Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Holi… with Parsad!

Guyanese Parsad

The first time I tried to make this lovely Indian sweet treat, I made it entirely from memory: scent and taste memory. My grandmother was Hindu and we got parsad at almost any Hindu holiday, festival or religious services. I remember the parsad always came in a brown paper bag with 1/2 of a small banana, a piece of water melon and some pomegranate seeds. These garnishes made the parsad even more delectable. I finally narrowed down the proportions for the parsad recipe and wanted to share with you lovely people. Now I must say that I googled Guyanese parsad before posting this and to my surprise the recipes I saw were completely different to mine. Am I making it the right way? Not sure but I remember my grandmother sort of making it this way. If I am wrong and you have a better recipe, don’t be afraid to share. We’re all learning together…

First I prepared the wet ingredients…

Bring 3 cups whole milk to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder, 1/4 tsp vanilla essence, 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of raisins (not pictured).Once sugar has dissolved reduce to a low heat.

Bring 3 cups whole milk to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder, 1/4 tsp vanilla essence, 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of raisins (not pictured).
Once sugar  dissolves reduce to a low heat.

Now for the flour…

Add two cups of flour to a large saute/frying pan on medium heat. Constantly turn the flour in the pan with a wooden spoon until the flour is evenly brown. This is called parching the flour.

Add two cups of flour to a large saute/frying pan on medium heat.
Constantly turn the flour in the pan with a wooden spoon until the flour is evenly brown. This is called parching the flour.

Bringing it together…

Add the milk and raisins the flour, once the flour reaches a warm brown color. Stir the flour and milk until the milk is completely mixed with the flour. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir until mixture becomes thick.

Add the milk and raisins the flour, once the flour reaches a warm brown color.
Stir the flour and milk until the milk is completely mixed with the flour. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir until mixture becomes thick.

Smooth out any lumps by using the back of your wooden spoon and pressing and pulling along the bottom of the pan.

Smooth out any lumps by using the back of your wooden spoon and pressing and pulling along the bottom of the pan.

Remove from the heat and enjoy!

Guyanese Parsad

Parsad

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup raisins

Directions:
Combine milk,sugar,butter, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract and raisins and bring to a boil on medium heat. Once sugar has completely dissolved reduce to low heat. In a sauce/frying pan, on medium heat, parch flour until lightly brown. Add milk and raisins to flour and mix until completely combined. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring mixture until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Tips and Ramblings:
1. This recipe was created through trial and error.
2. You could add cardamon or other spices to this sweet.
3. If you know a better way to make parsad, please feel free to share.

Happy Cooking!

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Sunday Brunch… Potatoes and Vegetables Gratin

Potato Gratin

This is a quick side dish, perfect for Easter brunch. It’s a classic potato gratin with a veggie twist. I’m not going to say too much on this post, still sick and battling a nasty cold. So while my head is in a fog, I’ll spare you guys any crazy stories.

For the dish….

First you will need about 1lb potatoes.Washed and sliced into 1/8 inch thickness.Layer in a sauce pan and cover with water. Cook until it is al dente (slightly hard).

First you will need about 1lb potatoes.
Washed and sliced into 1/8 inch thickness.
Layer in a large saute pan and cover with water and add 1 tsp salt.
Cook until it is al dente (slightly hard).

Once the potatoes cook, remove from heat but not from water.For the veggies I am using a bag of steamers by Bird's Eye, but you can use fresh cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. Just remember to steam them a bit before putting the dish together.

Once the potatoes cook, remove from heat but not from water.
For the veggies I am using a bag of steamers by Bird’s Eye, but you can use fresh cauliflower, carrots and broccoli.
Just remember to steam them a bit before putting the dish together.

For the sauce:Melt 1 tbsp butter in a saucepan on low heat. Add, 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp chopped onions, 1 tsp spicy brown mustard, 4 cups shredded cheese, 2 cups milk, 1 tsp parsley flakes and a pinch pf  fresh ground black pepper.Whisk together until cheese melts and forms a thick sauce.

For the sauce:
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a saucepan on low heat.
Add, 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp chopped onions, 1 tsp spicy brown mustard, 4 cups shredded cheese, 2 cups milk, 1 tsp parsley flakes and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper.
Whisk together until cheese melts and forms a thick sauce. Remove from heat and when cooled whisk in 2 whole eggs and set aside.

Layering the Gratin…

Grease a large baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Add a light layer of cheese sauce.Then add a layer of potatoes, followed by another layer of cheese sauce.

Grease a large baking dish with oil or cooking spray.
Add a light layer of cheese sauce.
Then add a layer of potatoes, followed by another layer of cheese sauce.

Add a layer of vegetables, then another layer of cheese.Finish with a second layer of potatoes and a final layer of cheese sauce.

Add a layer of vegetables, then another layer of cheese.
Finish with a second layer of potatoes and a final layer of cheese sauce.

