Category: Recipes

Tangy-Zesty Striped Bass with Dasheen Leaves and Asparagus

Two weekends in a row now, my trip to Salem, MA has been foiled, so to commemorate my dismay, I’ve decided to prepare a dish that I probably would’ve eaten, had I been there.

Striped Bass is native to the Northeast, specifically New England. Living out there by the water means everything to most of the population and so, fishing is a common thing. Striped Bass is plentiful just as much as Lobsters are in this region. Rather than using a well-known Striped Bass Recipe, which the Internet is saturated with, I decided to do my own thing, but still incorporating the basics when it comes to preparing fish. Here’s the list:

2 5oz Striped Bass Steaks
1 Orange
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Dill
1/2 Tsp Cilantro
1/2 Tsp Parsley
1/2 Tsp minced Onion
1/2 Tsp Garlic n’ Herbs
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted Butter

Preparation: mix all seasonings together in a dish first then after cleaning your fish, simply place it into the mixture. Toss it around for a bit, making sure to coat the entire fish then cover your dish and refrigerate overnight. Don’t worry about your fish drying out, it won’t! Next day, remove fish from refrigerator, place skillet on low to medium fire, add butter to the pan and then begin adding your fish. Once your fish is in, immediately add about a 1/4 cup of water, so the butter doesn’t dry up before the fish is cooked. Cover your pan and let fish cook for about 20 minutes on each side before turning it over. Tip: always remember that the steam from the pan is crucial to perfectly cooked fish. When the pan begins to dry down then you’ll know your fish is ready!

1 lbs Dasheen leaves
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Garlic n’ Herbs
1 Pinch Black Pepper

Tip: Dasheen leaves are very large, so I advise that you cut it into smaller pieces in order for it to fit into your pot. Add 1.5 cups of water to a small pot, put it to boil on low fire and while it’s boiling, go ahead and prep your Dasheen leaves. Wash the leaves out before cutting then once you’re finished, add it to your pot along with the other ingredients. Stir to mix it all in and continue stirring occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for about 30 minutes or until it has completely broken down into a “soupy” mixture. *Add more water if needed*

1/2 bunch Asparagus
1 Pinch Salt
1/4 Tsp Olive oil
1 dash Garlic n’ Herbs

Wash asparagus and place them into pan (break them into two if your pan isn’t large enough) then add your ingredients along with 1/2 ounce of water. Toss asparagus around making sure to mix everything together then let it steam for about 7-10 minutes. Once everything is cooked, serve as usual. Enjoy!

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Simple and Delicious Shepard’s Pie

We each have our favorite memories and things we’d love to recreate from our college years, and for me, that memory is having Shepard’s Pie for dinner with my then, closest friends. It was the energy of chattering BFF’s chowing down on loaded mashed potatoes while side-eyeing the day’s man crush. Yum!

Shepard’s pie is native to the Northern United Kingdom, specifically Scotland, where pies were created with leftover lamb and vegetables. When the Irish began to make their own, ground beef quickly became a staple for this delicious pie and it brought a whole new meaning to “meat and potatoes.” A couple days ago I tried making it for the first time and it was delightful! My qualm with the store-bought kinds is that there’s never enough seasoning and this was what I kept in mind while prepping for the dish. It’s hearty, easy to prepare, and will impress your mother, so take a chance and make your own!

Ingredients:

2 large russet potatoes

1 lb. ground beef

12 oz. frozen corn kernels

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. chopped garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 stick of butter

Beef:

Heat skillet, add olive oil then beef along with ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. parsley, and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Cook until meat is brown then remove from skillet and add to baking dish.

Corn:

Place frozen corn directly on top of ground beef in baking dish.

Mashed Potatoes:

Wash and dry potatoes then cut into medium sized pieces (with skin on). Fill a pot with water then add potatoes; make sure that the water covers the potatoes and let boil on low/medium setting until potatoes are tender (about 25 mins). Once potatoes are finished cooking, pour out any remaining water from the pot then add the butter to the potatoes and using a potato masher, begin to soften and mix potatoes together with butter. After you’re finished mashing potatoes, add the remaining parsley, salt, black pepper, and garlic then continue mixing ingredients together. When you’re finished mixing, layer mashed potatoes on top of corn creating a crust.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees then insert baking dish with pie. Allow it to cook for about an hour. When it’s ready, remove it and let dish cool then serve warm. Feeds about 5. Enjoy!

