residual liquid. I also did a quick roasting of a few vine ripe and plummy tomatoes.

ROASTED PLUMMY AND VINE RIPE TOMATOES
ROASTED PLUMMY AND VINE RIPE TOMATOES

Those were added after cutting them in smaller sizes. Also, grilled yellow squash,finely chopped jalapeno, and shrimp were cut in smaller bites and then tossed in along with bits of olives for extra flavor. All ingredients were folded and served with freshly chopped parsley.

Linguine pasta and shrimp dish was a huge hit. The spicy and slightly salty combination married very well. The flavors and portions hit the spot for everyone. We were satiated and super-happy.

ROASTED CHICKEN/CARROTS WITH A CREAMY CARROT SAUCE

I guess my palate was in search of something out of the culinary box. I went with the flow and it led me down the beta carotene path; a road that’s earthy and wholesome. I love carrots. I love them in salad, soups, stews, roasted and of course blended and made in a drink.

It was going to be a chicken dish. However, my palate craved one that would stand out and simultaneously caress my taste buds. My plan was to use my earthy carrots and create a spectacular dish with roasted chicken. One that would surprise my somewhat temporary ‘picky’ palate. As such, I decided to make a creamy carrot sauce. Already I had four pieces of dark meat (2 legs/2 thighs) marinated with salt and black pepper to taste, crushed garlic and grated onions.

Method – Chicken:

  1. Chicken was brought to room temperature. Onions and garlic were removed and set aside to go in when roasting.
  2. In cast iron skillet a drizzle of canola oil was heated. Then chicken pieces were dried and seared on both sides so as to lock in flavors.

    SEARED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS & THIGHS WITH SLICED LEMON AND CARROTS FOR ROASTING
    SEARED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS & THIGHS WITH SLICED LEMON AND CARROTS FOR ROASTING
  3. One of the three carrots was sliced length-wise and placed on top chicken for roasting along with lemon wedges. A splash of water was also added as well as grated onion and crushed garlic that were set aside earlier from marinade.
  4. Chicken roasted for approximately 45 minutes at 375 degrees turning once. The juices expelled from chicken, onions, and lemon wedges were used to baste chicken.

Method – Carrot sauce:

  1. The other two carrots were roughly chopped and placed in a stock pot with tap cold water and a splash of milk for creaminess. To that, a pinch of cinnamon, salt, jalapeno (a small piece) and thyme were added. Carrots were simmered on low to medium heat until fork tender.
  2. After cooling, carrots were placed in blender and pureed to a smooth consistency. Then this was added back to stock pot along with a pat of butter for a silky finish.

Roasted chicken was served alongside creamy carrot sauce with roasted carrots and fresh parsley as garnish.

FINISHED DISH OF ROASTED CHICKEN & CARROTS ALONGSIDE A CREAMY CARROT SAUCE. PARSLEY FOR GARNISH
FINISHED DISH OF ROASTED CHICKEN & CARROTS ALONGSIDE A CREAMY CARROT SAUCE. PARSLEY FOR GARNISH

IF IT’S THE WEEK-END, I’VE TO JERK ##JERK CHICKEN WINGS

Old habits are hard to break. I’ve been indulging in this rustic, bold, aromatic and spicy sauce from childhood days. In our household especially on the week-ends, at some point there was a dish that consisted of jerk sauce. It was either pork or chicken and sometimes fish.

This week-end is no different. Some childhood friends of mine paid me a visit. As we would say in Jamaica, (we’ve been friends from “John was a boy!”) We go way back. It was a ‘dinner and movie’ kind of a evening. And although I had Italian on my mind; which I served in addition to my jerk wings,

LINGUINE PASTA WITH GRILLED SHRIMP AND VEGGIES
LINGUINE PASTA WITH GRILLED SHRIMP AND VEGGIES

I had to go what else?…”Jerk”. It was jerk chicken wings with an extra ‘kick’ to it because I made sure to secure the spicy/hot version from Boston Jerk Seasoning packed by JCS (Jamaica Country Style). I seasoned chicken wings with a pinch of salt and black pepper bearing in mind that the jerk seasoning contained added salt. To that I added crushed garlic and grated onion. I added a drizzle of oil so as to allow the jerk seasoning to stick to wings.

Wings were roasted in the oven at 375 degree for approximately 45 minutes turning once. Close to the end of cooking period, they were brushed with a sauce that consisted of a pinch jerk sauce, ketchup, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar. Wings were served with roasted carrots and sweet potatoes with a grilled half of jalapeno for garnish (ran out of scotch bonnet). These provided a beautiful balance to the spicy jerk wings.

Guys, it was an Italian and Jamaican kind of night. Amore! Yeah mon!!

