GRILLED PINEAPPLE/CHICKEN WITH PINEAPPLE/RUM SAUCE

My palate did leaps of joy as I partook of this succulent dish. Yes, guys, I brought the tropics to my kitchen. I couldn’t help myself. I had the right ingredients in the form of fresh pineapple and Jamaican white rum. I took the cue and went with it.

Baked a few drumsticks and thighs and basted with fresh pineapple sauce simmered along with a squeeze of honey and of course a splash of Jamaican white rum.  Oh, I was happy.

FRESH PINEAPPLE SAUCE WITH A SPLASH OF RUM
FRESH PINEAPPLE SAUCE WITH A SPLASH OF RUM

Paired chicken with grilled pineapple slices.

GRILLED PINEAPPLE SLICES FOR CHICKEN AND DESSERT
GRILLED PINEAPPLE SLICES FOR CHICKEN AND DESSERT
FINISHED DISH OF BAKED CHICKEN WITH GRILLED PINEAPPLE AND PINEAPPLE/RUM SAUCE
FINISHED DISH OF BAKED CHICKEN WITH GRILLED PINEAPPLE AND PINEAPPLE/RUM SAUCE

I couldn’t leave out my dessert. Added a grilled slice of the sweet and tropical fruit to a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream:

GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH VANILLA ICECREAM
GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH VANILLA ICECREAM

 

 

 

TIPSY BILLY #CURRIED GOAT WITH JAMAICAN RUM

To say that was happy is an understatement; I was over the moon with my dish. And I confess, so was ‘Billy’ (well, my aromatic dish of curried goat). Knew my goat meat could handle the true spirits of Jamaica. So what did I do? I marinated same with a few splashes of Jamaican white rum.

Normally, I would add the rum while the meat is being braised; however, I decided to flavor Billy overnight. And boy, it turned out to be a great idea. Some of the other exotic spices and ingredients added were:

  • curry powder
  • cumin
  • crushed ginger, pimento, garlic
  • cracked black pepper and salt to taste

Did a quick saute of the  pieces of goat meat in order to lock in the amazing flavors. Then, roughly chopped onions, celery, scotch bonnet pepper, fresh thyme were added. Cold tap water was then poured over all ingredients.

Under low to medium heat, with lid on, goat meat simmered in a rum-flavored curry sauce to a fork tender finish. In between braising process,  liquid (water) was added along with seasoning. Served curried goat with steamed Jasmine rice and garlic broccoli.

Billy didn’t disappoint. He turned out to be fork tender and succulent. The flavors and spices were bold but not overpowering. They were such a delectable reminiscence  of Jamaica.  My palate and I were transported to a beautiful place. A place that we’ll  certainly revisit.

 

 

BRAISED GOAT MEAT SIMMERED IN A CURRY/RUM SAUCE

Earlier on, my palate and I experienced great elation with the consumption of Sunday’s supper. We indulged in one of Jamaica’s favorites,curried goat. The previous day, goat was chopped into bite-sized pieces and marinated with crushed garlic and pimento(all spice), cumin, curry powder, ginger, salt, black pepper, dash of soy sauce and vinegar.

On cooking, this was brought to room temperature. Then, in a sturdy hot skillet, a drizzle of coconut oil was added and goat pieces were sauteed under low to medium heat. At this point, a generous splash of Jamaican Wray and Nephew white rum was added and allowed to absorb in meat.

Chopped onions, celery, sprigs of thyme, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers were added to pot. Cold tap water was added to cover meat. With lid on,  goat simmered under low to medium heat for approximately two and half hours.  Additional liquid was added in between cooking period.

For the last fifteen to twenty minutes, diced Irish potatoes were added along with chopped scallion and any other necessary  dried seasoning and spices. Finished dish was fork tender and was served with steamed Jasmine rice stuffed into bell peppers, assorted garlic vegetables and fried plantains.

A REVISIT WITH THE LUCKY GOAT ##CURRIED GOAT #SUNDAY’S SUPPER

I got a tad tired of the usual chicken and fish dishes. I craved for a meal that was bold and pungent in flavors yet delicious and mouth-watering. And so, my culinary mind led me to an old favorite, curried goat (mutton). This dish is very popular in kitchens across my native island domain, Jamaica. I have consumed same quite a number of times as a child as well as an adult.

