I’ve got some ‘splaining to do…

Hi all. There’s no recipe in this post, but I feel like I owe you guys a quick explanation as to why you haven’t heard from me in a while. The truth is, I haven’t been managing my time very well. I’ve been choosing to take naps with my little one, cause I’m getting old and tired, instead of doing the things on my to do list. Okay, okay, let’s back up a bit cause I feel like y’all gotta hear me out before you start judging.

My little man turned one and we had a huge birthday party for him (picture collage at the end). Family and friends visited from out of town and stayed at my house. I planned, cooked and did everything for the event myself (with the help of my family and friends of course), with the exception of his magnificent cake. So after it was all said and done, I was pooped. I think I am still recovering, actually. Ha.

Did I tell y’all that my little guy is walking? Oh man, more like running and getting into all sorts of trouble. Between swim lessons (yes, y’all we’re training the next Michael Phelps – bows head, with sly smile), park trips, and daily walks I can’t even think about blogging. Not that I haven’t been cooking. I have. And taking pictures and editing. I just can’t seem to sit down to put them together. So today, instead of napping I am here typing up a few posts and hoping to get caught up.

A lot of you have requested recipes here and videos on youtube. As soon as I get back into some sort of schedule, I promise I’ll post a recipe per your request (of course, as long as I can find the ingredients).

I’m also schedule to be on an official family vacation for three weeks mid August, so there will definitely be a break in posts again. I’ll let you know when this happens and apologize in advance.

Finally, thank you all for subscribing to my blog. I feel so happy when I get a new subbie. Those of you on instagram check out my page @metemgeeblog, I post often there and sometimes share what I am making for dinner (things that don’t make it on the blog).

Now for the birthday pic….

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Sunday Brunch… Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

Who doesn’t like deviled eggs, or stuff eggs as most Guyanese call it? They are easy to make, delicious and a great quick hor d’oeuvre. I also think it’s perfect for Sunday Brunch! These deviled eggs have a twist, so be sure to keep reading.

First prepare 4 hard boiled eggs…

Add four eggs to 4 cups of water, in a small pot.  Please on high heat.  Bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 10 minutes.

Add four eggs to 4 cups of water, in a small pot.
Place on high heat.
Bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to a bowl with iced water. When completely cooled remove shells.

Remove shell from eggs. Then cut in half (lengthwise), and scoop out the yoke. Place yoke into a small bowl. Then, wash any remaining egg yoke from the white.

Cut eggs in halves (lengthwise), and scoop out the yolk. Place yolk into a small bowl.
Then, wash any remaining egg yolk from the white.

Combine egg yokes, fresh cracked black pepper, 1 tbsp butter, 2 tsp spicy brown mustard, 2 tbsp shredded Italian cheeses, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and mix into a smooth paste.

Combine egg yolks, fresh cracked black pepper, 1 tbsp butter, 2 tsp spicy brown mustard, 2 tbsp shredded Italian cheeses, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and mix into a smooth paste.

You can fill the whites by using a teaspoon measure, sprayed with a bit of cooking pray, then filled with the yoke stuffing.  Garnish with a piece of green onion cut on the diagonal and a tiny piece of hot pepper (I am using Guyanese wiri wiri pepper, you can use scotch bonnet or even jalepeno)

You can fill the whites by using a teaspoon measure, sprayed with a bit of cooking pray, then filled with the yolk stuffing.
Garnish with a piece of green onion cut on the diagonal and a tiny piece of hot pepper (I am using Guyanese wiri wiri pepper, you can use scotch bonnet or even jalapeno)

Or if you wanna be fancy…

Add the stuffing to a piping bag with a star tip.

Add the stuffing to a piping bag with a star tip.

Pipe into the egg whites, making sure to fill it completely.

Pipe into the egg whites, making sure to fill it completely.

Garnish with a piece of green onions and a small piece of hot pepper.

Garnish with a piece of green onions and a small piece of hot pepper.

