YEP, FISHING/FARMING WERE ON MY MIND

In the scheme of things, it seems like the ocean and the land were great players in my pot. It makes me wonder, “Could I survive with a net and some fertile soil?” And, the answer is,  yes I could!” There goes my imagination again.

But guys, this is for real. I relied on those hardworking farmers and fisher men/women to once again place food on my table. As usual, my friendly fish monger did most of the job for me with my snapper by scaling and cleaning.

So, when I returned home, it was just left for me to score and then season fish with salt and black pepper to taste. I dried fish with paper towels and stuffed cavities with fresh thyme for added flavors. I also placed a few all spice berries or pimento inside marks.

Fish(bone-in) were pan-seared on both sides for approximately five minutes on each sides.

PAN-SEARED SNAPPERS
PAN-SEARED SNAPPER FISH

These were then placed in a spicy and aromatic brown sauce consisting of bell peppers, carrots, onions, minced scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes, pimento, and garlic. These were simmered under low heat with a splash of vinegar/water, pinch of sugar, soy sauce and browning.

The snapper were then added back to skillet in order to soak up all the delicious and exotic flavors.

PAN-SEARED SNAPPERS AND VEGGIES SOAKING UP SAUCE
PAN-SEARED FISH  AND VEGGIES SOAKING UP SAUCE

Fish was served on a bed of Jamaican spinach (callaloo) and steamed rice and gungo peas (also called pigeon peas).(Not in pic).

 

 

 

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I SEE POSSIBILITIES!! ##CARROTS AND PUMPKIN WEDGES

Who knows where these wholesome foods will take me? In my culinary mind, I see roasted pumpkin wedges and carrot sprinkled with the warm and aromatic flavors of cinnamon and ginger spices. The result could be used as a great side dish. Or, maybe, a delicious mash.

From the looks of things, it’s another chilly Saturday. I do think I should scamper to my kitchen and make me a comforting and satisfying pot of pumpkin and carrot soup. If it’s Saturday, I’ve to go #SOUP! I can see clearly now.

STILL REAPING THE BENEFITS #FRESH CRANBERRIES

I’m still wallowing in one of fall’s favorite foods (cranberries). These tart and healthy berries are said to be loaded with enormous vitamins and antioxidants like tannin. Tannins aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections. Studies have also revealed that they lower blood pressure and improve the immune system in general.

When these cranberries are copious on the market between October to December, I take advantage by purchasing extra and store in the freezer for future use. Moreover, the prices are relatively inexpensive during this period.  Last fall was no different. As a result, I’m now reaping the goodness of these delightful berries.

Decided to make a refreshing and healthy cocktail. I made sure to rinse thoroughly and placed them in stock pot with chopped ginger root  and cold tap water.  Under low to medium heat, berries simmered for approximately fifteen minutes until tender.  After cooling, contents were placed in standing blender and liquified.

With a sprinkle of sugar, my potent cranberry cocktail was ready for consumption. Salud!!20160127_202002

 

POTASSIUM/FIBER MINGLE WITH HEART-HEALTHY OATS

I can never grow tired of my old-fashioned oats. It’s one of my favorites to jump-start my day. I combined milk and water and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and slowly brought oatmeal to a simmer under low heat.

After it reached a thick consistency, I sweetened with a little brown sugar. Topped off my oatmeal with some sweet/tart blueberries which are packed with amazing fibers and antioxidants they say. Also, I had to get those potassium-filled sliced bananas. They brought such balance to my satisfying dish. With a little added sprinkle of cinnamon on top, my heart-healthy dish was done.

I was super-happy and satiated.

ROASTED CURRIED CHICKEN/GARBANZO BEANS (CHICKPEAS)

When it comes to cooking, I love the idea of borrowing  and mixing  different spices and flavors. So, I was  quite excited to explore and swing with my native Caribbean and Mediterranean worlds.

I needed bold, colorful and exotic flavors to bring my chicken (half) to a spectacular level. Thus, all roads led me to a favorite of mine, curry powder. I selected a spicy specimen that sent my roasted curried chicken and garbanzo beans  over the top. Yes, I’ve often consumed curried chicken in a stewed form; but, never roasted.

