FALL HAS ARRIVED FOR QUITE SOMETIME

There is an English proverb that says, “It’s better to begin in the evening than not at all.” In my native country (Jamaica), we would say, “It never too late for a shower of rain.” How are these sayings relevant to Fall you might ask?

You see, I went on a little hiatus (sometime in March’17). Never expected to be away that long. Wanted to resume writing my blog, but, repeatedly procrastinated. Before I knew it, summer made it’s way and so did the very active work of Mother Nature.

My heart goes out to many victims of  hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Several lost their lives. The devastation from these storms destroyed and obliterated islands, towns and many structures.

People in Barbuda and other parts of the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Key West, US Virgin Islands, Houston, Tx, USA are still without electric power and other amenities. It seemed like there is no ending to the devastation within our midst.

Sonoma and Napa Valley counties in California, USA went through tremendous lost of lives and properties caused by fires. Many wineries were completely destroyed by these gigantic fires. In addition, Mexico had its structures demolished in a huge way with a massive earthquake. Several lives were perished.

When devastation and tragedies occur, one can feel rather helpless and forlorn. You try to find ways to assist one another in your own way via donations, time and otherwise. You wish you could quiet the dispirited feelings within.

Despite all this, the seasons continue to change. Mother Nature is a mixed-bag. Autumn (Fall) is here(well, since Sept 1). I must confess, it’s one of my faves. I do think it is an incredible time to return to one of my passions which is sharing my cooking.

So, as some of you are fortunate to experience the leaves transform to their amazing reds, oranges, and other hues up north, I choose to follow suit in my own way. I do so by enjoying the wholesome products of nature. The marketplaces are abuzz. I’ll purchase, prepare and cook the seasonal foods in the form of:

  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes(yam)
  • Cauliflower
  • Beetroot
  • Eggplant
  • Brussels sprout
  • Cranberries
  • Leek
  • Okra
  • Pears

and a host of other seasonal foods. I do think it’s the best way to save and simultaneously enjoy nature’s bounties. I can’t wait to transform these wholesome produces hopefully into delectable dishes. My palate is anticipating those mouth-watering dishes.

So, as the temperatures plummet to comfortable digits, I’ll fling open my windows and doors and usher in the cool goodness. Okay, I know I don’t reside in the cold region. But, I’ll allow my imagination to take over.

I’ll pretend that I’m curled up by a crackling fireplace with the glowing embers popping. That’s when I will indulge in a comforting bowl of pumpkin or squash soup. Or a finger licking dish of stew. In my head, the green leaves are changing to their breath-taking hues of reds, oranges and others.

Welcome back my family, friends, fellow bloggers, and followers. It’s nice to return. Despite life’s pitfalls, it’s also wonderful. It’s time to start making some beautiful noise with those pots, skillets and pans. Let’s start chopping!

And as per usual, I thank you for joining me at “Justmeandmypot”, where I try to keep a fine mouth-watering balance. Have an awesome Fall season.

 

 

 

 

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A SUPER DELIGHTFUL/HEALTHY STUFFED CHAYOTE (CHO CHO) DISH TO WHET YR APPETITE

Chayote is a squash-like fruit/vegetable(?) that is predominantly sold in markets in the veggie section. But, because of its light green and pear-like appearance some consider it a tropical fruit. It is originally grown in Mexico and Central America.

CHAYOTE (CHO CHO)
CHAYOTE (CHO CHO)
FILLING FOR STUFFED CHO CHO DISH
FILLING FOR STUFFED CHO CHO DISH
READY FOR BAKING
READY FOR BAKING

The name varies from region to region. In Jamaica, it’s called “cho cho”. And traditionally it’s cooked in savory dishes like stews and soups along with other vegetables.

Chayote(cho cho)is loaded with great fibers and other beneficial nutrients. There’s no saturated fats. As a result, it’s excellent for the lowering of cholesterol in the body. It is said that because of its health properties, dietitians often recommend it in dietary plans.

From my experience, cho cho tends to be bland in taste. And as a result, this squash like food needs to be enhanced with flavors in order to be more appealing. As a child, I can remember my dear mom sometimes treated it like mashed potatoes. She boiled it in salted water and then crushed it with a fork. Milk and butter were then added with a sprinkle of black pepper.

It has been sometime since I’ve cooked cho cho. So I bought a couple of firm ones and  decided to put my spin and continue on the savory route by stuffing them.

Ingredients:

  • Chayote (cho cho) (2)
  • Picked codfish flaked-up [shrimp or any protein of choice could be used]
  • Bell peppers (diced)
  • Zucchini (diced)
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Scallion (stalk)
  • Thyme (sprig)
  • Olive oil or canola (tbsp)
  • Salt/pepper(pinch)
  • Bread crumbs (sprinkle)
  • Cheese (sprinkle)

Method:

1. Rinse codfish with tap water and cook in stock pot for approximately 5 minutes in order to remove excess sodium. Repeat the process until fish is ready at your preference. Flake and set aside.

2. Cut cho cho in halves. In sturdy stock pot, add water along with salt to taste. Immerse cho cho in water and add a drop of vinegar and oil to prevent oxidation (browning).

3. Cook for approximately 25 minutes until they become fairly fork tender and drain.

4. Rinse under cool water and when cool enough to handle remove pit and discard. And gently use a spoon to scoop flesh. Set aside. Reserve skins for later.

5. In a hot skillet, add olive oil or any good oil. Quickly satay onions, bell peppers, zucchini, scallion, thyme, and broccoli. Season with pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

6. Add flaked codfish and cooked cho cho and gently combine. Remove from heat and sprinkle with bread crumbs to help in binding.

7. Spoon filling in reserved cho cho skins. Sprinkle with shredded cheese of choice along with bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil.

8. Bake in a 420 degree oven for about 10 minutes in order to set. Put under broiler for an additional 5 minutes so as to brown the top.

9. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Guys, was proud of my finished dish; my first attempt at stuffed chayote (cho cho).