Sunday, August 2, 2015

Jamaican jerk chicken and spiced slaw

Today is such a gorgeous day where I am, and that just makes me want to eat delicious foods! Try this Jamaican jerk chicken dish! It is delicious, fresh and very impressive while requiring little work.

And if you happen to have an outdoor grill, even better :)

INGREDIENTS (4 people):
- jerk sauce (click here for recipe)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 cup cashew nuts
- fresh cilantro
- roasted coconut flakes
- 1 fresh mango
- 1 head of cabbage
- 1 large shallot
- a few spring onions
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 small red pepper
- 1 small yellow pepper
- 2 lbs chicken drumsticks

- coat the raw cashews with a few tablespoons of jerk sauce (click here for the recipe), spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden

Note: make sure to stir often to ensure even baking and that it doesn't burn
- put the chicken drumsticks in a ziploc bag and add about 1 1/2 cups of jerk sauce, coat well and marinate for about 1 hour in the fridge

- after an hour, put the chicken and marinade in a baking dish and cook in a 350F oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through

Note: you can turn the chicken a few times during the cooking so that it gets caramelized on all sides
Note 2: if you are lucky enough to have an outdoor grill, these drumsticks would be absolutely delicious grilled!!!
- while the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the slaw: shred the cabbage, slice the mango, shallot, green onions and peppers finely and mix in a bowl

- serve the cooked chicken on a bed of slaw, sprinkle with the roasted cashews, a few toasted coconut flakes, fresh cilantro and dress with a few tablespoons of jerk sauce loosened with a splash of sesame oil and white vinegar

- enjoy!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jamaican jerk sauce

Hi everyone!

A couple of months ago, in the midst of the longest winter ever, I purchased a Jamaican cookbook to escape the cold. At least in my mind.

Virtually all the recipes in this amazing cookbook had me craving caribbean food and I decided to try my hand at jerk chicken (recipe to follow soon). But first, I needed jerk sauce, which I decided to make from scratch using bits and pieces from different recipes I found online.

Here's how I made mine.

- 4 large scallions
- 2 jalapeno peppers, or more if you prefer it hotter
Note: authentic recipes call for scotch bonnet peppers, but I cannot take that kind of heat, so I stick with one jalapeno. plenty hot for me.
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 6-7 sprigs of thyme
- 3 chubby garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tsp ground allspice, not pictured but VERY important! :)
- 1/4 cup chili-flavored dried mango
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp orange vinegar
Note: most recipes call for molasses, freshly squeezed orange and lime juice, but since I had neither on hand, I used a mixture of dried mango, dried tomatoes and orange vinegar to mimic the sweet and tang of molasses and citrus.
- a splash of white distilled vinegar to adjust acidity, to taste
- salt, to taste

- start with rehydrating the mango and tomatoes in the boiling water and reserve the liquid

- then mix the sesame oil, orange vinegar, soy sauce and ground allspice

- chop the scallions, ginger, onion and garlic coarsely and put everything in a blender

- blitz away!

Note: You can adjust the seasoning at this stage. I had to add one more jalapeno, a splash of white distilled vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt to make it to my taste
- this sauce will keep for at least two weeks in the fridge
- enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Slow cooker olive pork stew

This is winter weekend cooking improv' at it's best. Try it and let me know what you think!

INGREDIENTS (4 people):
- 2 lbs country style pork ribs
- 3 carrots
- 2 russet potatoes
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup dried tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 cup olives (I used a mixture of kalamata and green olives with lemon)
- 1/2 cup white wine (I used the rest of flat champagne I had from a dinner a couple weeks ago)
- 1 cup vegetable broth

- peel and chop the shallot, garlic, potatoes and carrots

- put everything in the slow cooker

- cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 10 hours

Note 1: if it gets a bit too dry during cooking, you can add more wine, broth or water
Note 2: you can also cook this on the stovetop over very low heat until the pork is fork tender (about 4-5 hours)
- yes, it's that easy

- enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fennel, pineapple and chia seeds smoothie

Now I don't know about you guys, but where I live the winter has been loooooong. Too long... After months of hearty, comforting stews I find myself craving something on the lighter side for a healthy lunch (or dinner, or snack even!).

Sometimes, the best recipes come from improvising with whatever is lying around in the fridge/freezer/pantry.

Here's the recipe I came up with for a refreshing smoothie, chock full of nutrients, fibers and vitamin C.

INGREDIENTS (for 2 smoothies):
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped and reserve a few leaves for decoration
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup goat milk yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey, plus a drizzle for decoration

- put everything in the blender and blitz until smooth and creamy!

- drizzle some honey and decorate with fennel leaves

- enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chicken and dumplings

Another day, another blizzard. Here's what I do when I'm stuck home on a snow day.

INGREDIENTS (4 people):
- 1 whole chicken, cut in pieces
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 3 parsnips
- 3 carrots
- 1 bunch parsley (I used celery because I had no celery at home and was not about to brave the elements for just a couple of ribs!)
- 1 medium onion
- salt, pepper
- 1/4 cup flour, to dredge the chicken pieces
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 1 tbsp apple butter (or 1 stick cinnamon and a pinch of cloves)
- 2 tbsp butter, not pictured

for the dumplings:
- 1 cup light cream
- 3/4 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt

start with the chicken stew
- season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, place in a bag with the flour and shake until completely dredged in flour and shake of the excess

- melt the butter in a dutch oven and saute the chicken pieces over medium-high heat until golden and crispy (about 2 minutes per side) and reserve on the side

Note: the chicken is still raw inside! that is normal, it will simmer for about 30 minutes later.
- dice the carrots, parsnips and onions in 1/4" cubes and saute them in the pot with the chicken drippings over medium heat until soft (abut 3-4 minutes)

- tie the parsley stems with a bit of twine (it'll be easier to remove it later) and add to the softened veggies, then add the apple butter, broth, chicken pieces, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through

- when the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and shred with forks

- return the shredded chicken meat to the pot, add the cream and keep warm on very low heat

Note: you do not want to bring it back to a boil or simmer once the cream is in, otherwise it will separate

prepare the dumplings
- mix the dry ingredients of the dumplings, add the cream and stir until just combined

Note: the dumpling dough will be chunky and on the dry side (you don't want it runny)
- with a couple of forks, form the dumplings and drop in the simmering stew

- cover and cook until the dumplings are fluffy and float to the surface (about 5 minutes)

- sprinkle chopped parsley leaves and serve hot
- enjoy!