Leftovers never tasted so good. Supper was a breeze. Doubled back on some leftover honey/lemon chicken I had tucked away in the freezer. Thawed same and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Did a quick saute of chicken in a drizzle of olive oil along with roughly chopped onions and crushed garlic. Added a squeeze of duck sauce and soy sauce from Chinese delivery. Took my leftover honey/lemon chicken to another dimension by adding roasted beans and zucchini.
Combined all ingredients and garnished with chopped parsley and scallion. The roasted veggies brought a nutty and slightly sweet taste to the lemony chicken. Served mouth-watering dish on a bed of steamed Jasmine rice.
My taste buds and I were taken to a very delicious place.
When the temperatures are soaring on the outskirts, I’ve no time to be spending extended time on top of my stove. I often seek out quick, easy, and delicious meals. After all, I want to secure much-needed time to enjoy the summer.
Went with that in mind this afternoon and oh, look what I managed to turn out. Grabbed hold of my grill pan and made me a few grilled shrimp and chicken tenderloins. I needed to take them to another level.
So, I made a quick kale/parsley pesto and slathered some on my grilled chicken (lime flavored). Decided to reach for some of summer’s favorites in the form of mini bell peppers. Finely chopped up those assorted hues along with diced onions, a squeeze of honey, pinch of salt and a splash of vinegar and slowly simmered.
I couldn’t resist. If I’m indulging in shrimp, I’ve to have that ‘kick’. Thus, I added finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers to the mix. Oh, those dear shrimp were super-excited. With a squeeze of fresh lime, I layered those juicy shrimp on a bed of Jasmine rice. And, of course, I added that spicy side dish of assorted mini bell peppers.
Felt like I was transported to a tropical paradise for lunch. My palate and I couldn’t wait to devour a sweet, tart and mouth-watering serving of mango salsa. My protein of choice was heart-healthy salmon.
This omega acid fish was seared on both sides in a drizzle of olive oil. Then a lime-butter sauce was spooned on. Chopped olives and capers were used for topping. Servings of steamed Jasmine rice along with garlic-flavored asparagus completed my tropical dish.
The other day, I felt like a kid again. I like to experiment and sometimes take my dishes to different and quirky level. What’s the worse that could occur? I just wouldn’t try that again.My palate and I were in a colorful and odd place.
Well, that’s what I said to myself as I chopped a few wedges of cabbage to join some sautéed onions in a drizzle of olive oil.
I decided to go Mediterranean/Caribbean with my Jasmine rice of choice. I wanted a hint of color to my lily-white rice. After I sautéed and seasoned along my onions, cabbage and garlic, I added rice and allowed the grains to be coated with oil.
I was in culinary heaven as I watched my ingredients transformed to light yellow in appearance. I also added a sprig of thyme, and scallion. It seemed like I was going toss in the kitchen sink. But, I pulled back.
Rice was covered with lid under low heat after adding water. As soon as it came to a fluffy finish, thinly chopped bell peppers were added. I wasn’t finished. I desired a contrast, but cohesive in flavors and decided to toss in dried cranberries.
All the flavors played off each other. The curry wasn’t overpowering; but, provided a taste that reminded me of childhood and perhaps what would be served in a Mediterranean kitchen. The cranberries took it to another level. They gave a beautiful and contrasting tart-sweet taste to the dish that surprised my taste buds.
I served rice with grilled citrus shrimp and vegetables along with a serving baked orange-flavored chicken wings. Fresh wedges of seasoned vine-ripe tomatoes completed my dish.
Supper was a rather quick and easy affair. It’s so convenient when all the ingredients and culinary ‘players’ are at your finger tips. I allowed the stored coconut milk to jump-start my curry/coconut sauce. Milk was simmered on low heat for a few minutes with a sprinkle of curry powder. Sauce was then seasoned with salt, black pepper to taste along with crushed garlic, diced onions, bell peppers and finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers.
As soon as sauce arrived at the right consistency, seasoned shrimp was added to sauce. I made sure to keep an eagle’s eye out for my seafood as same only needed just a couple of minutes on both sides. Skillet was removed from burner and all the goodness from the sauce was soaked up by the shrimp.
Curry/coconut shrimp was served with some left-over steamed Jasmine rice along with some roasted pumpkin pieces and onions. Nature’s butter (avocado) became part of the whole dish. It provided a smooth finish and temper the spicy shrimp dish.
As dark clouds blanketed the evening skies, I hastily made my way to my humble kitchen. Mother Nature was at work on this first day of autumn (well, that’s what the calendar states). However, the elements screamed summer conditions within my midst. With thunder roaring and the skies lighting up, I knew it was quite risky stirring up a pot. However, tell that to my waiting stomach. It didn’t care.
