EGGS AND HAM WITH GREENS

I tried to strike a balance with this morning’s meal. I opted to include a little sauteed kale for extra nutrients for the day. I couldn’t resist. So, I decided to include the last bits of ham from past Christmas in my scrambled eggs. That move made such a difference with each creamy fork bites of eggs.

It felt like Christmas all over again.  On the side, I had a perfect contrast with orange spread slathered on toasted rye bread. Fresh fruits in the form of blue berries and tangerines bites finished my morning’s meal. I was happy.

FIBER CHOICES #OATMEAL AND BERRIES

I can never grow tired of this healthy and filling breakfast.  Most days of the week, I try to indulge in a warm dish of whole grains in the form of oatmeal. I prefer the old-fashioned version because it has a little ‘bite’ to it.

Oatmeal is still relatively inexpensive and easy to cook. Moreover, I love that it’s a great source of fiber,  vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. And, based on the nutritional facts, its excellent for lowering the glucose and cholesterol levels in the body.

Earlier on this morning, it was no exception. I cooked up the hearty grains in some milk. I made sure to add a dash of vanilla and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon for added flavors. Under low heat, oatmeal came to desired consistency. Then, it was sweetened with a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Oatmeal was topped with the antioxidant and fiber foods of fresh and colorful strawberries and blueberries.

 

WHO SAYS I CAN’T PLAY WITH FOOD? #RICE/CABBAGE WITH A HINT OF CURRY/CRANBERRIES

The other day, I felt like a kid again. I like to experiment and sometimes take my dishes to different and quirky level. What’s the worse that could occur? I just wouldn’t  try that again.My palate and I were in a colorful and odd place.

Well, that’s what I said to myself as I chopped a few wedges of cabbage to join some sautéed onions in a drizzle of olive oil.

VEGGIES BEING SAUTEED FOR JASMINE RICE WITH HINT OF CURRY POWDER
VEGGIES BEING SAUTEED FOR JASMINE RICE WITH HINT OF CURRY POWDER

I decided to go Mediterranean/Caribbean with my Jasmine rice of choice. I wanted a hint of color to my lily-white rice. After I sautéed and seasoned along my onions, cabbage and garlic, I added rice and allowed the grains to be coated with oil.

I was in culinary heaven as I watched my ingredients transformed to light yellow in appearance. I also added a sprig of thyme, and scallion. It seemed like I was going toss in the kitchen sink. But, I pulled back.

Rice was covered with lid under low heat after adding water. As soon as it came to a fluffy finish, thinly chopped bell peppers were added. I wasn’t finished. I desired a contrast, but cohesive in flavors and decided to toss in dried cranberries.

JASMINE RICE/CABBAGE WITH A HINT OF CURRY POWDER AND DRIED CRANBERRIES
JASMINE RICE/CABBAGE WITH A HINT OF CURRY POWDER AND DRIED CRANBERRIES

All the flavors played off each other. The curry wasn’t overpowering; but, provided a taste that reminded me of childhood and perhaps what would be served in a Mediterranean kitchen. The cranberries took it to another level. They gave a beautiful and contrasting tart-sweet taste to the dish that surprised my taste buds.

I served rice with  grilled citrus shrimp and vegetables along with a serving baked orange-flavored chicken wings. Fresh wedges of seasoned vine-ripe tomatoes completed my dish.

A CRUSTY HOME-MADE BREAD/CURRIED CHICKEN THIGHS

The past evening, I  made a surprising spin on my dear palate. I was feeling a tad creative in respect of carbohydrates for my spicy curried chicken thighs. So instead of the usual brown rice or potatoes served with same, I decided to make a home-made flat crusty bread(well, my way).

In a bowl, a combination of whole-wheat and all-purpose flour were added along with a sprinkle of baking soda, pinch of salt, drizzle of oil, melted butter, and  boiling water. A dough was made and rolled out into flat breads.

INDIVIDUAL UNCOOKED FLAT BREAD
INDIVIDUAL DOUGH FOR TO BE FLATTENED WITH ROLLING PIN

These were cooked in sturdy skillet for approximately three minutes per side. Served crusty flatbread with side dish of sautéed kale. Of course, I also had a side of fried plantain to temper and provide a balance to my spicy chicken.

My palate was ecstatic. And so was I.

 

POTASSIUM-FILLED BREAKFAST #RIPE BANANA PANCAKES

It’s that time of the year. A time when dark clouds gather and the temperatures plummet and fewer life-forms in sight. I needed to perk my spirits and start my day just right. It didn’t take me long to grasp a little control.

First, I did a few much-needed  pivotal moves to garner some happy hormones within.

