BEEF? WHAT BEEF? #TURKEY CHILI!

A Mexican grandmother would be super-proud of this dish. Though it took approximately an hour to prepare and cook, it tasted like hours of joyful/laborious cooking. Of course, ground turkey was the star of this chili dish.  There are many variations to this dish and I must state that I’m happy about this one.

I took advantage of fresh and store-bought ingredients:

  • vine-ripe tomatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • scallion
  • jalapeno pepper
  • scotch bonnet pepper
  • thyme
  • bell peppers
  • dried oregano
  • cumin
  • salt/black pepper
  • tomato paste
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • Salsa (Mexican)
  • red (chili) beans (spicy)
  • cold tap water

For toppings:

  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • tomatoes
  • flat-leaf parsley

Ground turkey was brown in a sturdy skillet consisting of a drizzle of olive oil. This was seasoned with salt, black pepper, and other dry ingredients. Then, chopped onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, scotch bonnet peppers, and other fresh ingredients were added along with tomato paste, Mexican salsa, a pinch of sugar. Also, a cup of cold tap water.

With a lid on, this slowly simmered on low heat. About 15 to 20 minutes to end of cooking time, spicy red chili beans were added. Mouth-watering chili was topped with a dollop of sour cream along with diced avocado and tomatoes. Instead of cilantro, it was garnished with Italian flat-leaf parsley I had on hand.

Frankly, I didn’t miss the ‘beef’. With the marrying of all these ingredients, my turkey chili was very delicious. My taste buds and I were over the moon. I felt like harping “Ole! Ole!”

 

MIND-BLOWING JERK TURKEY BALLS

Not all balls are created equal. There are balls. And, there are BALLS!! Of course, I went the ones that screamed enormous flavors. After all, I’ve been here before. It’s amazing how a few added ingredients can tweak a bland poultry dish into an amazing one.

The main ‘player’ (ingredient) that made my turkey dish super-special was a small input of jerk seasoning  from the jar. Thanks to the ethnic aisle in my neighborhood store, I was able to be transported to Jamaica. A pinch goes a long way. That small move took my balls to another level. In addition, sautéed diced veggies and other ingredients  consisting of:

  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery
  • garlic
  • egg
  • panko bread crumbs
  • scallion
  • thyme
  • parsley
  • salt/black pepper
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
  • brown sugar

were added in order to make these balls succulent and mouth-watering. Instead of frying my balls, I baked them for approximately 20 minutes at 375-degree fahrenheit. Then, they were placed a sweet and sour sauce consisting of a pinch of jerk sauce.

My balls were extremely happy and receptive. They absorbed all the sticky, sour, spicy and sweet ingredients.

 

 

 

WILD ALASKAN SALMON FROM MY PANTRY #SALMON PATTIES

Didn’t have to venture on high seas and contend with choppy and perilous waves to get my wild Alaskan salmon to my kitchen. Thanks to those hard-working fisher men/women, I was able to fetch a can of this omega food in my hands.

I had the perfect plan. Decided to make a few salmon patties to crave the hunger within. Drained canned salmon and added a few other ingredients:

  • egg (1)
  • Panko bread crumbs (1/4 cup)
  • finely chopped onions
  • capers/olives (optional)
  • paprika
  • pinch of salt and sprinkle black pepper
  • olive and canola oil for frying
  • fresh lime juice

After combining all ingredients, eight patties were made.

SALMON PATTIES FOR PAN FRYING
SALMON PATTIES FOR PAN FRYING

Patties were pan fried in a combination of  canola/olive oil under low to medium heat until warmed and cooked on the interior and brown and flaky on the outside. Salmon patties were topped with a dollop of sour cream and finely chopped scallion.

 

UNLIKELY PARTNERS #JERK/ASIAN WINGS WITH PASTA/CORN SALAD

When Friday arrives, my culinary needs goes over the top and a bit out of the norm. Anything is possible. Didn’t feel like dining out. I craved the taste of my humble kitchen. After all, Monday to Thursday, I try my utmost best to eat with a fine balance.