 

Deviled/Stuffed Eggs (Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients:

4 Eggs (hard boiled)
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
2 tbsp Kraft Italian Blend Cheeses
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of cracked black pepper
Pinch of salt (optional, the cheeses are a bit salty)
1 blade of green onions, cut into 8 diagonal slices (garnish)
1/2 wiri wiri pepper cut into 8 tiny pieces (garnish)

Directions:
Divide hard boiled eggs in halves (lengthwise). Scoop out yolk and set aside. Wash whites and place on a serving plate/tray. Combine yolks, butter, brown mustard, cheese, cayenne pepper, black, pepper and a pinch of salt (if desired). Mix together until it forms a smooth paste. Using a teaspoon measure, scoop a teaspoon of the yolk mixture and stuff into the egg whites. Garnish with a slice of green onions and a piece of wiri wiri pepper.
You may also add the yolk mixture to a piping bag with a star tip. Then pipe the filling into the whites. Garnish same as above.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can substitute butter for Mayonnaise.
2. There are many different ways to make stuff eggs, this is just how I prefer mine.
3. As soon as I was finish taking the pictures for the blog post, these were devoured!

Happy Cooking!

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Sunday Brunch… Salt fish Cakes

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I love cakes, so when a good friend and subscriber asked if I had a recipe, I was too happy to pull this together. You can use any variety of salt fish for this recipe or even fresh fish. Just be sure to cook (bake or steam) before you make it into cakes. This dish is perfect for Sunday Brunch with biscuits or bakes or just by itself, as an appetizer for dinner parties.

First you will need some salt fish. I am using salted boneless and skinless Alaskan Pollock…

Soak the salt fish in boiling water and leave  overnight to remove some of the salt.

Soak the salt fish in boiling water and leave overnight to remove some of the salt.

Wash two red potatoes and dice into quarters and boil with skin on.

Wash two small red potatoes and dice into quarters and boil with skin on until tender. Then, remove skin and crush. Set aside and let cool.

Cook salt fish, by boiling in about 4 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain water, let cool and flake salt fish flesh, using a fork.

Cook salt fish, by boiling in about 4 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes.
Drain water, let cool and flake salt fish flesh, using a fork. You may also use clean hands to flake the flesh.

Add flaky salt fish to a small mixing bowl and add: 1. Crushed potatoes 2. 1 tbsp granulated garlic (garlic powder) 3. 1 tsp crushed dried thyme 4. 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 5. 3 heads of green onions finely chopped. 6. The juice of 1/2 a lime.

Add flaky salt fish to a small mixing bowl and add:
1. Crushed potatoes
2. 1 tbsp granulated garlic (garlic powder)
3. 1 tsp crushed dried thyme
4. 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5. 2 heads of green onions finely chopped.
6. The juice of 1/2 a lime.

Then add: 1. 1 large garlic clove (grated) 2. 1/4 large onion (grated) 4. 1 tsp spicy brown mustard and 1 tsp tomato paste 5. You may choose to add an egg for extra binding. Finally, mix it all together.

Then add:
1. 1 large garlic clove (grated)
2. 1/4 large onion (grated)
4. 1 tsp spicy brown mustard and 1 tsp tomato paste
5. You may choose to add an egg for extra binding.
Finally, mix it all together.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out 1/4 cup of the seasoned salt fish mixture.  Then, shape into a flat cake.  Make all of the cakes before you start cooking.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out 1/4 cup of the seasoned salt fish mixture.
Then, shape into a flat cake.
Make all of the cakes before you start cooking.

Add 1/4 cup of all purpose flour to 1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs.  Mix together then completely coat fish cake with bread crumbs and flour mixture.

Add 1/4 cup of all purpose flour to 1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs.
Mix together then completely coat fish cake with bread crumbs and flour mixture.

Add about 3 cups of oil to a frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add salt fish cakes.  Cook on one side until golden brown (about 4 minutes), then flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.

Add about 3 cups of oil to a frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add salt fish cakes.
Cook on one side until golden brown (about 4 minutes), then flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.

Place on a sheet of paper towel to allow some of the excess oil to drain. Then serve and enjoy!

Place on a sheet of paper towel to allow some of the excess oil to drain. Then serve and enjoy!

