Jerk Chicken with Coconut Saffron Rice and Black Beans

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The best jerk recipe I have ever tasted, delighted the senses, as it was fragrant, fiery hot and smoky all at once.The original recipe was developed by Paul Chung, an adventurous self-taught cook who grew up in Jamaica and has sampled jerk from just about every corner of the island. Making a few adjustments, I added  fresh ginger, dark brown sugar and apple cider vinegar to the marinade. For best results and maximum flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

As side dishes goes, this saffron rice recipe cooks up pretty quickly, making it a great dish if you are in a hurry. Another added bonus is that is one of those rare dishes that gluten free and vegan. However, if you are allergic to coconut milk, soy milk is a suitable substitute.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Chicken:
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, chopped
2-3 Scotch bonnet chili peppers, stems removed, chopped (or Habaneros)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon allspice berries, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered

For the Saffron Coconut Rice and Beans:
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon plain water,at room temperature
2 cups uncooked white basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon agave nectar, (or 1/2 teaspoon of sugar)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
a pinch of ground nutmeg
One 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
Lime wedges, for garnish

Special Equipment:
Latex gloves for handling the chilis and massaging the marinade under the chicken skin.

Directions:
For the chicken start preparing it a day or two ahead of actual cooking.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels.In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, black pepper, thyme, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Put on latex gloves and pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish. Slather the marinade all over chicken, including under skin, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking and lightly sprinkle with more salt and ground allspice, before proceeding.

Prepare a charcoal grill: Clean and oil grates.Light a grill and preheat to medium heat using one chimney of charcoal. The temperature can start as high as 300°F. For best results, coals should be at least 12 inches away from chicken. If necessary, push coals to one side of grill to create indirect heat. Add two large handfuls of soaked pimento (allspice) wood sticks and chips (See Cook’s Notes) or other aromatic wood chips to coals, then close grill. When thick white smoke billows from grill, place chicken on grate, skin side up, and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 35 to 45 minutes.

Uncover the grill. The chicken will be golden and mahogany in some spots. Chicken thighs may already be cooked through. For other cuts, turn chicken over and add more wood chips, and charcoal as needed. Cover and continue cooking, checking and turning every 10 minutes. Jerk chicken is done when skin is burnished brown and chicken juices are completely clear, with no pink near the bone. For large pieces, this can take up to an hour.

While chicken is cooking, begin to prepare the rice.

In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in the water, at room temperature, for 5 minutes and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat peanut oil over a medium heat until it begins to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice, mixing with a wooden spoon until all of the grains are coated with peanut oil. Fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly.Gently stir in the coconut milk, water, saffron mixture, agave or sugar, turmeric, cumin taking care as the oil will splatter. Season with salt, and gently stir, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom while everything comes to a boil.

Once liquid achieves a boil, reduce heat to low. Place lid on pot, slightly askew to allow some steam to escape. Stir occasionally to make sure rice does not stick to bottom of pan and the sugar in the coconut milk does not burn. Allow to simmer *very* gently for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Stir in the black beans and cook for a few minutes more until hot. Remove from heat and cover the saucepan. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork when you are ready to serve.

When the chicken is done, transfer to a platter.Garnish with lime wedges and serve with the rice.

Cook’s Notes:
Pimento wood sticks and chips are available at www.pimentowood.com.

Alternatively you bake the chicken in the oven if a grill is not readily available.After marinating and you are ready to cook the chicken, heat oven to 350°F and bake chicken for 45-55 minutes, until done.

Also, if time is of the essence, you can first bake the chicken at 300°F in the oven then finished off on the grill. This will result in crispy skin, with perfect texture and flavor.

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Crustless Ham, Potato & Spinach Quiche

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Adapted from Shannah Coe
My Suburban Kitchen
October 2017

A perfectly protein packed dish that can be served  any time of the day that you desire.  Serve for breakfast, brunch or even for  a light dinner with a mixed  greens side salad.  It is fast and easy to prepare and so delicious!

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
8 ounces cooked ham, diced
6 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 package of commercially prepared refrigerated Southwestern shredded potatoes
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Lightly grease a 9- inch pie pan and line  with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add in ham, cream chili powder, curry powder and cumin. Stir in potatoes and 3/4 cup cheese. Stir in spinach, bell pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake in the  preheated oven for 25 minutes. Increase heat to
400°F, remove foil and bake for an additional 10- 15 minutes or until the middle of  the quiche is set.

Cook’s Notes:
You can easily use Swiss cheese to replace the Gruyere and use kale in place of the spinach. Any type of commercially prepared shredded potatoes can also take the place of the Southwestern  seasoned version. The combination of the mild spices from the Southwestern potatoes give and extra punch of flavor to the fresh spinach used in this dish.

Hello October……

 

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Fresh produce is usually of better quality and taste when in season bringing a greater variety to your diet.

