ALL SET FOR THE ARCTIC BLAST! #CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP

Well, dear momma said there’ll be days like this. And she was correct. On this day, in my neck of the woods, (So. Florida) I’ll be prepping and cooking for the arctic blast. Yes, I know you must be saying, “Florida!?”. Already, we’re experiencing a mix-bag of rain, wind and of course, a nose-dive of temperatures.

Yep! Those cold digits have long legs and as I pen,  they are making their way here. In a couple of days, temperatures will plummet to the low forties and in some  northern regions, twenties and thirties. Forecasters said there could be SNOW.

So, what does a sun gal do with all that thinning blood pulsating through her veins? Well, other than reaching for her coat, mittens and boots, she’ll heading for the kitchen alright. And, that’s what I did. Decided to prep and cook for later. So, when that cold weather pattern enters my locale, I will have some form of culinary control.

Made me a big pot of chicken and veggie soup.  Have done so a ‘million and one’ times. Had all my ingredients on hand.  With all my root veggies and other ingredients, (diced carrots, onions, celery, pumpkin, corn on the cob, fresh thyme, scallion, chicken noodle mix, etc) the whole process went quite smoothly.

I know my stomach and my palate will be very much satiated during this arctic spell. As I feast on this mouth-watering dish with perhaps a few crispy crackers, I’ll reach for my throw and dress in my favorite sweater while I let my remote lead me to something entertaining on the tube. Arctic blast….bring it on!

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SUMMER’S FINEST #GRILLED CORN SALAD FIESTA

I was in good company. It was like a corn fiesta in my kitchen. Once again, Mother Nature has done her duty. She has bestowed some of the finest and wholesome foods for the sizzling days of summer.

And because I know how much these foods are perishable, I did my part by firing up my grill pan with a couple leftover ears of corn. Though the temperatures were sky-rocketing on the outskirts, I made sure to open my doors and windows to emit the smoky air.

Those sweet and crispy corns were not alone; I also grilled zucchini, mini sweet peppers. These are seasonal vegetables as well. More so, the prices were relatively inexpensive.

CORNS ON THE COB AND ZUCCHINI
CORNS ON THE COB AND ZUCCHINI
GRILLED MINI SWEET PEPPERS
GRILLED MINI SWEET PEPPERS

I even roasted some green beans in the oven that seemed to be heading south. After grilling, corn was removed from the cob and slices of other veggies were added to  pan-roasted onions and tomatoes. I made sure to season along with salt and black pepper along with a tangy dressing of red wine vinegar and a dash of sugar.

All the vegetables were in accord and soaked up all the delicious flavors. Topped grilled corn salad with crumbled feta cheese. This added a beautiful creamy contrast to the sweet corn salad.

 

BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN/GRILLED CORN SALAD

So, after I made a delicious grilled corn salad from summer’s crispy and sweet corn on the cob

GRILLED CORN SALAD
GRILLED CORN SALAD

decided to continue on the Southern path. Paired same with some chicken thighs. Those ‘bad boys’ were begging to be soaked up in some buttermilk. Did them the honors and soaked them overnight in the tart and creamy liquid after seasoning them with a little salt, black pepper, paprika and crushed garlic.

Removed them from buttermilk and drained on paper towel. These were then placed in flour seasoned with additional paprika, salt and black pepper. Oh, those thighs were super-happy as they were thoroughly deep-fried in canola oil.

After draining excess oil from chicken, they were served with the warm grilled corn salad along with steamed broccoli and nature’s butter (avocado).

I SEE SIGNS OF A #GRILLED CORN SALAD

In my neck of the woods (So. Florida), the temperatures are climbing. Without a doubt, the calendar might say otherwise; but, the sizzling days of summer have arrived and so are the crispy corns of summer.

Decided to honor one of summer’s wholesome foods by grilling a couple corns on the cob.

GRILLED CORN ON THE COB
GRILLED CORN ON THE COB

As I removed the kernels, I had to pull myself away from the sweet and crispy treats. I  nibbled on quite a few as they made their on the chopping board. These will be added into a warm bed of assorted veggies  consisting of:

  • mini sweet peppers of assorted colors
  • onions
  • scallion
  • celery
  • grape tomatoes

Then, I will season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. I will make a slightly sour and sweet dressing made from honey and a splash of vinegar along with finely chopped parsley.

I’m excited. Summer is here in my kitchen!

DON’T ‘KNOCK’ MY FEET! CHICKEN FEET/VEGGIE SOUP

It was back to basics for yours truly. As the winds howled and temperatures took a ‘nose-dive’ on the outskirts, I decided to revisit a childhood favorite of mine. In the Caribbean and Asian kitchens, chicken feet are utilized as tasty protein additions to stews and vegetable soups.