Albanian Breakfast


I love food, but what I love the most is trying foods from different cultures and listening to people’s stories about what that particular dish really means to the individual. My partner is Albanian from Montenegro and their foods are just as rich as their history, so from time to time he’d ask me to prepare one of his favorite Albanian foods and being the foodie that I am, I often oblige. Last weekend, we had a delightful Albanian breakfast and for the first time in a while, I exercised my hands at making Cevapi!

“Ćevapi has its origins in the Balkans during the Ottoman period, and represents a regional speciality similar to the kofte kebab.” -Wiki. Given most of these Balkan countries’ history and Middle Eastern influence it’s clear why Cevapi is such a treasured meal. I’m a big fan of Middle Eastern food and I am almost willing to try anything, so I’d like to share this deliciousness with you! Here’s what you’ll need…

1 lbs ground beef
1/4-1/2 Tsp salt
1 Pinch black pepper
1 1/2 Tsp paprika
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp dried parsley
1 Sliced red onion
2 Cloves garlic chopped
Feta cheese
Pita/Naan bread
3-4 Tbsp Olive oil

Directions

It’s always best to use ground beef that has a little bit of fat because if it’s too lean, your Cevapi will come out too dry. After you’ve gathered your ingredients, go ahead and mix everything together into your mixing bowl as you would for meatballs, saving the red onions for last. Once it’s all mixed in, let it sit for a little, roughly 15-20 minutes just so that the meat absorbs the seasonings and also, for the baking soda to do its job of plumping up the meat. When you’re ready, heat up your skillet and add about 3-4 Tbsp of Olive oil. While your oil is being heated, go ahead and start rolling out your Cevapi. I like making them medium sized because once it goes into the pan it’ll puff up due to the baking soda. Anyway, continue rolling them out and placing each piece in the skillet. Allow meat to cook thoroughly and once it’s your desired shade of brown, go ahead and remove it from the pan. Continue this process until all pieces have been cooked. Typically 1 lbs ground beef should give you about 10-13 links. When it’s all ready, add the sliced red onion on top for garnishing and serve with feta cheese and pita bread or a great substitute, naan bread. Enjoy!

Summer Drink Alert: Sorrel, Cherry and Mango cocktail

I’m feeling betrayed and depressed all at once, so I decided to raid my liquor stash in order to put together a nice little summer cocktail!

I brought back some duty-free Sorrel flavored Clarks Court Rum from Grenada, which I purchased just in case someone stops by and I feel like entertaining. Well in my depressed state, I’ve created the perfect tasting cocktail and I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s go! Here are what you’d need:

6oz Sorrel flavored Clarks Court Rum

25 Cherries

1 Handful Chopped Mangoes

10 Ice cubes

Blend everything together until it becomes smooth and slushy. Keep in mind that my choice of ingredients can be substituted for whatever Rum or liquor you have at hand. If you’re interested in tasting Sorrel, I suggest buying a packet at your local grocery store. It’s dried and you’ll have to boil it in which case it takes on a blood red color, and that’s what you want. So once you’ve boiled your Sorrel, let it cool off, add sugar to taste then add it to your blender with your mangoes, cherries, choice of liquor and ice, blend and serve! Coming from someone, who doesn’t drink, it’s a very delicious treat. I’m just about finished drinking all 6oz of what I made. Enjoy!

Summer Salad Recipe

A few days ago, my partner brought me the best tasting salad I’ve ever had. It was a combination of the fresh greens and herbs used to put this delicious salad together that made it so delightful. Anyway, it costs a whopping $10 from Greek Eats in Manhattan, and although it was beautifully prepared, there’s no way I’d advise anyone on purchasing this salad on the regular. Being as frugal as we are, we decided to create our very own Summer Greek Salad. It’s nutritious and quite inexpensive, plus you’ll be able to have more than one meal and it’s a one-stop shop at any supermarket. Take it to your next family barbecue, enjoy it for lunch or simply snack on it when you get the munchies. Regardless of the occasion, it’ll surely be enjoyed. Now grab a pen and create your shopping list!