I didn’t hold back on taste. The other ingredients added were:

  • Cumin
  • Grated onion
  • Crushed pimento (all spice)
  • Crushed garlic
  • Paprika
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Fresh thyme and rosemary
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Soy sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Sugar

    CHICKEN IN MARINADE
    CHICKEN IN MARINADE

After combining all ingredients, chicken was placed in marinade overnight. This allowed ingredients to greatly absorb in same. Chicken was removed from marinade brought to room temperature. Reserved marinade from chicken was placed in a stockpot with a squeeze of ketchup, sugar, vinegar and simmered to a sauce-like consistency.

Chicken  roasted at 360 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Then, another 30 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit (basting with simmered sauce) with skin-side up so as to gain a crispy skin. (N.B – Beforehand, herb butter was placed under skin. And, a few pats on skin for added crispness.

SEASONED GARBANZO BEANS FOR ROASTING
SEASONED GARBANZO BEANS FOR ROASTING

Beans were seasoned with a pinch of salt and curry powder, black pepper,  paprika, crushed garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. These were then  placed simultaneously in oven with chicken and roasted at 360 degrees fahrenheit for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until crispy.

 

DON’T ‘KNOCK’ MY FEET! CHICKEN FEET/VEGGIE SOUP

It was back to basics for yours truly. As the winds howled and temperatures took a ‘nose-dive’ on the outskirts, I decided to revisit a childhood favorite of mine. In the Caribbean and Asian kitchens, chicken feet are utilized as tasty protein additions to stews and vegetable soups.

Chicken feet are loaded with beneficial nutrients such as collagen (by the way, excellent for tight skin), vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. So, with that in mind I grabbed my stock pot and got my chicken feet softened in preparation for  a soup.  For extra flavoring,  I added the backbones and neck of a whole chicken. In addition,  chopped pumpkin pieces were added along with salt, back pepper, and other seasonings.

Pieces of corn on the cob, root vegetables such as carrots, onions, crushed cloves of garlic, and celery were tossed in as well.  Chicken soup was flavored with fresh thyme, pimento(all spice), scallion, bouillon and chicken flavored noodle mix.

Under low eat, chicken feet and vegetable soup simmered to a delicious and aromatic consistency. My stomach and taste buds were truly warmed on a winter’s day.

NO HAY CARNE HOY!! ##SEARED SALMON WITH CAPERS/OLIVES

So, the carnivorous side of me has been tabled for a bit. Once in a while, I like to tread on the ‘beefy’ side of things. With those chilly temperatures in my neck of the woods, I know that I’ll revisit.

Today, it’s all about a return to the briny deep. That’s where I fetched a lovely catch (skinless salmon). Though I like ‘skin-on’, I settled for what was available. In my mind’s eye, I pretended I was up Maine or the Alaska.

Anyway, brought the omega-fatty acid catch home and decided to pan-sear in a drizzle of olive oil. First, I made sure to season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. I also added a crushed garlic clove which was discarded before pan searing.

After a quick dry on paper towel, fish was seared for approximately four to five minutes per side. This was set aside and chopped onions and olives were added to skillet. After softening of onions, left-over white wine (chardonnay), a squeeze of lemon and a sprig of fresh thyme were added to pan. I made sure to season along.

A pat of butter was added to pan under low heat. Then, salmon was added back to pan in order to soak up all the aromatic flavors. And, because fish love acid, I decided to further add a few capers along with finely chopped parsley for garnish.

Seared salmon was served over whole grain pasta (spaghetti) along with left-over grilled eggplant and feta cheese.

 

BRAISED BALSAMIC/GINGER BEEF RIBS

There’s a season for everything. If you’ve been following me, you know that I indulge in mainly poultry (chicken/turkey) and seafood. However, once in a while, I deviate and like to enjoy a good pork dish, piece of steak or any other protein. I believe in a fine balance.