A DOWNWARD DOG MOVE WITH LEG UP
A DOWNWARD DOG MOVE WITH LEG UP
ATTEMPTING A PLANK
ATTEMPTING A PLANK

Then, it was time to seek out something comforting to warm my spirits and my stomach. I reached for a couple wilted/speckled ripe bananas. Pancakes came to mind. So, I used my fork to smash those potassium-filled foods and transformed them into a batter.

All a needed were a beaten egg, a splash of vanilla, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered ginger, a pinch of salt, a pat of melted butter, a drizzle of oil, and a sprinkle of  whole-wheat flour. And I could help myself; it was breakfast, so I added a little old-fashioned oats for added fiber.

With a splash of milk I combined all ingredients in a bowl in a lumpy and imperfect batter. Lumpy is good because I didn’t wish to over-mix my batter.

BATTER FOR RIPE BANANA PANCAKES
BATTER FOR RIPE BANANA PANCAKES

In a hot and sturdy skillet, I made my cakes. I served them with fresh strawberries I had on hand. I devoured my pancakes and watched the sun peaked out just in time. I was on cloud-nine.

PROUD OF MY CATCH#SNAPPER SWEET/SOUR VEGGIES

It was the perfect set-up. Finally, summer temperatures took a nose-dive and in came showers and a refreshing feel of winter Florida-style. I went with the flow and flung open my doors and windows. I had a plan; a perfect plan for supper.

I went to my kitchen and went surfing. And what did I fetch? Oh, one of my faves, a firm and hearty snapper I had previously caught (purchased) at the fish market. Decided to pan-sear the big guy. But first, I seasoned with salt and pepper after I dried him.

I felt such a perfect alliance that I also stuffed him with fresh thyme I had on hand. In a sturdy hot skillet, I poured canola oil with a clove of garlic for extra flavoring. Garlic was then tossed. With a very light sprinkle of whole-wheat flour on both sides of fish, I immersed in skillet.

PAN-SEARED SNAPPER
PAN-SEARED SNAPPER

Snapper was pan-seared on both sides for approximately five minutes. I removed same from pan and drained excess oil. To that, I added julienned veggies (onions, bell peppers, etc). I made sure to seasoned along with a pinch of salt and black pepper. After they softened, a squeeze of honey, drizzle of vinegar and a splash of water were added.

I allowed these to simmer under low heat. Then it was time. Snapper was added back to skillet in order to soak up all the aromatic flavors of this sweet and sour bed.

PAN-SEARED SNAPPER WITH SWEET/SOUR VEGGIES AND SAUCE
PAN-SEARED SNAPPER WITH SWEET/SOUR VEGGIES AND SAUCE

I made sure not to overcook my big boy; thus, I removed him from the heat.

Snapper was paired with a creamy serving of polenta (tun cornmeal) along with a crispy garlicy side dish of brussels sprouts and broccoli.

POLENTA (TUN CORNMEAL)
POLENTA (TUN CORNMEAL)
GARLIC BROCCOLI AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS
GARLIC BROCCOLI AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS

As the precipitation hit my patio rails, I grabbed my big boy catch and his side guys, I was in culinary heaven.

FINISHED DISH
FINISHED DISH

 

RED BEANS(PEAS) SOUP WITH ROOT VEGGIES AND HAM BONES/PIG’S TAIL

The first day of 2016 found me quite naughty in the kitchen. You see, I blame my childhood friends, Dorna and Clova.

My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Bean soup (pig's tail on spoon)
My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Beans soup (pig’s tail on spoon)
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS

They requested a Jamaican favorite, red beans (well, we call it ‘peas’ in Jamaica) soup with pig’s tail, left-over ham bone and a medley of root veggies. I’ve consumed this soup numerous time over the years. It’s such a rich and flavorful one. Moreover, it’s loaded with great fibers,proteins, vitamins and other beneficial nutrients that are great for the body.

I couldn’t help myself. As I  fetched my left-over ham bone, I smiled. I felt rather naughty.  After all, it’s still the festive season. I figured we should go out in a succulent ‘bang’. Thus, I also included a fresh squeeze of coconut milk for added flavors and richness.

Of course, no red bean soup is one without a medley of root vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.) I also incorporated yellow yam (ground provision) along with boiled dumplings made with a combination of whole-wheat flour, cornmeal and all-purpose flour.

Red bean soup was also flavored and spiced with fresh thyme, all spices (pimento), fresh ginger, garlic, diced onions, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper and dried seasonings. With a packet of noodle soup and  veggie bouillon, my soup simmered on low and came to a beautiful consistency and finish.

Oh, we were on a roll. We chowed down on left-over Jamaican fruit cake served with strawberries and mint. Of course, we had to include a little spirit. And because I feel like every moment should be a celebration, I served chardonnay in champagne chutes. Those chutes are gifts from Dorna. Yeah….I was happy.

JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT
JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT