KALE/CABBAGE SAUTE

Now, here’s a crowd-pleaser (sautéed kale/cabbage) that can be had at any meal. I did; and my palate was reintroduced to a crispy, tasty and nutritious treat. This delicious side was just what I needed to add to my breakfast and supper meals.

Advertisements

SAUTEED PICKLED RED HERRING ##BLUE MOON

It’s the week-end; and, I’m in a kind of naughty mood. You see, in my culinary mind’s eye, there’s a full blue moon. And, when this rarity develops, almost anything can occur in my kitchen.

I was in the mood for something a tad salty, spicy and chock-full of amazing flavors. Moreover, I craved something that reminded me of my earlier years in Jamaica. Thus, all roads led me to fillet pickled red herring.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR SAUTEED PICKLED MACKEREL
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR SAUTEED PICKLED RED HERRING

Herring pieces were cut into smaller portions. And because pickled red herring contains extra sodium I made sure to extract same. I did this by repeatedly rinsing, soaking and boiling for a few minutes until I was satisfied with the level of sodium I needed.

In a hot skillet, a drizzle of coconut oil was added. Then, sliced onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, crushed pimento and garlic were sautéed on low to medium heat.

Pickled red herring was then added and allowed to simmer under low heat in order to absorb all the aromatic flavors. Also, because seafood loves acid, a drizzle of vinegar was added along with a pinch of sugar for a fine balance.

FALL IN THE HOUSE!! #BRAISED CHICKEN IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE

I’m being pro-active. You see, once again, Mother Nature is playing tricks. One would think by now the cool days of autumn would be gracing us with its presence. But no! We’re still patiently awaiting the refreshing conditions of Fall in South Florida. Temperatures are flirting in the 80’s and 90’s which makes it feel like summer.

I’ve decided to take matters in my hands. And, what better way to do so than retreating to my humble kitchen. Call me ‘nut’s; but, I did a nosedive of sort to my thermostat. I placed it in the late sixties. That felt like Fall Florida-style. I smiled and shivered a bit.

Apples are one of the popular fruits of Fall. As a result, their prices are relatively inexpensive. I bought some McIntosh as well as a bottle of Apple Cider.  I had a plan. I decided to slowly braise some drumsticks and thighs (skinless/bone-in) flavored with apple cider. I took a sip of the cider (which are basically pressed apples) and found it not overly sweet, tart and refreshing. I knew my drumsticks and thighs were going to be super-happy.

Overnight, I chopped my drumsticks and thighs in smaller portions. These were seasoned with salt, black pepper, paprika, grated onions and crushed garlic. The other ingredients used were:

SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Apple cider

Method:

  1. A drizzle of olive oil was added to skillet.
  2. Remnants of garlic and onion were removed from chicken pieces and dried.
  3. A very light sprinkle of whole-wheat flour was applied to chicken pieces. This action also aided in the thickening the sauce later. Chicken pieces were then seared on both sides on medium to high heat so as to lock in flavors. These were set aside.

    SEARED CHICKEN FOR APPLE CIDER FLAVORED SAUCE
    SEARED CHICKEN FOR APPLE CIDER FLAVORED SAUCE
  4. Chopped root vegetables were added to skillet under low to medium heat. These were seasoned with a sprinkle of paprika, salt,black pepper, and a splash of vinegar. Fresh rosemary and thyme were also added.

    SAUTEED VEGGIES FOR APPLE CIDER SAUCE CHICKEN
    SAUTEED VEGGIES FOR APPLE CIDER SAUCE CHICKEN
  5. As soon as veggies were sautéed and combined, apple cider was added along with cold tap water.
  6. Seared chicken pieces were added back to skillet.
  7. This was simmered under low to medium heat for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until fork tender (a fall from the bone effect).

    CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS AND THIGHS IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
    CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS AND THIGHS IN APPLE CIDER SAUCE
  8. Half-way through cooking process, chicken pieces were turned and to ascertain if additional liquid was needed.

Braised chicken was served with a creamy Irish potato side dish and a fresh spinach and tomato salad.(Not in pic). As I sat and devoured my comfort dish, I reached for my warm throw making sure not to spill any of that rich sauce on same.

It felt like Fall alright. Mission accomplished!

CHOPPY SEAS COULDN’T STOP ME!! #SNAPPER CATCH

In my culinary mind’s eye, I went fishing. The fact is, I wouldn’t last long on those high seas; I would go hungry. I prefer to dangle my feet by the water’s edge and watch the waves. I take my hat off and prefer to leave fishing to those hardworking fisher men/women who toil to bring the seafood to my table.

