It didn’t cost me much to visit the Orient. The Chinese New Year was front and center on my mind as I prepared and cooked supper. This year, (starting Feb. 8), is “The Year of the Monkey”.
However, there was no monkey business in my kitchen. With the help of a popular over the counter spice (Chinese Five Spices), I was able to transform my chicken to an exotic and delicious dish.
Chinese Five Spices are made up anise, cinnamon, star anise cloves, ginger and sulfiting agents. These spices are very popular in the Chinese cuisine. This blend of warm and spicy-sweet flavors brought my chicken dish to another level. I used it sparingly as a little goes a long way.
I also added a small pinch to my whole-grain fried rice. I tossed in an assortment of vegetables in the form of broccoli, celery, shredded carrots, onions, green peas and scallion which made my fried-rice a healthy treat.
Happy Chinese New Year to my Chinese friends and family!
That’s it! I’m the queen of left-overs. I was super-delighted to have an encore performance with my balsamic pork steak. And, performed it did. You see, I’m a huge consumer of the feathery one (poultry) and seafood in general.
However, over the week-end, I indulged in a dish of pork steak along with some herb-roasted potatoes and asparagus. It was loaded with amazing flavors and spices. I reserved a portion for another day which happened to be this afternoon.
Instead of potatoes, I decided to serve steamed whole-grain rice along with garlic-flavored asparagus and broccoli. The balsamic vinegar provided a tendering effect to the pork. Moreover, it also aided in the rich brown hue to the dish. The serving of the crispy greens (asparagus/broccoli) gave my dish a fresh balance.
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.
Corns were brushed with a little olive oil and added to piping hot grill so as to wake up the beautiful flavors within.
In no time, I got the other veggies into the mix.
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.
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 skewered shrimp were served on a bed of coconut steamed rice with grilled corn and other veggies.
I’m not surprised. For the last few days, I’ve been indulging in all the typical protein dishes imaginable. My palate was in search of something different. And so, it led me to a one pot deal; well sort of. It seemed like I had all the colors of the rainbow in my pot. Caribbean flavors were front and center and so I danced to the rhythm.
I’ve been here before; however, instead of calalloo (Jamaican spinach), I used kale which I had readily on hand. Basically, I created a seasoned rice (well, that’s what we would call this dish in Jamaica).
Oh, I love my freezer. It can yield me surprising foods that I somehow forget. And, lo and behold I found a ziplock baggie with cup-up pumpkin. I grabbed same along with a tupper ware of coconut milk. With a quick defrost in the micro wave, I set aside.
In a stockpot, a drizzle of oil was added along with finely chopped onions. These were sautéed until softened then pumpkin pieces were added along with seasoning of salt and black pepper to taste. Then whole-grain rice was added and blended so as to coat grains. To that, coconut milk was poured as well as cold water. Also, chopped kale and scallion. With lid on, this was steamed on low heat until rice was cooked with a creamy finish.
In another stock, pickled codfish (fillet type) was thoroughly rinsed so as to extract the excess sodium. It was and placed in a pot for boiling. I did same twice for approximately five minutes; and, rinsed with cold water in between.
Codfish was flaked in bite-size pieces. However, instead of adding to rice, I decided to saute separately. In a hot skillet, a drizzle of canola oil was added followed by chopped onions, tomatoes, crushed pimento, and finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers. These were seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then, flaked codfish was added along with a splash of house vinegar. This was sautéed on low to medium heat.
Pickled codfish was served on a bed of coconut whole-grain rice comprising of kale, pumpkin, tomatoes and other ingredients.
All the ingredients came together superbly. They caressed and surprised my taste buds in a very beautiful way. And the creamy avocado (nature’s butter) provided a contrasting/smooth balance to the dish. I was super happy.
When the days become long and the temperatures sizzle on the outskirts, I want quick, easy and delicious. So, it was that in mind that I fired up my indoor pan grill and went to work on a seafood favorite of mind. Shrimp was marinated with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, black pepper, sprinkle of paprika, and crushed garlic.
I also made sure to do a quick blanch of my asparagus by boiling for approximately three to four minutes in salty water. Then, these were shocked in an icy bath to cease the cooking process. After drying with paper towel, they were brushed with olive oil and placed on grill along with sweet yellow onions cut in a circular shape. I made sure to season onions with pinch of salt and black pepper.
Close to the ending of the grilling process of the veggies, each shrimp was placed on grill after removing any remnants of garlic. Each shrimp was grilled for approximately two minutes on each side then brushed with a citrus and honey sauce. These were served on a bed of herb and citrus whole grain rice.
Shrimp dish was full of amazing flavors that provided a slightly sweet and of course tart taste to the dish. The asparagus and onions were cooked to perfection but still possessed a crispiness to each bite. The nutty and flavorful whole grain rice completed the dish because it also had a fresh herb(parsley) and citrus taste to the meal.
It was an easy decision for supper. You see, already I had some chicken parts (dark/couple pieces of wings) marinated in a ziplock bag. These chicken portions were bone-in and skinless. Whenever I’ve downtime, I try to take advantage of same by prepping my poultry and/or meats in advance. So, it was relatively smooth to get supper going after returning to my abode.
I allowed my marinated curried chicken to come to room temperature.
Chicken was marinated with salt, black pepper, crushed garlic, pimento(all spice, soy sauce,finely chopped onions and scotch bonnet pepper and of course, curry powder. In a hot skillet, a drizzle of coconut oil was added; then, chicken was placed in skillet.After a quick sauteing of same, water was added to cover chicken. Additional seasonings and spices were added including bell peppers, thyme and a dash of cumin.
Chicken was cooked under low to medium heat with lid on until fork tender. Moreover, the gravy/curry sauce was simmered to the right consistency that I liked.
I served my curried chicken with steamed whole wheat rice along with sauteed kale and fried plantain.
Whenever I go grocery shopping the antioxidant green food kale is a reoccurring item on my shopping list. Based on studies, kale also consists of cancer fighting properties, great for cardiovascular health and a host of other beneficial nutrients. I do try to use same in varied ways.
I love to combine kale and berries in a tasty and refreshing smoothie. It’s excellent as a warm or cold salad. I even made a yummy serving of kale chips which turned out to be a tad overdone. Come to think of it, I need to take another stab at those chips.
So anyway, a couple of days ago, I found myself with a considerably amount of kale and decided to combine same with some parsley I had on hand. I thought they would be perfect companions. And bingo, I was right!
I love parsley. It’s full of vitamins and is ideal for flushing out excess fluid in the body.Studies have also stated that parsley aids in the lowering of blood pressure. Being in great company I decided to whip up my kale/parsley rice. In a skillet, I did a quick saute of onions and crushed garlic and added kale to the mix with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
After cooling, I added kale to food processor along with a generous bunch of parsley.
The whole action reminded me of a pesto excluding the cheese and nuts. Anyway, I added a drizzle of olive oil and got a ‘pesto-like’ finish. I added same to a fluffy serving of whole grain rice along with a few raisins. All ingredients were combined and yielded an amazing dish. It was a brilliant and vibrant green hue with a contrasting whole grain rice. I had kale and parsley rice for quite a few protein dishes.