Tag Archives: Spices

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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Pumpkin French Toast

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This easy to make Pumpkin Spice French Toast recipe is a fun Autumnal twist on a favorite breakfast dish. Flavored with a subtle pumpkin spice flavor, the bread slices are quickly soaked in an egg pumpkin milk bath then pan fried in butter to perfection. I used a homemade cinnamon bread in this recipe, but feel free to use whatever type of bread that you like. The finishing touch:  a  light dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of warm maple syrup,  will make this a breakfast treat that entire family will enjoy.

Bon Appetite!

Serves 4
Ingredients:
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (click here for the recipe)
2 Tablespoons melted butter or non-stick spray
8 slices of day old French bread or brioche
Powdered sugar, for serving
Pure maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.

Coat a cast iron skillet or griddle with melted butter.

Soak the bread slices in the egg mixture for 2 seconds on both sides. Do not let the bread soak very long, or the bread will become soggy.

Heat the skillet on medium heat. Place the battered slices in the skillet and fry the slices long enough until each side is dry and speckled brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Dust the French toast with powdered sugar and serve with warm maple syrup and a pat of butter.

 

Style Note:
Plate: Lauren By Ralph Mandarin Dinner Plate

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Lattes with Honey Whipped Cream

Starbucks debuted it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte in the Fall of 2003 Vancouver and Washington, D.C.  By 2004, it was in all the Starbucks Coffee Shops and the public has been addicted to it ever since. Over 200 million cups of this seasonal beverage has been sold since it was introduced in 2003.

If you are a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte drinker, you do not have to wait in line to get this popular drink, especially if you can make it home and have it any time you crave it. I tailored the drink to my own taste by adding  cayenne pepper for a kick and cardamon and a little bit of whipped cream with just a touch of honey.

Enjoy!

Makes 2 drinks

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish (click here for the recipe)
Ground cayenne pepper, to taste
Ground cardamom, to taste
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 to 2 shots espresso, about 1/4 cup
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon honey

Directions:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the pumpkin with the pumpkin pie spice, cardamom and dash of the cayenne pepper for 2 minutes and is fragrant. Stir constantly.

Add the sugar and stir until the mixture looks like a bubbly thick syrup.

To warm the milk, whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Warm gently over medium heat, watching carefully to make sure it does not boil over.

Carefully process the milk mixture with a hand blender or in a traditional blender. If you are using a traditional blender, hold the lid down tightly with a thick wad of towels to prevent scalding or burning your hands. Blend the milk until it is  frothy.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream and honey until firm peaks form.

To serve the lattes, add the espresso to  the pumpkin mixture; stir  and divide between two mugs and add the frothed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg if desired.Serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes:
Espresso Substitute:
If you don’t have espresso on hand, you can use strong brewed coffee instead. Increase amount to 1/3 to 1/2 cup.

Make a big batch of pumpkin spice mix-in: If you like, you can make a big batch of the pumpkin spice base, and refrigerate.

To make 8 full servings, cook 1/2 cup pureed or canned pumpkin with 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in 1/2 cup vanilla extract. Refrigerate for up to 1 week and use as desired. To serve, blend 1/3 cup pumpkin spice mix-in with milk until frothy, and add 1 or 2 shots of espresso. Top with whipped cream and serve.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Photo Credit: My Baking Addiction, 2011

It is the middle of October and leaves are about to past the peak of  color and pumpkins begin to make their appearance at the local farmer’s  markets, just as Summer seems like a distant memory. And with the autumnal changes pumpkin spice-flavored treats make their appearance just about, everywhere. You can always buy a commercially prepared pumpkin pie spice, but it is just as easy to make at home with the “warm” spices that you already have on hand.This recipe is a blend of “warm” spices such as: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and mace. Pumpkin pie spice adds a nice extra “pumpkin” taste to pumpkin pie or a pumpkin flavored latte.

Makes About 5 Tablespoons

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoons ground mace

Directions:
Measure all of the spices into a small air tight jar, like a Weck jar, and seal the jar up. Shake the jar until the spices are well mixed.
Label the jar and store it in the pantry as you would any other spice, for up to 1 year.

Salvadoran Black Bean & Cheese Pupusas with Cabbage & Radish Curtido

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Photo Credit: Blue Apron, LLC
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Photo Credit: Blue Apron, LLC

Pupusas, a hallmark of traditional Salvadoran cuisine, are thick, handmade corn tortillas stuffed with beans, cheeses and other savory ingredients. Popular in El Salvador for centuries, pupusas made their way to the United States around the 1980s, and here they have been enjoyed ever since. These pupusas are made with authentic queso Oaxaca and beans seasoned with onion, cilantro and a blend of authentic spices.