Top with 1 cup shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 mins.

Top with 1 cup shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 mins.

I had mine with a side of oven roasted herb crusted chicken breast. Yummy.

I had mine with a side of oven roasted herb crusted chicken breast. Yummy.

Potatoes and Veggies Gratin (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1lb potatoes
1 packet Bird’s Eye Steamers (mixed veggies),
or
1 head of broccoli
1/2 head of cauliflower
3 Carrots
5 cups of shredded cheese (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley flakes
pinch of black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash potatoes and slice into 1/8 inch round slices. Layer slices in a large saute pan, cover with water, add 1 tsp salt and cook on medium heat. When potatoes are cooked but not too soft (al dente) remove from heat, but not water.
Prep veggies:
If you are using the steamers, follow instructions on the packet. If you are using fresh veggies. Steam veggies for 5 to 10 minutes. They should be cooked but not soft. Season with 1 tsp salt
Making the cheese sauce:
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add chopped onions, granulated garlic, mustard, parsley flakes and black pepper.
Add 4 cups cheese and milk. Whisk until cheese melts into a thick sauce. Let cool then whisk in eggs.
Layering the gratin:
Grease a large baking dish with cooking spray or oil. Add a thin layer of cheese sauce. Then add a layer of potatoes followed by a layer of cheese sauce. Then add a layer of veggies, followed by another layer of cheese sauce. Finally add a top layer of potatoes and a final layer of cheese sauce. Then top with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. If you want this to be more cheese, you can add 1/2 lb more cheese.
2. You can make the cheese on the top much thicker, but I wanted a more subtle cheese flavor.
3. You can make the sauce thicker by adding a tbsp of flour to the butter before adding the onions etc.

Happy Cooking!

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One a penny, two a penny… Hot Cross Buns!

Hot Cross Buns

This week was a long and trying one. My little one is sick with a nasty virus. And after trips to the ER and doctor’s office he’s finally getting better. Amidst all the craziness, I realized that when I am stressed, sad, frustrated, anxious… all I want to do is bake! So I made cross buns, a bit early so that you lovely people could get the recipe to try in time for Good Friday. This is a recipe I created last year, when I was pregnant and wanted cross buns. I don’t even think it was Easter. Anyway, I couldn’t stand the smell of currants so I used some fruits I had soaking in good ole Guyanese rum. Don’t worry, the rum cooks off in the baking process so no harm was done to my unborn. I loved the taste of the cross buns with the fruits that this year I nixed the currants again. I made these cross buns on Monday and today they are all gone… and it’s just me and hubby – who’s asking…”you’re making more for Good Friday, right?” Guess I have to.

Hot Cross Buns… There is no audio in this video (as usual).

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns (makes 12)

Ingredients:
1 pkt Active Dry Yeast (1tbsp)
1/4 cup & 1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup mixed fruits or currants or raisins
2 eggs
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup shortening or butter
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg white

Simple Syrup
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Place 1 tbsp sugar, yeast and warm water in small mixing bowl. Let stand until yeast ferments (about 5 minutes). Melt butter and add to warm milk. Then whisk in eggs. Add yeast and milk mixture to a stand mixer. Add mixed fruits and mix together on low speed. Sieve flour, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl.Increase mixer speed to medium (number 2 speed) and add flour mixture to the milk and yeast mixture about 1/2 cup at a time until all the flour is combined to form a soft dough. Remove dough from the mixer and knead, on a floured surface, into a tight ball. Place in a greased bowl and let rise until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour). When the dough has doubled in size, punch down, then divide into 12 equal pieces (reserving a small piece of dough for the crosses). Knead each piece into a small ball/bun/roll. Then roll out the reserved dough into thin strips. Use strips to form crosses on top of the buns. Place rolls in a greased baking pan and let sit until it doubles in size (30 to 45 mins). Brush rolls with egg white and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with Simple syrup (see below for recipe). Serve hot!

Simple Syrup:
Combine sugar, water and vanilla extract in a small saucepan on high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes then remove from heat.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. If you have a better recipe for hot cross buns, please feel free to share.
2. Some people use simple frosting to make the crosses on the buns. This is how my mom made it when I was little.
3. You can increase the cinnamon and nutmeg if you want a more spiced flavor.
4. There are a few typos in the video (sorry, trying to do this with a sick baby :-()

Happy Cooking!

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Shepherd’s Pie… with chicken and mixed potatoes.

Chicken Shepherd's pie

Today is St. Patrick’s day and though I didn’t really plan this, I’m sharing a shepherd’s pie recipe.I made shepherd’s pie for dinner one night this week because the purple potatoes I had bought from the Asian market had started to grow roots. I know, I know. I completely forgot them at the bottom of the pantry. So staring at them, I thought… what could I make with these, that’s quick and I could share on the blog, cause you know purple potatoes are fancy and interesting.