Ingredients

1 Whole Cucumber

15 Grape tomatoes

1/4 1 Whole Red onion

2 Haas Avocados

20 Green and red olives

2 Handfuls Spring mix salad

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

2 Tsp. Apple cider vinegar

1 Pinch Salt

2 1/2 Tbsp. Crumbled feta cheese

1 Pinch Black pepper

1/4 Tsp. Italian blend herbs

Directions

*Always make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.*

After thoroughly washing your cucumber, tomatoes and onions, start peeling your cucumber and onion then cut them into bite sized pieces, along with the tomatoes. Put them aside into the bowl you’re using to toss it all together. Then begin cutting up your avocados, olives and spring mix, put them into the same salad bowl then begin adding your condiments. Throw in your feta cheese then your olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, and then your Italian blended herbs. Mix everything together and then serve. Feeds four! To add more protein to the mix, feel free to boil 2-3 eggs, cut it up once again and then add it to your already, deliciously healthy salad. Enjoy!

 

 

 

How to Make a Simple and Easy Cheesecake

Most cooks and pastry chefs often have a favorite recipe and for me, I love making cheesecakes!

Although it’s time-consuming, the anticipation and preparation that goes into making a delectable cheesecake makes it worthwhile, especially when it’s enjoyed by the people you love. After cooking a specially prepared meal for my partner one evening, I thought, “every tasty meal deserves to have an equally tasty dessert.” I knew I wanted to make him something sweet, but I wasn’t willing to go through a tedious process, so I decided to make a cheesecake with the ingredients I had at hand. Days before, I picked up two Philadelphia Cream Cheese with a chocolate pie crust and a small container of sour cream, so I thought, “why not?” Then I looked through my pantry and saw that I had some confectioners sugar from some time ago and there, I was able to whip up a delicious cheesecake.

Ingredients

2 Philadelphia Cream Cheese bar

2 1/2 Cups Confectioners sugar

1 8oz Daisy Sour Cream

2 Eggs

1 Chocolate Pie Crust

1/4 Cup Coconut Flour

Directions

Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature and softened to perfection. Mix cream cheese together with sour cream, eggs and sugar. If mixture isn’t thick enough, use some coconut flour to add more texture. When all of the ingredients have been properly mixed together, go ahead and add it to your pie crust, remembering to even it out. When you’re finished, place cheesecake into the oven at 350 degrees, let it cook for about 30 minutes or until brown. Remove cheesecake from the oven, let it cool off then refrigerate over night, unless you’re like me and you absolutely can’t wait. Next day your cheesecake should be nice and firm, and you’re free to top it off with whatever you like! That particular day, I topped mine off with cream cheese frosting and garnished it with pistachio halves and coconut flakes.

It was absolutely one of the best cheesecakes I’ve made and as much as we’ve enjoyed it, I am positive that you would too. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to show someone you care and without forgetting to mention, just how delightful it is to have a sweet treat when you’re stressed out with work and family, so go on and try this cheesecake recipe!

 

 

Recipe: Spicy Herb Lamb with Saffron Rice

There’s a special feeling you get whenever you’ve managed to concoct a meal with little to no direction. It isn’t celebratory, it’s a “man, I’d love to share this delicious dish with someone else besides my family” kind of feeling. This was how I felt after preparing this recipe and I hope you get the chance to do so.

What you’ll need:

3 lbs. Boneless lamb shoulder

1-2 cups “Par Excellence” Yellow Rice with Saffron

1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar

6 tbsp. Greek yogurt

2 tablespoon Olive oil

Seasonings:

1 tbsp. Turmeric

1 tbsp. Garlic powder

1 tbsp. Cumin

1/2 tsp. Black pepper

1 tbsp. Salt

1 tbsp. Cayenne pepper

Herbs:

1/4 Yellow pepper

6-8 cloves Garlic

1/2 Yellow onion

Cilantro

3 stems chopped Thyme

Parsley

1 stem chopped Rosemary

3 leaves chopped Mint

1 stem chopped Green onions

While attempting to emulate certain traditions of Ramadan, I decided to cook some lamb while still incorporating my love of Spanish rice and so, my intuition lead me straight to this delightful meal. I made sure to cube my boneless lamb shoulder first and then, to really make sure it’s cleaned well, I washed it in some apple cider vinegar laced water. That way, you cut out some of the aftertaste most people complain about. Personally, I’m not fazed by it. Anyway, once you’ve cut and cleaned your meat the next step is to properly season it. I used a combination of turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Once I’ve added the spices, I proceeded to massage it all into the meat making sure to coat each piece. Then I put it aside on the counter to rest for about 10 minutes and after the time was up, I added Greek yogurt and tomato paste to the mix and once again, I made sure to coat every piece of lamb.

