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.

 

LEFT-OVER BEEF CHUNK WITH BEET/CARROT RICE

Still working my beef chunk from the past week-end. Left-over pieces of beef was paired with roasted bell peppers and vine-ripe tomatoes. Simmered delicious protein under low heat in order to soak up all the aromatic sauce.

Had some left-over pulp from carrots and beets. This was derived after making a refreshing and healthy juice.

BEET ROOT AND CARROT PULP
BEET ROOT AND CARROT PULP

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Decided to enjoy my beta-carotene fix by adding  same to whole-wheat rice. Tossed in some dried cranberries and got a tasty and sweet finish. It was perfect for my pieces of left-over chunk beef. Freshened my dish with some vegetables consisting of garlic-flavored broccoli and spring green beans.

BRAISED CHUCK STEAK IN RED WINE/BALSAMIC SAUCE

I was so excited to partake of supper. I’m more of a seafood and poultry diner. However, once in a while I like to indulge in a succulent piece of beef. Had the craving for same and went with the chunk portion of same.

Chuck steak is relatively inexpensive compared to filet mignon and takes a longer time to tenderize. I fetched a pack with three portions for $5.99. Chuck was marinated overnight with salt, black pepper, crushed garlic, fresh thyme, and balsamic vinegar. The vinegar acted as a tenderizing agent as well as providing a brown hue along with flavors.

Steak was brought to room temperature; then browned on both sides in a drizzle of olive oil. I used a half cup of Cabernet Sauvignon wine to de-glaze  skillet. Roughly chopped onions, and celery were added along with fresh thyme, and rosemary. Also, a squeeze of ketchup and a pinch of sugar were added.

CHUNK STEAK AND OTHER INGREDIENTS IN SKILLET FOR BRAISING
CHUNK STEAK AND SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS IN SKILLET FOR BRAISING

Fresh tap water was added and lid placed on skillet. Steak simmered low to medium heat for approximately 80 minutes until fork tender. Additional water was added when needed. A few grape tomatoes were tossed about five to seven minutes to end of cooking time.

BRAISED CHUNK STEAK
BRAISED CHUNK STEAK

The root veggies released all their delicious flavors and juices and enhanced the taste of the steak. Served up chunk steak with roasted carrots and a herbaceous helping of red-skinned potatoes which soaked up all the amazing flavors. The steak kept its shape but was fork-tender and succulent.

A fresh serving of spring green beans gave the dish a contrasting and crispy taste. While the red and sweet grape tomatoes used to top steak popped and excited my taste buds. Me and my palate were super-happy as we sipped on Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

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.

 

 

I GREEKED UP MY POTATO SALAD

With spring in the air, we can’t help but to go a bit lighter on our choices of foods. I did that over the week-end. Instead of the typical potato salad containing mayonnaise, I decided to opt for one that contained fresh vegetables and a few items that a Greek salad would have.

SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR SALAD
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR SALAD

I made the dish my own by adding one of spring’s foods, green beans along with blanched green bell peppers, roasted red bell peppers, vine-ripe tomatoes, scallion, parsley, Spanish and Kalamata olives.

So instead of the heavy mayonnaise, I used:

  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic (crushed)
  • Salt and Black pepper
  • Dried basil/oregano

and made an emulsifying type of dressing.

This dressing was then added to cooked red-skin potatoes and vegetables so as to soak up all the aromatic flavors and spices. I finished off my potato salad with crumbled feta cheese and chopped parsley I had on hand.

 

 

BRAISED OXTAILS WITH A HINT OF RED WINE….AND THAT WAS SUPPER!!

The price of oxtails is ‘through the roof’. I guess because of the holidays, the stores take advantage of their customers. I couldn’t believe the price the last time I saw it. It was close to $6.00 per pound. Come on,  you’re talking about a meat made up of bone, a little meat and fat to be discarded.  I’m glad I’m not a big lover of the meat. However, once in a while, I do get the feeling for it.

So, today, I had a feeling for a dish of oxtails. Already, I knew I had a few pieces in a small package that I had bought a couple of weeks ago. I’m used to the Jamaican way of cooking with butter beans and all the exotic spices and seasonings. This time I decided to exclude the beans.

Oxtails take quite sometime to be tenderized. If you have a pressure cooker then the duration of cooking is decreased enormously. Of course, I don’t own a cooker so I knew I had to at least give it a couple of hours and half to braise. It can be done in the oven or stove top. I decided to opt for the stove top.

Oxtails were seasoned  with salt and pepper along with crushed garlic and a dash of balsamic vinegar. A couple of hours later, a drizzle of canola oil was heated in a sturdy stock pot and oxtail pieces were tossed and browned after removing the pieces of garlic. A splash of red wine (cabernet sauvignon) was also added and scraped up all the bits at the bottom of pot.

To that, I added a few of root veggies like onions, carrots, bell peppers and celery. Also, thyme, allspice (pimento) were added. With a drizzle of soy sauce, I added tap water to cover oxtail pieces. Oxtails were slowly braised for approximately two and half hours after checking every 20 minutes to add extra liquid if needed.

When oxtails became fork tender, additional seasonings were added. Thanks to the butcher, I never had to skim any oil from my dish. I served my cooked oxtails with steamed asparagus and brown rice along with steamed green beans. I was happy.

Hmm, come to think of it, I should invest in a pressure cooker. You never know when I might need same.