WEDGES OF SWEET GOODNESS #CARROT/SWEET POTATO WEDGES

It was like Christmas in September. My kitchen emitted a bouquet of warm and aromatic flavors that enveloped my entire abode. Guys, I’m talking about the co-mingling of paprika and cinnamon sprinkled on  wedges of carrot and sweet potatoes. With a drizzle of canola oil and a pinch of sea salt along with the earthy spices of cinnamon and paprika, my root vegetables were ready for a piping hot 400 degree oven.

WEDGES OF CARROT AND SWEET POTATOES FOR ROASTING
WEDGES OF CARROT AND SWEET POTATOES FOR ROASTING

Roasting helps to bring out the  natural sugars within these root vegetables which are loaded with beta carotene and other great nutrients.  As I watched the golden wedges did their thing, my taste-buds became super-excited as they awaited the final dish. I gave the entire roasting approximately 40 minutes and turned them half-way through the cooking process.

Wedges of carrots and sweet potatoes were crispy on the exterior and smooth on the interior. They were like candy to my palate. I was happy.

VINE-RIPE TOMATOES AND TARRAGON SALAD

The marketplace is still loaded with one of summer’s favorites, vine ripe tomatoes. As a result, I took advantage of the influx by purchasing a few. Based on studies, tomatoes are best stored outside the refrigerator at room temperature so as allow all the flavors to mature.  Thus, I practice same and use these sweet and juicy specimens in my dishes.

One way that I like to use them is to make a refreshing tomato salad. However, I took it up to a notch by adding the distinctive taste of the bitter/sweet tarragon. Brought home a bunch a few days ago and so far, I’ve used it in fish and chicken dishes. I was very satisfied with the results.

Tarragon is also excellent with tomatoes. Thus, I didn’t hesitate to pair the two. I roughly chopped tomatoes and added a pinch of salt and black pepper, splash of red wine vinegar, drizzle of olive oil, a touch of honey and of course, finely chopped tarragon. This herb brought my tomatoes to another beautiful level. I was over the moon.

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

THE PALATE WANTS WHAT IT WANTS ##ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

Who says one has to consume the typical supper/dinner items? Well, my palate wasn’t in the mood to partake of the norm. So, I went with the flow. Actually, I had eaten my supper for lunch. I was overly tired and didn’t feel like preparing anything from scratch. My freezer is a god-send. Once again, it came through for yours truly. Well, tucked away in close proximity to the some frozen cream corn, I found some left-over stewed peas and rice.

I thought I stuck gold. So, I let my microwave did the talking and thus I had dinner for lunch. Fast forward to supper time, my sensitive and smart palate just didn’t feel like consuming the typical supper menu. As a result, I went with the flow. I knew I had three zucchini from my last shopping trip.

I thought about doing some grilled zucchini with cheesy scrambled eggs. But somehow, that didn’t appeal to me and I dropped the idea. Funny how things just pop in the head. You see, I got a culinary brainstorm of sort. And, that’s how zucchini fritters became my supper.

I fetched my main ingredients and apparatus: I used my box grater to shred zucchini and  cheeses (jalapeno/cheddar).

MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI FRITTERS
MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

Ingredients:

  • Zucchini (medium/large) shredded
  • Onion (half of medium) finely chopped
  • Scallion (1 stalk) finely chopped
  • Parsley (1 teaspoon) finely chopped
  • Eggs (2 med) beaten
  • 2% Milk (half cup)
  • Jalapeno and sharp cheddar cheese (1/3 cup)
  • All purpose flour (3/4 cup)
  • whole-wheat flour (1/4 cup)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Garlic (clove) to flavor oil
  • Combination of olive/canola oil for frying

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, milk was added to beaten eggs.
  2. Onion, scallion, parsley, flour, salt,black pepper were combined.
  3. Zucchini and cheese were then added and folded with other ingredients.

    ZUCCHINI BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING
    ZUCCHINI BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING
  4. In a hot skillet, garlic was added to oil and slowly heated so as to flavor. Then was tossed.
  5. Fritters were pan-fried two at time under low to medium heat until they were crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.
    ZUCCHINI FRITTERS IN SKILLET
    ZUCCHINI FRITTERS IN SKILLET

    Guys, I was super-happy with the results. I served them with a dollop of sour cream. Fritters were crispy on the exterior and full of flavors on the inside. My palate and I were very delighted.

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!

LOOK WHAT I FOUND!! ##CORNS ON THE COB

One of the wholesome and beautiful corps of spring is the corn on the cob. And, the different marketplaces are loaded with a bountiful supply of same. Got mine at my neighborhood Publix supermarket here in So. Florida, USA. The great thing about purchasing foods of a particular season is that the prices are relatively reasonable. Thus, I got six corns at $2.00. I was happy.

I’ll be steaming and then slathering on a little herb compound butter on a few and watch it melt in the nooks and crannies. In addition, I will grill some and then remove the kernels and incorporate with delicious succotash or corn bread. I see a great side dish for my jerk wings. I’m salivating; I can’t wait. Corn is in the house!

A KALE AND PARSLEY RICE TO PAIR WITH ANY PROTEIN DISH

Whenever I go grocery shopping the antioxidant green food kale is a reoccurring item on my shopping list. Based on studies, kale also consists of cancer fighting properties, great for cardiovascular health and a host of other beneficial nutrients. I do try to use same in varied ways.

I love to combine  kale and berries in a tasty and refreshing smoothie. It’s excellent as a warm or cold salad. I even made a yummy serving of kale chips which turned out to be a tad overdone. Come to think of it, I need to take another stab at those chips.

So anyway, a couple of days ago, I found myself with a considerably amount of kale and decided to combine same with some parsley I had on hand. I thought they would be perfect companions. And bingo, I was right!

I love parsley. It’s full of vitamins and is ideal for flushing out excess fluid in the body.Studies have also stated that parsley aids in the lowering of blood pressure. Being in great company I decided to whip up my kale/parsley rice.  In a skillet, I did a quick saute of onions and crushed garlic and added kale to the mix with a pinch of salt and black pepper.

After cooling, I added kale to food processor along with a generous bunch of parsley.

KALE AND PARSLEY IN FOOD PROCESSOR
KALE AND PARSLEY IN FOOD PROCESSOR

The whole action reminded me of a pesto excluding the cheese and nuts. Anyway, I added a drizzle of olive oil and got a ‘pesto-like’ finish. I added same to a fluffy serving of whole grain rice along with a few raisins. All ingredients were combined and yielded an amazing dish. It was a brilliant and vibrant green hue with a contrasting whole grain rice. I had kale and parsley rice for quite a few protein dishes.