Part of the work was done by my butcher. Although mutton was chopped up in sizable pieces, I further cut up in even smaller bite-size portions. Goat was seasoned with:

Ingredients:

  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Curry powder
  • Cumin
  • Crushed garlic
  • Crushed pimento(all spice)
  • Onion
  • Thyme

Method:

  1. In a stock pot, a drizzle of coconut oil was added along with goat.
  2. Goat was sautéed for a few minutes under medium heat. Two table spoons of Jamaican white rum were added.
  3. Then cold tap water was added to cover meat along with thyme, additional crushed garlic, onions celery.
  4. The lid was placed on pot and mutton slowly simmered under low to medium heat for approximately two and half hours.
  5. Additional water was added as needed every 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Minced scotch bonnet peppers, scallion, chopped onion were added to dish so as to further add extra spice.

Curried goat was served with steamed Jasmine rice and sautéed vegetables. The finished dish was bold, delicious and succulent.

A DISH TO FEEL LUCKY ABOUT##BRAISED CURRIED GOAT(MUTTON) ##THE YEAR OF THE GOAT

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.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR BRAISED CURRIED GOAT (MUTTON)
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR BRAISED CURRIED GOAT (MUTTON)

Ingredients:

  • Goat (2 lbs)
  • Curry powder (2 tsp or to your preference)
  • Cumin (1 tsp)
  • All spice(pimento) (1tsp)
  • Onion (1small)
  • Celery (1stalk)
  • 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)
  • Vinegar (2tbps)
  • Cold tap water
  • Sugar (pinch)

Preparation/Method:

  1. After a quick rinse of goat meat, it was marinated overnight with crushed garlic, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and curry powder.
  2. 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.
  3. On medium heat, meat wassauteed for about five minutes. Then rum was added.

    MUTTON IN HOT SKILLET READY TO BE BRAISED
    MUTTON IN HOT SKILLET WITH FINELY CHOPPED GINGER READY TO BE BRAISED
  4. Chopped seasonings and thyme were also added. Then, cold tap water was added to cover meat.
  5. Lid was placed on skillet under low to medium heat. Whenever water evaporated additional water was added until meat was fork tender.
  6. Approximately fifteen minutes into cooking process, add chopped Irish potatoes. These will aid into thickening of gravy.
  7. 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!

WAIVE THE PLAIN MARINARA SAUCE #JAMAICAN RUM MARINARA SAUCE

Main ingredients for Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce
Main ingredients for Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce

Recently I purchased some fairly sweet and relatively inexpensive tomatoes in the produce aisle of my supermarket. For $1.99, I was able to nab five small goodness in a package.In the moment, I got a culinary idea so I grabbed another packet. Marinara was on my mind. It’s a simple sauce that is seasoned with herbs, garlic and other ingredients of choice.

It had been sometime since I made my own marinara sauce. Making my own has its advantages in that I’m able to control the consistency of my sauce. I like to keep it on the chunky side and add my own fresh and wholesome ingredients without the added preservatives that the store-bought version has. Not only did I wish to make my own marinara sauce, I wanted to input Jamaican white rum to take it to another level. That move provided quite a treat. It gave my sauce a slightly bold and even more succulent taste.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh tomatoes (8 sm)
  • Diced tomatoes (15oz) canned
  • Jamaican white rum (1/3 cup)
  • Onion (1/2 Large)
  • Garlic (3 cloves)
  • Thyme (1 tsp)
  • Dried oregano(1/4 tsp)
  • Dried basil (1/4 tsp)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Bell pepper (tbsp)
  • Olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • Sugar (1 tsp)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce simmering
    Jamaican Rum Marinara Sauce simmering

Method:

  1. In a stock pot, saute finely chopped onions and bell peppers in a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Season along with salt and pepper.
  3. Add crushed garlic cloves.
  4. Add rum and stir the ingredients.
  5. Proceed to add fresh tomatoes, and canned diced tomatoes along with sugar. The sugar will provide a balance to the acid in the tomatoes.
  6. Add the dried herbs and seasonings.
  7. Do taste test and add additional seasonings if needed.
  8. Allow sauce to simmer under low to medium heat for approximately 40 minutes or until sauce gather the right consistency you are okay with.
  9. A few minutes before completion, add fresh chopped parsley or any herb of choice.
  10. Add shredded or grated parmesan cheese (or any cheese of choice) after removing pot from heat.

I served my Jamaican rum marinara sauce on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti along with a spicy serving of  shrimp. I chose not to add cheese.

Spicy peppered shrimp with Jamaican rum marinara sauce on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti
Spicy peppered shrimp with Jamaican rum marinara sauce on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti

 

A BOXING DAY DELIGHT ##LEFT-OVER JAMAICAN ACKEE/CODFISH AND HAM

Guys, it’s Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). Today, in my neck of the woods, the sun has chosen to remain out of sight for most of the day. It has been raining ‘cats and dogs’ and is quite gloomy. And, like the sun, it took me sometime to really lift my head from the pillows.

