BRAISED GOAT MEAT SIMMERED IN A CURRY/RUM SAUCE

Earlier on, my palate and I experienced great elation with the consumption of Sunday’s supper. We indulged in one of Jamaica’s favorites,curried goat. The previous day, goat was chopped into bite-sized pieces and marinated with crushed garlic and pimento(all spice), cumin, curry powder, ginger, salt, black pepper, dash of soy sauce and vinegar.

On cooking, this was brought to room temperature. Then, in a sturdy hot skillet, a drizzle of coconut oil was added and goat pieces were sauteed under low to medium heat. At this point, a generous splash of Jamaican Wray and Nephew white rum was added and allowed to absorb in meat.

Chopped onions, celery, sprigs of thyme, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers were added to pot. Cold tap water was added to cover meat. With lid on,  goat simmered under low to medium heat for approximately two and half hours.  Additional liquid was added in between cooking period.

For the last fifteen to twenty minutes, diced Irish potatoes were added along with chopped scallion and any other necessary  dried seasoning and spices. Finished dish was fork tender and was served with steamed Jasmine rice stuffed into bell peppers, assorted garlic vegetables and fried plantains.

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ROASTED CARROT/PUMPKIN/SWEET POTATO SOUP BY THE WATER’S EDGE

What a difference a day makes! Once again, we here in South Florida, U.S.A. have been blessed with a snippet of Fall. I woke up to the trees doing their signature dance as the blustery winds took hold of their branches. I was also fortunate to behold the trees ridding themselves of a few weakened leaves that made a little mess on my back patio. I didn’t mind. After all, its Fall Florida-style.

It seemed like the geese and the ducks felt the change; and, they too went prancing along. With a slightly cool and refreshing wind brushing my cheeks and shoulders, I took that as my cue to retreat to my kitchen. Something warm and comforting was on my mind. So, I reached for my baking sheet tray and lined same with foil paper.

I decided to make a roasted carrot,sweet potato and pumpkin soup. I retrieved a few carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and onions and cut them in wedges. I drizzled them with a little canola oil and sprinkled a cinnamon, salt, and paprika on them.

CARROTS, SWEET POTATOES, ONIONS, PUMPKIN FOR ROASTING
CARROTS, SWEET POTATOES, ONIONS, PUMPKIN FOR ROASTING

These were roasted in a preheated oven at 410 degrees for approximately 35 minutes. As the heat hit them, the spices perfumed my space and reminded me that it was Fall. These were  then cooled.

ROASTED CARROTS, ONIONS, PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES FOR SOUP
ROASTED CARROTS, ONIONS, PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES FOR SOUP

In a stockpot, a drizzle of olive oil was added. Roughly chopped celery, onion, and crushed garlic were softened and seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper. These were then added to roasted root vegetables and pureed with chicken stock to a chunky finish.

Soup was returned to stockpot. Fresh thyme and chicken noodle along with a little cold tap water were added to further enhance the taste and flavors. Soup was simmered on low heat for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes until heated through and arrived at the preferred consistency.

As I sipped my warm and satisfying soup,on my patio by the water nearby, I smiled. I was in a perfect place. A place where the animal lives ran wild and free, a place where the trees were alive and the sound of carefree kids squealed  with delight.

THE AFTER-MATH OF DONKEY KICKS! #BLOOD-RED GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL

I was on a mission to firm up my derriere. So, after performing some much-needed ‘donkey’ kicks, I hopped over to my humble kitchenette. Blood-red grapefruits were on my mind. When I last went shopping I stocked up on these juicy and sweet delights.

Oh, such a great choice! You see, here in So. Florida, these are quite plentiful this time of year. Thus, I took advantage and garnered half a dozen at about $3.50. Of course, I knew I could’ve bought  them cheaper elsewhere. But, time was of essence then.

I wasn’t disappointed. With a quick rinse, I sliced my fruit open. I reached for my manual squeezer and extracted the refreshing juice and it came gushing out with pulp and all. I love the pulp. Surprisely, for such a big fruit it only consisted of less than six pits. That was fine for me. I tossed them out and fetched my margarita glass and poured.

I drank my way to great vitamin C and other nutrients. My palate was extremely satisfied. Oh, by the way, my derriere is quite elated (much firmer).

BALSAMIC PORK STEAK WITH ASPARAGUS/BROCCOLI

That’s it! I’m the queen of left-overs. I was super-delighted to have an encore performance with my balsamic pork steak. And, performed it did. You see, I’m a huge consumer of the feathery one (poultry) and seafood in general.

However, over the week-end, I indulged in a dish of pork steak along with some herb-roasted potatoes and asparagus. It was loaded with amazing flavors and spices. I reserved a portion for another day which happened to be this afternoon.

Instead of potatoes, I decided to serve steamed whole-grain rice along with garlic-flavored asparagus and broccoli. The balsamic vinegar provided a tendering effect to the pork. Moreover, it also aided in the rich brown hue to the dish. The serving of the crispy greens (asparagus/broccoli) gave my dish a fresh balance.

My palate and stomach were over the moon.