So, it was a deja vu kind of afternoon. I love fish and seafood overall. As always, I fetched my snapper at my neighborhood fish market. And, my cute fish monger did me the honors of cleaning and gutting my fish. I was ready for action (well, my snapper).

Brought home my catch and decided to steam them. Firstly, scored, rinsed and seasoned with salt, black pepper crushed garlic. In a hot and sturdy skillet, I added drizzle of coconut oil. To that I added roughly chopped:

  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots

After the above were sautéed and seasoned with salt and black pepper,  crushed pimento (all spice), thyme,crushed garlic, squeeze of ketchup, finely chopped peppers were added along with water. Under low to medium heat, blanched okra and whole snapper were added and steamed for approximately seven minutes per side. A pat of butter was also added to fish a shiny and rich finish. And because seafood likes acid, I squeezed a burst of lemon and a splash of vinegar on fish.

I served my snapper with steamed whole-grain rice along with a side serving of avocado and tomato salad. I couldn’t resist, in order to temper the spice in my steamed snapper, I added the sweet serving of fried plantains to the dish.

A SUMMER WRAP-UP #GRILLED AND SKEWERED SHRIMP

With summer on its way out I thought I would fire-up my in-door pan grill. And so I did with the sweet and crispy corn on the cob along with bell peppers and onions.

CORN ON THE COB, ONION AND BELL PEPPERS FOR GRILLING
CORN ON THE COB, ONION AND BELL PEPPERS FOR GRILLING

Corns were brushed with a little olive oil and added to piping hot grill so as to wake up the beautiful flavors within.

CORNS, AND BELL PEPPERS ON GRILL
CORNS, AND BELL PEPPERS ON GRILL

In no time, I got the other veggies into the mix.

SLICED ONION RINGS AND SCALLION ON GRILL
SLICED ONION RINGS AND SCALLION ON GRILL

After grilling I allowed corns to cool; then, I let my knife do the talking in removing the kernels from the cob. I also did a rough chop of all the veggies.

LOOSE CORN READY AND VEGGIES FOR COCONUT RICE
CORN READY AND VEGGIES FOR COCONUT RICE

Grilled veggies were tossed in with steamed coconut rice. Of course, I even got some skewered shrimp in on the action. With a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and black pepper, paprika, and crushed garlic, these were placed on skewers.

On a hot grill under low heat, shrimp were grilled for approximately two minutes per side.

GRILLED SHRIMP ALONG WITH LEMON
GRILLED SHRIMP ALONG WITH LEMON

Grilled skewered shrimp were served on a bed of coconut steamed rice with grilled corn and other veggies.

 

EXTRA SPICY JERK WINGS

It was quite an extra spicy day in my kitchen. You see, I was asked to prepare and cook some chicken wings for a special occasion. Thus, I went to work feverishly. The ingredients were:

  • Chicken wings (approx. 12 lbs)
  • Onions (3 large) {minced in food processor)
  • Garlic (6 cloves) {minced in food processor)
  • Scallion (3 stalks)
  • Black pepper (sprinkle)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon per pound)
  • Paprika (sprinkle)
  • Jerk sauce (mild and hot)
  • Vinegar (a few splash)
  • Dark sugar (1 tablespoon)
  • Ketchup
  • Bell peppers (2 whole) for garnish and sauce
  • Pimento (all spice){1 table-spoon crushed]
  • Canola oil

Method:

Salt, black pepper, and paprika were used sparingly bearing in mind that jerk sauce contains a reasonable amount of sodium and other ingredients.

  1. Wings were first cut into two pieces; then were rinsed with fresh squeeze of lime.
  2. Excess water was removed by draining and drying with paper towel. A drizzle of canola oil was added for jerk sauce and other seasoning to adhere to wings.
  3. Onions, garlic and other ingredients and spices were pulsed in food processor and then added along with store-bought jars of jerk sauce (mild/hot).
  4. Wings were baked in a pre-heated 360 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes turning once.

    BAKED JERK WINGS READY FOR EXTRA SAUCE
    BAKED JERK WINGS READY FOR EXTRA SAUCE
  5. Wings were brushed with extra jerk sauce and placed under broiler for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Extra sauce was served in bell peppers.

SAUTEED PICKLED RED HERRING #JAMAICAN TREAT

SAUTEED PICKLED RED HERRING SERVED WITH WHOLE-WHEAT FRIED DUMPLINGS, STEAMED CALLALOO (JAMAICAN SPINACH) AND FRIED PLANTAINS
SAUTEED PICKLED RED HERRING SERVED WITH WHOLE-WHEAT FRIED DUMPLINGS, STEAMED CALLALOO (JAMAICAN SPINACH) AND FRIED PLANTAINS

A few days aback, it was quite a Jamaican guilty-treat. Had the craving for a dish a tad salty and chock-full of flavors and aromatic spices. Decided on a traditional Jamaican dish, pickled red herring. After removing the excess sodium by rinsing and soaking in boiling water a few times, herring was ready for the next steps. The other ingredients:

  • Onions (1 small)
  • Chopped bell peppers
  • Scotch bonnet peppers (finely chopped)
  • Pimento (all spice) 1/4 tsp
  • Scallion (stalk)
  • Thyme (sprig)
  • Crushed garlic (1 clove) optional
  • Vinegar (splash)
  • Plummy tomatoes (2)
  • Canola oil

Method:

  1. In a hot skillet, a drizzle of oil was added along with onions and bell peppers. After these were translucent, tomatoes, crushed garlic, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, pimento were added. These were seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Under low heat, red herring was added along with a splash of vinegar and pinch of sugar for balance. This was simmered with lid on for a few minutes until all the flavors blended.

Pickled red herring was served with steamed Jamaican spinach (callaloo), fried dumplings (made from combination of whole-wheat and all-purpose flours) and fried plantains.

A RUSTIC MOOD #GRILLED WHOLE SNAPPER AND VEGGIES

Though the temperatures are flirting in the triple digits, it’s evident that summer is disappearing before my eyes. I guess the dwindling days have placed me in a grilling frame of mind.I couldn’t help myself. Didn’t have the craving for nothing else so I fired up my indoor grill pan. I was on a mission. I intended to grill everything in sight. My poor scotch bonnet pepper wasn’t going escape the cooking process.

Had me a whole snapper fish for roasting; however, that plan was quickly altered. With glee I scored my fish and seasoned with a sprinkle of black pepper, salt and crushed garlic. I made sure to season inside the head (love me the head) and cavity.

When it was time to grill I removed garlic and drizzled with olive oil inside and out and stuffed fresh tarragon and thyme within for more intense flavors. I also chopped an onion, wedges of  different color bell peppers and okra.

PREPPING SNAPPER AND VEGGIES FOR GRILLING
PREPPING SNAPPER AND VEGGIES FOR GRILLING

I made sure to do a quick one minute pre-cook of the hearty okra before I brushed same and other veggies with a warm tarragon and thyme oil. First, I started with the veggies.

VEGGIES ON GRILL
VEGGIES ON GRILL

I removed the okra and onions and sprinkled a very light layer of whole-wheat flour to prevent fish from sticking.

SNAPPER FISH AND VEGGIES ON GRILL
SNAPPER FISH AND VEGGIES ON GRILL

I smiled as I also added scotch bonnet pepper in on the action. My snapper needed a few minutes internal cooking But first, I removed the other veggies. Then, I placed it in the oven for another five minutes at 360 degrees with the squeeze of fresh lime.

My fish came out  a little crusty on the outside and quite flaky within. Each bite was full of amazing flavors that were spicy and lemony. The tarragon and the thyme gave the snapper an even more flavorful and aromatic taste. As for the veggies, the grilling brought out all the natural sugars that reminded me of summer. On the side, a creamy/cheesy polenta (turned cornmeal) was served.

WENT FISHING ##OVERSTUFFED WILD SNAPPER IN PARCHMENT PAPER

Once again, surfing was on my mind. So, what do you know? I went fishing. And, look what I brought back.

WILD WHOLE SNAPPER FISH WITH SCORES
WILD WHOLE SNAPPER FISH WITH SCORES

I couldn’t help myself; I had to place a few scores on my big boy and made him my own. Well, scoring helps for the penetration of all the amazing spices and seasoning on this adorable specimen. So, I proceeded to season inside/out with salt, black pepper, crushed garlic, crushed pimento(all spice), thyme and finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper. Before I laid my seasoning on, I drizzled a little coconut and olive oils in the interior and exterior of my fish.

My plan was to cook in oven at 380 to 400 degrees at high temperature so as to give a roasting effect. Thus, I called upon my parchment paper. For me, parchment paper helps to lock in flavors but will also provide a rustic/roasting process.

Before that though, I sautéed onions, bell peppers, and grape tomatoes in a skillet making sure to season along with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then I added some steamed  left over Jamaican spinach (callaloo).