Then, I remembered that I had promised a subscriber that I would do my take on shepherd’s pie and well, this is how this whole chicken shepherd’s pie came about. I made the filling similar to how chicken pot pie is made, so you will see some similarities there. For anyone who is thinking how is this Guyanese? It’s not, but being a former British colony we do have a lot of English and some Irish influence. Okay, enough rambling on with the recipe.

Disclaimer: This is a chicken shepherd’s pie with loads of veggies, purple potatoes and taro root. It’s the snob of shepherd’s pie, if you think about it. I posted this disclaimer because when I told my hubby that I was making shepherd’s pie for dinner he must have envisioned the traditional shepherd’s pie with lamb or minced beef and potatoes. He did admit that this was way better (he’d better), but had a brief look of disappointment when I cut him his first slice of the pie and the chicken and vegetables tumbled onto his plate. For my vegetarian followers you can easily make this vegetarian, by leaving out the chicken and swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock. You could also had soy chunks or fried tofu to the sauce.

Let’s start by prepping the chicken…

I am using 2 large chicken breasts, about 1.5 lbs.Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.Then, season with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano and a pinch of cayenne powder.

I am using 2 large chicken breasts, about 1.5 lbs.
Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.
Then, season with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano and a pinch of cayenne powder.

While the chicken is marinating we’ll get the potatoes on the stove…

For the mash potatoes, you will need 1lb purple potatoes, 1lb taro root, 1lb white potatoes.Peel the purple potatoes and cut into small chunks (for quick boiling).

For the mash potatoes, you will need 1lb purple potatoes, 1lb taro root, 1lb white potatoes.
Peel the purple potatoes and cut into small chunks (for quick boiling).

Peel the taro root and white potatoes (not pictured) and cut into small cubes.

Peel the taro root and white potatoes (not pictured) and cut into small cubes.

Add potatoes and taro root to a small pot with water. The water should cover the potatoes. Cover pot and bring to a boil on high heat.Cook until all the potatoes are tender.

Add potatoes and taro root to a small pot with water and 1 tsp salt.
The water should cover the potatoes. Cover pot and bring to a boil on high heat.
Cook until all the potatoes are tender.

Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s start making the “filling…”

Saute chicken in a saute pan on high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil, for 5 minutes, or until chicken is slightly brown, but not cooked. This will seal in the juices and add a layer of flavor to the dish.

Saute chicken in a saute pan on high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil, for 5 minutes, or until chicken is slightly brown, but not cooked.
This will seal in the juices and add a layer of flavor to the dish.

In the same saute pan you used for the chicken, cook onions (1 diced) and bell peppers (2 diced). Once onions and peppers are soft, slowly stir in 1/3 cup of flour. Let flour cook for about 2 minutes.Then, stir in 2 cups of chicken broth.Cook on low heat until sauce become thick. This may happen immediately.

In the same saute pan you used for the chicken, cook onions (1 diced) and bell peppers (2 diced).
Once onions and peppers are soft, slowly stir in 1/3 cup of flour. Let flour cook for about 2 minutes.
Then, stir in 1/2 cup of sweet white wine and 2 cups of chicken broth.
Cook on low heat until sauce become thick. This may happen immediately.

Add 2 cups frozen vegetables (defrosted) Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat. If sauce becomes too thick after adding chicken and vegetables, feel free to add more chicken stock.

Add 2 cups frozen vegetables (defrosted) Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
If sauce becomes too thick after adding chicken and vegetables, feel free to add more chicken stock. Remove from heat and set aside.

And now for the creamed potatoes…

Once all of the potatoes are tender and can be easily crushed with a fork, remove from heat and drain excess water, reserving some of the water for mashing the potatoes. Using a fork or potato masher, crush potatoes, then add 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of Kraft mixed Italian cheese, 1/4 cup of milk. Mix together until potatoes are nice and creamy.

Once all of the potatoes are tender and can be easily crushed with a fork, remove from heat and drain excess water, reserving some of the water for mashing the potatoes.
Using a fork or potato masher, crush potatoes, then add 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of Kraft mixed Italian cheese, 1/4 cup of milk.
Mix together until potatoes are nice and creamy.

Bring the dish together…

Grease a deep baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Then add chicken and vegetables to the baking dish. Followed by the creamed potatoes.Use a fork to press the potatoes tightly down and also make a nice pattern for baking.Sprinkle with smoked paprika (not pictured).Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven with top is golden brown.

Grease a deep baking dish with oil or cooking spray.
Then add chicken and vegetables to the baking dish. Followed by the creamed potatoes.
Use a fork to press the potatoes tightly down and also make a nice pattern for baking.
Sprinkle with smoked paprika (not pictured).
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F.
Remove from oven when top is golden brown.