Autumn vegetables such as beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and pumpkins are  delicious roasted and in wonderfully warming soups.

Beet chips by Minimalist Baker

Beets are tremendously earthy and can be eaten fresh, cooked or roasted. Some (like the golden variety) are pretty sweet. Noteworthy beets recipes:

 
Fruits like apples and  grapes, are perfect for snacking this time of year and make the most delicious desserts. During this time of year, the biggest, juiciest, most delicious apples are harvested during this time of the year. Crisp, chopped apples in salads with blue cheese and apple slices dipped into peanut or almond butter can be a great alternatives to be added to the lunch box for your kids as well.

Grapes are pretty perfect all on their own, or as a welcome, light option on cheese plates. I recently discovered the magic that is roasted grapes. Roasted grapes are sweet, jammy and delicious on goat cheese or brie crostini. Best of the Grape Recipes:

grapes

 

 

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for October

Apples
Beets
Blackberries
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Butter lettuce
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Chicory
Collard greens
Dates
Eggplant
Figs
Grapes
Kale
Melon
Peaches
Pears
Peppers
Persimmons
Plums
Pomegranates
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Raspberries
Sweet potatoes
Tangerines
Tomatillos
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Winter squash

 

Pappardelle and Tagliatelle with Shrimp, Bell Peppers, Asparagus and Basil

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Normally, I would make this dish with fettuccine, but looking in the pantry, there was none to be had. However, using up all the odds and ends of pappardelle and tagliatelle to make a full serving for four, there was enough of these two types of pasta to make this dish. Also note that red and yellow bell peppers aren’t just a colorful addition to a meal. They have a milder taste than their green counterparts, making them instantly more appealing to kids—and adults alike. A little asparagus and basil added just enough touch of green to the pasta. Serve this pasta dish the next time you’re in the mood for seafood.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
½  pound  fettuccine (or whatever pasta you have on hand)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small red bell peppers, cut into ¼ inch strips
2 small yellow bell peppers, cut into ¼ inch strips
1 bunch of think stalk asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces on the diagonal
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, butterflied
¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add a pinch of salt. Add pasta and stir with tongs to prevent the pasta from sticking.Test the pasta by tasting it
Follow the cooking time on the package, but always taste pasta before draining to make sure the texture is right Pasta cooked properly should be al dente (to the tooth)—just a little chewy.

Drain cooked pasta well in a colander. Set aside.

In a saute pan or skillet large enough to hold all the pasta after it has been cooked, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute.

Add the bell peppers and asparagus. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook for 2 more minutes to soften the vegetables.

Add the onion, garlic and shrimp to the saute pan. Cook and stir for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the shrimp just begin to turn pink (the shrimp should be barely done).

Add the red pepper flakes.Add the pasta to the saute pan with the peppers and shrimp.Cook and stir for 1 minute to heat through and incorporate the flavors. Add the basil and serve hot immediately.

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Cheesy Cauliflower Dippers

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Photo Credit: Super Health Kids, 2014.

Cauliflower is kind of a rockstar when it comes to eating well. Not only is it a delicious side veggie to include with dinners or a great veggie to serve raw on a veggie platter; it can also turn many of your favorite guilty pleasure foods into healthier, but still tasty, options. This idea from Super Healthy Kids is another great way for cauliflower to shine as a snack or meal. Check it out.

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided in half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 ° F.

Rinse a head of cauliflower thoroughly. Then, roughly chop. Put chopped cauliflower into the food processor until it has broken down into very fine bits.

Heat an inch of water in a pot until it boils. Put the cauliflower mixture into the water and steam for 4-5 minutes. Cover with a lid while it cooks, but be sure to keep an eye on it so the water doesn’t boil over.

Once steamed, put cauliflower through a fine mesh strainer to drain the water. Use a spoon to squeeze as much water out as you can. Then, use a clean dry towel to squeeze out the rest of the extra water. Be careful though – water will be hot!

Combine cauliflower with the rest of your ingredients (using half the mozzarella and none of the Parmesan). Mix until well combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon cauliflower mixture onto parchment paper and form a kind of “loaf” with your hands – recipe should form a rectangle that’s about 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for another 10 or so minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven, slice and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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Thank you so much!

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Hasselback Apple Pies

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My version of single servings of  Hasselback Apple Pies are basically, crustless  apple pies and they are the most brilliant way to cut back on carbs while still being a delicious dessert.Make a batch of the salted caramel sauce ahead of time and keep it warm in the  saucepan  over low heat, while the apples bake…. and then to serve, spoon it over the vanilla ice cream and  the apples…..Perfection.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

For the Apples:
6 large baking apples, halved vertically and cored
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
A pinch ground nutmeg
A pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Warm salted caramel sauce, for drizzling

Directions:
For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup cold water and stir to combine. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar has turned a deep amber hue, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the cream in a small saucepan. When the caramel is ready, slowly whisk in the warm cream and continue simmering the mixture until it is smooth, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, then whisk in the butter, and then the salt, to taste. Set aside and keep warm over a very low heat until ready to serve.