I served mine with a sauce made with Guyanese wiri wiri pepper sauce, a bit of mustard, vinegar and honey. It was AMAZING!

I served mine with a sauce made with Guyanese wiri wiri pepper sauce, a bit of mustard, vinegar and honey. It was AMAZING!


Salt Fish Cakes (Makes 5 to 6)


Ingredients:

1/2 lb salt fish
1/4 lb red potatoes
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
2 heads of green onions
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 large garlic (grated)
1/4 large onion (grated)
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup seasoned Italian Bread Crumbs
3 cups of oil for frying

Directions:
Soak salt fish in boiling water and leave overnight. Cook salt fish by boiling in about 3 cups of water for 30 minutes, in a medium pot on medium heat. Once cooked, let cool, then flake using a fork. Wash and dice potatoes (with skin on) into quarters. Boil potatoes until tender, then remove from heat and let cool. When cool, remove skin and crush. Add potatoes and salt fish to a small mixing bowl. Then add granulated garlic, thyme, cayenne powder, green onions, lime juice, grated garlic, grated onion, mustard and tomato paste. Mix together. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop 1/4 cup of fish mixture and form into flat a cake. Continue until all the cakes are made (about 5 or 6).

Then, mix together flour and bread crumbs. Coat cakes completely with bread crumbs mixture. Add oil to a frying pan on medium heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add fish cakes and cook on one side until golden brown. Then flip and cook on the other side until it is golder brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to allow some of the excess oil to drain. Serve them however you chose and enjoy!

Tips and Ramblings:
1. I use clean hands to flask the salt fish flesh because it makes it into really tiny flakes.
2. You can add an egg to the mixture for additional binding. I find that the potatoes are enough to pull it together without making it too stiff.
3. I served mine with a simple sauce I made by combining 1/8 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp Guyanese pepper sauce, 1 tsp mustard and 1 tbsp honey. I added a pinch of salt and mixed it together. It gave it a nice kick.

Happy Cooking.

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Vermicelli… Sweet Vermicelli Cake

Vermicelli cake

I went to my pantry on Sunday, looking for some noodles and came across a packet of champion vermicelli noodles. First I checked the expiration date… doesn’t expire until September. Jackpot!!! So I made vermicelli noodle cake. This is not a savory dish for those non Guyanese familiar with Vietnamese Vermicelli noodles or Pho. This is a sweet delicious noodle cake.  I didn’t have any raisins or maraschino cherries (traditionally what is added to this dish) but I didn’t let that stop me. I had a can of cherry pie filling, so I topped my vermicelli cake with that and it was so, good. Creativity is always welcome in my kitchen.

What the packaging for the noodles looks like.

What the packaging for the noodles looks like.

Now for the recipe…

First, combine 2 cans of evaporated milk and 1 can of condense milk into a medium sauce pan. Mix together until condense milk combines with evaporated milk. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil.

First, combine 2 cans of evaporated milk and 1 can of condense milk into a large sauce pan.
Mix together until condense milk combines with evaporated milk. Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla essence.  Place on high heat and bring to a boil. If you are adding raisins, currants or maraschino cherries you would add them to the milk just after it starts boiling.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in another sauce pan.  Break the noodles into 3 inch pieces. Add noodles to the melted butter. Parch noodles until brown (stirring as much as possible to ensure even parching).

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in another large saucepan.
Break the noodles into 3 inch pieces.
Add noodles to the melted butter.
Parch/toast noodles until brown (stirring as much as possible to ensure even parching/toasting).

Once the noodles parch, add to the pot with the milk mixture, or alternatively you can add the milk to the noodles.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook until noodles are soft.  You may need to add up to 2 cups of water to the noodles to prevent sticking.

Once the noodles parch, add to the pot with the milk mixture, or alternatively you can add the milk to the noodles.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook until noodles are soft.
You may need to add up to 2 cups of water to the noodles to prevent sticking.

When noodles have cooked and the liquids have thicken, but not completely evaporated, pour into a greased baking dish and let cool.

When noodles have cooked and the liquids have thickened, but not completely evaporated, pour into a greased baking dish and let cool.

