BARLEY/LEEK SOUP WITH PAN-SEARED SHRIMP

Kicked up my lunch to a satisfying and nutritious notch. Went with one of autumn’s popular vegetables, leeks. These sweet and subtle flavors were excellent to pair with barley.

PREPPING FOR LEEK AND BARLEY SOUP
PREPPING FOR LEEK AND BARLEY SOUP

Did it my way by adding other fresh/pantry ingredients like:

  • onions
  • carrot
  • celery
  • veggie bouillon cube
  • salt/black pepper
  • dried oregano
  • fresh thyme
  • veggie broth

After sauteing fresh veggies including leeks in a drizzle of olive oil, rinsed barley was added along with dried seasoning. Veggie broth and cold tap water were added along with a sprig of thyme.

Barley/leek soup simmered under low to medium heat until barley was tender. Then, this was pureed to a thick consistency. Barley/leek soup was topped with pan-seared shrimp with a garnish parsley.

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BEET/CARROT BROWNIE #PULP GOODNESS

I admit; sometimes I have a ‘sweet-tooth’. Wanted to find somewhat of a healthy way to enjoy the sweet side of things without feeling guilty. Made my staple beet/carrot drink to last me throughout the week. Hence, I reserved the pulp of this refreshing combination drink. I reckon carrot/beet cake was on my mind as I whipped up this healthy and sweet goodness.

BEET ROOT AND CARROT PULP
BEET ROOT AND CARROT PULP

Decided to make a batch of brownie from same. With additional ingredients of:

  • Mashed ripe bananas (for natural sweetness)
  • Sugar (2 teaspoon)
  • Eggs (2 med)
  • Oats (1 cup)
  • Olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • Whole-wheat flour (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Cranberries (1/2 cup)
  • Powdered ginger (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
  • Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
BATTER READY FOR OVEN
BATTER READY FOR OVEN

Baking pan was lined with parchment paper for easy retrieval and clean-up. After spraying with a little Pam oil, brownie batter was baked in pre-heated 375 degrees fahrenheit for about 25 minutes. After cooling, brownie was sliced in small portions.

Each bite was a sweet delight.

 

A SWEET/SOUR/SPICY SNAPPER FISH DISH

I had a couple of snapper fish left out for thawing overnight in refrigerator. Fast forward to this afternoon, they perched on the square plate looking firm yet limp awaiting my attention. Clearly, they were fully thawed and ready for action. Guys, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t in the mood for fish. That happens sometimes, my dear palate made a last-minute switch on yours truly. However, I knew I had to make a dish with same as I hate to re-freeze seafood.

Thank God, it was an unseasonable dry day. Finally, spring has arrived in South Florida, USA. The temperatures were mild (Florida-style) and the humidity was low. As I flung open my windows and sliding doors, I smiled and thought, “great day for fishing.” I hate to cook fish in an enclosed space. I made my merry way to my kitchenette and did a quick scoring of my fish. I seasoned with salt, black pepper and crushed garlic. My plan was to make a sweet, sour and spicy snapper dish.

As the beautiful fluttering Florida breeze hit my drapes, I dried my fish with paper towel and removed the trace of garlic. In a hot skillet with canola oil covering the bottom, fish was pan-fried on both sides with a stuffing of fresh thyme in the cavities for extra flavoring.

PAN-FRIED SNAPPER FISH
PAN-FRIED SNAPPER FISH

My plan was to cook a crispy exterior and flaky flesh. And bingo, that was accomplished. I drained the excess oil from fish on paper towel and then discarded the used oil from skillet. To skillet, I added a drizzle of oil under low heat and tossed in carrots,onions, finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper, thinly sliced lemon along with pimento seeds.

I made sure to season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Veggies were sautéed until they were translucent Then, I diluted a teaspoon of sugar, vinegar (mainly distilled/red wine) and fresh lemon juice. This was then added to veggies and simmered to a sticky, sweet, sour and spicy consistency.

As soon as I ladled this on the fish, they sucked up every square inch of the sauce. I allowed that to soaked up all the goodness and later paired on a bed of warm corn and purple cabbage succotash.

SWEET/SOUR/SPICY SNAPPER FISH ON A BED OF CORN/PURPLE CABBAGE SUCCOTASH
SWEET/SOUR/SPICY SNAPPER FISH ON A BED OF CORN/PURPLE CABBAGE SUCCOTASH

My palate surrendered and we both became united. To say that I was happy is an understatement; I was ecstatic with the final dish.

HERB/CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE

It seems like guacamole was on my mind. Maybe because I had a couple of the main ingredients (cilantro and avocado) on hand. Never went there though. Instead, I prepped a combination of chopped avocado and cilantro and sprinkled with a pinch of salt and black pepper with a squeeze of lime. I placed that to chill in the refrigerator for a garnish.

My intention was to cook a roasted chicken with a crust of herbs (cilantro/thyme), bread crumbs and cheddar cheese. And that’s what I did. With the drizzle of  olive oil, my crust was ready to be administered on my chicken parts (legs/thighs) when the roasting was completed.

CRUST MADE UP OF BREAD CRUMBS, CHEDDAR CHEESE, THYME, CILANTRO, OLIVE OIL
CRUST MADE UP OF BREAD CRUMBS, CHEDDAR CHEESE, THYME, CILANTRO, OLIVE OIL

Chicken parts (legs/thighs) were seasoned with salt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic from the previous night. Decided to cook my chicken in a cast iron skillet as it’s a great conductor of heat. So, after my skillet was heated stove top, a drizzle of coconut oil was added.  Garlic was removed from chicken parts and then they were dried with paper towel. Chicken were seared on both sides.