Chicken Shepherd’s pie

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs)
1 lb purple potatoes
1 lb taro root
1 lb white potatoes
1 large onion (diced)
1 green bell pepper (diced)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (defrosted)
1/2 cup sweet white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter or butter substitute
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mixed Italian cheeses (I’m using the Kraft brand made with 2% milk)
1/4 cup butter or butter substitute
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika (for seasoning the chicken)
About 1 tbsp smoked paprika (used as a garnish for baking)
2 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne powder
2 tbsp oil for sauteing chicken
1 tbsp oil or cooking spray for greasing baking dish

Directions:
Season the chicken and put the potatoes to boil:
Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch chunks and season with salt, cayenne pepper,oregano, garlic and 1 tsp smoked paprika. Let marinate for 15 to 30 minutes. Peel potatoes (purple, white and taro roots) and cut into small chunks for quick boiling. Add potatoes and 1 tsp salt to a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on medium to high heat. Let boil until all the potatoes are tender and can be easily crushed with a fork.

Making the sauce for the chicken and vegetables:
While potatoes are boiling saute seasoned chicken breast in a sauce/saute pan on high heat, using about 2 tbsp oil. When chicken becomes slightly brown but is not fully cooked, remove from heat and set aside. In the same sauce/saute pan used to cook the chicken add 1/3 cup butter. When butter melts, cook onions and and bell peppers until onions are soft. Then, slowly stir in flour. Let flour cook for 2 to 3 minutes then add 1/2 cup wine and 2 cups chicken stock. Cook until sauce becomes thick, but not too thick. Add mixed vegetables, followed by the sauteed chicken to the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bringing it together:
Preheat Oven to 350 F.

Once the potatoes are all soft, remove from heat and drain, reserving some of the excess water for mashing. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl and crush using a fork or a potato masher. Add cheese, milk, 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup of the reserved water to the potatoes and mix until potatoes are smooth and creamy.

Grease a deep baking dish (large to medium size).
Add chicken and vegetables to the dish, then top with the creamed potatoes. Use a fork to press down the potatoes so that they are tightly packed. Sprinkle top with smoked paprika and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from over with top is golden brown.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. Although it was easy to make this dish, it took me forever to put together this recipe. Must be the wine I’m drinking.
2. You could substitute chicken breast for boneless chicken thighs if you are a dark meat type of person.
3. I defrost my frozen vegetables by running them under some hot water.
4. I always cook with butter substitute, when ever you see butter listed. I use smart balance with flax.
5. Purple potatoes and taro root taste a lot like eddoes for my friends in Guyana, so I would just use eddoes instead of any of the potatoes I’ve used. Wish I had eddoes.
6. You don’t want to over cook the chicken breast before baking or it will become dry and taste like cardboard.
7. My pie wouldn’t get the golden color I wanted so after it cooked for 30 minutes. I put it in the broiler for 3 minutes and viola, it was nice and brown.

Happy Cooking!

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Bananas over Banana Bread… Banana Walnut Bread

Banana Bread

I got this recipe from foodnetwork.com, it is by M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger. The first couple of times I made this banana bread it came out quite dry. So I tweaked the recipe a little and added some more milk and walnuts. Now it’s perfectly moist and delicious. With banana bread, the riper the bananas the better. So if the banana is spotted and looking a little beat up, it’s perfect for banana bread.

What you’ll need…

Ingredients:1 cup granulated Sugar1/2 cup butter2 cups flour3 ripe bananas1/4 cup milk2 eggs1/4 cup chopped walnuts1 tsp ground cinnamon1 tsp baking powder (not pictured)1 tsp baking soda (not pictured)1 tsp salt (not pictured)

Ingredients: 1 cup granulated Sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 cups flour, 3 ripe bananas, 1/4 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder (not pictured), 1 tsp baking soda (not pictured), 1 tsp salt (not pictured)

 

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then let’s cream the butter and sugar.

Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of butter to a mixing bowl and cream until fluffy. This is not cake so you don't need to cream until all the sugar has melted. Then add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, until completely mixed into sugar and butter mixture.

Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of butter to a mixing bowl and cream until fluffy. This is not cake so you don’t need to cream until all the sugar has melted.
Then add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, until completely mixed into sugar and butter mixture.

 

Now let’s prepare the bananas…

Peel bananas and crush. I am using a potato masher, but you can also use a fork. Add 1/4 cup of milk to the bananas and mix together.

Peel bananas and crush. I am using a potato masher, but you can also use a fork.
Add 1/4 cup of milk to the bananas and mix together.

 

Now the dry ingredients…

Add 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp cinnamon powder (or ground cinnamon) to a small mixing bowl and mix together.

Add 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp cinnamon powder (or ground cinnamon) to a small mixing bowl and mix together.

 

Bringing it together…

Add banana mixture and chopped walnuts to sugar, eggs and butter mixture.Then, add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Mix together until it forms a thick batter. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. I lined the bottom of my pan with parchment paper.

