BRAISED GINGER-FLAVORED PORK HOCK

SUNDAY WILL BE DELIGHTFUL!! CAN’T WAIT!

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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.

 

 

AN OLD FAVE MADE MY DAY! ##CURRIED CHICKEN THIGHS

Sunday’s supper was quite a treat. Actually, I must have consumed this popular Jamaican dish hundreds of time since childhood. Now, that’s a lot of chicken going on! Anyway, when I laid eyes on my skinless and bone-in chicken thighs, I knew exactly how I was going to prep and cook same.

The previous night, I chopped my thighs in bite-size pieces. Then, I marinated them with a drizzle of coconut oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, curry powder, crushed ginger, garlic and pimento. Fast forward to cooking time, I made sure to bring chicken to room temperature.

In a sturdy skillet, a small drizzle of olive oil was added on medium heat. Chicken was placed within and a quick sautay was done in order to coat chicken pieces and seal in flavors. To that I added chopped onions, celery, a couple of sprigs of thyme along with a splash of house vinegar.

Cold water was used to cover chicken and the lid was placed on skillet. Chicken simmered for approximately 30 to 35 minutes under low to medium heat making sure to turn over pieces. In addition, extra liquid was added as needed. Chicken was cooked until fork tender. The aromas were very intoxicating and filled my space. And, the flavors of the spices and herbs were bold and beckoned me in.

After gravy was reduced to the right consistency, I allowed chicken to rest for a few minutes; then, this was served with a garlic steamed asparagus

STEAMED ASPARAGUS
STEAMED ASPARAGUS

and left-rice whole-grain rice. Me and my palate were taken on a trip to a familiar place in culinary history. We were extremely happy.

TRANSFORMED MY PINEAPPLE INTO A VIRTUOUS COCKTAIL##PINEAPPLE/GINGER COCKTAIL

FRESH PINEAPPLE SLICES
FRESH PINEAPPLE SLICES

I hate when that happens. There I was feeling good (maybe, a little over the moon) about my find. Yes guys, I fetched yours truly (I thought at the time) a superb specimen, on sale, (well, that’s what they said) for  $1.50. I couldn’t complain. Though it was not ripe; I had fantastic hope. And, that’s the thing about wholesome produces from nature, sometimes I’m  lucky to obtain a perfect one and a few times I’m disappointed.

But, what can I say? As long as it’s coming from Mother Earth, I’m ecstatic. Anyway, back to my dear pineapple. Brought the beauty home and proudly placed it on my kitchen counter as I usually do with fruits. In less than a few days she started permeating my space. Hmmmm, I knew the time was at hand. She was ready to be utilized in my fashion. I couldn’t wait to peel her.

I’m not tooting my horn; but, I do think I’ve mastered peeling a pineapple. Within a few minutes, I was able to peel and discard of the skin from my golden goodness. By now, the juice was dripping on my cutting board. I couldn’t wait to taste the beautiful flesh. I was anxious. I could sense  my heart beating a tad faster. What the heck! This is just a pineapple.

PEELED PINEAPPLE
PEELED PINEAPPLE

And then, I snipped and placed it to my mouth. Guys, at first taste, I didn’t believe. I thought, “maybe, my taste buds were playing tricks on me.” So, I sampled once more. I was so disappointed. How could a perfectly good-looking specimen turn out to be such sour grape? Dejected, I placed my slices in a tupper ware in the refrigerator.

Two days later (today), I revisited my golden one. I still had hope. And so, I grabbed my cutting board once more and decided to make a virgin cocktail from a few slices of my pineapple. In addition to that I reached for root ginger and fresh Florida orange juice along with cold water.

INGREDIENTS FOR PINEAPPLE/GINGER COCKTAIL
INGREDIENTS FOR PINEAPPLE/GINGER COCKTAIL

After a quick chop of pineapple and ginger, I placed same in my standing blender along with water and orange juice. For me, there was no need for sugar or any sweetener because the orange juice provided natural sugar  for my cocktail. ‘Big-up’ to my standing blender, it yielded a smooth finish. Pineapple and ginger cocktail was garnished with fresh pineapple and ginger root.

Guys, I felt vindicated. My golden wonder came through for me. I was on cloud nine.I got more than my money’s worth.  Salud! By the way, I’ll be grilling the remainder of my pineapple slices. This action should bring out the natural sugar within. Yippee!!

I DECIDED TO ‘BEET IT’, AND GOT STAMINA FROM EACH SIP… ##FRESH BEETROOT JUICE

For less than $3.00, I was very ecstatic for three small beetroots. I got six in a pack at my neighborhood indoor farmer’s market and decided to use three in refreshing drink. So, I went chopping. I made sure to place parchment paper on cutting board to prevent staining from the beets.

Roughly chopped beetroot
Roughly chopped beetroots along with root ginger

Beets were placed in a stockpot with about three cups of water along with finely chopped ginger. I allowed same to be simmered under low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. This  was then cooled and placed in standing blender with a squeeze of honey and half of a lemon. Nothing was wasted. All ingredients were blended to a smooth and drinkable goodness.

