Cook-up Rice… Vegetarian Three Bean Cook-up Rice

Vegetarian Cook-up

The new year is almost here. If you’re Guyanese you’re probably rounding up your ingredients for your New Year’s eve cook-up rice and fried fish. I usually make a slamming black eyed peas and beef cook-up. When I was living in Guyana, my mom’s New Year’s eve cook up always had black-eyed peas, salt beef, tripe and beef. A. I hate tripe, b. I can’t find salt beef where I live and c. after eating pepper pot and all the goodies from Christmas, I feel like I need a bit of a break from all of that. So to start the new year off on a healthier note, I am sharing my recipe for a simple but tasty, three bean vegetarian cook-up. Hope you give it a try and enjoy on old year’s night (as we Guyanese say and/or New Year’s day!

Click on the link for a video tutorial (hint: I’m in this video, in case you were curious to know what I looks like, ha ha).

Yummy goodness!

Yummy goodness!

Vegetarian Three Bean Cook-up Rice (8 Generous Servings)

Ingredients:
1/2 can of black eyed peas (about 1 cup of cooked peas)
1/2 can of chick peas (about 1 cup of cooked peas)
1/2 can of kidney beans (about 1 cup of cooked peas)
2 cups long grain parboiled rice
1 can coconut milk, diluted with 4 cups water
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 can of petite diced tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped)
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp dried thyme (Guyanese thyme preferably)
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp casareep
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp oil

Directions:

Warm oil in a large (heavy bottom) stock pot, on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onions are soft and slightly brown. Add tomatoes, thyme, basil and 1/2 the granulated garlic and cook down until all the water from the tomatoes has evaporated. Add the black eyed peas, kidney beans and chick peas. Add the remaining granulated garlic, sugar, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add rice and mix together. Add the coconut milk and water mixture, then add the casareeep. Mix together. Increase the heat to high and bring up to a roaring boil. Let boil covered for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the rice is fully cooked. This should take 30 to 40 minutes. When rice is cooked and all the liquids have evaporated, serve and enjoy!

Tips and Ramblings:

1. Hope you guys enjoyed this video, I had fun making it!
2. I am using canned products in this video to give those of you with busier lives a quicker alternative for making cook-up rice.
3. If you prefer to soak your peas, just use a 1/4 cup of dried peas/bean for each of the peas/beans listed above.
4. If you have comments or questions don’t forget to post them in the comment section below.

Happy New Year and Happy Cooking!

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Pepperpot… A Traditional Guyanese Christmas Breakfast

Guyanese Pepperpot

Christmas is my favorite time of year for many reasons, but most particularly because of the delicious foods and baked goods that most Guyanese homes are filled with at Christmas time. Pepperpot is a rich meat stew that has been handed down to us from our Amerindian ancestors (Ameridians are the indigenous people of Guyana). It is traditionally eaten with bread (I prefer homemade) on Christmas morning. My favorite childhood Christmas memory is waking up to the smell of pepperpot and bread on Christmas morning. Pepperpot making is a real labor of love. The best tasting pepperpot simmers for hours, even days before being served. Mine takes about 6 hours, but most of the time it’s on the stove simmering away and you don’t have much to do.

This recipe requires a pressure cooker, but for those who don’t own one or feel comfortable using one, scroll to the “Tips and Ramblings” section of the post for tips on what to do it you don’t have a pressure cooker.

As a side note, I also wanted to thank everyone for their continued support, emails and recipe requests. It is becoming increasingly difficult to blog on a regular basis, but I am hanging in there. I promise to get to all of your requests as soon as I can. Much love and Merry Christmas to all!

The recipe…

For this recipe, I am using: 1.5 lbs Beef (I used a chuck roast, then cut it into 1 inch cubes) 2 lbs Oxtail 3lbs Cow Heel (may also be called cow feet in some supermarket) 1 cup cassareep (divided into 2) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 large yellow onions diced 6 large cloves of garlic finely chopped 1 tsp cayenne powder 5 cinnamon sticks 1 tbsp granulated garlic 3 wiri wiri peppers 1 tbsp whole clobes 2 tbsp salt 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 2 tbsp dried Guyanese thyme

For this recipe, I am using:
1.5 lbs Beef (I used a chuck roast, then cut it into 1 inch cubes)
2 lbs Oxtail
3lbs Cow Heel (may also be called cow feet in some supermarket)
1 cup cassareep (divided into 2)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large yellow onions diced
6 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne powder
5 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp granulated garlic
3 wiri wiri peppers
1 tbsp whole clobes
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp dried Guyanese thyme

First season the oxtail using 1/3 of the sugar and all the other ingredients, except the cinnamon and cloves. Use 1/3 of 1/2 of the cassareep and reserve the other 1/2 to use later. Do not add the onion and garlic.  Mix everything together and let sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

First season the oxtail using 1/3 of the sugar and all the other ingredients, except the cinnamon and cloves. Use 1/3 of 1/2 of the cassareep and reserve the other 1/2 to use later. Do not add the onion and garlic.
Mix everything together and let sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Follow the same steps as above to marinade the beef and cow heel

Follow the same steps as above to marinade the beef and cow heel.

Once everything has been marinating for at least 30 minutes, we can start the long but wonderful pepperpot cooking process…

The thing I hate most about some pepperpot is biting into a clove while eating. So I've come up with a solution for that. Place cloves in a 6 inch square of muslin fabric or cheese cloth. Gather up the edges of the fabric and make a knot. Now you have a nice little clove diffuser!!!!

The thing I hate most about some pepperpot is biting into a clove while eating. So I’ve come up with a solution for that. Place cloves in a 6 inch square of muslin fabric or cheese cloth. Gather up the edges of the fabric and make a knot. Now you have a nice little clove diffuser!!!!

Now we are ready to get the pot boiling…

In a large stock pot saute 1/3 of the onion and garlic on high heat, in about 2 tbsp of oil. Then add seasoned beef, cinnamon and cloves. Saute beef until all pieces are brown all over. Browned meat is delicious when slow cooked. Browning also seals in the flavors of the spices.

In a large stock pot saute 1/3 of the onion and garlic on high heat, in about 2 tbsp of oil. Then add seasoned beef, cinnamon and cloves. Saute beef until all pieces are brown all over. Browned meat is delicious when slow cooked. Browning also seals in the flavors of the spices. Once meat is nice and brown, add about 6 cups of water to the beef, bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to low and let simmer. This will continue to cook slowly, while we are prepping all the other ingredients.

Now for the oxtail.  Warm about 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker on high heat, then add oxtail and 1/3 of onion and garlic. Saute oxtail until brown, then add 5 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Cover and pressure cook until oxtail is tender but not completely falling off the bone. Some meats take a very long time to cook, I use my pressure cooker to help the process along.