Add banana mixture and chopped walnuts to sugar, eggs and butter mixture.
Then, add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Mix together until it forms a thick batter.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. I lined the bottom of my pan with parchment paper.

 

Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit…

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

 

Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 325 F.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix until completely incorporated into sugar and butter mixture. Crush bananas in a small mixing bowl and add milk. Set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon in another small mixing bowl and set aside.
Do not use the mixer for the next steps.
Add banana mixture and chopped walnuts to butter, sugar and eggs mixture. Using a wooden spoon mix thoroughly. Then add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time and mix until it forms a thick batter. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

Let cool, then remove from loaf pan and enjoy.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. Only use your mixer when creaming the butter and sugar. Trust me, the first couple of times I used it for everything and the banana bread was dry like cardboard.
2. Try not to crush your bananas into big chunks. Otherwise it will get black in the bread and look unappetizing.
3. I line the bottom of my loaf pan with parchment paper. It makes it easier to remove the bread from the pan after baking.
4. You can pour the batter into muffin tins for a banana walnut muffin.

Happy Cooking!

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Vegetarian Sides… Callaloo Cook-up!

Callaloo Cook up

In Guyana we call a variety of green leafy vegetables callaloo. It is similar in taste and structure to spinach. In this dish I am using spinach, since I am not lucky enough to find callaloo in Denver. This is a one pot, rice dish and is great with fish and fried ripe plantains or just by itself. It’s a great alternative to rice and beans or cook-up rice with peas and meat.

Now for the recipe…

We're going to season this dish with 2 tomatoes (diced), 1 large onion (diced), 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped), salt, pepper and dried thyme. To get the dish started, saute onion, garlic and tomatoes in about 2 tbsp oil on medium heat, in a large stock pot.

We’re going to season this dish with 2 tomatoes (diced), 1 large onion (diced), 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped), salt, pepper and dried thyme.
To get the dish started, saute onion, garlic and tomatoes in about 2 tbsp oil in a large stock pot on medium heat.

For the callaloo (in this case spinach):Wash 1 bundle of spinach and chop into large chunks

For the callaloo (in this case spinach):
Wash 1 bundle of spinach and chop into large chunks.

Add callaloo (in this case spinach) to sauteed tomatoes and onions.Then add 2 cups rice.Add 1 can coconut milk (about 2 cups) and 2 cups water.Then add salt, pepper, and dried thyme. I also added a wiri wiri pepper for flavor. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat.

Add callaloo (in this case spinach) to sauteed tomatoes and onions.
Then add 2 cups rice.
Add 1 can coconut milk (about 2 cups) and 2 cups water.
Then add salt, pepper, and dried thyme. I also added a wiri wiri pepper for flavor.
Cover and bring to a boil on high heat.

Once the rice comes to a boil, reduce to low heat and cook until all the liquid evaporates and rice cooks.

Once the rice comes to a boil, reduce to low heat and cook until all the liquid evaporates and rice cooks.

There you have it Callaloo Cook-up Rice. Yum. Pretty quick and easy.

 

Callaloo Cook-up Rice

Ingredients:

2 Roma Tomatoes (diced)
1 large onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 bundle of spinach (washed and chopped)
2 cups long grain rice
1 can coconut milk (about 2 cups)
2 cups water
1 tbsp dried thyme (preferably Guyanese thyme)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 wiri wiri or similar (e.g. scotch bonnet) pepper. Used whole for flavor.
About 2 tbsp oil for cooking onions, garlic and tomatoes.

Directions:
Saute onions, garlic and tomatoes with about 2 tbsp oil, in a large stock pot on medium heat. When tomatoes are soft, add spinach and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add rice, coconut milk and water. Add thyme, salt, black pepper and wiri wiri pepper. Stir together.Cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Once rice comes to a boil, reduce heat to low to medium and let simmer until rice cooks and all the water evaporates. Serve with your favorite protein and some fried ripe (sweet) plantains.


Tips and Ramblings:

1. This dish cooks in about 30 minutes, or as long as it will take for the rice to cook
2. At the end of the dish, I cut open the wiri wiri pepper for some mild heat
3. My husband wanted more heat and ate his with some good Guyanese pepper sauce
4. I served this dish with some pan fried tilapia and a nice green salad.

Happy Cooking!

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Vegetarian Sides… Pumpkin and Tomatoes

Guyanese pumpkin

I LOVE pumpkin. I could eat it every day, with every kind of protein or without anything protein at all. Pumpkin and roti is my comfort food. Throw in some dhal and I’m in heaven! Today I am featuring the first in a series of Guyanese vegetarian side dishes. Initially I thought about cooking seven curry and featuring that, but I couldn’t find katahar in Denver to save my life. So I am doing something a bit more simple. Now I know a lot of you will give me lots of grief about these next posts because you can probably already cook these dishes, but listen, I have non-Guyanese followers too.