BROWNED CHICKEN PARTS READY FOR ROASTING IN OVEN
BROWNED CHICKEN PARTS READY FOR ROASTING IN OVEN

A splash of water was added to skillet along with thyme/cilantro. Chicken was placed in a heated oven on 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Chicken parts were turned once. Then, the herb/cheddar cheese crust was added to each piece. Skillet was then placed back inside oven for another five to six minutes under broiler.

CHICKEN PARTS WITH HERB/CHEDDAR CHEESE CRUST FOR COMPLETION UNDER BROILER
CHICKEN PARTS WITH HERB/CHEDDAR CHEESE CRUST FOR COMPLETION UNDER BROILER

While chicken was completing I did a quick sauce of carrot and ginger root.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/GINGER SAUCE
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/GINGER SAUCE

Carrots, a small piece of ginger(a little goes a far way) were chopped and placed in a small stock pot along with a sprig of cilantro and water for approximately 12 minutes. These were cooled and placed in food processor along with a dollop of sour cream, pinch of salt and pepper. This was pureed to a thick but runny consistency.

CARROT/GINGER SAUCE IN FOOD PROCESSOR
CARROT/GINGER SAUCE IN FOOD PROCESSOR

After herb/cheddar crusted roast chicken was finished,

FINISHED HERB AND CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN IN CAST IRON SKILLET
FINISHED HERB AND CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN IN CAST IRON SKILLET

it was served on carrot and ginger sauce with a garnish of avocado and cilantro.

PLATED DISH OF HERB & CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE WITH GARNISH OF CILANTRO/AVOCADO
PLATED DISH OF HERB & CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE WITH GARNISH OF CILANTRO/AVOCADO

Guys, the finished dish was amazing. All the flavors and spices came together in a very tantalizing way. By the way, I added a little Jasmine rice to the mix.(not in pic). After all, I had that beautiful bed of carrot and ginger sauce to soak up. The chicken parts were still crusty with the mix of cheddar cheese and cilantro. Nature’s butter (avocado) provided a smooth and velvety balance to the dish.

A ROASTING AFFAIR ##ORANGE/HONEY ROASTED CHICKEN/APPLES/CARROT/SWEET POTATOES

Guys, I wasn’t in the mood to cook stove top. Moreover, I had to go toil to bring home the ‘bacon’. As a result,  I allowed my oven to do most of the work.  I did a prepping job of marinating six pieces of dark chicken parts (3 drumsticks and 3 thighs). With the drizzle of a little balsamic vinegar, the sprinkle of salt, pepper,dried basil and crushed garlic, skinless chicken parts were left to absorb all the flavors and spices for approximately 3 hours.

Oven was pre-heated at 400 degrees. On a sheet pan sprayed with Pam oil, chicken parts were placed along with apple slices and wedges of carrot. Chicken parts, apple slices and carrot were roasted for approximately 45 minutes, turning once half-way through the cooking process. The apples expelled amazing tart/sweet juices that were absorbed by the chicken.

CHICKEN PARTS ALONG WITH CARROT WEDGES AND APPLE SLICES - HALF-WAY THROUGH COOKING PROCESS
CHICKEN PARTS ALONG WITH CARROT WEDGES AND APPLE SLICES – HALF-WAY THROUGH COOKING PROCESS

In a small stock pot, the juice of a fresh orange along with two teaspoons of honey, splash of vinegar and soy sauce were simmered under low heat. Also, a pinch of salt and pepper were added. Chicken parts were given an extra ten minutes after they were brushed with orange and honey sauce.

Orange/honey roasted chicken was served with roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon plus the wedges of carrot and apple slices. The dish was a tad sweet, sour and tart  which gave my taste buds loads of excitement. To say I was happy is an understatement; I was over the moon.

Guys, that’s what beautiful things are made of. If only I never had to go toiling…..

DARK CLOUDS/THE SOUTH-BOUND BIRDS DID IT!…#CARROT/SWEET POTATO WAFFLES

I knew it all along that nature plays a huge part in my diet. You see, just the mere sight of a flock of birds heading south and the presence of dark gray puffy clouds, sent my palate on overdrive.

So, I went for my trek around my neighborhood to keep my dear mind and body in physical and mental shape for the day. As the beads of sweat made their way down my brow, (yes, today, humidity is high and temperatures are heading to the eighties), my mind was on the culinary side of things.

Without a doubt, precipitation was on the way. As soon as I returned to my small kitchenette, I knew what I had to do. So, gathered the following for some comforting carrot and sweet potato waffles. A wee bit out of ‘whack’, but, I thought the combination would be awesome. And, bingo! I was right.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/SWEET POTATO WAFFLES
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/SWEET POTATO WAFFLES

Ingredients:

  • Carrot (1 medium size)
  • Sweet potato (1 small)
  • whole-wheat flour (3/4 cup)
  • All purpose flour (1/3 cup)
  • Sour cream (1table spoon)
  • Cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Vanilla (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Salt (pinch)
  • Dark sugar (1/4 cup)
  • Canola oil (1 tablespoon)

Method:

  1. Sweet potato was cooked in microwaved for approximately 3 minutes. Every microwave is different. Then potato was mashed and set aside to cool.
  2. Box grater was used to shred carrot and set aside
  3. Wet ingredients were combined and dried ingredients were added.
  4. Then, carrots and smashed potato were added to batter.
  5. Pam spray was added to waffle iron before batter was placed on iron.
  6. Each waffle iron is different. After light went off on mine in about 5 minutes, waffle batch was cooked; crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.

As I watched the trees meandered to the blustery breeze on the outskirts, I cut into my delicious and warm waffles. I served these with fresh strawberries and a squeeze of light pancake syrup. Guys, I was in heaven!