Chicken feet are loaded with beneficial nutrients such as collagen (by the way, excellent for tight skin), vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. So, with that in mind I grabbed my stock pot and got my chicken feet softened in preparation for  a soup.  For extra flavoring,  I added the backbones and neck of a whole chicken. In addition,  chopped pumpkin pieces were added along with salt, back pepper, and other seasonings.

Pieces of corn on the cob, root vegetables such as carrots, onions, crushed cloves of garlic, and celery were tossed in as well.  Chicken soup was flavored with fresh thyme, pimento(all spice), scallion, bouillon and chicken flavored noodle mix.

Under low eat, chicken feet and vegetable soup simmered to a delicious and aromatic consistency. My stomach and taste buds were truly warmed on a winter’s day.

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.

 

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

NO TOSSING OF MY CHICKEN BACK PARTS ##CHICKEN BACK SOUP WITH CORN/PUMPKIN

When it comes to utilizing a whole chicken, I’m first in line. Nothing goes to waste for yours truly. So, I had previously made chicken dishes from the dark and white portions. As a matter of fact, it was just a couple of days ago I had the left-overs of a super delicious curried chicken dish. Oh, I’m still salivating in that goodness.

I love the necks and back bones of the dear bird. I do think they make the most aromatic and tasty soups, gravies and broths. Frankly, I prefer to use these parts when I cook a  chicken soup. Originally, I had a chicken broth in mind; however, when I went shopping, I couldn’t help myself after spotting those corns on the cob. I decided to make a chicken back soup consisting of corn on the cob. Corns are plentiful on the market. And I fetched five of the yellow/golden wonders for $1.50.

Already, I had all the other ingredients:

  • Pumpkin (squash)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Scallion
  • Bouillon cube (veggie flavor)
  • Chicken noodle soup mix
  • Scotch bonnet pepper

It was going to be a back to basic sort of dish. You see, over the years, I’ve devoured several chicken back soups; so I knew exactly my plan of action.

SOME OF THE VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN BACK SOUP
SOME OF THE VEGGIE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN BACK SOUP

Method:

  1. The skin and excess fatty parts were removed from chicken back parts. Then they were scalded with boiling water for a few minutes, drained and set aside.
  2. In a sturdy stock pot, a drizzle of olive oil was added. To that, diced carrots, onions, celery and bell pepper were added. Chicken parts were then added along with a seasoning of salt, black pepper, and crushed garlic.
  3. All ingredients were blended for approximately five minutes. Then roughly chopped pumpkin pieces were added along with thyme, bouillon cube,crushed pimento (all spice) and chopped pieces of corn on the cob.
  4. Cold tap water was then added to cover all the ingredients under low to medium heat with lid on.
  5. When pumpkin pieces were tender, these were removed and crushed with fork. Crushed pumpkin was added back to pot.
  6. After tasting, extra seasonings were added along with chicken noodle powder mix.
  7. This simmered under low heat until soup acquired the preferred consistency.
  8. Chopped scallion,parsley and scotch bonnet pepper were used to garnish.

My chicken back soup was chock full of amazing flavors. The corn was sweet and still possessed its crispness. I didn’t evade my chicken back bones. I removed the pieces of flesh and sucked on the bones. The scotch bonnet pepper was visible but not overpowering. All the aromatic flavors became one. It warmed my palate and stomach in a beautiful way. Moreover, it brought back childhood memories of when things were simple and foods were wholesome.

IT WAS A WILD CATCH FOR ME! #CRUSTED WILD FLOUNDER WITH PUMPKIN/COCONUT SOUP

I treated my palate to a rich and colorful mix earlier. Within a few minutes I was able to pan-sear a piece of crusty flounder after seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste. After lightly spreading fish with a panko breadcrumbs, this was seared in a combination of olive and canola oil.

SEASONED FLOUNDER WITH PANKO BREAD CRUMBS
SEASONED FLOUNDER WITH PANKO BREAD CRUMBS

Had some chopped pumpkin pieces from the previous winter. They came in a handy for a rich and colorful soup.  They had been sitting in the freezer from last winter. Just didn’t have the urge to use same. It was quite convenient You see, all was needed was to defrost my bright pumpkin pieces. While I was at it, I grabbed some fresh coconut milk.

CHOPPED PUMPKIN PIECES AND COCONUT MILK
CHOPPED PUMPKIN PIECES AND COCONUT MILK

After sauteeing  finely chopped onions and a clove of garlic, I added pumpkin to the mix. A pinch of salt and pepper were added along with a sprinkle of dried thyme. Coconut milk was then added. In less than ten minutes, all ingredients were cooked. This was cooled and then pureed in standing blender.

My tasty and delicious soup was served with crusty wild flounder fish with a garnish of cilantro. Sautéed garlic kale and pieces of corn on the cob were added as sides.

Guys, I was elated with my dish.