When my meat was all seasoned and ready to be added to the pan, I added half teaspoon of olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the bottom, then I went ahead and threw in all of my herbs: yellow peppers, garlic, onions, cilantro, thyme, parsley, rosemary, mint and green onions. I made sure to dice the herbs before putting it into the pan, and then I added my seasoned lamb along with two and a half cups of water. On very low heat, I left it to cook for about an hour and a half, still stirring occasionally. Once it started bubbling, I moved on to the rice, which is relatively very easy to prepare.

Rice:

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First, I added two and a half cups of water to a medium sized pot on low-medium heat, and then I added one and a half tablespoons of olive oil to the water. I left it to boil for about 10 minutes before adding the rice (this way allows the pot to form a nice coating in order to keep the rice from burning). Once the water comes to a boil, add two or more cups of rice according to the number of people you’re cooking for and remember that you can add more water to the pot as you see fit. Some people like their rice firmer than others, which is why I highly recommend tasting your rice in order to get your desired firmness. I prefer my rice to be a little softer, therefore I taste it often and add water as needed. Tip: if your rice is sill too firm for your liking, cover the pot all the way and let it steam for a few more minutes instead of adding more water. Typically, this rice will be cooked within 35 minutes. Salad choice is all up to you, as for me, I chose spring mix. Dish feeds up to six. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

History of the Dish-Oil Down

In my last article, I introduced you to the national dish of my birth country, Grenada. This time around, I’m taking the opportunity to give you a little history on where the dish, Oil Down, originated. Never mind that it’s loaded with flavor and nutrition, it has also brought people together and helped to pass on traditions to the young. The origins of the ingredients also show how diverse we are as a people.

Through research, I’ve realized the historical context on the process of making Oil Down. You see, slaves who were brought to the island to work on plantations also brought with them their culture and traditions. This is the typical meaning of the phrase “it takes a village,” and it definitely took a village to come together to create this delicious one-pot meal. Although we have evolved, there are still reminders of what used to be; such as the way people live, the music they create, the costumes they wear during carnivals and the plantations where some of the island’s cocoa and spices are still being harvested. These plantations around the island are commonly referred to as “estates.” In fact, my family still owns theirs. I’ve never visited its location and as far I know it’s being used to grow and harvest crops. My mother has shared her fond memories of spending time there. It’s one of those places that rarely gets talked about because of its historical significance, however, this estate known to my family as “Shadow,” bears little resemblance to slavery. In the mid to late 1800’s, my Scottish side of the family settled in Grenada just as slavery was abolished in 1834, and there my great grandfather met my great grandmother, who had immigrated to the island from St. Lucia. The rest was history.

The same way that the island is considered a melting pot with immigrants from all over, Oil Down too, is a melting pot. As a matter of fact, most of the ingredients used in Oil Down are also imported. With the combination of callaloo or dasheen leaves, which are “indigenous to the Caribbean and were cultivated by Grenada’s earliest Amerindian inhabitants,” green bananas, which were brought in by European settlers from Asia and salted pork tails and nose, which were also imported by European settlers, Oil Down has something for everyone. Back then on the plantations, slaves brought in from West Africa had one thing in common: passion for building their communities, even though life was still so very rough. Making Oil Down was not just a way of nourishment and saving time, but making sure that their neighbors were involved and also being fed. They would each bring something to add to the pot, ensuring that there would be their “piece of the pie,” and because of the sheer quantity of ingredients, no one person could collect it all. In other words, whatever they could salvage from their master’s home was what they brought to add to the pot. Anyway, once they each brought what was needed, they would begin the sometimes tedious process. When the food was cooked, everyone received his or her share and all was well. This tradition stayed in Grenada and became the country’s national dish. On most days, anywhere you go, there’s a high chance of passing by a family’s home and smelling the aroma of an Oil Down in progress. It gets its distinct smell from the mixture of spices along with the flavorful milk of dried coconuts. It’s vastly intoxicating.

