HURRICANE MATTHEW-READY #SALMON FRITTERS

I wasn’t going let Hurricane Matthew or any force of nature cramp my culinary plan. With the fear of the electricity going out, I had to dice and mix with a rapid beat. I had the perfect dish in mind, salmon fritters.

Thanks to my stash of hurricane canned goods, I was able to whip up an omega delight. After all, I needed to get my heart-healthy dose during such stressful times. Made a crispy and delicious serving of salmon fritters with a side of garlic spinach.

I was over the moon for my dish. And, what do you know? I was able to dodge the blows of Hurricane Matthew. He decided to make a north-eastern shift. Oh, I was super-happy!

 

 

A FAMILIAR/GOOD PLACE #STUFFED WHOLE SNAPPER

Once again, I revisited a heartwarming and good place. It not only satisfied and warmed my stomach, but it gave pleasure to my anticipating taste buds. Yes, guys, I’m talking about good/’ole’, Fishing!

Love a snapper in its whole form.  That simply means the head, tail, bones, and its beautiful body. Such an adventure to devour.  Recently, I pan-fried one and was greatly happy. Figured I would journey to that awesome place. This time, I stuffed my ‘big boy’ with fresh thyme.

Pan fried snapper in a flavored garlic oil consisting of olive/canola. Then placed it in sweet/sour pickle sauce. This absorbed all the mouth-watering flavors. Served up same on a bed of garlic spinach and fluffy Jasmine rice.

Oh, I was super happy!

CREAMY POLENTA IN THE COMPANY OF SPICY GRILLED SHRIMP

The flavors, spices, and ingredients were ‘popping’ in my kitchen. Didn’t have to hop on a plane, bus or train to garner a Jamaican, Italian and Southern experience. With the aid of a few relatively inexpensive ingredients, I was able to turn out quite a mouth-watering dish.

My pantry yielded a pack of cornmeal for less than a $2.00. All I needed was a half of a cup to make a creamy polenta. Gave dish my Jamaican input of fresh coconut milk and added water with veggie bouillon, finely chopped onions, a pinch of nutmeg along with sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

After cornmeal slowly simmered in liquid to a thick consistency, I added a pat of butter and a little grated cheddar cheese to finish off the dish.

POLENTA SIMMERING
POLENTA SIMMERING

Decided to serve creamy polenta with grilled shrimp.

GRILLED SHRIMP WITH A SERVING OF SPICY SWEET PEPPERS
GRILLED SHRIMP WITH A SERVING OF SPICY SWEET PEPPERS

Topped grilled shrimp with serving of spicy sweet peppers which included, mini (assorted) peppers, finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper, vinegar, honey, and a pinch of salt/black pepper. A garlic spinach was also served.

PROTEIN/FIBERS IN CUP CAKE FORM #MINI QUICHES

Breakfast was a protein and fiber-packed one. With a couple of beaten eggs, left-over vegetables (broccoli, asparagus) and fresh spinach, parsley, and tomatoes, I was on my way to a  satisfying affair.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR MINI-QUICHES
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR MINI QUICHES

It was like having mini quiches in cup-cake format. Assorted vegetables were added to egg batter. I made sure to season with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste along with a little grated cheddar cheese. In a muffin pan and I sprayed a Pam oil in three cups. At the bottom, I placed a piece of whole-wheat wrap and then added batter.

CUP-CAKE MINI-QUICHES READY FOR OVEN
CUP-CAKE MINI-QUICHES READY FOR OVEN

In a pre-heated 330 degree oven, mini cup cake quiches were baked for approximately 16 minutes until set. A fresh spinach and parsley pesto was served on the side along with avocado.

BREAKFAST WAS A MIXED/COLORFUL BAG #SARDINES,SPINACH/EGGS/AVOCADO/FRUITS/ETC.

I’m proud of yours truly. Just came back from a powerful workout on the outskirts. Managed to eradicate unwanted calories from the Easter week-end (well, I hope, I sweated like a ‘pig’). Anyway guys, arriving at my humble abode, one main thing was on my mind…..BREAKFAST. I wanted to keep the healthy and balance in check.

I had quite a few left-overs in the fridge. So, being the thrifty gal that I am, I retrieved:

  • Calaloo (Jamaican spinach)
  • Nature’s butter (Avocado)
  • Tomato slices

In addition to my left-overs, I boiled me a couple eggs and sliced one and a half for my plate. Omega fatty foods were on my mind; so, I headed to pantry and pulled out a canned of sardines in olive oil. Okay, I know I’m a tad out of whack when it comes to sardines; but, sometimes I like to warm my sardines. Yes, I said it! Hence, I grabbed my skillet and warmed a drizzle of olive oil. To that I added few slices of onions.