Now for the oxtail.
Warm about 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker on high heat, then add oxtail and 1/3 of onion and garlic. Saute oxtail until brown, then add 5 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Cover and pressure cook until oxtail is tender but not completely falling off the bone. Some meats take a very long time to cook, I use my pressure cooker to help the process along.

Follow the same steps to pressure cook the cow heel, as you did with the oxtail.

Follow the same steps to pressure cook the cow heel, as you did with the oxtail.

It took about 1.5hrs combined to cook the oxtail and the cow heel. While they were pressure cooking, the beef was simmering to a delicious rich and tender stew.

Now add the oxtail to the beef and mix together.

Now add the oxtail to the beef and mix together.

Then add the cow heel to the oxtail and beef combination and mix together.

Then add the cow heel to the oxtail and beef combination and mix together.

After you have combined all the meat add about 2 to 3 cups more water, just enough to cover the meat. It is also at this point that I add the 1/2 cup of cassareep we reserved in the beginning. Increase the heat to high and bring pot to a roaring boiling. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes.

After you have combined all the meat add about 2 to 3 cups more water, just enough to cover the meat. It is also at this point that I add the 1/2 cup of cassareep we reserved in the beginning. Increase the heat to high and bring pot to a roaring boiling. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes.

Let pepperpot cook on low to medium heat, until all the meat is falling off the bone tender. This took about 2.5hrs for me. Along the way, I tasted the pepperpot and added about 1/4 cup brown sugar and a pinch of salt. I also made sure the wiri peppers were cut open for additional heat.

Let pepperpot cook on low to medium heat, until all the meat is falling off the bone tender. This took about 2.5hrs for me. Along the way, I tasted the pepperpot and added about 1/4 cup brown sugar and a pinch of salt. I also made sure the wiri peppers were cut open for additional heat.

Pepperpot is better when it sits for at least 12 hours in the gravy before serving. Most people make their pepperpot on Christmas even, let it sit overnight, reheat it and then serve it Christmas morning. There is no need to refrigerate your pepperpot, just keep it on the stove top and keep reheating it twice daily, once in the morning and then at night before you go to bed.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Pepperpot (serves about 8 generous servings)
Ingredients:
1.5 lbs Beef (I used a chuck roast, then cut it into 1 inch cubes)
2 lbs Oxtail
3lbs Cow Heel (may also be called cow feet in some supermarket)
1 cup cassareep (divided into 2)
1/2 cup brown sugar + about 1/4 cup for the end.
1 large yellow onions diced
6 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne powder
5 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp granulated garlic
3 wiri wiri peppers
1 tbsp whole clobes
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp dried Guyanese thyme
About 4 tbsp oil

Directions:
First, season the oxtail using 1/3 of the sugar and all the other ingredients, except the cinnamon, cloves and wiri wiri pepper. Use 1/3 of 1/2 of the cassareep and reserve the other 1/2 to use later. Do not add the onion and garlic. Mix everything together and let sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Follow the same steps to marinade the beef and cow heel. In a large stock pot saute 1/3 of the onion and garlic on high heat, in about 2 tbsp of oil. Then add seasoned beef, cinnamon, cloves and wiri wiri pepper. Saute beef until all pieces are brown all over. Once the meat is nice and brown, add about 6 cups of water to the beef, bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to low and let simmer.

Warm about 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker on high heat, then add oxtail and 1/3 of onion and garlic. Saute oxtail until brown, then add 5 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Cover and pressure cook until oxtail is tender but not completely falling off the bone. Follow the same steps to pressure cook the cow heel, as you did with the oxtail. Now add the oxtail to the beef and mix together.Then add the cow heel to the oxtail and beef combination and mix together.After you have combined all the meat add about 2 to 3 cups more water, just enough to cover the meat. Then add the 1/2 cup of cassareep we reserved in the beginning. Increase the heat to high and bring pot to a roaring boiling. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer until all the meat is falling off the bone tender, about 2.5 hrs. Taste pepperpot and added about 1/4 cup brown sugar and a pinch of salt, if needed. Cut open the wiri wiri peppers for additional heat. Serve and Enjoy.

Tips and Ramblings
1. I know there are many different ways to make pepperpot, this is the method I have perfected over the years. I have definitely had the pepperpot right out the pot, immediately after it has finished cooking, but pepperpot is like fine wine, it gets better with age.
2. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry. All you have to do is cook the most time consuming meats first. So I would put the oxtail and cow heel to cook first. When they are half way cooked I would then add the beef and let everything slow cook until everything is falling off the bone soft. I would even venture to say, you could make pepperpot in a slow cooker. I don’t own one but if I did logic says, it would work just fine.
3. As with anything you cook, taste and adjust the seasoning along the way, some may need more salt or pepper to their taste.
4. Someone out there didn’t want you guys to get this recipe. I swear. While cooking some pepperpot pitch up in mah eye and almost blinded me. I almost left everything and went my way. Then while editing I got hit with a massive and crippling migraine. I feel terrible that I couldn’t get it to you guys sooner, but alas, here it is.

Happy Cooking All!

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Soup, Soup, Soup… Chicken and split peas soup

Guyanese Chicken and split peas soup

When it gets cold, all I can think of making  is a nice pot of warm and delicious soup. Soup is so comforting to me. One member of a Guyanese group I follow on Facebook, asked if anyone else had soup for dinner on Sundays while growing up in Guyana. The response was overwhelmingly “yes” and apparently soup on Sundays was/is a Guyanese culinary tradition. The similarities in the types of soup and the side dishes served with the soup were just heart warming. We have a strong food culture and it was still alive in some of the stories members of the group shared. I don’t reserve soup for Sunday night dinners. Actually, since it is football season Sunday nights are more chicken wings and pizza night! I have soup anytime I feel like it and this soup is a good base for many soup concoctions. To mix it up a bit, I just switch up some of the vegetables, add or take away dumplings (Guyanese style or Asian style), add some root vegetables and change the type of bread I serve it with. I swear, every time I make it, it’s a completely different soup. The ingredients are simple and so is the method, but it does take some time, to simmer it down into a thick mouth watering broth!

Now for the recipe…

Add 1 cup of yellow split peas, 1 tsp salt and 8 cups water to a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until split peas is tender.

Add 1 cup of yellow split peas, 1 tsp salt and 8 cups water to a large stock pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until split peas are tender.

