JUST IN TIME FOR 4TH OF JULY #ROASTED SWEET POTATOES/CORN SALAD

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES/CORN ON THE COB SALAD WITH AVOCADO (NATURE'S BUTTER) ON THE SIDE
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES/CORN ON THE COB SALAD WITH AVOCADO (NATURE’S BUTTER) ON THE SIDE

One way of using up earth’s harvest is to combine them and have a healthy and delicious feast. This recipe is just in time for Independence. It can be had as a side dish as well as a warm salad. The beautiful thing is that most of these ingredients are readily available and are in season. The marketplace is loaded with vine ripe tomatoes, corn on the cob and of course, avocados(nature’s butter).

I always try to take advantage of my freezer as much as I can. As a result, a few weeks ago I placed a couple corns on the cob in a zip lock bag in the freezer for future use. I had grilled a few for a succotash dish and boiled some in a chicken soup.Frankly, I was ‘corned’ out.

It was a rather quick defrost in the microwave. Then I went to work on my cutting board and removed the ears of corn.

CORN READY FOR ROASTING IN SKILLET
CORN READY FOR ROASTING IN SKILLET

I allowed these to dry on paper towel. Then in a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, corn was added under medium heat. I made sure to constantly stir to avoid sticking. This was seasoned with salt and black pepper. Roughly chopped onion was added along with fresh thyme. In addition, chopped tomatoes were added to mix with a half teaspoon of honey.

PAN-ROASTED CORN ALONG WITH TOMATOES AND ONION
PAN-ROASTED CORN ALONG WITH TOMATOES AND ONION

On a baking sheet, bite-sized sweet potatoes and carrots were placed with a drizzle of olive oil. To that I added a pinch of salt and cinnamon. This was roasted in oven at 380 for approximately 45 minutes turning once.

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND CARROTS
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND CARROTS

Roasted sweet potatoes and carrots were then added to pan-roasted corn, tomatoes and onions.

OVEN ROASTED SWEET POTATOES/CARROTS AND PAN-ROASTED CORN AND TOMATOES
OVEN ROASTED SWEET POTATOES/CARROTS AND PAN-ROASTED CORN AND TOMATOES

Roasted salad was then garnished with fresh parsley with a serving of avocado on the side. I devoured dish with a serving of roasted jerk wings. I was over the moon.

JERK CHICKEN WINGS ALONG WITH ROASTED SWEET POTATOES/CORN SALAD AND AVOCADO
JERK CHICKEN WINGS ALONG WITH ROASTED SWEET POTATOES/CORN SALAD AND AVOCADO

WARM WEATHER QUENCHER ##WATERMELON SALAD

There’s no denying, summer temperatures are already present. And when the reading on the thermostat takes a nose-dive I know that it’s time to adjust my culinary habits. During this period, I seek dishes that are light, easy and tasty. I don’t wish to be laboring endlessly in front of a stove. Gone are the heavy stews and soups and in comes the quick and easy meals.

So, the previous day when beads of sweat were making their way down my forehead, I fetched a sizable piece of watermelon at the store. Although I wasn’t happy with the price, I brought it home anyway. Just beholding this summer goodness, brought back childhood memories in Jamaica.The watermelon truck used to enter our neighborhood with several melons that were huge, sweet, juicy and super-red. And the prices were a ‘steal’. I can still picture the sweet and sticky juices running down me and my siblings’ arms.

It was lunch time and I didn’t have the craving for sandwich, soup or anything else. At the corner of my eye I spotted some vine-ripe tomatoes I had bought a few days before. Immediately I decided to make me a salad. A salad without the typical lettuce and cucumber. Thus, I came up with a sweet and savory one, watermelon salad.

I reached for tomatoes, strawberries, parsley and of course, watermelon. I sliced all these beautiful fruits and tore fresh herb (parsley) in the mix. The juices flowed with glee all over the platter. I seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Though a citrus/olive oil dressing would be okay; I opted to use none. To me, there was no need for a salad dressing. At that juncture, I tossed in crumbled feta cheese I had on hand.

Guys, the contrasting sweet, sour, tart, salty flavors were absolutely divine and simultaneously refreshing. My taste buds were very satisfied. I know I’ll make a revisit very soon.

JUST IN TIME FOR CINCO DE MAYO ##CORN SUCCOTASH….OLE! OLE!

FRESH CORN FOR CORN SUCCOTASH
FRESH CORN FOR CORN SUCCOTASH

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I’ve decided to make yours truly a corn succotash. In a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive and canola oil, I added shredded purple cabbage, carrots, zucchini,grape tomatoes, celery, and onions. Then, I seasoned with salt, black pepper and a clove of crushed garlic.

SAUTEED ASSORTED VEGGIES READY FOR CORN
SAUTEED ASSORTED VEGGIES READY FOR CORN

After all the vegetables were translucent, it was time. It was time to immerse my yellow-golden, sweet and crispy corn and introduce it to the mix. I smiled knowing that it was fresh corn that I had previously removed from the cob. (Ah, I wish I could say I reaped it from the fields). But anyway,  I added same along with a little chopped cilantro. After all guys, it’s Cinco de Mayo!  I combined and allowed dish to simmer and become one.

Ole, ole! I knew that this colorful and delicious side dish would be a perfect pair for any entrée.

I’LL BE HAVING MY WAY WITH THESE MANGOES IN THE NEAR FUTURE ##MANGO SALSA

One of the beauties of spring is that it brings us the blossoming trees. And one of them is the mango tree. It seems like yesterday I observed this specimen laden with breath-taking blossoms frolicking in the breezes. Now, these blossoms have given way to  firm, green immature fruits hanging from the branches.

Just beholding them takes me back to my roots as a girl running wild and barefoot on the outskirts in my domain, Jamaica. Our family had a couple of mango trees in our back yard. We called them ‘blackie’ and ‘hairy’ mangoes. These mangoes were very sweet and juicy to the taste buds. My dear mom was a great lover of mangoes. She could consume a considerable amount at any sitting. The bruised and the firm ones were devoured equally.

Early in the morning, we would be awakened by the weakened stems of these delicious fruits. You see, a few of the branches hanged over our roof. Subsequently, when they fell they would produce a raucous on the roof. Me and my siblings had a ball. We would scamper to fetch them before the birds had their way with them.

Oddly, I’m not a big lover of mangoes in their natural form unless they are reconstituted with other ingredients. For instance, I love a refreshing fruit drink with an a hint of mango. Or, I love to incorporate mangoes and make a spicy salsa. With the addition of jalapeno, bell peppers,tomatoes, cilantro and of course avocado, I know I’ll be taken over the moon.

So guys, feast your eyes on these beautiful specimens, in a few months, I’ll be having my way with them. Hmmm, without a doubt, I’ll be brought back to my island home. Yeah mon!

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.