WENT TURKEY FOR EASTER! #TURKEY LOAF WITH SWEET/SOUR SAUCE

On this Easter day, I decided to be in company of the other feathery one. My protein of choice was  turkey. Transformed my lean protein into a succulent loaf. And, because turkey is somewhat bland, I decided to incorporate diced vegetables, spices, herbs and other ingredients so as to boost the taste in a huge way.

Before I added veggies, I sautéed in a drizzle of olive oil and  seasoned along with a pinch of salt, black pepper, etc.

SAUTEED VEGGIES FOR TURKEY LOAF
SAUTEED VEGGIES FOR TURKEY LOAF

After vegetables cooled these were added to seasoned turkey along with other ingredients.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TURKEY LOAF
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TURKEY LOAF

All ingredients were added to turkey and combined without overworking. A loaf was made and a home-made sweet and sour sauce brushed on.

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE
SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE
TURKEY LOAF READY FOR OVEN
TURKEY LOAF READY FOR OVEN

Turkey loaf was baked for 50 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees fahrenheit. Then, additional sauce was brushed and loaf was placed under broiler for a another 2 minutes for sauce to set.

Turkey loaf was served with garlic-flavored mashed potatoes along with spring green beans and broccoli.

 

 

OVERSTUFFED SNAPPER COOKED IN PARCHMENT PAPER

Supper was a breeze. Well, sort of, when you consider that it took me just a few minutes to cook and prepare supper. I went the easy and nutritious route. Allowed my oven to do the work by cooking my snapper in parchment paper. Cooking in parchment paper makes it easier for clean-up in the aftermath. I made sure to layer the baking sheet with foil before placing parchment paper.

SEASONED AND OVERSTUFFED SNAPPER READY FOR ROASTING
SEASONED AND OVERSTUFFED SNAPPER READY FOR ROASTING IN PARCHMENT PAPER

After scoring snapper, I seasoned with salt, black pepper and crushed garlic. I did a quick sautéed of an assortment of root veggies like onions, strips of carrot bell pepper, etc. Then, these were cooled and stuffed inside the cavity and head of fish.

With a squeeze of lime, crushed pimento, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers, a pat of butter and drizzle of olive oil, snapper was wrapped in parchment for roasting at 360 degrees fahrenheit  for fifteen minutes. All the veggies and lemon released a delicious sauce that flavored fish.

OVERSTUFFED SNAPPER WRAPPED IN PARCHMENT PAPER
OVERSTUFFED SNAPPER WRAPPED IN PARCHMENT PAPER

Fish was cooked to a beautiful flaky finish and was served with sautéed purple and green cabbage along with left-over side of whole-wheat rice and pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk. A creamy slice of nature’s butter (avocado) completed my meal.

AN ASIAN/ITALIAN TABLE #SHRIMP/VEGGIE STIR-FRY AND RISOTTO

As I prepared and cooked my Asian/Italian inspired meal, I felt like a true Food Ambassador. The United Nations would be proud of yours truly. Okay, now I’m going over the top.

But anyway guys, I was over the moon  with the combining of both my dishes. With the help of a store-bought Risotto:

PACKET OF RISOTTO
PACKET OF RISOTTO

I was able to pull off a tasty and delicious dish. It had in all the ingredients along with just the amount of sodium to my taste. I also added a few pieces of fresh broccoli spears to freshen up the creamy dish.

COOKED RISOTTO WITH FRESH BROCCOLI AND PARSLEY
COOKED RISOTTO WITH FRESH BROCCOLI AND PARSLEY

I allowed the five-spice powder to be a great player in my vegetable stir-fry.

CHINESE FIVE SPICES
CHINESE FIVE SPICES

With just a small pinch of the Chinese spice, I was able to transform my assorted vegetables to another exotic level.

STIR-FRY ASSORTED VEGGIES
STIR-FRY ASSORTED VEGGIES

On the side, I grilled a few small to medium size shrimp. These were then  flavored in a citrus butter sauce with bits of jalapeno peppers, capers and thin lemon slices.

ASIAN-FLAVORED SHRIMP AND VEGGIE STIR-FRY
ASIAN-FLAVORED SHRIMP AND VEGGIE STIR-FRY

Some white wine would have been perfect with these two dishes; however, I settle for what I had in-house, an inexpensive Merlot(Yellow tail) from Down Under. The Australians would be very proud. Salud guys!