After sauteing my onions, I added sardines with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of black pepper. Needed a little sweet tooth for a  balance to my dish. Thus, I fried a few pieces of plantain and draped them with a few slices of cool cucumber after I sprinkled them with a pinch of salt and black pepper. A few small slices of left-over avocado were on hand; so, I also included.

It was time. I quickly cleansed my palate with segments of orange slices. I was ready to dig in my mixed-bag of breakfast plate. But first, my kettle was calling; I couldn’t ignore. I poured boiling water on my lemon green tea and allowed it to seep. Then, I went for the ‘kill’. I was fulfilled.

CUP OF LEMON GREEN TEA ALONG WITH MIXED BREAKFAST PLATE
CUP OF LEMON GREEN TEA ALONG WITH MIXED BREAKFAST PLATE

THE SIBERIAN EXPRESS DIDN’T KEEP ME IN A SOUPY MOOD##SPINACH/TOMATO PASTA/GRILLED SALMON

GRILLED CITRUS SALMON WITH SPINACH/ROASTED TOMATO LINGUINE PASTA
GRILLED CITRUS SALMON WITH SPINACH/ROASTED TOMATO LINGUINE PASTA

Guys, it’s deja vu all over again. Once more, it seems like the whole world is under a cold spell. Yes, the Siberian Express, which is basically an extremely cold mass of air of the Arctic has affected approximately one hundred million people over most of the United States and elsewhere. Well, so say the meteorologists. Oh, those meteorologists are having a ‘field day’.

Anyway guys, I wasn’t going to allow this cold spell to have me chopping veggies for a soup or a stew. By the way, love them! Instead, I decided to think and usher in the warm days of summer. What did I do? Naturally, my thermostat took a leap, pretty close to the 80’s. I pretended it was summertime in my abode. As a matter a fact, I got adorned in my shorts and tee-shirt. After all, in my mind’s eye, it’s summertime.

As you can observe, I reached for my grill pan. I made yours truly a citrus (orange/lemon) grilled salmon. On the side, I made a hearty whole grain linguine pasta. In a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, I sautéed half of an onion and crushed garlic on low to medium heat. I tossed in my drained pasta and further folded in some left-over spinach from the previous night. To that, I also tossed in some roasted grape tomatoes.

I served up yours truly a generous portion of the meal. As I sat and swirled my linguine with my fork and puckered up to the taste of the delicious grilled citrus salmon, I felt tremendously satisfied and happy.

Now, I can face those Arctic wind chills. I had to remind myself that the blue skies and brilliant sunshine didn’t mean warmth on the outskirts. Oh, I didn’t miss that soup!

A SPINACH (CALLALOO) SOUP THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO HEAD FOR JAMAICA

Whenever this time of the year arrives, my palate craves comforting dishes. Moreover, when it rains, forget about it…..I’m like an ant or one of those creatures. I’ve to collect and hibernate until dry weather appears. Well, that’s what happened on Friday.

It has been ‘raining cats and dogs’ all day long. The sun has gone on a hiatus. It has been wet, cool and gray.  Without the palm trees, you would think you’re in Seattle not the sunshine state of Florida.  And for me, that means consuming a tasty and ‘stick to your rib’ kind of a meal.

As a result, I decided to visit my farmer’s market and secure all that I needed. One of items on my mental list was callaloo (Jamaican spinach). After eying and collecting my other vegetables and provisions, out of nowhere in my head I came up with an old Jamaican favorite, pepper pot soup. I think I must have cooked this dish once or twice in the past.

In Jamaica, we call this spinach dish, pepper pot soup. In other parts of the Caribbean like Trinidad, it’s called Callaloo soup. And, like the name, it also has quite a few variations on how it’s made depending on the country.

The great thing about pepper pot soup is that it’s loaded with great fibers, iron, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from all the vegetables and ground provisions. Frankly, just with these ingredients, the soup could stand on its own without the meats.

RAW CALLALOO
RAW CALLALOO (SPINACH)
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE PEPPER POT SOUP
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE PEPPER POT SOUP

The main ingredients:

  • Callaloo (8 stalks) [Kale/collard greens could be substituted)
  • Okra – chopped (6)
  • Onion (1/2 of a large)
  • Celery (2-3 stalks)
  • Bell pepper (1/4)
  • Scotch bonnet (1 1/2) any color
  • Cured brisket (1/4 lb)
  • Pickled pig’s tail (1/2 lb)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • All spice (pimento) (1/4tsp)
  • Garlic (2 cloves
  • Thyme (3 sprigs)
  • Scallion (3 stalks)
  • Freshly crushed root ginger (1″-piece)
  • Coconut milk (1cup)
  • Sweet potato (1 med)
  • Yam (1/4lb)

