This is a well-trodden culinary path for yours truly. And oh, what beautiful and delicious path it is. As a result, I was overjoyed to return and savor all the aromatic and mouth-watering flavors. All it took was a few chops of drumsticks and thighs (skin off/bone-in) and the infusion of one of my favorite spices, curry powder.
In addition to curry powder, other pantry and fresh ingredients were included:
salt and black pepper
scotch bonnet pepper
Marinated chicken overnight. Curried chicken drumsticks and thighs were braised and simmered under low to medium heat to a fork tender finish. I was ecstatic with the finished dish.
Proud to call these succulent pieces my own. Will be devouring these fork tender bites of curried chicken drumsticks on a fluffy bed of coconut whole-grain rice. Once again, my taste buds are on high alert!!
So, over the week-end, I went a tad naughty and indulged in dish atypical of my weekly diet. All roads led me to a Jamaican experience. Needed something tasty and a little salty. Knew what I had to do. Didn’t have to venture far. Had left-over pickled red herring in close sight in refrigerator.
Because the sodium content is high in pickled red herring, I made sure to extract same by repeatedly rinsing, boiling and soaking. After taste-testing, fish was simmered in: drizzle of coconut oil, sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, crushed pimento, pinch of sugar, and splash of vinegar.
Served pickled red herring with a slightly sweet and sour sautéed cabbage with slices of nature’s butter (avocado). This gave a perfect balance to the pickled fish.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the Chinese calendar, this year (2015) is slanted as ‘the year of the Goat’. Based on astronomers, it’s supposed to be one for good luck. And, I could always do with an extra dose of good luck anytime.
Anyway, in honor of the goat, I’ve decided to make a dish called braised curried goat. This dish is certainly one from my roots. Over the years, I must have consumed same repeatedly. Without a doubt, in Jamaica, the beginning of the year (New Year’s Day), every householder cooks and indulges this popular dish.
My dear uncle Dan was and is still a farmer in a rural village of a parish called St. Mary, Jamaica. He rears goats and other farm animals for consumption. Uncle Dan was and is still a generous man. He often doled out sizable portions of goat meat during the holidays. Oh, I can still remember the delicious and mouth-watering dishes prepared from those goat meats.
And speaking of goat, this brings back even more memories as a girl in my island home of Jamaica. My next door neighbor kept a female goat. Let’s call her Nanny. Looking back, I’m babbled this guy was allowed to keep a goat in a residential community. But, I guess that’s what sometimes happens in a laid-back island domain.
The thing is, that goat went off and got herself pregnant. Well, her owner was the ‘love guru’ and arranged the affair. Each day, he took her out to pasture and subsequently Nanny mated and had baby goats (kids). As a girl, it was fun for me and my siblings to stretch across the fence and feed and pet them. Those kids were so cute.
After a while though, things became rather troublesome. Those cuties grew into adults and created quite a mayhem on a daily basis. Their baaing grew louder and louder in the community. They even ate and sometimes destroyed plants in neighbors’ yard. I do think that man and his family bribed the entire residents by doling out fresh goat’s milk.
So, back to my braised curried goat. I fetched a couple a pounds from the butcher at my neighborhood indoor farmer’s market. The cost was $3.99 per pound. Although they were ready for cooking size-wise, I further cut them into smaller portions.
Goat (2 lbs)
Curry powder (2 tsp or to your preference)
Cumin (1 tsp)
All spice(pimento) (1tsp)
Root ginger (1tsp)
Scotch bonnet pepper (1)
Jamaica white rum (2 tbsp)
Salt and pepper to taste
Thyme (2 sprigs)
Irish potato (2 small)
Coconut oil (2 tbsp)
Soy sauce (2tsp)
Cold tap water
After a quick rinse of goat meat, it was marinated overnight with crushed garlic, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and curry powder.
Mutton was brought to room temperature. Then, in a sturdy hot skillet with a few drops of coconut oil, mutton was added with a teaspoon of finely chopped ground ginger.
On medium heat, meat wassauteed for about five minutes. Then rum was added.
Chopped seasonings and thyme were also added. Then, cold tap water was added to cover meat.
Lid was placed on skillet under low to medium heat. Whenever water evaporated additional water was added until meat was fork tender.
Approximately fifteen minutes into cooking process, add chopped Irish potatoes. These will aid into thickening of gravy.
A taste test of dish is done and if additional seasoning or spices are needed these are added.
Guys, I served my good luck dish with steamed Jasmine rice and steamed veggies. And, like a true Jamaican, I also had a serving of avocado and fried plantains. I’m feeling lucky!
There we go again, once again, the so-called studies have shown that our smooth and delicious, butter can help in the area of weight management. Okay, there’s a catch; the butter will have to be consumed with our good ole morning beverage, coffee along with coconut oil.
I don’t know, I’m a ‘sucker’ to try almost anything new in the name of food science, and maybe, I’ll check out the combination. Who knows? But, for heaven’s sake, I hope I don’t like it. You see, I prefer to have my butter on my hot carbs like crackers, pasta and bread. I like to see my butter slowly melt on a toasty English muffin. I like the way it gradually integrates into all the little crevices. Just penning about it makes my mouth salivates. And, as for my coconut oil, I’ll continue to cook with it.
Guys, it’s all about balance. I’m glad I didn’t abandon my dear butter. I shall continue enjoying it as I used to. So much with their new found fat loss.
As always, be good to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.