NO MONKEY BUSINESS! #CHINESE FIVE-SPICE CHICKEN/FRIED RICE

It didn’t cost me much to visit  the Orient. The Chinese New Year was front and center on my mind as I prepared and cooked supper. This year, (starting Feb. 8), is “The Year of the Monkey”.

However, there was no monkey business in my kitchen. With the help of a popular over the counter spice (Chinese Five Spices), I was able to transform my chicken to an exotic and delicious dish.

CHINESE FIVE SPICES
CHINESE FIVE SPICES

Chinese Five Spices are made up anise, cinnamon, star anise cloves, ginger and sulfiting agents. These spices are very popular in the Chinese cuisine. This blend of warm and spicy-sweet flavors brought my chicken dish to another level. I used it sparingly as a little goes a long way.

I also added a small pinch to my whole-grain fried rice.  I tossed in an assortment of vegetables in the form of  broccoli, celery, shredded carrots,  onions, green peas and scallion which made my fried-rice a healthy treat.

Happy Chinese New Year to my Chinese friends and family!

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).

 

 

 

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

 

STORMY DAY CATCH #ROASTED WHOLE SNAPPER WITH STUFFING

It was quite a precipitous day in my neck of the woods (South Florida, U.S.A.). Maybe, ‘Erika’, the tropical storm was informing me of the things to come. But, I didn’t allow her to distract me from the culinary plans that I had up my sleeves. I had ‘tunnel-vision’. I paid undivided attention to my ‘big boy’ (snapper fish) I had on hand. He needed me so I heeded to the call.

SCORED AND SEASONED SNAPPER FOR OVEN ROASTING
SCORED AND SEASONED SNAPPER FOR OVEN ROASTING

I placed him on the cutting board and scored my marks upon his firm body. I smiled feeling like an artist as I drizzled a little olive oil within and out. I also sprinkled a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper in both the head and cavity. I love to cook whole fish over the fillet version as it retains all the succulent moisture.

My plan was to make an oven roasted whole snapper fish with assorted vegetable stuffing. So, I grabbed my skillet and did a very quick saute of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, vine-ripe tomatoes, crushed pimento and garlic, and some left-over chopped okra. I also added finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers along with thyme and scallion. I made sure to season along with salt and black pepper.

After the stuffing were cooled I added this to seasoned fish both inside the head as well as the body.

STUFFED WHOLE SNAPPER READY FOR ROASTING
STUFFED WHOLE SNAPPER READY FOR ROASTING

Of course, I had extra stuffing and I placed same adjacent to my ‘big boy’. In addition, a table-spoon of herb-butter was added on same with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Fish was placed and wrapped in parchment paper in order to give a roasting effect. Foil was placed on top of baking sheet for any spillage of sauce.

SNAPPER IN WRAPPED PARCHMENT PAPER FOR ROASTING
SNAPPER IN WRAPPED PARCHMENT PAPER FOR ROASTING

Whole snapper was placed in a pre-heated oven of 380 degrees fahrenheit for ten minutes. A few holes were poked on paper in order to allow steam to escape. After the ten minutes of roasting, parchment paper was unfolded and fish was basted with the aromatic juices released from the veggies. An additional ten minutes was given at 400 degrees.

FINISHED DISH (OVEN-ROASTED WHOLE SNAPPER) STUFFED WITH ASSORTED VEGGIES
FINISHED DISH (OVEN-ROASTED WHOLE SNAPPER) STUFFED WITH ASSORTED VEGGIES

I served my snapper with steamed coconut rice and roasted pumpkin.

STEAMED COCONUT WHOLE-GRAIN RICE AND ROASTED PUMPKIN
STEAMED COCONUT WHOLE-GRAIN RICE AND ROASTED PUMPKIN

SPICY AND COLORFUL FEST #ESCOVITCHED SNAPPER

It was quite a spicy and colorful treat a few evenings ago.  I wasn’t in the mood to count calories. After all, it was another ‘cheat’ day of mine. So, what did I do? I went island mon! Yes, it was back to basics for yours truly. I reckon the celebratory mood was still within. You see, August 6 was the official day when Jamaica celebrated her 53rd year of independence. And I decided to continue in my way; in the kitchen.