Time was of the essence. I kept my fingers crossed hoping there wouldn’t be an interruption in the electric power. With that in mind, I knew that I wasn’t going to cook from scratch. Moreover, I was exhausted and required much-needed slumber.
I smiled as I made my way to my faithful freezer. Most times, it doesn’t disappoint me. As such, I made a quick rummage through the contents, and my eyes lit up as I spotted the container of curried chicken. I cooked that almost a week ago.Who knows? My foggy brain was trying to focus. So far, so good. All I needed was some carbohydrates and vegetables.
My trek further led me to discover some left-over Jasmine rice. As a matter of fact, there were two small containers which turned out to be just the right amount. I grabbed hold of the frozen spinach at the side of the freezer door. I love to keep a couple of them on hand for times as this.
Thanks to my microwave oven, it produced a quick thawing of my frozen spinach. After about five minutes, I drained the water content and placed spinach in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, softened onions and crushed garlic. I warmed through same and seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Within a few minutes, my dear microwave yielded quite a feast. No one would have surmised that my supper was left-overs. My curried chicken thighs were piping hot and released mouth-watering aromas. I served same on a fluffy bed of Jasmine rice with a ring of garlic spinach. And, like a true Jamaican, I topped with a serving of fried plantains and a slice of nature’s butter (avocado). I was in heaven.
So funny how Mother Nature works. After all that hoopla of thundering and lightning, no precipitation followed. The sun began to shine.
When precious time is against me and I feel like tearing my weave out, it’s always great to know that I have one less thing to worry about. Yes guys, I’m talking about my culinary needs; we all have them. It’s such a delight to return to the nest after a day of laboring and breath a sense of relieve knowing that something delicious is awaiting.
And, that’s what happened the previous evening. Like always, I like to cook a little extra (well, that’s what my mother used to say, “cook an extra dumpling!”). A few days ago, I made a mad chop of some skinless (bone-in) legs and thighs. I seasoned them with salt, black pepper, cumin, curry powder, crushed ginger, pimento (all spice), thyme, onion, crushed garlic. These were marinated overnight.
In a sturdy skillet I added a couple teaspoons of coconut oil. Curried chicken was cooked under low to medium heat until the flesh fell from the bone and still kept its integrity. I served same with steamed Jasmine rice and a medley of steamed veggies. Left-overs of chicken and rice were cooled and placed in the freezer.
Fast forward to my left-overs. I’m so elated that I had them stored away. These were defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. All I did on serving my mouth-watering curried chicken was to reheat in microwave oven. With a quick sautéed of baby kale and spinach, my curried chicken meal was resurrected.
The fresh greens gave it a brand new appearance and made it look entirely new and inviting. My chicken stood the test of time and didn’t get disintegrated in the succulent gravy. It tasted even more delicious. Moreover, the addition of the contrasting sweet fried plantain gave the dish a beautiful balance.
Sunday’s supper was braised oxtails, one of the popular dishes from my childhood. This dish is still a favorite in many Jamaican kitchens and restaurants. Part of its composition is a center bone which is quite a delight to savor by sucking the mouth-watering gravy. You just can’t help yourself; your fingers will become utensils while partaking. After all, it’s a rustic meal.
Over the years, this dish has grown in popularity across many ethnic lines. As a result, the prices have increased exorbitantly. However, that has not stopped lovers of oxtails to purchase same. In Jamaica, we mainly cook ox tails with lima beans (butter beans) which are added close to the end of the cooking process.
There are a few variations in cooking braised ox tails and everyone places their signature stamp on same. For me, the previous night I trimmed any residual fat from oxtails pieces before seasoning. Then, oxtails pieces were seasoned with salt, black pepper, crushed garlic, a splash balsamic vinegar (which act as a tenderizer as well as for flavoring), and a pinch of jerk sauce (my preference for added flavors).
After bringing oxtails to room temperature, they were added to a sturdy hot skillet with a drizzle of canola oil. I allowed them to brown on each side (turning repeatedly). Chopped root vegetables were added in the form of chopped onions, celery, and bell peppers. Also, thyme and rosemary were added along with crushed pimento (all spice).
There was no need to add beef broth as oxtails are loaded with great flavors. So, instead, tap cold water was used to cover pieces. Under low to medium heat, oxtail pieces were braised for two and a half hours (adding liquid,(water) whenever needed. By the way, this dish is a labor of love. It takes time; two to three hours. A pressure cooker would cut the duration.