Chop 1 lb of chicken thighs (skinless, bone-in) into 2 inch pieces. Dice 3 carrots, 2 sticks of celery hearts and red potatoes into 1 inch pieces.  Chop 1 onion and 6 cloves of garlic. Remove about 1/4 cup of fresh thyme leaves from the stems and reserve 1 whole wiri wiri pepper, or other spicy pepper (like scotch bonnet).  Add  all of the ingredients to the cooked split peas along with  3 chicken bouillon cubes and 8 cups of water (2 quarts).  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Let cook until potato and carrots are tender and a thick broth is formed.  Remove from heat and serve hot!

Chop 1 lb of chicken thighs (skinless, bone-in) into 2 inch pieces.
Dice 3 carrots, 2 sticks of celery hearts and red potatoes into 1 inch pieces.
Chop 1 onion and 6 cloves of garlic. Remove about 1/4 cup of fresh thyme leaves from the stems and reserve 1 whole wiri wiri pepper, or other spicy pepper (like scotch bonnet).
Add all of the ingredients to the cooked split peas along with 3 chicken bouillon cubes and 8 cups of water (2 quarts).

Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Let cook until potato and carrots are tender and a thick broth is formed. Remove from heat and serve hot!

Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
Let cook until potato and carrots are tender and a thick broth is formed.
Remove from heat and serve hot!

Serve with your favorite bread!

Serve with your favorite bread!


Chicken and Split Peas Soup (4 generous servings)

Ingredients:
1 cup of yellow split peas and about 8 cups water for cooking
2 lbs chicken thighs (skinless, bone-in)
1 lb potatoes
3 carrots
3 sticks of celery hearts, diced.
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic,finely chopped
1/4 cup of fresh thyme (stems removed)
1 wiri wiri pepper
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
8 additional cups of water for the broth.

Directions:
In a large stock pot combine split peas with 8 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until split peas is really tender (crushes easily with the back of a spoon). Cut chicken thighs into 2 inch chunks. Peel and dice potatoes and carrots into 1 inch pieces. Once the split peas are tender, add chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, pepper and bouillon cubes. Then, add about 8 cups of water. Stir until all the ingredients are combined. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender and a thick broth forms (about 30 to 45 minutes). Remove from heat and serve hot.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. This is like a chicken and vegetable soup with a split peas base or in a split peas broth. Maybe that’s what I should have titled this post, sounds more fancy actually!
2. You could add noodles instead of potatoes to this soup.
3. You could add plantains, cassava and sweet potatoes for a more hearty soup, and even a dumpling or two.
4. I sometimes let this soup cook down, until the potatoes have melted away for a really thick broth. It’s so yummy.
5. I cook the soup with the pepper whole, because it gives lots of flavor without the heat. I serve my husband the pepper, which he cuts open for a really spicy version of this soup!

Happy Cooking!

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Salara… Red (coconut) Cake

Salara (Guyanese Red Cake)

Most people call salara, red cake, because the coconut filling is dyed a bright red color. But this is far from a cake. If anything it is a coconut bread or coconut roll. None the less, it is really moist and the delicious red coconut filling is simply that, delicious. If you love coconut this is a recipe you must try. If you’re Guyanese and haven’t had red cake in a while, here’s your opportunity to make your own.

Before we get started I must say that it took me some time to perfect this recipe. This is not my original recipe, but a recipe taken from Caribbean Cuisine by Dr. Betty “K.” I’ve tried this recipe several times, the dough is always perfect but I couldn’t get the filling just right. First, it was not red enough, then it was too sweet, then, it was runny and too red. Finally, I nailed it and the hubby was pleased! Mainly because he wasn’t stuck with a roll of not so perfect salara that he was forced to eat. Ha ha.

So here you go, try it and let me know how it comes out!

For this recipe we will need to set 1 tbsp dry yeast with 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.  Mix together and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments.

For this recipe we will need to set 1 tbsp dry yeast with 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.
Mix together and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments.

While the yeast sets, combine 1 cup of warm milk, 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 eggs. Whisk together until the sugar melts.

While the yeast sets, prepare your wet ingredients by combining 1 cup of warm milk, 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 egg. Whisk together until the sugar melts.

Now for the dry ingredients: Mix together 3 cups of sieved flour with 1 tsp salt. I use a whisk to quickly mix everything together.

Now for the dry ingredients: Mix together 3 cups of sieved flour with 1 tsp salt. I use a whisk to quickly mix everything together.

Once the yeast ferments, combine the milk/butter/eggs mixture and yeast mixture in a mixing bowl with a dough hook attached. Then, mix in flour and salt mixture until a soft dough is formed.  Knead dough into a semi stiff ball.

Once the yeast ferments, combine the milk/butter/eggs mixture and yeast mixture in a mixing bowl with a dough hook attached.
Then, mix in flour and salt mixture until a soft dough is formed.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead dough into a semi stiff ball.

Place dough ball in a greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).

Place dough ball in a greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).

While you wait for the dough to prove (rise to double its size), prepare the coconut filling.  Add 3 cups of shredded coconut to a small mixing bowl.  Then, add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla essence.. Mix together.

While you wait for the dough to prove (rise to double its size), prepare the coconut filling.
Add 3 cups of shredded coconut to a small mixing bowl.
Then, add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence..
Mix together.

Next at 1 tbsp red food coloring to the coconut mixture. Mix together until all the coconut pieces are covered with the coloring.

Next add1 tbsp red food coloring to the coconut mixture.
Mix together until all the coconut pieces are covered with the coloring.

Once the dough is ready, place on a floured surface. Punch down and roll into a large rectangular shape.

Once the dough is ready, place on a floured surface. Punch down and roll into a large rectangular shape.

Then, brush the edges of the dough with egg white. This helps to seal the roll and prevents it from unfolding while baking.

Brush the edges of the dough with egg white. This helps to seal the roll and prevents it from unfolding while baking. Then add the coconut filling to the dough, spreading as evenly as possible.

What your dough should look like once covered with coconut filling. You should try to get dough as close to the edge as possible.

This is what your dough should look like once covered with coconut filling. You should try to get the filling as close to the edge as possible.

Let's roll this bad boy into a log! Roll the edge closest to you, up and away from you about 2 inches in, then brush with some egg white.

Let’s roll this bad boy into a log! Roll the edge closest to you, up and away from you about 2 inches in, then brush with some egg white.

Continue to roll until all the dough is rolled up into a log.

Continue to roll until all the dough is rolled up into a log.

Place in a greased baking pan or on a greased baking sheet and coat the top of the roll with whisked egg yolk.

Place in a greased baking pan or on a greased baking sheet and coat the top of the roll with whisked egg yolk. Let sit until it doubles in size (for about 30 to 40 minutes).