This dish is quick and simple. It takes about 30 minutes to prep and cook.

I am using 1 1/2lbs pumpkin. Peeled, gutted (seeds and "guts") removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.To season this dish you will need: 3 Roma tomatoes sliced, a handful of plum tomatoes cut into halves, 1 large onion diced, 6 cloves garlic finely chopped, 1 wiri wiri pepper, 1 tsp dried thyme, about 2 tsp salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper..

I am using 1 1/2lbs pumpkin. Peeled, gutted (seeds and “guts” removed) and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
To season this dish you will need: of  garlic (finely chopped), 1 wiri wiri pepper, 1 tsp dried thyme, about 2 tsp salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

First, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Then cook onions, garlic and garlic until slightly brown. I also add the whole wiri wiri pepper  for flavor without the heat. Then add sliced roma tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.Add diced pumpkin, thyme, salt and black pepper.

First, in a large saute pan on medium heat, warm 2 tbsp oil. Then cook onions and garlic until slightly brown. I also add the whole wiri wiri pepper for flavor without the heat.
Then add sliced roma tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.
Add diced pumpkin, thyme, salt and black pepper.

Saute pumpkin for about 5 minutes, then add 1 to 2 cups of water. Cover and let simmer until pumpkin is fully cooked and soft (about 15 minutes)Then, add halved plum tomatoes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from heat. Serve with rice or roti and your favorite protein!

Saute pumpkin for about 5 minutes, then add 1 to 2 cups of water. Cover and let simmer until pumpkin is fully cooked and soft (about 15 minutes)
Then, add halved plum tomatoes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from heat. Serve with rice or roti and your favorite protein!

I’m having mine with dhal and roti. Yummy.

pumpkin and roti and dhal

Guyanese Style Pumpkin Stew (6 Servings)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs peeled and diced pumpkin
3 roma tomatoes (sliced)
1 large onion (diced)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
about 10 plum tomatoes (halved)
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 wiri wiri pepper for flavor (not heat)
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
Heat oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Add onions, garlic and wiri wiri pepper. Cook onions and garlic until brown. Add roma tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft. Add pumpkin, thyme, salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add 1 to 2 cups water. Cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until pumpkin is cooked and soft. Add plum tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can use butternut squash as a substitute for pumpkin if you are in the US and can’t find pumpkin. For this post I bought pumpkin from my local Asian market but I’ve often cooked butternut squash as a pumpkin substitute. You may need to add brown sugar and blend the butternut squash with a hand blended to give it a smooth texture but the flavors are very similar.
2. You can add chicken, beef, shrimp, lamb whatever protein you want to this dish. Most Guyanese prefer pumpkin and shrimp. I recently made pumpkin and salt fish. It was delicious.
3. If you want some heat in this dish. You can cut open the wiri wiri pepper at the end or chop it up in the beginning. I like the flavor of the pepper without the heat.

Happy Cooking!

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Winter Cure… Hearty Oxtail Soup

Oxtail Soup

With the frigid temperatures we’ve had all winter, I was craving something warm and hearty. Then my husband said, why not make some oxtail soup! Soup is generally pretty easy to make, and besides the time it takes to cook the oxtail, this one is no exception. Put everything in a pot and let it boil. Right?! Pretty simple. And that’s just what I did to create this flavorful winter cure.

For this soup you will need about 2 lbs of Oxtail. Cut as much fat from the oxtail as you can.Wash oxtail. Add to a pressure cooker with about 4 to 5 cups of water and 1 tsp salt.Pressure cook until tender (about 30 minutes).

For this soup you will need about 2 lbs of Oxtail.
Cut as much fat from the oxtail as you can.
Wash oxtail. Add to a pressure cooker with about 4 to 5 cups of water and 1 tsp salt.
Pressure cook until tender (about 30 minutes).

Peel and chop your root vegetables…

Here's a quick and easy way to peel yuca (cassava).1. First cut the root into manageable pieces.2. Make a lengthwise slit along the yuca.3. Slide your knife under the skin, along the slit and peel until all the skin is removed.

Here’s a quick and easy way to peel yuca (cassava).
1. First cut the root into manageable pieces.
2. Make a lengthwise slit along the yuca.
3. Slide your knife under the skin, along the slit and peel until all the skin is removed.

Now for the soup…

In a large stock pot, add the cooked oxtail, 3 corn on the cob (cut into halves), 1 cup of split peas, 2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp dried thyme, 5 cloves of garlic chopped, 1 large onion diced and about 6 cups of water . Let cook until peas is soft,Then, Add yuca (about 1lb). Cook for 10 minutes.Then, add 3 yellow plantain (peeled and cut into 2inch round pieces), 1 large sweet potato (diced into 1 inch pieces) and 1 bunch of fresh spinach. Let simmer until all the root vegetables have cooked. Serve and enjoy! It's that simple.