Had a few wings in-house and decided to go ‘jerk’ with same. Went on to use up the packets of Chinese delivery/take-out sauces such as hot pepper/duck sauces along with a few other ingredients like honey, ketchup and soy sauce.

With that amalgamation of spices and ingredients, I was able to turn out some rather spicy, slightly sweet/tart chicken wings. It was like two nations (Jamaican/Asian) meeting culinary-wise.

JERK/ASIAN FLAVORED CHICKEN WINGS
JERK/ASIAN FLAVORED CHICKEN WINGS

To go with my jerk/Asian flavored wings, I decided to serve a shell pasta, corn, avocado and veggie salad which could be had either cold or warm. The creaminess of the salad  balanced the spicy jerk/Asian wings.

PASTA AND CORN SALAD
PASTA AND CORN SALAD

Though my supper was unique combos, they turned out to be perfect culinary partners. I was super-happy.

 

FISH HEADS RULE!! #FISH BROTH (TEA)

I had just finished my morning’s work out and my endorphins were kicking. Moreover, I had all this pent-up energy within. What did I do? I headed for my kitchen and grabbed a couple of snapper fish that I had reserved for tomorrow’s dinner. Immediately I had a clear plan. I grabbed my cutting board and butcher’s knife and went chopping.

Those big guys stood erect and stared back at me. Their eyes were brilliant as they ogled me. It was as if they were beckoning me to come and get them. And I did. I took my knife and gently but firmly removed their heads, and set them aside. Where I come from, we don’t toss these.

Funny how a couple of fish heads bring back heart-warming memories when things were simple. You see, my dad used to bring home these King fish heads at least once a week. And mom being that ‘iron chef’ that she was turned out some mouth-watering fish broths for the entire family (well, it was one of dad’s favorites). In Jamaica, we call it ‘fish tea’. It’s a cross between soup and broth. It’s an excellent starter for a meal.

So, with that in mind, I decided to replicate my dear mom’s fish tea. I gathered a few root vegetables and fish heads.

SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR FISH BROTH (TEA)
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR FISH BROTH (TEA)

With a few rough chops I added same to stock pot and allowed them to simmer under low to medium heat. I also added veggie bouillon and seasoned along with a pinch of jerk sauce, crushed garlic,thyme, pimento and salt and black pepper to taste.

FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING
FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING

Close to the end I tossed in a few pieces of blanched chopped okra I had in the freezer.

In less than half an hour my fish tea was ready for serving. In my broth (tea), I don’t strain; everything  is consumed. It’s vital to be careful of all those bones. I don’t worry. By now, I’m a pro!

FINISHED FISH BROTH (TEA)
FINISHED FISH BROTH (TEA)

I know what I’ll be having for a light lunch today. I’ll pair with some crusty English muffins with a smear of butter. By then, I’ll be relaxed and ready for a siesta. By the way, the rest of the fish (body) will be done up in an escovitched. I can’t wait.

A SUMMER WRAP-UP #GRILLED AND SKEWERED SHRIMP

With summer on its way out I thought I would fire-up my in-door pan grill. And so I did with the sweet and crispy corn on the cob along with bell peppers and onions.

CORN ON THE COB, ONION AND BELL PEPPERS FOR GRILLING
CORN ON THE COB, ONION AND BELL PEPPERS FOR GRILLING

Corns were brushed with a little olive oil and added to piping hot grill so as to wake up the beautiful flavors within.

CORNS, AND BELL PEPPERS ON GRILL
CORNS, AND BELL PEPPERS ON GRILL

In no time, I got the other veggies into the mix.

SLICED ONION RINGS AND SCALLION ON GRILL
SLICED ONION RINGS AND SCALLION ON GRILL

After grilling I allowed corns to cool; then, I let my knife do the talking in removing the kernels from the cob. I also did a rough chop of all the veggies.