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Make a very simple syrup/glaze by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. Brush roll with the syrup. This gives salara the stickiness it is known to have.

Make a very simple syrup/glaze by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan.
Bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to boil for 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Brush roll with the syrup. This gives salara the stickiness it is known to have.

When somewhat cooled, slice it up and enjoy. Preferably with a glass of cream soda with milk!

When somewhat cooled, slice it up and enjoy. Preferably with a glass of cream soda with milk!

Salara (Red Coconut Cake) Makes 1 large roll.

Ingredients
1 tbsp dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 tbsp plus ¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1 egg, separated

Filling
3 cup shredded coconut (store bought, sweetened)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp red food coloring

Glaze
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Combine yeast and 1 tbsp sugar and dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let stand for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments. Warm the milk, then dissolve the sugar into the milk. Add the butter and 1 whole egg. Whisk together. Set aside. Sieve flour, add salt and mix together. Add fermented yeast and milk mixture a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add flour and salt mixture. Mix together to form a soft dough. Turn dough unto a floured work surface and knead into a moderately stiff ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, let rise to double in size for about 1 hour.

Combine all the filling ingredients and set aside.

Once dough ball has risen to twice its original size, turn unto a floured surface and punch down. Roll dough into a large rectangle and brush edges with egg white. Cover dough with coconut filling, spreading filling evenly and as close to the edges as possible. Roll dough lengthwise into a log. Seal edges. Place roll in a greased baking pan or sheet. Brush roll with whisked egg yolk, cover and let sit until it doubles in size. Bake at 350°F (190°C) for 20 – 30 minutes.

To make the glaze, combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 to 10 minutes then remove from the heat.

Once the salara is golden brown, remove from the oven and brush the top with the sugar glaze. Let cool, cut into slices and enjoy.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. The original recipe by Dr Betty “K” can be found on Guyana Outpost. I’ve modified it quite a bit but didn’t want to claim it as my own.
2. I’m using store bought, shredded coconut because I like the flavor of that one over fresh shredded coconut. If you are using fresh shredded coconut you will need to add about 1/4 cup of sugar to your filling.
3. The glaze is a simple syrup.
4. This makes a pretty huge roll, because the best salara’s I’ve had back home, are usually a large slice that can serve as a meal.

Happy Baking!

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Hearty Soups… Beef & Barley Soup

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It’s Fall and the weather is cooling down. We’ve even had snow already, in Denver! On really cold days, all I can think of is warm, delicious, hearty soups. Which means, I might actual make metemgee soon. Well, we’ll see how it comes out. Ha.

About this soup… I originally was in the mood for oxtail or cow heel soup on the coldest day we’ve had so far, but my pressure cooker is broken and boiling oxtail and cow heel can take forever. Then it came to me, why not just make beef soup. So I went to the supermarket to get some beef (I don’t keep beef frozen because I feel it gets a bit card board like when frozen for too long). At the supermarket they had these glorious beef rib bones, then I happened upon some leeks. It was clear that I had the beginnings of a delicious soup. When I got home I said let’s add some barley and make this a really hearty and filling meal. It was so delicious, that I was in a serious food coma when I was finished eating.

Here’s the recipe, try it for yourself on a cold fall night, it’s guaranteed to warm you up.

The main ingredients for this soup are…

1 lb Beef 1 lb of Beef Bones (I'm using Beef ribs) 1 cup of barley 3 Leeks 3 large carrots 2 large potatoes 1/2 cup of chopped celery 1/4 cup of fresh thyme 2 corn on the cob 8 cups of beef broth (or water) and an additional 4 cups of water 6 cloves of garlic 2 wiri wiri peppers or other hot pepper

1 lb Beef
1 lb of Beef Bones (I’m using Beef ribs)
1 cup of barley
3 Leeks
3 large carrots
2 large potatoes
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/4 cup of fresh thyme
2 corn on the cob
8 cups of beef broth (or water) and an additional 4 cups of water
6 cloves of garlic
2 wiri wiri peppers or other hot pepper

Before you start cooking, soak your barley in about 2 cups of boiling water.

Before you start cooking, soak your barley in about 2 cups of boiling water and set aside.

First you will need to prep the leeks for cooking. Cut off tough green stock of leeks and dice remaining white part into thin slices.  Add to a large bowl of water (I'm using my very clean sink!) Then separate the layers of leeks so that you can wash away the sand from each layer. Once I've washed all the layers, I use a large sieve to scoop them all up and drain the water.

Then, you will need to prep the leeks for cooking. Cut off the tough green stock from the leeks and cut the remaining white part into thin slices.
Add to a large bowl of water (I’m using my very clean sink!)
Then separate the layers of leeks so that you can wash away the sand from each layer. Once I’ve washed all the layers, I use a large sieve to scoop them all up and drain the water.

Next, in a large stock pot on medium heat, saute leeks with about 3 tbsp oil, until leeks are golden brown and soft. Add 1/2 tsp salt to help bring out the flavor of the leeks while they cook.

Next, in a large stock pot on medium heat, saute leeks with about 3 tbsp oil, until leeks are golden brown and soft. Add 1/2 tsp salt to help bring out the flavor of the leeks while they cook.

While the leeks are cooking, season your beef bones with fresh ground black pepper, and some salt (just about 1/4 tsp).

While the leeks are cooking, season your beef bones with fresh ground black pepper, and some salt (just about 1/4 tsp).

Cut your beef into 1 inch chunks and season with black pepper and salt as well.

Cut your beef into 2 inch chunks and season with black pepper and salt as well.

Once the leeks are soft and golden brown in color, add your beef bones and saute, turning once or twice until all the sides have a nice brown color. This helps to bring out the richness in the flavor of the bones.

Once the leeks are soft and golden brown in color, add your beef bones and saute, turning once or twice until all the sides have a nice brown color. This helps to bring out the richness in the flavor of the bones.

Next prep your corn. Peel corn and cut into 1 inch pieces (if you have a good knife and the corn is fresh, this will be pretty easy).

Next prep your corn. Peel corn and cut into 1 inch pieces (if you have a good knife and the corn is fresh, this will be pretty easy).

Chop the potatoes and carrots into small 1 inch cubes cubes.  Chop garlic and celery into chunks.  Remove thyme from stems.

Chop the potatoes and carrots into small 1 inch cubes cubes.
Chop garlic and celery into chunks.
Remove thyme from stems.

Once beef bones have browned for about 5 to 10 minutes, add beef and saute for another 3 minutes. Then add soaked barley (minus the water). Add remaining ingredients followed by beef broth.

Once beef bones have browned for about 5 to 10 minutes, add beef and saute for another 3 minutes.
Then add soaked barley (minus the water). Add remaining ingredients followed by beef broth and 1 tbsp brown sugar.

Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until barley is fully cooked. By the time the barley cooks everything else will be perfectly cooked.

Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until barley is fully cooked. By the time the barley cooks everything else will be perfectly cooked. You may need to add about 4 cups of water along the way, if soup becomes too thick before the barley cooks.

Once the barley cooks, most of the potatoes will melt away and help to form a thick, rich broth.

Once the barley cooks, most of the potatoes will melt away and help to form a thick, rich broth.

I served my soup with a slice of cheesy Texas Toast. It was really delicious.

I served my soup with a slice of cheesy Texas Toast. It was really delicious.

Beef and Barley Soup (Serves generous 6)

Ingredients
1 lb Beef (cut into 2 inch chunks)
1 lb of Beef Bones (I’m using Beef ribs)
1 cup of barley
2 cups of boiling water
3 leeks (washed and chopped into thin slices)
3 tbsp oil
3 large carrots (Diced into 1 inch chunks)
2 large potatoes (Diced into 1 inch chunks)
1/2 cup of chopped celery (chopped into 1 inch chunks)
1/4 cup of fresh thyme (leaves removed from stem)
2 corn on the cob (cut into 1 inch pieces)
8 cups of beef broth (or water) and an additional 4 cups of water
6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 wiri wiri peppers or other hot pepper (whole)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Soak barley in 2 cups of boiling water and set aside. In a large stock pot on medium heat, saute leeks in oil, until leeks are soft and brown. Add a pinch of salt to help bring out the flavor. Season beef bones with a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper then, add to leeks and continue to saute, stirring once or twice until bones are brown. Season beef with a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper, then add to stock pot. Continue to saute for about 3 minutes. Drain water from the barley and add to the leeks, bones and beef. Then add, corn, carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic, thyme, wiri wiri pepper, beef stock and brown sugar. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the barley is fully cooked. You may need to add about 4 cups of water along the way if the soup becomes too quick before the barley cooks. Once the barley is fully cooked and soft, remove from heat and serve hot.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. I used rib eye steak in my soup instead of stew beef, because I wanted the beef to be nice and fatty and tender. The marble in the steak provided that, but you can use stew beef and just let it simmer until the beef is really tender for the same effect.
2. Some people may choose to boil the barley before adding to the soup, I like to have the barley cook with the soup for added flavor.
3. My husband hates potatoes so I usually try to let the potato melt away and serve as a thickener in the soup. If you love potatoes you can choose to add them after the soup has been boiling for a while. This way, they will still be nice and chunky when the soup is done cooking.
4. I add the wiri wiri pepper whole to the soup for flavor then, cut it open at the end, once I’ve set aside some soup for my son.
5. I served some of this soup to my 15 month old son, who just said yum, yum, yum with every bite. :-)

Happy Cooking!

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Sunday Brunch… Cheese pies (Mini Quiches)

Guyanese Cheese Pie

Where did all the time go? It feels like ages since I last posted a recipe.

Here’s the run down on where I’ve been and what’s been going on. I decided to take the summer off from blogging. We went away on vacation and when we came back, I just couldn’t get myself back on a proper schedule that allowed time for blogging. People always asked, how do you find the time to blog with a baby? And I always said easy, I blog when he’s napping. Well, he doesn’t nap as often anymore and when he is napping there are so many other things to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been cooking and taking pics when I can, but I can’t seem to find the time to edit and post new recipes. Then, I decide to do a fitness challenge for the month of September. Thirty days of clean eating and working out! So cooking Guyanese food was not on the agenda. I just couldn’t cook and bake all that deliciousness and stick to my plan. So here I am, I made it through the 30 days, started the Insanity workout program and am finally figuring out time to blog. I have a back log of recipes, so check your emails often!

Now for this recipe. A subscriber and friend asked for this one. The last time I made cheese pies, before this time of course, I was in high school, making these pies in Home Economics. So I had to do some research for a recipe. I tried the basic quiche recipes on foodnetwork.com and even Googled some Guyanese cheese pie recipes, but none came close to what I consider the best cheese pie I’ve ever had, the cheese pie from Fogarty’s. I’m not sure if there’s is still the best, but it was good when I was growing up in Guyana. It had a distinct flavor and after 3 tries I nailed it!

For this simple recipe you will need Pastry Dough, cheddar cheese, eggs, milk,   bell peppers, mustard, scallions and a bit of hot pepper. I'm using Guyanese wiri wiri pepper.

For this simple recipe you will need Pastry Dough (about 1 lb), cheddar cheese (7 ounces, shredded), eggs (4), milk (1 cup), bell peppers (1 mini, finely diced), mustard (3 tbsp), scallions (2 heads finely chopped), 1 tbs granulated garlic and a bit of hot pepper. I’m using Guyanese wiri wiri pepper.

The first time I made these pies, I used a cheap, pre-shredded mild cheddar cheese and it was terrible. The cheese didn’t melt and the pies tasted awful. This time I used a really sharp Australian cheddar with a flavor similar to Anchor Cheddar. It was perfect.

Add 1 cups whole mild and 4 eggs to a measuring cup. Whisk in mustard and garlic powder and finely dice hot peppers.

Add 1 cups whole milk and 4 eggs to a measuring cup. Whisk in mustard and garlic powder and finely dice hot peppers.

Roll out pasty dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into circles large enough to fill a muffin pan. Grease a muffin pan with butter or cooking spray.  Line muffin pan with pastry dough.  Fill dough 1/2 way with shredded cheese, add milk until cheese is almost covered.  Then add diced bell peppers and scallions.  Top off with a bit more shredded cheese.

Roll out pasty dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into circles large enough to fill a muffin pan. Grease a muffin pan with butter or cooking spray.
Line muffin pan with pastry dough.
Fill dough 1/2 way with shredded cheese, then add diced bell peppers and scallions. Add milk until it covers cheese.
Top off with a bit more shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes. Mine had a bit of souffle action going on while backing because I over filled the cups.

Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes.
Mine had a bit of souffle action going on while backing because I over filled the cups.

See below for the pastry dough recipe.

Let cool after baking then enjoy!

Let cool after baking then enjoy!

Guyanese Cheese Pies (Makes 12)

Ingredients:
Crust
1 lb short crust pastry dough:
4 cups flours
1 cup vegetable shortening (1 stick)
1/4 cup butter
about 8 Tbsp ice cold water

Filling
1 cup whole milk
7 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs
3 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 mini red bell pepper (or 1/2 large bell pepper), finely chopped
2 heads of green scallions, finely chopped
1 wiri wiri pepper finely chopped
1 tsp granulated garlic

Directions:

Crust
Rub/cut/mix shortening and butter into flour until mixture forms a bread crumb like texture. Add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pinch mixture together to form a soft dough. Do not knead. Separate mixture into two and chill in the refrigerator for as least 1 hour. When chilled, use dough to make any Guyanese pastry combination.