In a large stock pot, add the cooked oxtail and stock, 3 corn on the cob (cut into halves), 1 cup of split peas, 2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp dried thyme, 5 cloves of garlic chopped, 1 large onion diced, 2 wiri wiri peppers or 1 scotch bonnet (whole) and about 5 cups of water . Let cook until peas is soft,
Then, Add yuca (about 1lb diced into 2 inch pieces). Cook for 10 minutes.
Then, add 3 yellow plantain (peeled and cut into 2inch round pieces), 1 large sweet potato (diced into 1 inch pieces) and 1 bunch of fresh spinach.
Let simmer until all the root vegetables have cooked.
Serve and enjoy! It’s that simple.

Oxtail Soup

Oxtail and Vegetable Soup (6 Large Servings)

Ingredients:

2 lbs Oxtail
1 cup split peas
1 lb yuca/cassava (peeled and diced into 2 inch pieces)
3 corn on the cob (cut into halves)
1 large sweet potato (peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces)
3 yellow (ripe) plantains (cut into 2 inch rounds)
1 bunch of fresh spinach
1 large onion (diced)
5 cloves garlic (chopped)
3 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
2 wiri wiri peppers (1 scotch bonnet or cherry pepper)
about 10 cups of water (total)

Directions:

Trim as much fat from the oxtail as possible. Add oxtail and 1 tsp salt to a pressure cooker with 4 to 5 cups of water and cook for about 30 minutes or until oxtail is tender and falls off the bone. Add cooked oxtail, stock and about 4 cups of water to a large stock pot on medium heat. Add corn, split peas, onion, garlic, thyme, peppers and salt and cook until split peas is soft. Add yuca/cassava and cook for 10 minutes or until yuca/cassava is semi soft. Add remaining vegetables and simmer until all the vegetables have cooked and are tender.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. I made a large pot of soup and had in the refrigerator for a few days, eating it whenever I wanted to warm up. It was great!
2. This soup is not “healthy.” Oxtail is very fatty. But it is hearty. Go for a run, then enjoy a bowl.
3. If you are fortunate to live in a place where you have a good butcher and can get your oxtail from him/her, you can have him/her cut the oxtail into pieces for you. This makes cooking much easier and faster. My oxtail comes prepackaged in large chunks.
4. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook the oxtail on medium heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour and it should be just as tender.
5. Adding the peppers whole will give flavor without the heat. I usual cut open one of the pepper at the end for a little bit of heat.
6. If you have a different recipe for oxtail soup, don’t hesitate to share.

Happy Cooking!

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Pinwheel… Cheesy, Beefy Pinwheel!!!

Guyanese pinwheel

I remember a time in high school when my friends and I tricked the security guard into letting us go out for lunch (there was a period in high school when administration became super strict about who could go outside the gates during lunch time). We went to Arapaima (a local bakery) and bought the most delicious pinwheels for about GUY $60.00, (less than US $.50). They were meaty and pretty satisfying. Well on our way back to school we notices that the Headmistress was at the gate and we were definitely in trouble. These pinwheels took me right back to that day. They are meaty, cheesy and oh so delicious. It does take a bit of time to make the dough, but everything else after that is pretty simple. I forgot to glaze my dough with egg whites before baking (this helps it to have an even golden color), but none the less, it still came out pretty good. You should allow at least 2 hrs when making this recipe (the dough takes about an hour to rise).

First let’s prepare the wet ingredients. I am using rapid rising yeast, so the dough making step is a bit different from traditional dough making. If you are using regular yeast, add your yeast and sugar to a small mixing bowl, then add 1/4 cup warm water. Mix together and let sit until yeast ferments (about 10 mins). Then you will add the other wet ingredients to this, followed by the dry ingredients. If you have rapid rising yeast, follow my steps below to make the dough.

1. Warm 1 cup of milk until very hot.2. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of shortening.3. Add 1 egg and beat together. 4. Add to a mixer with a dough hook or to a large mixing bowl, if you don't have a mixer.

1. Warm 1 cup of milk until very hot.
2. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of shortening.
3. Add 1 egg and beat together.
4. Add to a mixer with a dough hook or to a large mixing bowl, if you don’t have a mixer.

Now for the dry ingredients…

Sieve 3 cups flour, then add 1 packet rapid rising yeast (about 1 tbsp).

Sieve 3 cups flour, then add 1 packet rapid rising yeast (about 1 tbsp). Add 1 tsp salt and mix together.

Bringing it together…

Add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time to the dry ingredients and knead together to form a soft dough. If using a mixer use mixer setting 1 for this step.

Add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time to the wet ingredients and knead together to form a soft dough. If using a mixer, use mixer setting 1 for this step. Once all the dry ingredients have been added, knead on a floured surface to form a smooth ball.

Add about 2 tbsp oil to a large mixing bowl. Coat dough with oil. Cover and let sit in warm place, until dough doubles in size. For about 1 hour.