LOOSE CORN READY AND VEGGIES FOR COCONUT RICE
CORN READY AND VEGGIES FOR COCONUT RICE

Grilled veggies were tossed in with steamed coconut rice. Of course, I even got some skewered shrimp in on the action. With a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and black pepper, paprika, and crushed garlic, these were placed on skewers.

On a hot grill under low heat, shrimp were grilled for approximately two minutes per side.

GRILLED SHRIMP ALONG WITH LEMON
GRILLED SHRIMP ALONG WITH LEMON

Grilled skewered shrimp were served on a bed of coconut steamed rice with grilled corn and other veggies.

 

THE PALATE WANTS WHAT IT WANTS ##ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

Who says one has to consume the typical supper/dinner items? Well, my palate wasn’t in the mood to partake of the norm. So, I went with the flow. Actually, I had eaten my supper for lunch. I was overly tired and didn’t feel like preparing anything from scratch. My freezer is a god-send. Once again, it came through for yours truly. Well, tucked away in close proximity to the some frozen cream corn, I found some left-over stewed peas and rice.

I thought I stuck gold. So, I let my microwave did the talking and thus I had dinner for lunch. Fast forward to supper time, my sensitive and smart palate just didn’t feel like consuming the typical supper menu. As a result, I went with the flow. I knew I had three zucchini from my last shopping trip.

I thought about doing some grilled zucchini with cheesy scrambled eggs. But somehow, that didn’t appeal to me and I dropped the idea. Funny how things just pop in the head. You see, I got a culinary brainstorm of sort. And, that’s how zucchini fritters became my supper.

I fetched my main ingredients and apparatus: I used my box grater to shred zucchini and  cheeses (jalapeno/cheddar).

MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI FRITTERS
MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

Ingredients:

  • Zucchini (medium/large) shredded
  • Onion (half of medium) finely chopped
  • Scallion (1 stalk) finely chopped
  • Parsley (1 teaspoon) finely chopped
  • Eggs (2 med) beaten
  • 2% Milk (half cup)
  • Jalapeno and sharp cheddar cheese (1/3 cup)
  • All purpose flour (3/4 cup)
  • whole-wheat flour (1/4 cup)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Garlic (clove) to flavor oil
  • Combination of olive/canola oil for frying

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, milk was added to beaten eggs.
  2. Onion, scallion, parsley, flour, salt,black pepper were combined.
  3. Zucchini and cheese were then added and folded with other ingredients.

    ZUCCHINI BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING
    ZUCCHINI BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING
  4. In a hot skillet, garlic was added to oil and slowly heated so as to flavor. Then was tossed.
  5. Fritters were pan-fried two at time under low to medium heat until they were crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.
    ZUCCHINI FRITTERS IN SKILLET
    ZUCCHINI FRITTERS IN SKILLET

    Guys, I was super-happy with the results. I served them with a dollop of sour cream. Fritters were crispy on the exterior and full of flavors on the inside. My palate and I were very delighted.

FIBER!!!!!!!#FIBER FEST ##ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS

I’m a great lover of nature.I can’t help myself. I’m that bird who tries to catch that worm (now, if only I could catch a few ‘worms’, but, I’m still trying). Anyway guys, I guess you could consider this a good ‘worm’ story; sort of a food idea. Well, my community is populated with quite a few ducks. I reckon it’s because of the waterways in the form of canals. Canals are so essential for excess water from those precipitous months of the year here in South Florida.

Moreover, these canals beautify and attract animal lives in the form of my dear ducks. Oh, I love to watch them do their flips for worms/fish and form their famous ‘V’s’ as they paddle across the canal. Anyway, these adorable ducks also love dry land and grassy vicinities. What I’ve observed is that they garner quite a lot of their food from the grass. They graze for extended times. As I thought about same, I smiled and said to myself, “Hmm, no wonder they poop so often”.

Believe or not, that’s when I got a brainstorm. I realize that these birds’ diet is made of enormous fibers. And perhaps, we humans could learn a little from these creatures. So, after my sweat fest on the outskirts, I made my way to my kitchenette and whipped up a fibrous batter that contain kale and zucchini. I created a zucchini/kale fritter dish.

MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS
MAIN INGREDIENTS AND APPARATUS FOR ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS

With the aid of my box grater, I shredded a small zucchini and finely chopped a handful of kale. I tried to keep a fine balance; so, I combined half and half of whole wheat and all purpose flour, pinch of salt, black pepper, baking soda, nutmeg, finely chopped onion, scallion, one beaten egg with a splash of milk.

I made a simple batter with the addition of some tap water to dry ingredients. Then, I added all the other ingredients and folded them together.

ZUCCHINI AND KALE BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING
ZUCCHINI AND KALE BATTER READY FOR PAN-FRYING

In a hot skillet, I input a combination of canola and olive oil under medium heat. It was time; so, I dropped each fritter and watched them brown to perfection. After a few minutes (6 to 7 minutes on each side), I flipped each one.

ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS IN SKILLET
ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS IN SKILLET

I made sure to drain my fritters on paper towel to remove excess oil. Zucchini and kale fritters were served with toppings of finely chopped kale and strips of zucchini. On the side, I also added a dollop of sour cream for dipping with a couple wedges of orange slices.

ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS
ZUCCHINI/KALE FRITTERS

As I sat and devoured my fritters, I thought of my dear ducks. I do think that they would love this dish. Eh.., there would be a food fight(me and those ducks).

A CAULIFLOWER/SPUD SOUP TO GREET A PERFECT FALL AFTERNOON

I love the season that nature has bestowed on us. Guys, it’s Fall and I know for some of you in certain parts of the world, the temperatures feel like summer and winter for others. However, where I’m in South Florida, U.S.A., we’re experiencing the best time ever! Okay, sorry to be bragging. You see, for a great portion of the calender year we have sizzling temperatures and humidity, but, I’m not complaining.

We might not be beholding the transformation of the autumn leaves in their beautiful hues, but on this day, this gorgeous day that God has made, the humidity has taken a nose-dive and the temperatures are super mild. Oh, I’m happy.

Guys, I’m wearing a sweater, an orange at that. Of course, you know that orange screams fall. The skies are brilliant blue and the puffy white clouds are quite evident. Did I mention the sun? Oh, I didn’t; it’s shining in all its glory. And the palm and mango trees are swaying to a light breeze.

On a day as perfect as this, I’ve flung open my sliding doors and windows. And guess what? Comfort food is on my mind. To be specific, I’m thinking of soup. A couple of days ago, I purchased a five-pound sack of potatoes for $2.99 (a sale price they said). I still have a half of a ‘tight-ass’ cauliflower from when I made mashed ‘cheesy’ cauliflower. Oh boy, that was a treat.

So guess what guys, I’ve decided to ‘rock’ a hearty pot of cauliflower and potato soup. You see, when the temperatures are this divine, my palate leans towards good old soup. There are so many to choose from but I’ve the goods for a cauliflower/spud soup.

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower (1/2lb)
  • Irish potatoes (2)
  • Onion (1small)
  • Thyme (sprig)
  • Scallion (1 stalk)
  • Celery (1 stalk)
  • Black pepper/salt to taste
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Bacon (optional)
  • Chicken stock (1 &1/2cup)
  • Milk (1/2 cup whole)

Method:

1. In a sturdy stock pot, add milk, chicken stock and water.

2. Chop potatoes and cauliflower in small portions and place in liquid and bring to a boil. Add salt, black pepper, chopped celery, onions, thyme, scallion and any other seasoning of preference.

3. Cook for approximately 12 minutes or until fork tender.

4. Cool and then place in blender. Puree to the consistency you desire.

5. Sprinkle with cheese while soup is hot and top with crispy bacon and herb of choice.

Guys, I paired  my soup with poached eggs, tomato slices and crispy bacon on opened-face toasted rye with a spread of strawberry jam. They worked phenomenal. My taste buds were satisfied on this perfect day as this.

To say that I was happy is an understatement. Guys, was over the moon! Hmm, all I needed was a siesta. As always, be kind to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.