Filling:
Combine milk, eggs, mustard, pepper and granulated garlic in a measuring cup. Whisk until completely mixed together.

Assembling:
Roll pastry dough out until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut into circles large enough to cover a cups in a muffin pan. Grease a muffin pan with butter or cooking spray, then line with pastry dough. Fill muffin pan with cheese until about 1/2 way up each cup. Then add a bit of scallions and bell peppers. Pour milk and egg mixture into cup, until is covers the cheese. Then top off with a bit more shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. Be sure to let your pastry dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before working with it.
2. I liked the rich flavor of mustard in these pies you can choose to add less mustard if you wish.

Happy Baking!

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Mexican Night… Fish tacos with mango salsa

Fish Tacos

In Denver there are many Mexican restaurants that serve up authentic Mexican meals for cheap. One of my favorite Mexican restaurants is Guadalajara on South Abilene in Aurora. Their food is delicious, the portions are huge and the price is just right. I love their fish tacos but the mayo sauce they add to it, is just too much sometimes. So I recreated the fish tacos with my own twist, of course. If you like fish tacos, then you will love this one.

I am using tilapia filets for my fish tacos.  Season about 6 tilapia filets with 1 packet of store bought taco seasoning. Any brand will do. Let marinade for 15 to 30 minutes.

I am using tilapia filets for my fish tacos.
Season about 6 tilapia filets with 1 packet of store bought taco seasoning. Any brand will do.
Let marinade for 15 to 30 minutes.

While the fish marinades, Chop 1 sweet white onion, 1 bell pepper, 6 cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of cilantro.

While the fish marinades, Chop 1 sweet white onion, 1 bell pepper, 6 cloves of garlic, about 1 cup of cilantro and 3 roma tomatoes (not shown).

Add 2 tbsp oil to a saute pan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onions and cook until soft and brown.  Add pepper, garlic and cilantro.

Add 2 tbsp oil to a saute pan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onions and cook until soft and brown.
Add tomatoes, peppers, garlic and about 1/2 of the cilantro.

Cook until peppers a bit soft but not mushy.

Cook until tomatoes are a bit soft but not mushy.

Add seasoned tilapia to the top of the cooked seasoning. Reduce heat, cover and let steam for about 5 minutes.

Add seasoned tilapia to the top of the cooked seasoning.
Reduce heat, cover and let steam for about 5 minutes.

After fish has steamed for about 5 minutes, flake fish and mix with seasoning.  Add the juice of 1 lime, a pinch of salt (if needed) and the remaining cilantro.  Mix together and continue to cook uncovered.

After fish has steamed for about 5 minutes, flake fish and mix with seasoning.
Add the juice of 1 lime, a pinch of salt (if needed) and the remaining cilantro.
Mix together and continue to cook uncovered for about 3 more minutes, then remove from heat.

For the mango salsa you will need.  1 firm yellow (1/2 ripe) mango. diced (about 2 cups of diced mangoes). 5 heads of green onions, finely chopped 1 roma tomato, diced 1/4 cup of cilantro The juice of 1/2 lime.  Add all the ingredients to a bowl, add a pinch of salt and some cayenne pepper and mix together.

For the mango salsa you will need.
1 firm yellow (1/2 ripe) mango, diced (about 2 cups of diced mangoes).
5  green onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup of cilantro
The juice of 1/2 lime.
Add all the ingredients to a bowl, add a pinch of salt and some chili powder and mix together.

I am using flour tortillas for my tacos.  Warm tortillas on a hot skillet, add fish, then top with mango salsa and some shredded cheddar cheese (if you like).

I am using flour tortillas for my tacos.
Warm tortillas on a hot skillet, add fish, then top with mango salsa and some shredded cheddar cheese (if you like).

Fish Tacos.

I served my tacos with Mexican rice and black beans. Continue reading for a quick recipe for both.

For a quick Mexican rice, I combine two cups of rice, and 4 cups of water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low and let simmer. When rice is 90% cooked, I mix in some fajita or taco seasoning and let it continue to simmer until rice is fully cooked. Easy, simple and a delicious side dish.

For a quick Mexican rice, I combined two cups of rice, and 4 cups of water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil on high heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low and let simmer.
When rice is 90% cooked, I mix in some fajita or taco seasoning and let it continue to simmer until rice is fully cooked. Easy, simple and a delicious side dish.

For the black beans, I used canned beans. Add beans with water to a small sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, cayenne pepper and cumin powder. Let simmer for about 5 to 20 minutes on medium heat. Then remove from heat and serve.

For the black beans, I used canned beans.
Add beans with water to a small sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, cayenne pepper and cumin powder. Let simmer for about 5 to 20 minutes on medium heat. Then remove from heat and serve.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos with mango salsa(Makes 8 generous tacos)

Ingredients:

6 Tilapia Filets
1 packet of Taco seasoning, or
[1 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp paprika]
1 red bell pepper (chopped into strips)
1 sweet onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp oil

Mango Salsa:
1 firm yellow mango (half-ripe, if you’re Guyanese)
5 green onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup cilantro leavee, finely chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
pinch of salt and chili powder

You will also need 8 small flour tortillas and about 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (if you like cheese on your fish tacos).

Directions:
Fish Tacos
Wash and season tilapia filets with pack of taco seasoning, or if ready to use taco seasoning is not available, season tilapia with cumin, chili pepper, oregano, paprika and about 2 tsp salt. Let marinade for 15 to 30 minutes. While fish marinades, warm oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and let cook until brown and soft. Then add garlic, tomatoes, peppers and 1/2 of cilantro. Let saute until tomatoes are soft but not mushy. Add tilapia filets to the top of the cooked seasoning (just let it rest on the cooked seasoning), reduce heat, cover and let steam for about 5 minutes. After about 5 minutes, flake fish and mix together with the peppers, onions and tomatoes. Add the remaining cilantro. Increase heat back to medium and cook uncovered for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Mango Salsa
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix together, then add salt and chili powder to taste.

Making the tacos

Warm tortillas on a skillet. Fold in half and stuff with fish. Top with mango salsa and cheese (if desire). Enjoy!