Add about 2 tbsp oil to a large mixing bowl. Coat dough with oil. Cover and let sit in a warm place, until dough doubles in size. For about 1 hour.

Now lets prepare the filling…

You will need 1lb lean ground beef, 1/2 onion finely diced,  4 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp spicy brown mustard, 1 tbsp cassareep or soy sauce,  1 tsp dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and let marinade for about 30 mins. Then, add 1 tsp oil to a large skillet on medium heat. When oil is hot add marinated ground beef. Cook until beef is completely cook (about 10 mins). Then add about 4 tbsp ketchup. Mix together and let cool.

You will need 1lb lean ground beef, 1/2 onion finely diced, 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp spicy brown mustard, 1 tbsp cassareep or soy sauce, 1 tsp dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste and about 4 tbsp ketchup.
Mix together all the ingredients (except ketchup) and let marinade for about 30 mins.
Then, add 1 tsp oil to a large skillet on medium heat. When oil is hot add marinated ground beef. Cook until beef is completely cook (about 10 mins). Then add ketchup. Mix together and let cool. I usually do this step when the dough is rising.

Shred about 1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese and reserve.

Shred about 1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese and reserve.

Bringing it together…

1 hour later...

Once dough has doubled in size, punch down on a floured work surface. Then, using a rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.

Once dough has doubled in size, punch down on a floured work surface.
Then, using a rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.

1. Roll out dough.2. Add cooked and cooled ground beef to dough, spreading evenly and covering the entire surface.3. Add 3/4 of shredded cheese. 4. Roll to form a log.

1. Roll out dough.
2. Add cooked and cooled ground beef to dough, spreading evenly, covering the entire surface.
3. Add 3/4 of shredded cheese. Reserve 1/4 for garnish.
4. Roll to form a log. Sealing ends by pinching. Then brush log with egg whites.

Cut log into 1 inch pieces. This will yield about nine large pinwheels.Add ketchup to each pinwheel.Then, add the remaining cheese.Bake at 375 F for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Cut log into 1/2 inch pieces. This will yield about nine large pinwheels.
Add ketchup to each pinwheel.
Then, add the remaining cheese. Let sit for 30 mins.
Then, bake at 375 F for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy…

Pinwheel

Cheesy Beefy Pinwheels (makes 9 giant pinwheels)

Dough
Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 pkt fast active / rapid rising yeast (about 1 tbsp)
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg white

Filling:
1 lb lean ground (mince) beef
1/2 large onion (finely chopped)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cassareep or soy sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oil
About 4 tbsp ketchup for cooking beef and 9 tbsp for garnish.
1/2 lb shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Dough:
Warm milk. Add sugar, shortening and egg to warm milk and whisk together. Add wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer with a dough hook. In a separate mixing bowl sieve flour. Add yeast and salt to flour and mix together. Add dry ingredients 1 cup at a time to wet ingredients and mix together to form a soft dough. Place dough on a floured surface and knead together to form a smooth ball. Grease a large mixing bowl with about 2 tbsp oil. Place dough in greased bowl. Coat dough with oil from bowl. Cover dough and let sit until it doubles in size. For about an hour.

Filling:
Combine beef, onion, garlic, brown sugar, cassareep or soy sauce, thyme, mustard, and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix together and let marinade for about 30 minutes. Add oil to a large skillet on medium heat. When oil is hot add marinaded ground/mince beef. Cook until beef fully cooks, stirring constantly to ensure even cooking (about 10 mins). Add 4 tbsp ketchup. Mixing together, remove from heat and let cool.

Making the pinwheels:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Once dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl. Punch down dough on a floured surface, then using a rolling pin roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Spread cooked, cooled beef evenly onto dough. Add 3/4 of shredded cheese. Roll dough into a log. Seal ends by pinching them together. Brush log with egg white. Then cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Top with swirls of ketchup, then remaining shredded cheese. Let sit for about 30 minutes, then bake for 20 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. I got the recipe for the dough from the salara recipe from Caribbean Cuisine by Dr. Betty “K.” I was making Salara one day and realized it was going to be way too much salara for just hubby and I, so I split the dough in half and made pinwheels. I forgot that step when I was making these pinwheels, hence why these pinwheels were so gigantic. You can split your dough in half and make smaller pinwheels if you prefer.
2. Be sure to get the filling all the way to the edge of the dough so that the pinwheels can be really meaty.
3. Ketchup is the secret ingredient in these pinwheels. Similar to how it is the secret ingredient for meatloaf.
4. If you don’t brush the log with egg white, it will still bake and be brown, but the color may be uneven. I completely forgot this step when making my pinwheels.
5. Pinwheels are really fattening. It’s like having a giant cheeseburger. But they are hard to resist. I ate 2 of these bad boys (the two ends) as soon as mine were done.

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