According to my cousin and island native, Antonia Frederick, “no two oil downs are the same, everyone adds his or her own touch.” Antonia grew up making the dish with her maternal grandmother, who like everyone else, cooked for the entire family. When asked, most people are open to discussing the bonds and relationships they’ve developed all through cooking Oil Down with their neighbors and grandparents. I too, have very fond memories of cooking Oil Down with my mother and Grandmother, and I will cherish these memories as I plan on passing them on to my future children. In the end, it’s really all about families getting together to enjoy a delicious meal.

Caribbean Cooking: Oil Down

From its crystal clear blue waters to lush vegetation and calming waterfalls, from its healthful and tasty spices to scenic coastal highways and friendly citizens, there are many things to love about Grenada. But, nothing beats a pot of Oil Down cooked on a charcoal grill/pot.

When I was little, going to the market with my mum was one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning, especially if the day’s menu included my special dish. We’d purchase the callaloo leaves, breadfruit, green bananas, couscous yams, chicken parts, salted pig snouts and tails, and other ingredients that make this dish as special as it’s supposed to be. It’s hardly about the food really, but the camaraderie and bonds that you develop with others while preparing the meal. My mum loved to cook and she also loved sharing, so after we finished cooking the food, she’d invite her selected few to join us for dinner.

Oil Down is one of those dishes where it requires several ingredients and it might even look a little messy, however they all work well together and it is quite delicious and filling. Back in Grenada, everything we use for this recipe is usually fresh and without additives, however you can find most of the ingredients fresh at your local Whole Foods supermarket with ease. So let’s get straight to cooking! Here’s everything you’ll need to make your Oil Down and how to make it. Remember you can adjust as much or as little as needed.

Servings: 3-6

Ingredients:

1½ cans Coconut milk

1 tsp. Turmeric/saffron/curry

1 Sweet pepper chopped

1 lb Callaloo or spinach

1 lb Couscous yams chopped

1 lb Green bananas chopped

5 Potatoes (optional)

2 Carrots (optional)

1 lb Breadfruit chopped

Dumplings

½ lb Salted pork-tails/snouts or 1 lb chicken

Seasonings:

1 stick Celery

¼ cup chopped Parsley

¼ cup chopped Cilantro

¼ cup chopped Green onions

2 stems Thyme

1 tsp. Salt

4 Garlic cloves

Dumpling ingredients:

2 cups Flour

¼ tsp. Salt

½ cup Water

Directions:

Add coconut milk as your base ingredient. Then add your desired seasonings, peppers and turmeric/saffron/curry to taste. Add meats and/or chicken (I suggest seasoning it ahead of time), followed by breadfruit, yams, dumplings, green bananas, carrots, potatoes, and water. Lastly, put callaloo or spinach on top. Cover pot and let it cook on low fire, occasionally stirring to make sure every ingredient is consistent in color and flavor.

Dumpling directions:

Add 2 cups all-purpose flour to a bowl. Add ¼ tsp. salt and ½ cup water, then mix until you have a firm dough. When you’re finished mixing, cut your dough into small pieces and roll it into little balls before adding it to the pot.

Reminder:

Everything must be layered in the pot before it goes on the stove and don’t forget to put enough liquids. For every can of coconut milk, use 1 can of water. Also, cut and peel your vegetables before adding them to the pot. Don’t let the pot dry down too much because the “nana” is the best part. Serve and enjoy!

Super Nutritious Protein Shake

I love shakes-anything that can easily blend will become a shake. A few days ago I stumbled upon this genius shake with all things I’ve had in my kitchen, while looking for a meal replacement, so I’ve decided to share the fortune with you. Grab a pen and take notes!

Ingredients:

2 Bananas, 3 Medjool Dates, 2 palmful Pecans, 2 Eggs, 13 baby Carrots, 1 can Coconut Milk, (13.5 fl oz), 4 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder, 3 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran, 1 tsp Nutiva Organic Coconut Sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon, 1 1/2 cup Organic Milk, Ice and blend.

This alone will give you 500 calories to add to your daily intake, which means more energy, more nutrition and more weight stability. You see, I struggle with my weight and for many, many years I’ve starved my body with the intention of loosing weight, however I kept packing it on. Within the past couple of years I’ve learned a lot more about nutrition and so, it’s my new norm to try different foods to keep me satiated and interested.

I really hope you get the chance to try this awesome shake because not only will it save you time, but it’s also flexible and a good addition to your brunch table! Enjoy.