PROTEIN/FIBERS IN CUP CAKE FORM #MINI QUICHES

Breakfast was a protein and fiber-packed one. With a couple of beaten eggs, left-over vegetables (broccoli, asparagus) and fresh spinach, parsley, and tomatoes, I was on my way to a  satisfying affair.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR MINI-QUICHES
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR MINI QUICHES

It was like having mini quiches in cup-cake format. Assorted vegetables were added to egg batter. I made sure to season with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste along with a little grated cheddar cheese. In a muffin pan and I sprayed a Pam oil in three cups. At the bottom, I placed a piece of whole-wheat wrap and then added batter.

CUP-CAKE MINI-QUICHES READY FOR OVEN
CUP-CAKE MINI-QUICHES READY FOR OVEN

In a pre-heated 330 degree oven, mini cup cake quiches were baked for approximately 16 minutes until set. A fresh spinach and parsley pesto was served on the side along with avocado.

OATMEAL WITH ADDED FIBER #SLICED APPLES

It was a happy revisit for breakfast. In a stock pot, old-fashioned oats, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon along with almond milk and tap water were combined and simmered to a thick consistency on low heat. This was sweetened with brown sugar and garnished with flax seeds.

To complete my warm and heart-healthy breakfast, I decided to add a topping of sliced apples. They provided quite a crispy and satisfying finish to the dish.

FALL IN THE HOUSE!! #BRAISED CHICKEN IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE

I’m being pro-active. You see, once again, Mother Nature is playing tricks. One would think by now the cool days of autumn would be gracing us with its presence. But no! We’re still patiently awaiting the refreshing conditions of Fall in South Florida. Temperatures are flirting in the 80’s and 90’s which makes it feel like summer.

I’ve decided to take matters in my hands. And, what better way to do so than retreating to my humble kitchen. Call me ‘nut’s; but, I did a nosedive of sort to my thermostat. I placed it in the late sixties. That felt like Fall Florida-style. I smiled and shivered a bit.

Apples are one of the popular fruits of Fall. As a result, their prices are relatively inexpensive. I bought some McIntosh as well as a bottle of Apple Cider.  I had a plan. I decided to slowly braise some drumsticks and thighs (skinless/bone-in) flavored with apple cider. I took a sip of the cider (which are basically pressed apples) and found it not overly sweet, tart and refreshing. I knew my drumsticks and thighs were going to be super-happy.

Overnight, I chopped my drumsticks and thighs in smaller portions. These were seasoned with salt, black pepper, paprika, grated onions and crushed garlic. The other ingredients used were:

SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Apple cider

Method:

  1. A drizzle of olive oil was added to skillet.
  2. Remnants of garlic and onion were removed from chicken pieces and dried.
  3. A very light sprinkle of whole-wheat flour was applied to chicken pieces. This action also aided in the thickening the sauce later. Chicken pieces were then seared on both sides on medium to high heat so as to lock in flavors. These were set aside.

    SEARED CHICKEN FOR APPLE CIDER FLAVORED SAUCE
    SEARED CHICKEN FOR APPLE CIDER FLAVORED SAUCE
  4. Chopped root vegetables were added to skillet under low to medium heat. These were seasoned with a sprinkle of paprika, salt,black pepper, and a splash of vinegar. Fresh rosemary and thyme were also added.

    SAUTEED VEGGIES FOR APPLE CIDER SAUCE CHICKEN
    SAUTEED VEGGIES FOR APPLE CIDER SAUCE CHICKEN
  5. As soon as veggies were sautéed and combined, apple cider was added along with cold tap water.
  6. Seared chicken pieces were added back to skillet.
  7. This was simmered under low to medium heat for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until fork tender (a fall from the bone effect).

    CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS AND THIGHS IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
    CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS AND THIGHS IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
  8. Half-way through cooking process, chicken pieces were turned and to ascertain if additional liquid was needed.

Braised chicken was served with a creamy Irish potato side dish and a fresh spinach and tomato salad.(Not in pic). As I sat and devoured my comfort dish, I reached for my warm throw making sure not to spill any of that rich sauce on same.

It felt like Fall alright. Mission accomplished!

CHOPPY SEAS COULDN’T STOP ME!! #SNAPPER CATCH

In my culinary mind’s eye, I went fishing. The fact is, I wouldn’t last long on those high seas; I would go hungry. I prefer to dangle my feet by the water’s edge and watch the waves. I take my hat off and prefer to leave fishing to those hardworking fisher men/women who toil to bring the seafood to my table.

So, it was a deja vu kind of afternoon. I love fish and seafood overall. As always, I fetched my snapper at my neighborhood fish market. And, my cute fish monger did me the honors of cleaning and gutting my fish. I was ready for action (well, my snapper).

Brought home my catch and decided to steam them. Firstly, scored, rinsed and seasoned with salt, black pepper crushed garlic. In a hot and sturdy skillet, I added drizzle of coconut oil. To that I added roughly chopped:

  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots

After the above were sautéed and seasoned with salt and black pepper,  crushed pimento (all spice), thyme,crushed garlic, squeeze of ketchup, finely chopped peppers were added along with water. Under low to medium heat, blanched okra and whole snapper were added and steamed for approximately seven minutes per side. A pat of butter was also added to fish a shiny and rich finish. And because seafood likes acid, I squeezed a burst of lemon and a splash of vinegar on fish.

I served my snapper with steamed whole-grain rice along with a side serving of avocado and tomato salad. I couldn’t resist, in order to temper the spice in my steamed snapper, I added the sweet serving of fried plantains to the dish.