As the noodles cool, they will form a thick cake. Once completely cool, cut into slices and enjoy. I topped mine with some cherries I had hoping to make cherry pie. Oh well. It was delicious.

As the noodles cool, they will form a thick cake. Once completely cool, cut into slices and enjoy. I topped mine with some cherries I had hoping to make cherry pie. It was delicious.

Vermicelli Cake (Serves 12)

Ingredients:

1 lb Guyanese style vermicelli noodles
1 can condensed milk
2 cans evaporated milk
(2 cups water)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 can cherry pie filling (optional topping)

Directions:
Combine condense milk and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Add ground cinnamon and essence. Stir until condense milk completely mixes with evaporated milk. Add to high heat and bring to a boil. Melt butter in another saucepan, on medium heat. Break noodles into 3 inch pieces. Add noodles to melted butter and parch/toast. Stir constantly to ensure noodles parch/toast evenly. Add parched/toasted noodles to pot with boiling milk. Reduce heat and let noodles simmer until fully cook. If necessary add up to 2 cups of water to prevent noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once noodles are completely soft and the milk mixture has thickened but not completely evaporated, add to a greased baking pan and let cool. When completely cooled, cut into squares. I topped mine with some cherry pie filling. It was so deliciously refreshing.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. I know someone reading this will say, where are the cherries and the raisins, but hey I promise it didn’t need it.
2. Be careful when you are cooking the noodles, the milk mixtures evaporates really quickly if the heat is too high and you will have al dente (slightly hard noodles). For this cake you need the noodles to be fully cooked almost to the point of being over cooked.

Happy Cooking!

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Roti, Roti… Sada Roti

Sada Roti

When I was growing up in Guyana, my mom made sada roti often. Sometimes she stuffed the roti with sugar and made sugar rotis. These were so delicious, especially when the melted sugar ran down your hands.  Sada Roti is quick and easy and doesn’t require some of the steps, patience or skills of paratha roti. Sada roti is very similar to the roti my Bengali cousin (in-law) makes when she has us over for dinner. Her’s is a bit thinner and made with some type of whole wheat flour, but it is equally delicious. You can follow the video for making paratha roti (see recipe list for the paratha roti post), to see the first steps to make this dough.

In a large mixing bowl, add 4 coups of flour, 3 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt.  Mix together, then form a well in the center of the ingredients.  Add 1 1/4 cups of water.  Mix together to form a soft dough. Cover with a damp paper towel and let sit for 1/2 hour.

In a large mixing bowl, add 4 cups of flour, 3 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt.
Mix together, then form a well in the center of the ingredients.
Add 1 3/4 cups of water.
Mix together to form a soft dough.
Cover with a damp paper towel and let sit for 1/2 hour.

After dough sits for about 1/2 hour, separate into 8 equal pieces. Knead each piece into a smooth round dough ball.  Cover with a damp paper towel and let sit for an additional 1/2 hour.

1. After dough sits for about 1/2 hour: 2. separate into 8 equal pieces. 3.Knead each piece into a smooth round dough ball.
4.Cover with a damp paper towel and let sit for an additional 1/2 hour.

Roll each dough ball into a small round disk. I made mine, just about the size of my palm.  Since I was cooking these outside on the grill, I rolled them all out and placed them on a bread board.  Note: if you are going to do this, be sure to put pieces of parchment paper between each layer. Mine were completely stuck together when I was ready to cook them.

Roll each dough ball into a small round disk. I made mine, just about the size of my palm.
Since I was cooking these outside on the grill, I rolled them all out and placed them on a bread board.
Note: if you are going to do this, be sure to put pieces of parchment paper between each layer. My rotis were completely stuck together when I was ready to cook them.

Place a cast iron skillet on medium heat. I placed mine on the burner side of my grill. When the skillet is warm, place a rolled out roti onto the skillet. When small air pockets form on the roti, flip over to the other side.  When large air pockets form, remove roti from skillet and put directly onto the flame.  Roti will rise into a round ball.  Once roti forms a ball remove and place in a dish towel (to keep warm). Continue steps until you've cooked all of the rotis.