Tips and Ramblings:
1. This is a quick and easy recipe for fish tacos, if you can’t get prepackaged taco seasoning, don’t be discouraged, some cumin, chili powder and oregano usually gives you that Mexican taco flavor without too much of a fuss.
2. My husband likes to warm his tortillas in the toaster. He folds then in half and toasts them. When they are done, they are usually the perfect shape and really crunchy. Try this trick if you don’t have a skillet.
3. I like to mix it up and cook different / non Guyanese cuisine at least once a week. We have Mexican night, Italian night, Indian night, you get the idea….

Happy Cooking!

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Pholourie… fried split peas dough deliciousness!

Guyanese Pholourie

Before I even start this post, let me just give a shout out to all my new subscribers and all those that have also subscribed to my youtube channel (metemgeeblog). I am forever humbled by your willingness to check out and try my recipes! Also please check out this webpage gotoguyana.org. It is a tourism site that features everything you need to know if you want to visit Guyana. While you’re visiting the site, check out my article on Guyanese hospitality. I am sure many of you can identify with what I have to say. Love you all!!!!

Now for this pholourie (pah-lou-ry) recipe. At first I thought about putting this under quick and easy snacks, but making pholourie takes time and patience, but the end results are totally worth it. I kinda, sorta made this recipe up, but isn’t that the case with most of my recipes? My grandmother used to make the most delicious pholourie. She died before I became super interested in cooking, so I couldn’t get the recipe from her. My mom hardly ever makes pholourie and when I asked for a recipe it was something like this, two handfuls of flour, a dash of curry, a pinch of geera. I mean, seriously mom! So after many tries, more like failures I finally made pholourie that my husband was willing to eat! I’ve made it a couple of times now with consistent success so I felt confident to share. This pholourie is not dense. It has a light crunchy texture on the outside and soft dough on the inside. I’ve had some dense delicious pholourie in the past, and those are often made with yeast. My pholourie are made with baking powder.

Well let’s get cooking. Enjoy the video below!

 

 

I love my pholourie with mango sour. Yummy!

 

Guyanese Pholourie

Pholourie (Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup split peas
2 cups of boiling water
1/2 large onion or 1 small onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp geera
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 cups of oil for frying
1/2 and then 1 cup of water
Food processor or blender

Directions:
Add split peas and hot water to a small mixing bowl and let soak overnight. Once peas has doubled in size (after soaking overnight), drain water and rinse. In a food processor or blender, combine onion, garlic and rinsed, soaked split peas. Add 1/2 cup of water and blend/process until it form a smooth paste. Remove paste from the processor/blender and add to a large mixing bowl. Then add curry powder, geera and garam masala. Mix together thoroughly, adding an additional cup of water. Then add flour and baking powder. Continue to mix together until it forms a pancake-like batter. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before frying.

When ready to fry, add oil to a medium saucepan on high heat. Once oil is hot, spoon mixture (using a dinner spoon) and carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry for about 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a few sheet of paper towel to allow the excess oil to drain. Continue frying small batches until all the mixture has been fried. Serve with some mango sour or achar.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. Traditionally you fry the pholourie mixture by scooping it up in your hand and squeezing little drops, through the space created by your thumb and index finger. I wanted to demonstrate how dangerous this could be in the first part of the video and ironically burned my hands pretty badly while doing it. I thought about included that footage but decided against it. Using a spoon is much safer.
2. Spray the spoon with some cooking spray or dip it into some oil before you start scooping the mixture and it will help the mixture to just slide right off the spoon.
3. I know some of you may have different methods of making pholourie, don’t be afraid to share.

Happy Cooking!

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Vegetarian Side… Pok Choy with a bit of teriyaki sauce

Guyanese Style Pok Choy

I love vegetables. Simple with no meat or additives. Just seasoned right. Pok Choy or Bok Choy as it is commonly known to non Guyanese, is one of those vegetables that you don’t want to over cook, or over do (as we Guyanese say). It is best enjoyed in a simple flavorful dish, where you can truly taste the crunchiness of the leaves and deliciousness of the pok choy. The recipe below, is quick and simple and highlights the flavors of the pok choy.

Start with about 4 bundles of fresh pok choy.

Start with about 4 bundles of fresh pok choy.

Cut off the head (part holding leaves together), then wash the leaves individually to remove sand.  Be sure to wash white stalk thoroughly.  Then chop into small pieces.

Cut off the head (part holding leaves together), then wash the leaves individually to remove sand.
Be sure to wash the white stalk thoroughly.
Then chop into small pieces.

Then in a saute pan, cook 1/2 onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and 3 roma tomatoes (diced).  You can use about 2 tbsp olive oil to cook the onions, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft and onions are slightly brown.

In a saute pan, cook 1/2 onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and 3 roma tomatoes (diced).
You can use about 2 tbsp olive oil to cook the onions, garlic and tomatoes.
Cook until tomatoes are soft and onions are slightly brown. Add a bit of salt and pepper to increase flavor.

Add the pok choy and toss together.

Add the pok choy and toss together.

Then, add about 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce. The one I am using is by LeChoy and is actually a marinade and is not as sweet as some teriyaki sauce can be.

Then, add about 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce. The one I am using is by LeChoy and is actually a marinade and is not as sweet as some teriyaki sauces.

Add salt and pepper to taste, mix together and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste, mix together and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Serve with your favorite starch (roti or rice)!

I had mine with rice and fried fish.

I had mine with rice and fried fish.

Pok Choy with a bit of teriyaki sauce (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 bundles of pok choy
3 roma tomatoes (diced)
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
Cut head from pok choy bundles. Separate leaves and wash individually to remove sand and mud. Chop into small pieces and set aside. Add oil to a saute pan on medium heat. When hot, add onions, garlic and tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft and onions are brown. Add chopped pok choy. Toss together, then add teriyaki sauce and remaining salt and pepper. Mix together and cook for about 5 minutes, or until whites of the pok choy stems are a bit tender. Remove from the heat and enjoy with your favorite starch (rice or roti).

Tips and Ramblings:
1. Sometimes you are unfortunate to find Pok Choy that has more white that green on the stems. You will need to throw away or save for stir fry, most of the white part of the stem. You need to have a good balance between the white and green of the stem or the dish will taste watery and less flavorful.
2. I get my Pok Choy from the Asian markets. They seem to have them in a wide variety.
3. If you are using a really sweet teriyaki sauce you can reduce the amount to just about 2 tbsp.
4. If you don’t have teriyaki sauce but you have cassareep, you can use about 1 tbsp of cassareep and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. The flavors will net out to be just about the same.

Happy Cooking!

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Cheesecake… New York Style Strawberry Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake

I’ve made this cheesecake too many times to count. It’s an Emril Legassie recipe from FoodNetwork.com. It’s quick and easy (the mixing part that is, the baking and cooling takes time). The topping however, I created after several tries. Now I think it is just right. My husband loves cheesecake, it’s one of the first desserts I made after we got married and he’s been hooked on it ever since. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Add 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese to a stand mixer. Beat with a paddle attachment until cream cheese is light and fluffy.