For the Apples:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place each apple half flat side down and use a paring knife to create thin slices all the way across, making sure to stop slicing right before the bottom of the apple (so it stays together as one piece). Transfer apple halves to prepared baking sheet.

Lightly brush apple tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until apples are soft and caramelized, 23 to 25 minutes.
Remove from oven.

In a small bowl, combine remaining melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper (,if using,) and oats. Once cool enough to handle, spoon mixture inside apple slits.

Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more.

To serve, top each with a scoop of ice cream, then drizzle with caramel and …….Enjoy!

Sesame Crusted Mahi Mahi

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This recipe takes on an Asian flair with a coating of sesame seeds and furikake on the tuna and a dressed salad of  soba noodles with bell peppers and green garden vegetables tossed in a yuzu and soy sauce vinaigrette.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Mahi Mahi:
Four 8-ounce Mahi Mahi Tuna steaks
2 egg whites
1 cup white sesame seeds
1 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup furikake dry Japanese rice seasoning
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons Yuzu juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Soba Noodles:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup sake
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1/4 cup Yuzu juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 pound soda noodles
4 shiso leaves , julienned
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, picked
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
3 scallions, thinly cut on the bias

Vegetable Garnish:
1/4 bunch thin asparagus
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup snow peas
1 cup English peas, in pod
Salt, taste
Dash Chili Oil
Squirt lemon juice
2 scallions, cut thinly on the bias

Directions:
For the Crusted Tuna:
In a shallow bowl, mix white and black sesame seeds and  the furikake in a shallow pan. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the tuna with egg white on all sides. Dip the tuna in the sesame mixture on all sides, pressing the seed coating into the fish.

Heat oil in a cast iron skill over medium high heat.

Add in the tuna gently and cook for approximately 30 seconds on each side. Use a spoon to baste the tuna with the hot oil to cook it evenly on each side.

Gently remove the tuna from the skillet and it let rest. Slice the tuna and set aside.

For the Yuzu Vinaigrette and Noodles:
In a small bowl, which together the yuzu, sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the noodles, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the soba noodles and cook for three minutes.

Using a clean paper towel, wipe the large cast iron skillet used to cook the fish. Return the skillet to the stove and heat oil until shimmering add the bell peppers and season with salt and pepper, cooking until softened, Add the ginger. Add sake and flambe. Stir mixture until a syrup like consistency is reached.

Add in yuzu, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. Reduce the mixture until thickened. Finish with lime zest, lime juice and chili oil.

Drain noodles and add them to a large bowl. Toss noodles with the Yuzu vinaigrette.

For the Vegetable Garnish:
In a medium saucepan, add water and a pinch of salt Bring the salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus, peas and blanch them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately remove the vegetables and shock them in a bowl of cold ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove vegetables from the ice water bath and dry with clean paper towels. Cut the asparagus on a bias, cut the snow peas on a bias, cut the sugar snap peas and the English peas lengthwise. Toss the vegetables with a bit of chili oil, lemon juice and salt to taste.

To serve, add the noodles to the center of the plate. Arrange the sliced tuna over the noodles. Scatter the vegetable garnish randomly over the tuna and noodles. Add a touch of cilantro and mint leaves, if desired.

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Vegetable Frittata

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Photo Credit: © 2017 GIANT LLC All Rights Reserved.

Frittatas just happened to be one of those dishes that you can use up a whole lot of random leftover vegetables and turn them into a savory meal for brunch or dinner. We like to serve this classic egg dish with fruit for breakfast or with Italian bread and a small mixed greens side salad for a light dinner.

Adapted from Giant LLC
Savory Magazine
September 2017

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
One 8-10 ounce bag baby spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 cups baby Yukon gold potatoes
2 medium tomatoes, diced
8 large eggs
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach to the skillet and cover; allow to cook 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic salt and cover again for another 5 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool. Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Roll the towel up and squeeze the moisture from the spinach. Remove the spinach from the towel and place in a bowl and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into quarters. Heat the remaining olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to brown.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Arrange the spinach over the potatoes. Scatter the tomatoes over the spinach, then pour the eggs over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the cheese. Cook until the edges are set, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until the eggs are completely set in the center.

To serve, slide the frittata out of the skillet and onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice it into wedges and serve warm with a fresh fruit for brunch or with a small side salad of mixed greens for a light lunch or dinner.

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Roasted Stonefruit Cobbler

So, what do you do with any left over fruit like peaches, cherries, plums and nectarines? Why not make an end of the Summer cobbler. Here, the fruit was roasted and then topped with a crumble crumb crust to create this dessert:

Roasted Stonefruit Cobbler With Coconut Gelato and Balsamic Syrup.

 

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Thank you so much!

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