Method:

  1. Excess sodium was extracted from beef/pork by rinsing thoroughly with tap water.
  2. In sauce pot, meats were covered with fresh tap water with a drizzle of house vinegar. This was brought to a boil and simmered on medium heat for approximately 6 to 10 minutes. This process was done twice.
  3. Meats were then rinsed under tap water and placed in a sturdy stock pot and covered with water and coconut milk. Crushed pimento and garlic were added.
  4. After meats were 1 1/2 hrs. into cooking diced veggies and ground provisions dumplings (spinners) were added.
  5. Then, the last 15 to 20 minutes, callaloo and spinach were added along with scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, onions, and scallions.

  6. After pepper pot soup was brought to the consistency desired, thyme (woodsy section) was fished.

    Jamaican pepper pot soup...cooking stage
    Jamaican pepper pot soup…cooking stage

    FINISHED PEPPER POT (CALLALOO) SOUP IS SERVED
    FINISHED PEPPER POT (CALLALOO) SOUP IS SERVED[yellow scotch bonnet for garnish]
    I’m happy!

     

     

     

     

     

 

 

 

MOUTHWATERING CODFISH FRITTERS WITH SIDE DISHES TO LEAP IN THE AIR

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A MEAL TO WARM MY HEART AND KEEP ME SATIATED

The past Sunday for me was one of revisiting my roots. That meant my Jamaican culinary side of things. I did by indulging in a delicious stew peas – Jamaican style. And for those who are aware of this sumptuous meal, you know how calorie laden it is.But, who can resist?

When it comes to my diet, I believe in a fine balance. That’s the reason why I took the opportunity to redeem myself and went on the light side of things. Thus, for Monday supper, I prepared a quick and easy spread that consisted of:

1. Pan-seared salmon with capers/olives brushed with a ginger and soy sauce
2. Mashed sweet potatoes with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of cinnamon
3. Garlic spinach
4. Avocado (nature’s butter)
5. Pickled cucumber

I completed my omega fatty acids meal by sipping on a refreshing yet light wine (Moscato)by Barefoot Wine. Moscato is an inexpensive sweet and crisp wine. It complemented my fish meal very well. By the way, this wine also pairs very well with a fruit and cheese plate.

My heart healthy meal warmed my heart and kept me satiated. I’m happy!

FREEZER FINDS ON A PRECIPITOUS DAY

Maybe, the scientific community can explain the odd reason for me and others who crave a comforting meal when it precipitates. You see, on my way home to my abode the previous evening it began to rain cats and dogs. Clearly, it wasn’t one of those summer showers, because there was a weather system in the area that brought on continuous rain. And boy, it came down in buckets.

I was home. I was safe; and guess what? I had food on my mind, real food. Okay, I love my green and crispy salads, but for some reason whenever it’s raining on the outskirts, I’ve to indulge in something comforting and filling.

Of course, it didn’t take me long to hatch a plan.I was tired and ravenous. My dear beloved freezer is not just there for making ice and storing uncooked meats/poultry and other foods. You see, whenever I have time on my hands or when I want to unwind, I always cook extra batches of dishes and store in the freezer. Oh,  it seems like I’m a hoarder of cooked grub. You go into my freezer and you’ll never know what you will discover. Call me a little nutty, but often times, I try to date and name the food on the container. One thing hate to do is to pry open a container and have to decipher the contents. That drives me ‘bananas’ especially when I’m hungry.

Anyway, so with a few steps I ventured to my freezer and retrieved a serving of rice and pigeon peas along with braised oxtails. I cooked this over the past week end. The wonderful thing about oxtails is that although it takes quite sometime to tenderize, I can just stick in the oven or on top of the stove and allow it to do its thing until its falling from the bones.

In conjunction with my oxtails, I bought a bag of pigeon peas from the frozen aisle that required just a few minutes of cooking time. This I cooked with an infusion of coconut milk, thyme,garlic, minced onion and green onions. I seasoned with salt and pepper and then added my rice and allowed it to cook to a fluffy finish.

All I needed to do was to defrost my beautiful oxtails and heated it through. I proceeded to steam a quick serving of baby spinach along with left-over carrots/beans. And, for us in Jamaica, no dish is ever complete without a serving of sweet goodness. Therefore, I decided on a few slices of plantain. I finished off my dish with a piece of ‘nature’s butter’, crushed avocado.

Rain, no problem. As I watched the rain formed puddles on my patio, I knew for sure that my stomach was happy and satiated. I smiled and watched the ducks waddled their behinds. Ah, I was happy. Guys, that was a winner of a dish.

And, as always be good to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.