This afternoon I decided to go that ‘meaty’ route. Moreover, today is a perfect day for same as I wanted a dish to warm my stomach and comfort me during this extremely windy, wet and cool day here in Florida.

My choice of protein was a beef rib dish. Decided to braise same and infused fresh ginger and balsamic vinegar. I made sure to remove extra remnants of fatty tissue and season with pinch of salt, black pepper, crushed garlic, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and crushed ginger root.

Ribs were browned in a sturdy skillet with a drizzle of canola oil under medium to high heat. And, then roughly chopped celery, onions, extra garlic, fresh thyme and crushed pimento (all spices) were added.

BEEF RIBS AND ROOT VEGGIES FOR BRAISING
BEEF RIBS AND ROOT VEGGIES FOR BRAISING

Cold tap water was then added to cover ingredients. With lid on under low to medium heat, ribs slowly simmered to a fork-tender finish for approximately two and half hours. In between cooking process, water was added when evaporated. Also, other ingredients  like a pinch of brown sugar, spices and chopped scallion were added.

The ribs produced a delicious brown gravy that tasted very succulent. Moreover, the ginger root was not overpowering; but, blended well with all the other ingredients. I served same with a beet root/carrot steamed rice with a few dried cranberries along with sauteed cabbage. Ribs were garnished with fresh parsley.

BRAISED BALSAMIC/GINGER BEEF RIBS WITH CARROT/BEET ROOT STEAMED RICE AND SAUTEED CABBAGE
BRAISED BALSAMIC/GINGER BEEF RIBS WITH CARROT/BEET ROOT STEAMED RICE AND SAUTEED CABBAGE

 

 

EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE

Thunderstorms couldn’t keep me away from my kitchenette. In fact, it was the opposite. You see, rainy weather lures me to my cooking range. And, that’s what it did this evening. Originally, I was planning on Chinese delivery; however, my culinary mind sent me searching for supplies (well, food).

The first thing that caught my eyes were my vine-ripe tomatoes. Those super-red and over-ripened fruits/veggies were begging to be rescued. So, I did. I rinsed same and retrieved for my other ingredients:

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE

Eggplant parmesan was on my mind. However, I didn’t have the cheese of the hour. Moreover, there was no fresh basil. I did not allow that to damper my dish at hand. Decided to improvise and made my style, Eggplant with Feta cheese. Bought the cheese on sale for sometime; maybe a couple of months and stored the reserve in the freezer.

First, I made a home-made tomato sauce with my vine-ripe tomatoes. I softened finely chopped onions in olive oil. Then, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, thyme, dried basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, squeeze of honey and a splash of red-wine vinegar were added. I allowed these ingredients to simmer on low heat while I attended to my purple boy.

HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE FOR GRILLED EGGPLANT
HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE FOR GRILLED EGGPLANT

Grabbed my chopping board and went to ‘town’ with my big purple boy (eggplant).

SLICED EGGPLANT FOR GRILLING
SLICED EGGPLANT FOR GRILLING

Slices were seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper. I fleetingly thought about placing them in an egg wash, sprinkle bread crumbs and pan-frying. But, decided to employ the use of my grill pan. This move (grilling) saved me quite a few calories from pan-frying.

GRILLED EGGPLANT ALONG WITH HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE AND FETA CHEESE
GRILLED EGGPLANT ALONG WITH HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE AND FETA CHEESE

I was ready for action. Grilled eggplant slices were plated and fresh home-made tomato sauce was spooned on each slice with a sprinkle of the briny feta cheese. Didn’t have fresh basil in-house. I didn’t allow that to rain on my ‘parade’. Instead, I used thinly sliced kale I had on had.

FINISHED EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE DISH
FINISHED EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE DISH

I was super-happy. I served a few slices with a few roasted spicy jerk wings and sweet potatoes.

EGGPLANT/FETA CHEESE ALONG WITH ROASTED JERK WINGS AND SWEET POTATOES
EGGPLANT/FETA CHEESE ALONG WITH ROASTED JERK WINGS AND SWEET POTATOES