A FIESTA IN MY POT #PICKLED CODFISH ON A BED OF COCONUT RICE WITH KALE/PUMPKIN

I’m not surprised. For the last few days, I’ve been indulging in all the typical protein dishes imaginable. My palate was in search of something different. And so, it led me to a one pot deal; well sort of. It seemed like I had all the colors of the rainbow in my pot. Caribbean flavors were front and center and so I danced to the rhythm.

I’ve been here before; however, instead of calalloo (Jamaican spinach), I used kale which I had readily on hand. Basically, I created a seasoned rice (well, that’s what we would call this dish in Jamaica).

Oh, I love my freezer. It can yield me surprising foods that I somehow forget. And, lo and behold I found a ziplock baggie with cup-up pumpkin. I grabbed same along with a tupper ware of coconut milk. With a quick defrost in the micro wave, I set aside.

In a stockpot, a drizzle of oil was added along with finely chopped onions. These were sautéed until softened then pumpkin pieces were added along with seasoning of salt and black pepper to taste. Then whole-grain rice was added and blended so as to coat grains. To that, coconut milk was poured as well as cold water. Also, chopped kale and scallion. With lid on, this was steamed on low heat until rice was cooked with a creamy finish.

In another stock, pickled codfish (fillet type) was thoroughly rinsed so as to extract the excess sodium. It was and placed in a pot for boiling. I did same twice for approximately five minutes; and, rinsed with cold water in between.

Codfish was flaked in bite-size pieces. However, instead of adding to rice, I decided to saute separately. In a hot skillet, a drizzle of canola oil was added followed by chopped onions, tomatoes, crushed pimento, and finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers. These were seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then, flaked codfish was added along with a splash of house vinegar. This was sautéed on low to medium heat.

Pickled codfish was served on a bed of coconut whole-grain rice comprising of kale, pumpkin, tomatoes and other ingredients.

PICKLED CODFISH ON A BED OF COCONUT RICE WITH KALE AND PUMPKIN
PICKLED CODFISH ON A BED OF COCONUT RICE WITH KALE AND PUMPKIN

All the ingredients came together superbly. They caressed and surprised my taste buds in a very beautiful way. And the creamy avocado (nature’s butter) provided a contrasting/smooth balance to the dish. I was super happy.

FRUIT SALAD PLATE AND A MELON SHOT TO START MY DAY

Over the week-end, I took time out to celebrate the milestones in two of my friends’ lives. And with any celebration, we can’t help it, we often go a tad overboard. And, that’s what occurred over the week-end. I indulged in some amazing dishes that were appealing to my palate and I. Also, I had quite a few cocktails that sent me ‘over the moon’ and back. Note to self, “don’t mix my drinks!”. Oh, I was super happy.

Well guys, I’m back to “justmeandmypot”, where I try to keep a balance. And today, I’ve decided to bring some redemption to yours truly. As a result, I made a refreshing cocktail consisting of watermelon, ginger root and lemon. I’ve also created an assorted fruit salad to provide the beneficial fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that my dear body needs.

Guys, my colon and entire body will be singing a redemption song throughout the day.

A TAPAS KIND OF EXPERIENCE #JERK WINGS #AVOCADO/TOMATO SALAD

Earlier on, I felt like I was in a Tapas restaurant. Tapas basically means a wide variety of appetizers or snacks in a Spanish cuisine. This type of dining is said to have originated in Spain. Now a days, many restaurants of this nature are becoming popular.

The goal of this type of dining is to foster conversation and interaction among patrons or diners. As a result, small amount of foods are served in the form of hot or cold. Often time, diners combine all the small dishes and make them into one full meal. And, although I wasn’t thinking of same, that’s what I did. Ole!!

Lunch:-

At lunch time, it seems like my palate was in that frame of mind. Thus, I fed the need. I did same by boiling a couple of hard-boiled eggs. These were then sliced length-wise and paired with bite-sized pieces of jalapeno pepper Jack and cheddar cheese,stuffed olives, tomatoes and whole-wheat crackers.

ROOM TEMP. BITES: HARD BOILED EGGS, OLIVES, CHEESE (CHEDDAR,JALAPENO PEPPER JACK), TOMATOES, WHOLE-WHEAT CRACKERS
ROOM TEMP. BITES: HARD BOILED EGGS, OLIVES, CHEESE (CHEDDAR,JALAPENO PEPPER JACK), TOMATOES, WHOLE-WHEAT CRACKERS

Supper:-

I had a few chicken wings seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper along with jerk seasoning (jerk seasoning is found in a jar in the ethnic aisle) along with crushed garlic. These were marinated overnight and brought to room temperature before cooking. They were then roasted in an oven at 380 degrees for 45 minutes. A glaze consisting of ketchup, a teaspoon of honey along with a little more jerk seasoning was brushed on wings close to the end of cooking time.