Add 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese to a stand mixer. Beat with a paddle attachment until cream cheese is light and fluffy.

Add a cup of sugar to the cream cheese (1 tbsp at a time) and continue to beat on a low speed.

Add 1 cup of sugar to the cream cheese (1 tbsp at a time) and continue to beat on a low speed.

Add about 1 tbsp of orange zest and continue to mix on a low speed.

Add about 1 tbsp of orange zest and 1 tbsp lemon zest (not shown) and continue to mix on a low speed.

Add 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tbsp heavy cream, 2 tbsp flour (not shown) Then add four large eggs one at a time until incorporated into the mixture.

Add 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tbsp heavy cream, 2 tbsp flour (not shown)
Then add four large eggs one at a time until incorporated into the mixture.

At this point the filling is pretty much ready. Now for the crust. I tried the crust from Emril’s recipe but it always comes out crunchy, so I improvised and this one seems to work perfectly.

Add 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs to a mixing bowl.  Then combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of melted butter with the graham cracker crumbs.  Mix together to form of crumbly, some what wet consistency.

Add 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs to a mixing bowl.
Then combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of melted butter with the graham cracker crumbs.
Mix together to form a crumbly and some what wet consistency.

Grease the sides of a small spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Add graham cracker mixture to the pan.

Grease the sides of a small spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Add graham cracker mixture to the pan.

Using the back of a spoon, press graham cracker mixture firmly into bottom of pan and about 1/2 way up the sides.

Using the back of a spoon, press graham cracker mixture firmly into bottom of pan and about 1/2 way up the sides.

Pour batter into the graham cracker lined pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Pour batter into the graham cracker lined pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until cheesecake is firm but still jiggly in the center.

Remove from oven and let cool until cheesecake sets. This can take up to 6 hours.  Disclaimer: My husband likes his cheesecake dense so I like it bake until its a bit brown and the center is firm.

Remove from oven and let cool until cheesecake sets. This can take up to 6 hours.
Disclaimer: My husband likes his cheesecake dense so I let it bake until its a bit brown and the center is firm. This also reduces the setting time.

 

Now for the strawberry topping…

You will need about 1 1/2 lbs of fresh strawberries. Wash, remove stem and cut strawberries in halves.  Add 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Boil until all the sugar has evaporated.  Add the juice of 1 orange and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.  Add strawberries and cook for about 3 minutes. You want the strawberries to be cooked but not too soft.  Remove 1/2 the strawberries (enough to cover the top of the cheesecake) and let cool. Continue to boil the remaining strawberries until they are completely mushy. Remove from the heat, and using a hand blended or potato masher, crush the strawberries until a somewhat jam consistency is formed.  Return to the heat and cook down until sauce it thick and jam like.  Strain to remove the tiny strawberry pieces, leaving a lovely thick syrup.

You will need about 1 1/2 lbs of fresh strawberries. Wash, remove stem and cut strawberries in halves.
Add 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Boil until all the sugar has dissolved.
Add the juice of 1 orange and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
Add strawberries and cook for about 3 minutes. You want the strawberries to be cooked but not too soft.
Remove 1/2 the strawberries (enough to cover the top of the cheesecake) and let cool.
Continue to boil the remaining strawberries until they are completely mushy.
Remove from the heat, and using a hand blender or potato masher, crush the strawberries until a somewhat jam consistency is formed.
Return to the heat and cook down until sauce it thick and jam like.
Strain to remove the tiny strawberry pieces, leaving a lovely thick syrup.

This is the strained syrup.

This is the strained syrup.

Using the strawberries you had set aside to cool, cover the top of the cheesecake.

Using the strawberries you had set aside to cool, cover the top of the cheesecake.

Then pour the strawberry syrup over the the top of the cheesecake.  And there you have it. Strawberry cheesecake. Yummy!!!!

Then pour the strawberry syrup over the the top of the cheesecake.
And there you have it. Strawberry cheesecake. Yummy!!!!

New York Cheesecake

New York Style Strawberry Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust.

New York Style Strawberry Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust.

This recipe is taken from foodnetwork.com. Follow the recipe for the cheesecake only. My strawberry topping recipe will follow below.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/new-york-cheesecake-with-caramelized-big-apple-topping-recipe/index.html

Ingredients
Graham Cracker Crust:1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butterCheesecake Filling:

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Apple Topping:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about 4 apples)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and mix well. Using the back of a spoon, press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before filling.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, or with a large, heavy wooden spoon until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, and when well incorporated, add the flour, lemon peel, orange peel, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and heavy cream, beating on low speed just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven until set, but the center is still slightly soft (but not wobbly), about 55 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, loosen the outer ring, and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate the cake, loosely covered, for 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

To make the topping, in a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking until amber in color, 7 to 10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Add the butter, stir, and cook over low heat until the butter is melted and evenly incorporated. Add the apples and stir to coat with the caramel. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before topping the cheesecake.

Top the cheesecake with the caramelized apple topping and serve.

Strawberry Topping:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh strawberries
1 large orange (juiced)
1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
Wash strawberries. Then remove stems and cut into halves. Set aside. Combine water and sugar in a small stock pot on high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Then bring to a boil. Add orange juice and continue to boil for about 5 minutes. Add strawberries, and continue to boil for about 3 minutes, or until strawberries are cooked but not too soft. Remove 1/2 the strawberries, set aside and let cool. Continue to cook the other half, until really soft and mushy. Remove from heat. With a hand blender or potato masher, crush strawberries until a jam like consistency forms. Return to the heat and cook down until a thick sauce forms, for about 10 more minutes. You may need to stir constantly to prevent sticking. Strain strawberry sauce to remove chucks of strawberries, leaving a nice thick sauce. The strawberries you set aside before will be used to top the cheesecake followed by the sauce.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can make this recipe without the crust. Just remember to grease the pan and line all the way around with parchment to prevent the cheesecake from dripping out the sides of the spring form pan.
2. For a lighter, fluffier cheesecake, bake at 325 for about 110 minutes. This should also prevent it from getting as brown as mine did.
3. You can top your cheesecake with any kind of fruit. In fact I wish I lived in Guyana and had access to gooseberry cause gooseberry jam would probably make a great cheesecake topping, or even pineapple jam.
4. Sometimes my cheesecake cracks after or during cooling, I’m not quite sure why this happens or how to prevent. But it gets covered up with the topping. If any of you bakers out there know how to prevent this, do share.

Happy Baking!

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