Place a cast iron skillet on medium heat. I placed mine on the burner side of my grill.
When the skillet is warm, place a rolled out roti onto the skillet.
Cook until small air pockets form on the roti, then flip over to the other side.
When large air pockets form, remove roti from skillet and put directly onto the flame.
Roti will swell into a round ball.
Once roti forms a ball remove and place in a dish towel (to keep warm).
Continue steps until you’ve cooked all of the rotis.

You can see the grill lines in my rotis. They were so delicious.

You can see the grill lines in my rotis. They were so delicious.


Sada Roti (Makes 8)


Ingredients:

4 cups of all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups of

Directions:
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix ingredients together. Then form a well in the center of the ingredients. Add water and mix together to form a soft dough. Let sit covered for at least 30 minutes. Then separate into 8 equal pieces and knead into smooth balls. Let sit for another 30 minutes. Then roll into flat disks about 8 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Warm a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add a rolled out roti disk and cook until small air pockets appear. Then flip to the other side. Cook until large air pockets appear. Then remove from the skillet and lace directly onto the open flame. Cook until roti swells into a round ball. Remove from heat and place in a dish towel to keep warm. Continue steps for cooking until all the rotis are cooked.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. You can choose to leave your roti on the cast iron skillet until it swells into a ball. That’s how my mom makes it and it’s just as delicious.
2. The longer you let the dough sit, the softer the roti will be.
3. Extra rotis can be placed in the refrigerator. Cover with a paper towel when reheating in the microwave.

Happy Cooking!

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Baigan Choka… Roasted Eggplant

Baigan Choka

I don’t have a gas cook top / stove / burner. My cook top and oven are electric. Which means there’s no flame for roasting peppers or tomatoes or other vegetables, especially eggplant for baigan Choka. I LOVE baigan choka. In fact, I love eggplant, period. Since I don’t have a way to cook it during the winter months, I can’t wait for summer when we fire up our grill and start cooking outside. These past few weeks we’ve cooked all our meals on the grill. No joke! Which means my house is free of food smells (if you know me, you know I have a slight OCD about food smells. Ha).But it also means that I made baigan choka!!! One of my viewers and good friends asked me a while back to share my baigan choka recipe so here goes. It’s really simple and the hardest part is roasting the eggplant to perfection.

For this recipe you need 4 simple ingredients: Eggplant (I'm using two fairly large eggplants), 1 large tomato, about 4 cloves of garlic and about 5 heads of green onions (not pictured)

For this recipe you need 4 simple ingredients: Eggplant (I’m using two fairly large eggplants), 1 large tomato, about 4 cloves of garlic, half a wiri wiri pepper and about 5 heads of green onions (not pictured)

Wash the eggplant and tomatoes.  Then, make 2 inch slits (with a knife), lengthwise along the entire eggplant.  Peel the garlic cloves and cut in halves. Insert haves into a few of the slits in the eggplant.

Wash the eggplant and tomatoes.
Then, make 2 inch slits (with a knife), lengthwise along the entire eggplant.
Peel the garlic cloves and cut in halves. Insert garlic halves into a few of the slits in the eggplant.

I placed the eggplant and tomatoes and the rest of the garlic on the grill to roast. You can also roast your garlic this way for the choka, but I was making a dish for dinner that required roasted garlic, so I was killing two birds with one stone.

I placed the eggplant and tomatoes and the rest of the garlic on the grill to roast. You can also roast your garlic this way for the choka, but I was making a dish for dinner that required roasted garlic, so I was killing two birds with one stone.

After a while the eggplant wasn't getting the char I needed so I moved it to the burner of the grill.  If you are making this at home, you can put directly on the flame on your stove. Juices will leak from the eggplant and that can be very messy so be careful. Once one side of the eggplant becomes charred (roasted), turn on the other side and continue to roast.  At home, you can place the tomato on a fork and roast over the open flame as well.

After a while the eggplant wasn’t getting the char I needed so I moved it to the burner of the grill.
If you are making this at home, you can put directly on the flame on your stove. Juices will leak from the eggplant and that can be very messy so be careful.
Once one side of the eggplant becomes charred (roasted), turn on the other side and continue to roast.
At home, you can place the tomato on a fork and roast over the open flame as well.