The result was beneficial beet juice that was vibrant in color. Based on research, it’s revealed that beetroots are loaded with compounds that increase blood flow to the vital organs of the body. Subsequently, there is a boost in energy levels. I could certainly do with a little more energy.  Moreover, statistics have shown that the blood pressure is lowered.

So guys, bottoms up to the energy booster of a drink. I say let’s celebrate to this burgundy portion in my chutes. Salud!

 

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!

BALLS THAT WON’T DEFLATE– ##TURKEY BALLS IN AN ORANGE/GINGER/BRANDY SAUCE

Because I indulged in a beef dish a day or two ago, I decided to go ‘turkey’. These turkey balls are just in time for the Superbowl week-end. They are made with chopped turkey breast which I had in-house for about a couple of weeks. And because it’s not consisted of much fat, I opted to incorporate same with added flavors to let my balls stand out.

I love fresh root ginger and so I grated a generous teaspoon full that was divided between sauce and turkey.  A little goes a long way. The other ingredients were:

THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TURKEY BALLS
THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TURKEY BALLS

Ingredients for Turkey Balls:

  • Chopped turkey (1.3 lbs)
  • Onions (Med-1/2)
  • Scallion (2 stalks)
  • Thyme (1 tsp)
  • Parsley (2 tbsp)
  • Celery (1 stalk)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Diced carrot (1)
  • Dried Basil (1/4 tsp)
  • Dried Oregano (1/4 tsp)
  • Ketchup (generous squeeze)
  • Bell pepper (section)
  • Crushed garlic (3 cloves)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Bread crumbs (1/4 cup)
  • Sugar (1/4 tsp)

Ingredients for Ginger/Orange Sauce:

  • Fresh orange juice from 2 oranges
  • Light brown sugar (1/3 cup)
  • Splash of house vinegar
  • Squeeze of ketchup
  • Pinch of salt/pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of grated ginger
  • Corn starch (1 tsp)
  • Splash of brandy

Method for Ginger/Orange Sauce:

  1. In a small sauce pot, I combined all ingredients (except corn starch)  and simmered on low to medium heat.
  2. Cornstarch was placed in a cup with a splash of water so as to dissolve.
  3. Cornstarch solution was added to sauce and stirred to a smooth consistency so as to form no lumps.
  4. After thickening, it was removed from heat and set aside.

Method for Turkey Balls:

  1. Finely chopped onion,parsley,celery, bell peppers, were sautéed in a drizzle of olive oil along with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic.

    TURKEY BALLS READY FOR BROWNING
    TURKEY BALLS READY FOR BROWNING
  2. After cooling, this was added to chopped turkey along with other dried seasonings incl. salt, pepper, eggs, bread crumbs, ketchup, sugar, a half of the grated ginger and orange rind.
  3. All ingredients were folded and combined but not overworked.
  4. An ice cream scoop was used to make uniformed sized balls. These were covered with plastic wrap and placed inside the fridge for an hour so to further set.
  5. In a skillet, oil  was heated and balls browned on all sides.
  6. Browned turkey balls were then placed in ginger/orange sauce and then slowly simmered on low heat in order to soak up all the amazing flavor.

My turkey balls were firm and had a beautiful orange/brown hue with specks of herbs visible. The flavors and spices were perfectly synchronized, though different, they worked beautifully together. My taste buds were surprised yet excited to partake of the spicy flavor of the ginger, the sweetness and the tart from the other ingredients.

Guys, the dish was a TOUCHDOWN!!

OFFICIALLY, I’M A SICK ‘PUPPY’……I ATE OUT OF THE ‘BOX’!! RUFF!RUFF!

Guys, maybe its the dip in the temperatures; I don’t know. You see, South Florida, the sunshine state is  experiencing unseasonably winter-like temperatures (well, Florida-style). That means we’ve to grab hold of our boots, ear muffs, turtle necks, gloves…..the works. I’m telling you guys, my HEATER IS ON!!

For me, when the digits plummet, my palate sometimes becomes a little ‘out of whack’. It craves unusual eats. So, what do I do? I figured I should go with the flow. It didn’t feel like the typical dinner or supper menu dishes. You would think that, okay, it’s cold, maybe a big bowl of soup would do the trick. But no, it felt like having breakfast for dinner.

And so, I did! I crushed an over-ripened banana, shredded a McIntosh apple along with a pinch of fresh ginger. With a combination of all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, sugar, melted butter and spices, I had the perfect batter for apple/banana/ginger pancakes. I topped this with fresh raspberries I had on hand. Of course, I could not resist, a couple of pieces of crispy apple wood bacon had to be on the side.

Now guys, IT’S THE CHRISTMAS SEASON!! And in honor of the Christ child who would later turn water into wine, I decided to sip on a little red wine. But, what I did was to warm my wine, YES I DID! After all, it’s breakfast for dinner. On the side, I placed my cinnamon stick for dips, a great way to add extra flavor. HO! HO!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!