Simultaneously carrot slices, onions, and sweet potatoes were roasted on a baking sheet. These were drizzled with a little canola oil, a pinch of salt, along with cinnamon. Both chicken wings and root veggies were finished at the same time.

On the side, a cold salad was served. This was made up of creamy avocado(nature’s butter) and tomatoes along with bits of parsley. These were seasoned with a squeeze of  fresh lemon, salt, and black pepper.

Lunch and supper were quite a treat. My palate and I will certainly revisit this tapas kind of thing. Gracias Espana!

A STORMY DAY DELIGHT #VEGGIE STIR-FRY/GRILLED CHICKEN

In my neck of the woods (So. Florida, U.S.A.), it seems like Mother Nature is doing a ‘make-up’ job. You see, normally, the  summer thunderstorms are a commonplace during the June month. However, this year was not the case. Based on the forecasters’ reports and from the look of the parched lawns, there’s a deficit in rainfall amounts for the year.

So, on this ‘Hump Day’, as I watched the skies go grey and dark, I smiled. I knew that I was home-bound for the evening. And, what better day (well, night-off) than ‘Hump Day’. My stomach agreed and made a growl reminding me that it was in need of something hearty and delicious.

As I hopped in my kitchen, I prayed that there was no interruptions with the electric power due to the thunderstorms.Time was of the essence. I didn’t have the time to grab a shower as I normally would. I was alone and I made myself at home and did a quick dismantle of all my garments. With rapid action, I tossed and placed my shoes and belongings out of my path.

It was time for cooking action. With a thorough wash of my hands, I then went for my cutting board. I was on a mission. As I felt the cool effects of the air conditioner flickered down my back, I went in search of my supplies. I thought about my vegetables on how fragile they are during the summer months. I was in no mood to let them further plummet, so I decided to do a quick stir-fry.

On my cutting board, I did a quick chop of the veggies.

ASSORTED VEGGIES, LEFT-OVER PASTA  AND SEASONED CHICKEN
ASSORTED VEGGIES, LEFT-OVER PASTA AND SEASONED CHICKEN

I also grabbed a little left-over linguine pasta along with seasoned chicken breast pieces. I wanted to cut the chicken pieces thinner; however, I didn’t trust the heightening of the storm on the outskirts.As I glimpsed the clouds cascaded in the elements and thunder sounded, I crossed my fingers as I heated my grill pan.

I also made a concerted effort to heat my skillet. With the drizzle of a little olive oil in the skillet, I did a quick stir-fry of my veggies on medium to high heat. I made sure to keep the integrity of my veggies. I aimed for crispy finish. I also seasoned with salt, black pepper to taste along with a pinch of five-spice seasoning bearing in mind that a little goes a far way.

STIR-FRY VEGGIES ALONG WITH PASTA
STIR-FRY VEGGIES ALONG WITH PASTA

At that point, I added left-over linguine pasta that was cooked al dente style at a previous meal. I was happy as I watched the tomatoes and veggies expelled their own juices. That provided a delicious sauce for the pasta.

My grill pan was ready for action as well. With a drizzle of olive oil on my chicken pieces, I placed each piece on grill. They were cooked thoroughly on each side and produced their signature grilled marks. I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on and allowed them to sit for a few minutes so that the juices could be redistributed within.

GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST PIECES
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST PIECES

As I watched the torrential rains beat upon my back patio, I perched in my favorite stop on my sofa. I ate my way to true contentment and glee as I bit into each morsel of my stir-fry and grilled chicken. I smiled with true elation knowing that I had somehow weathered the storm without a flicker of the lights within.

It was time. It was time for my ‘Hump Day’ cocktail. Guess what? I settled for a small screwdriver with fresh Florida oranges of course. Salud!

QUENCH THAT SUMMER THIRST #SKEWERED WATERMELON

Guys, we first eat with our eyes. And, now that summer is here full throttle, what better way to quench that summer thirst than with refreshing watermelon. They are plenty on the market and are quite inexpensive. Nothing is wrong in playing with your food. Make it convenient and easy to pick up by cutting in shapes and placing them on skewers.

I did; and they made me coming back for more. You and your loved ones will do the same. One great way to make your skewers more refreshing is to squeeze a little fresh lemon or lime on same. Better yet, if you wish to be ‘frisky’ and ‘over the moon’, you could soak them in any of your favorite alcohol like vodka, rum or tequila and have your liquor on a stick. Now, don’t over do it. All you need is a hint. Cheers!

P.S. Make sure to wash the skin on the melon before cutting. Happy summer!!