I guess I just wanted an excuse to cook a favorite of mine. And though this dish is popular during the Easter period, it’s cooked all year-round. I love an escovitched fish dish. When growing up, it was a staple in our kitchen and is still is. Thus, I didn’t hesitate to do a ‘throw-down’ with my ‘catch’. The ingredients were:

  • Snapper fish (2 whole) [cut into 3 slices]
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Pimento/all spice (1 tsp) [crushed]
  • Carrot (1 large) [cut into strips]
  • Bell peppers (wedges) [cut into strips]
  • Onions (1 med) [sliced into circles]
  • Scotch bonnet peppers
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Thyme (stuffing)
  • Sugar (1/2 tsp)

Method:

  1. Fish was rinsed and dried with paper towel. Then slices were seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste and stuffed with thyme for extra flavors.
  2. In a sturdy skillet, canola oil was added with a clove of garlic for flavor. Garlic was then discarded.
  3. Under medium heat, fish slices were fried on both sides until flaky on the inside and crispy on the exterior.
  4. Fish slices were drained on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Escovitched sauce:

  1. In small stockpot, vinegar, splash of water, fresh squeeze of lime,sugar, pinch of salt and black pepper, crushed pimento were added and brought to a boil.
  2. Vegetables and other spices were added. On low heat, pot with lid was simmered for approximately five minutes.

Fried fish slices were then topped with escovitched veggies and sauce. For extra color and additional veggies, I decided to add a few steamed okra in on the mix. Why not? It’s celebration.

A STORMY DAY DELIGHT #VEGGIE STIR-FRY/GRILLED CHICKEN

In my neck of the woods (So. Florida, U.S.A.), it seems like Mother Nature is doing a ‘make-up’ job. You see, normally, the  summer thunderstorms are a commonplace during the June month. However, this year was not the case. Based on the forecasters’ reports and from the look of the parched lawns, there’s a deficit in rainfall amounts for the year.

So, on this ‘Hump Day’, as I watched the skies go grey and dark, I smiled. I knew that I was home-bound for the evening. And, what better day (well, night-off) than ‘Hump Day’. My stomach agreed and made a growl reminding me that it was in need of something hearty and delicious.

As I hopped in my kitchen, I prayed that there was no interruptions with the electric power due to the thunderstorms.Time was of the essence. I didn’t have the time to grab a shower as I normally would. I was alone and I made myself at home and did a quick dismantle of all my garments. With rapid action, I tossed and placed my shoes and belongings out of my path.

It was time for cooking action. With a thorough wash of my hands, I then went for my cutting board. I was on a mission. As I felt the cool effects of the air conditioner flickered down my back, I went in search of my supplies. I thought about my vegetables on how fragile they are during the summer months. I was in no mood to let them further plummet, so I decided to do a quick stir-fry.

On my cutting board, I did a quick chop of the veggies.

ASSORTED VEGGIES, LEFT-OVER PASTA  AND SEASONED CHICKEN
ASSORTED VEGGIES, LEFT-OVER PASTA AND SEASONED CHICKEN

I also grabbed a little left-over linguine pasta along with seasoned chicken breast pieces. I wanted to cut the chicken pieces thinner; however, I didn’t trust the heightening of the storm on the outskirts.As I glimpsed the clouds cascaded in the elements and thunder sounded, I crossed my fingers as I heated my grill pan.

I also made a concerted effort to heat my skillet. With the drizzle of a little olive oil in the skillet, I did a quick stir-fry of my veggies on medium to high heat. I made sure to keep the integrity of my veggies. I aimed for crispy finish. I also seasoned with salt, black pepper to taste along with a pinch of five-spice seasoning bearing in mind that a little goes a far way.

STIR-FRY VEGGIES ALONG WITH PASTA
STIR-FRY VEGGIES ALONG WITH PASTA

At that point, I added left-over linguine pasta that was cooked al dente style at a previous meal. I was happy as I watched the tomatoes and veggies expelled their own juices. That provided a delicious sauce for the pasta.

My grill pan was ready for action as well. With a drizzle of olive oil on my chicken pieces, I placed each piece on grill. They were cooked thoroughly on each side and produced their signature grilled marks. I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on and allowed them to sit for a few minutes so that the juices could be redistributed within.

GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST PIECES
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST PIECES

As I watched the torrential rains beat upon my back patio, I perched in my favorite stop on my sofa. I ate my way to true contentment and glee as I bit into each morsel of my stir-fry and grilled chicken. I smiled with true elation knowing that I had somehow weathered the storm without a flicker of the lights within.

It was time. It was time for my ‘Hump Day’ cocktail. Guess what? I settled for a small screwdriver with fresh Florida oranges of course. Salud!

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.