STUFFING FOR SNAPPER
STUFFING FOR SNAPPER

I used same to stuff my snapper. Well, as you can observe, it was an overstuffed affair.

OVERSTUFFED SNAPPER FISH ON PARCHMENT PAPER READY FOR OVEN
OVERSTUFFED SNAPPER FISH ON PARCHMENT PAPER READY FOR OVEN

Baking sheet was lined with foil paper so as to contain any spillage. Then, a generous piece of parchment paper was used to place fish. I stuffed the head and cavity of same. And boy, it spilled.  Already, succulent juices was expelling from within. It smelled amazing. With the squeeze of a little lime and splash of vinegar, I added additional finely chopped scotch bonnet yellow pepper. Then I folded my beautiful parchment package and poked a few holes for some of  the steam to escape.

WRAPPED PARCHMENT WITH FISH  FOR OVEN
WRAPPED PARCHMENT WITH FISH FOR OVEN

Fish was placed in oven at 380 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Then, I pared open my parchment package and gave dish  an additional five minutes at 400 degrees. At this point, I was super-excited and so was my fire alarm. You see, the parchment paper started to singe a bit. Anyway, that didn’t stop me. I placed snapper back in the  oven and look what I got.

FINISHED DISH OF WILD SNAPPER IN PARCHMENT PAPER
FINISHED DISH OF WILD SNAPPER IN PARCHMENT PAPER

My snapper made and emitted a delicious sauce which came from the veggies(stuffing) within. The fish was cooked just right. It was moist on the interior and slightly flaky on the outer. I served same with fried plantain to balance out the spicy flavors of the scotch bonnet peppers. Hmmm, I was overjoyed with my rustic dish.

SUPPER WAS A JAMAICAN KIND OF THING…..#SAUTEED PICKLED MACKEREL

It was back to basics for yours truly. Yes guys, it has been sometime since I’ve gone this route. Got a bit tired of my dear poultry. It seems like I’m always consuming the feathery one. Fish is also another popular item on my menu. Today,  I did so with the help of a little pickled friend. So, instead of the fresh omega fatty fish, I paid a visit to a popular dish, pickled  mackerel.

It’s very seldom that I consume pickled mackerel. Though it’s super tasty and chock full of flavors, I’ve to admit that it’s loaded with much sodium. However, once in a while I love to enjoy same. This dish is a favorite in Jamaican kitchens. Anyway, my palate called for this old friend and I went shopping for the ingredients. And these are the main items I brought home and got a cooking.

RAW PICKLED MACKEREL WITH GROUND PROVISIONS AND OTHER INGREDIENTS FOR DISH
RAW PICKLED MACKEREL WITH GROUND PROVISIONS AND OTHER INGREDIENTS FOR A COMPLETE DISH

I first extracted excess sodium from mackerel. I did this by rinsing same repeatedly with cold tap water. I cut mackerel in small sizes and placed in stock pot with cold tap water. Under low to medium heat, pickled mackerel was boiled for approximately ten minutes. I then drained and rinsed a few more times so as to extract sodium to my preference.

Fresh tap water was added and mackerel was boiled a second time for about ten minutes. After draining, it was rinsed with cold tap water and set aside. Bear in mind, this could be done overnight by soaking same in tap water.

In a skillet over low to medium heat, a combination of coconut and canola oil was added. To this, chopped onions, bell peppers, garlic (optional), scotch bonnet pepper, fresh tomatoes were sautéed. These were seasoned along with a pinch of black pepper and salt along with crushed pimento (all spice) and sprig of thyme.

Under low heat, pickled mackerel was added to mix. A pinch of sugar, drizzle of vinegar (distilled/red wine) and a squeeze of lime were added. Mackerel was garnished with finely chopped scallion and additional cracked black pepper. And like a true Jamaican, this was served with boiled bananas, dumplings, pumpkin, and yam. And, on the side, fried plantains and avocado were added.

SAUTEED PICKLED MACKEREL ALONG WITH BOILED BANANAS, DUMPLINGS, YAM, PUMPKIN, FRIED PLANTAIN, STEAMED CALLALOO (SPINACH) AND AVOCADO
SAUTEED PICKLED MACKEREL ALONG WITH BOILED BANANAS, DUMPLINGS, YAM, PUMPKIN, FRIED PLANTAIN, STEAMED CALLALOO (SPINACH) AND AVOCADO

And guys, I couldn’t help myself, I had to sip a little Heineken beer on the side. My meal was complete. My palate and I were  happy.