As soon as the pieces were fork-tender, additional seasonings were added. Instead of lima beans (butter), spinners (small dumplings) were added. These dumplings were made with a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. Dish was further simmered for an additional five to ten minutes.
The finished dish was one that was a ‘fall-off’ the bone one. These tenderized pieces of meat had the right amount of spices and flavorings that were mouth-watering to the palate.
Oxtails were served with steamed Jasmine rice which soaked up all the amazing flavors of the thick and rich gravy. In addition, a side dish of sauteed assorted vegetables accompanied the dish.
When you do the ‘grave-yard’ shift, the last thing on your mind is to cook a meal from scratch. It’s no wonder many of us head for the fast food eateries in order to satisfy the hunger within. After all, these eating joints are conveniently located at every nook and cranny within neighborhoods. And, let’s face it, when the hunger pangs call, you can’t help but to surrender with a big mac and fries.
But, yours truly didn’t cede. I had a perfect plan. I couldn’t wait to get to my abode. You see, sometime last week (oh, can’t say when with this foggy head), I made a dish of curried chicken. Had a couple servings from the batch and stored another for a ‘rainy’ day as this. When it comes to forecasting in the kitchen, you got to be on top of things; otherwise you find yourself exceeding your food budget.
The previous day, I had removed the left-over curried wonder from the freezer. I knew my chicken was little deficient in spice. So, like a true Jamaican gal, I headed for the freezer and retrieved scotch bonnet pepper. Love to store excess in the freezer in ziplock baggie. I finely diced a portion and tossed it with chicken in a small stock pot. Under low heat, in a I allowed my dear poultry pieces to heat throughout. By the way, they were bone-in…..love to suck on my bones!
I served my curried chicken with a fluffy steamed Jasmine rice along with spears of garlic-flavored broccoli. No curried dish goes without a few pieces of fried plantain. Plantain provides such beautiful medium to a curried dish. Thus, I sliced my golden ‘guys’ and pan-fried them in a little canola oil.
My curried chicken dish was even tastier than the day I made same. All the flavors came together superbly. The curry, all spice(pimento), cumin, scotch bonnet pepper and other spices and flavors united in such a cohesive and balanced way. Moreover, the other ingredients gave the dish a perfect finish to my palate. Hmmm, I was a happy camper.
It has been quite a while since I’ve consumed the feathery one in the form of chopped turkey. You see, I’ve been quite busy ‘surfing’ with salmon, shrimp and other seafood. So, since I’m back on the turf-side of things I thought I would pay a much-needed visit to dear turkey.
I’m an equal opportunity kind of gal; so, I thought I would apply some of the treatment I generally dole out to chicken and meat and render same to some chopped turkey. There’s no doubt, I love a good dish of jerk chicken. So, seeing that turkey is from the poultry family, I thought I would go there with my balls (jerk turkey balls). And, that’s what I did.
Because turkey breast is somewhat bland, I decided to infuse added flavors and spices in order to make my balls standout. No deflated balls for yours truly. As a result, some of the ingredients that were added were:
Jerk sauce – 1 teaspoon (a little goes a far way)
Celery – 2 stalks
Carrot – 1 large
Scallion – 1 stalk
Onion – 1 medium
Ketchup/paste – 1 tablespoon
Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
Eggs – 2 medium
Olive oil for browning
Black pepper and salt to taste
Dried Basil – 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic – 2 cloves
Thyme – 1 teaspoon
Parsley – 2 tablespoon
Bread crumbs – 1/2 cup
Vegetables were finely chopped and softened in a drizzle of olive oil. Then cooled.
Cooled veggies were added to chopped turkey along with jerk sauce and squeeze of ketchup.
In addition to black pepper, pinch of dried basil, finely chopped parsley,eggs, bread crumbs were added and folded without overworking .
Balls were made and placed inside refrigerator in order to set.
After balls came to room temperature, they were browned in skillet with a few teaspoon of olive oil. Then, they were placed in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes so as to be cook internally.
After completion in oven, turkey balls were drizzled with sweet and sour sauce and topped with julienned veggies that were stir-fried and soaked in sweet/sour sauce.
Jerk turkey balls were served over a bed of steamed Jasmine rice cooked in chicken broth and a pat of butter. The sweet and sour provided a beautiful contrast to the spicy jerk turkey balls. Moreover, the veggies had a delicious crispness to them.
Jerk sauce can be purchased at any Caribbean (especially Jamaican) store as well as some supermarkets in the international/ethnic aisle. In regards to the sweet and sour sauce, I also got a little help from the store-bought version. To that I added a few ingredients of my own in the form of ketchup, honey, grated ginger, soy sauce and salt, black pepper.