What the ingredients looked like after 30 minutes of roasting on an open flame

What the ingredients looked like after 30 minutes of roasting on an open flame.

Let the eggplant cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. You want it too cold, but cool enough so you can work with it.  Insert a knife under the skin and pull skin towards you to create an opening or access to the flesh.

Let the eggplant cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. You don’t want it too cold, but cool enough so you can work with it.
Insert a knife under the skin and pull skin towards you to create an opening or access to the flesh.

Use a fork to scoop out the fleshy parts of the eggplant from the charred skin.

Use a fork to scoop out the fleshy parts of the eggplant from the charred skin.

Finely dice green onions and 1/2 of a wiri wiri pepper (you can use scotch bonnet peppers if you don't have wiri wiri peppers).  Saute in a small sauce pan with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, on medium heat.  The olive oil gives it a great flavor.

Finely dice green onions and 1/2 of a wiri wiri pepper (you can use scotch bonnet peppers if you don’t have wiri wiri peppers).
Saute in a small sauce pan with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, on medium heat.
The olive oil gives it a great flavor.

Place the fleshy parts of the eggplant that you removed from the charred skin, and the roasted garlic, in a plate or serving dish.  Then, remove the skin from the tomato. Add the tomato to the eggplant and garlic. Using a fork, crush tomato and garlic and mix together with the eggplant.  Finally, add the green onions, pepper and salt to taste (about 1 tsp).  Mix together and serve hot with your favorite type roti. I had mine with sada roti.

Place the fleshy parts of the eggplant that you removed from the charred skin, and the roasted garlic, in a plate or serving dish.
Then, remove the skin from the tomato.
Add the tomato to the eggplant and garlic. Using a fork, crush tomato and garlic and mix together with the eggplant.
Finally, add the green onions, pepper and salt to taste (about 1 tsp).
Mix together and serve hot with your favorite type of roti. I had mine with sada roti (recipe to follow).

 

Baigan Choka / Roasted Eggplant (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 large eggplants
1 large tomato
4 cloves garlic
5 heads green onion
1/2 wiri wiri pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Wash eggplants and tomato. Using a knife, make 2 inch slits lengthwise along each eggplant. Peel garlic cloves and cut into halves. Stuff halves into a few of the slits along the eggplants. Add to an open flame and roast for about 30 minutes or until the eggplants are completely charred and soft. Rotate eggplant so that all sides are roasted evenly. Roast tomato on an open flame until the skin is charred and easily removes from the flesh. Finely chop the green onions and pepper. Add oil to a small saute pan on medium heat. Add green onions and peppers and saute for about 3 minutes.
When eggplants are completely roasted, remove charred skin and scoop fleshy part and roasted garlic out with a fork. Add eggplant to a serving dish. Then, remove skin from roasted tomato. Add tomato to the eggplant and roasted garlic and crush with a fork. Add green onions, pepper and salt. Mix together and enjoy.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can choose not to cook the green onions and add them raw. It gives it a nice crunchy taste.
2. The tomato I used had a lot of water. So it made my baigan choka a bit watery. It also had a sour/tangy taste which also affect the taste of the choka, so choose your tomato wisely. Roma tomatoes or vine ripen tomatoes might have been a better choice.

Happy Roasting!

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Pone… Cassava and Coconut Pone

Cassava Pone

Last weekend, I picked up about 2 lbs of cassava (yuca) from H-Mart (Asian supermarket). My intentions were to make cassava ball and maybe try making some metemgee (I know, I know… the metemgee recipe is long overdue). I started peeling the cassava and started thinking about cassava pone. Once I mentioned it to my hubby and mother-in-law, I knew I would be making pone.

If I had to describe pone, I would say that it is like a crustless pie or a soft, flourless sweet bread. When I googled pone, I found out that it originally referred to a Native American dish of flat cornmeal cakes baked in ashes. I started to wonder if pone is an Amerindian (Indigenous Guyanese) dish and whether it originated from similar beginnings! Perhaps they substituted cornmeal for cassava because cassava grows in abundance in Guyana. I’ll keep digging. Someone, somewhere has to have a story to tell about how we started making pone (smile).