I dragged my dear self on the outskirts to nab me some endorphins. Oh, it helped for a bit. But, deep down I knew that I needed some more shut-eye. Gosh, I needed to gather my focus that was still missing. Thank God I went with the flow and paid a visit to ‘La La land’. I woke up and felt like my old self.

I know; I know, I overdid a bit. After all, it was Christmas. But, it was worth it. I believe I had me a couple of glasses of white wine. Then, I decided to graduate to an Irish Cream mixed with ‘good old’ Jamaican White Rum (oh, it brought back sweet memories). It was smooth and tasty as it made its way down. After chatting for a bit and doing a jig, one can forget the consequences of mixing drinks.

Anyway guys, I hopped in my kitchen and decided to clean up what was right before me. In a tupperware was some left-over ackee and codfish (Jamaica’s national dish). It was one of the items on my brunch from the big day, (Christmas). I finely chopped some left-over ham and added it to my national dish. All I had to do was to steam me a little brown rice with asparagus.

I served my ackee and codfish/ham on a bed of steamed brown rice and asparagus. I then added avocado (I call it nature’s butter), wedges of plummy tomatoes and a few pieces of fried plantain.

Guys, to say that I was happy is quite an understatement. I was on ‘cloud-nine’, pretty much over the moon. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Hurray for left-overs on ‘good-old’ Boxing Day, the day after Christmas.

NB.- Ackee is a tropical fruit that is native to West Africa. It was introduced to Jamaica in earlier years and has become a national dish when its paired with salted codfish. This fruit is savory in taste as its cooked as a vegetable.

CHRISTMAS AND TRADITIONS INCLUDING JAMAICA’S LIQUORED FRUIT CAKE

What is it about Christmas and traditions? If you should talk to anyone who actually celebrate this beautiful time of the year, one would state that it’s time to gather with family members and loved ones. A time to exchange and give presents, decorate and put up that special tree.  A time to be merry, eat and drink and spread good cheers. And of course, a time to actually remember and celebrate the birth of Christ.

For me, this time of the year puts me in a nostalgic mood. It’s a time when I reflect and remember when life was simple but seemed rather rich. There was great laughter, fun, amazing foods and the belting out of Christmas songs with my siblings. A time to attend church and sing noels and watch Christmas plays.

My mom, Beryl was huge on Christmas. It was her special and most wonderful time of the year. I guess I have a little of her within. Two to three months before the Christmas season arrived, mom would actually begin the preparations. As soon as a wisp of autumn air agitated the drapes within my  mom would utter “It’s Christmas breeze!” That meant it was time to white wash the walls and picket fence on the outskirts.

Christmas was a family affair. Therefore, my dear uncle Brownie who was a professional painter was deeply involved in the sprucing up of our interior and exterior of our home. Although he was busy and extremely booked he carved out a little time to come over and do a spectacular paint job on our home. We never had to pay him. That was his gift to us. All he required was a little spirit rum. Yes uncle Brownie was big on is rum. Give him a slice of fruit cake laced with rum and the job would be done.

Talking about fruit/rum cakes, back then, my siblings and I used to make dozens of the liquored cakes. It took us hours to cream up the butter and sugar. Once in a while the old cake mixer was overworked and started to smoked, so we had to go manual. To us it wasn’t work. It was a joyful occasion. We all took turns to churn the good old butter and sugar. You see, our immediate family was quite large. Moreover, there were extended family made up of uncles, aunts, cousins, close friends, and neighbors.

Now a days, as an adult, this is what I do. Because some of my dear folks are no longer with us and moreover most of us are scattered all over this globe, I try to carry on the traditions as it comes to baking that fruit liquored cake. Although it’s easy to cream and churn the butter and sugar, it not the same, there were more loving hands.

I try my utter best to recapture those flavorful cakes. Present day Christmas season, I ship quite a few fruit cakes to loved ones both near and far. This is what I do:

Stewed and liquored (rum/red wines/brandy) fruits ready for input in cake batter
Stewed and liquored (rum/red wines/brandy) fruits ready for input in cake batter
Creamed butter/sugar along with eggs and molasses
Creamed butter/sugar along with eggs and molasses (Excuse the rimmed spill)
Liquored fruit cakes ready for oven
Liquored fruit cakes ready for oven
In the oven they go along with a water bath to keep them moist
In the oven they go along with a water bath to keep them moist

IMG_20141204_124651

Finished fruits cakes ready to be devoured by loved ones
Finished fruits cakes ready to be devoured by loved ones

Guys, this is just a snippet of what my loved ones and I do during Christmas. I know you have tremendous to share about this special time of the year. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!! FELIZ NAVIDAD!!