Queso Oaxaca is a delicious, stringy, semi-hard cheese from the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Made using many of the same cutting and stretching techniques as for Italian mozzarella, queso Oaxaca is delicately rich and durable, yet melty when heated. It contains cow’s milk, as opposed to water buffalo’s milk. It’s terrific in tortilla dishes, like quesadillas and the local tlayuda (similar to a quesadilla, but cooked open-faced).

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 cup Instant Masa Harina
1½ cups Black Beans
8 Ounces Green Cabbage
2 Ounces Radishes
1 Lime
1 Red Onion
1 Large Bunch Cilantro
2 Ounces Queso Oaxaca
2 Tablespoons Sugar
Pupusa Spice Blend, to taste

For the Pupusa Spice Blend:
2 Tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder
2 Tablespoons Chipotle Chile Powder
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder

Directions:
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Drain and rinse the beans; transfer to a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Remove and discard the cabbage core; thinly slice the leaves. Cut the radishes into matchsticks. Quarter the lime. Peel and halve the onion; thinly slice one half and small dice the other. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; mince the stems and keep the leaves whole. Grate the Oaxaca cheese.

In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the diced onion, cilantro stems and spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the mashed beans and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until thickened. Set aside to cool.

To make the the radish curtido:
While the beans cook, blanch the cabbage, onion, and radish before dressing it.Turn off the heat under the boiling water as soon as the vegetables are added, then after one minute, drain the vegetables in a colander and quickly rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, radishes, sugar, as much of the sliced onion as you’d like and the juice of all 4 lime wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

To make the pupusas:
In a large bowl, combine the masa harina and ¾ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. (The dough should be slightly damp and easy to shape. If it seems too dry, add up to an additional ¼ cup of water.) Using wet hands, divide the mixture into 4 equal-sized balls; carefully flatten into rounds, each about 5 inches in diameter. Divide the cooked beans between the centers of 2 of the rounds; spread into an even layer, leaving a small border around the edge of each (you may have extra beans). Top with the Oaxaca cheese and remaining dough rounds. Using your hands, carefully press down to seal the edges of the pupusas around the filling.

To Cook the pupusas:
In a large cast iron skillet, heat a thin layer of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Carefully add the pupusas. Cook, gently pressing down to ensure even browning, 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface.

To serve,carefully slice the pupusas in half. Divide the sliced pupusas and radish curtido between 2 dishes. Garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve with any remaining cooked beans on the side.

Cook’s Note:
If queso Oaxaca cannot be found in your local area, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella or White Cheddar will work as a great substitute for the cheese.

Carrot Hotdogs

Every once in a while, I come across a recipe that redefines how I see food and how it can behotcarrotdogs transformed.

Such is the case with Carrot Hotdogs….Yes, Carrots as an alternative to the hot dogs we have seen in the supermarket made with  either with whole meats or a combination of beef, pork, turkey or chicken.

I know, you are a little skeptical, so was I, but I am willing to test my self with a culinary challenge. And believe it or not, the carrot hotdogs turned out rather well. And did I mention, they are gluten-free without the hot dog buns……..

So score the perfect game day meal with these vegan carrot dogs! It’s a great, healthy substitution for any game-watching party.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
8 large carrots
8 whole wheat hot dog buns
1/2 cup red wine
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons Siracha sauce
½ Tablespoon ancho chili powder
½ Tablespoon smoked paprika
½ Tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons oregano
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add carrots to the boiling water and cook until soft for about 15 minutes.

In a casserole dish, mix the marinade of red wine or soy sauce, BBQ sauce, chili powder, paprika, oregano, garlic powder. Once the carrots are done, put the carrots directly into the casserole dish with the marinade. Be careful, as the carrots will be fragile. Allow the carrots to soak these juices in, for about 5 to 10 minutes.

On the stove, heat up a pan, with a little oil or non-stick cooking spray or even vegetable broth or water to be completely vegan, to medium to high heat. Place the carrots on the pan and “flash grill” them for approximately 90-seconds to 2 minutes on each side until the texture that is desired is achieve to your liking.

Toast buns the if you like, prepare condiments, and enjoy!

Samosas

Samosas

 

Ground turkey meat can be used to make these traditional Indian pastries that can be  composed of peas, potatoes, onions and spices are cooked together to create a savory appetizer. By using store bought won ton wrappers, samosas can be whipped up in minutes making a mouthwatering little snack at a moments notice.