Now for this quick and easy pone recipe. I promise it’s really simple, but it takes about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to bake so allow yourself time for that.

For this recipe I'm using 1lb cassava (peeled and cubed) and 2 cups of shredded coconut.

For this recipe I’m using 1lb cassava (peeled and cubed) and 2 cups of shredded coconut.

I ground/processed the cassava in a food processor until it was a fine paste-like consistency.

I ground/processed the cassava in a food processor until it was a fine paste-like consistency. Traditionally you would grate the cassava with the fine side of a grater. Thank God for modern technology!

I am using store bought coconut flakes so I processed that in the food processor until it was really fine.

I am using store bought coconut flakes so I processed that in the food processor until it was really fine.

Combine the processed cassava and coconut in a mixing bow. Then add, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, about 1 tbsp grated nutmeg, 2tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Mix together well.  Then add 1/4 cup of water until it form a soft batter.

Combine the processed cassava and coconut in a mixing bow.
Then add, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp grated nutmeg, 2tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Mix together well, then add 1/4 cup of water until it form a soft batter.

Place mixture into a greased baking pan. Make sure mixture is no more than 1 inch thick.

Place mixture into a greased baking pan. Make sure mixture is no more than 1 inch thick.

When pone is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

When pone is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

When cool cut into squares and enjoy.

Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy.

Stacked squares of Cassava Pone

Stacked squares of Cassava Pone

Cassava and Coconut Pone* (Makes 9 servings)

Ingredients:
1 lb cassava (peeled and diced)
2 cups of shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add cassava to a food processor and process until it forms a fine paste-like consistency. Then, process coconut flakes in the food processor until fine. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cassava, coconut, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, all spice and vanilla essence. Mix together, then add water. Continue to mix until a soft batter is formed. Place batter into a greased baking dish (batter should be no more that 1 inch thick) and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until pone is golden brown in color. Remove from oven and let cool. Once pone cools, cut into 9 squares. Enjoy with some mauby, sorrel or ginger beer.

*Recipe a modified version of the Cassava pone recipe found in Caribbean Cuisine by Dr. Betty “K.”

Tips and Ramblings:
1. If you don’t have a food processor feel free to grate your cassava. Just don’t cut it into cubes first.
2. I rarely get fresh coconuts where I live so I have to improvise.
3. Originally I thought the pan was too big for the pone I was making but the pone was about 1/2 inch in thickness and had the right about of crunch to it. Next time I will try putting it into a loaf pan.
4. These were devoured the minute I was done taking the pictures and they were so delicious.

If you try a recipe, leave and message and let me know how it came out. Also let me know if you added or took away anything, maybe I can try it your way! Follow me on instagram @metemgeeblog or check out my youtube metemgeeblog.

And as always,
Happy Cooking!

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Vegetarian Side Dish… Katahar Curry

Katahar Curry

Katahar is a relative to the Jack Fruit family. In fact, many mistake it for jack fruit. The young/green katahar is usually cooked in a coconut curry broth. The mature/ripe katahar is used only for its seeds, that are boiled and eaten as a nutty, meaty snack.

Before I made this dish, I hadn’t eaten katahar in over 13 years. Every time I visited Guyana it was not in season. When I lived in New York, I rarely longed for Guyanese food because it was so readily available. A few weeks ago while visiting my mom, we went shopping in little Guyana and what did I see on a vegetable stand on Liberty Avenue? Katahar of course. So I bought two katahar/s, packed them in my suitcase and brought them to Denver.

I should state as a disclaimer that katahar is quite time consuming to cook, from peeling, to the actually cooking, it takes like 2 to 3 hours, if you’re lucky. So I let the katahar sit in my refrigerator for almost 3 weeks, putting off cooking it every time I saw it in the fridge. Sadly, when I finally decided to cook it, one of them was completely rotten and the other one was salvageable but a bit brown.

 

Now for this dish…

First, you will need to peel off the tough green skin from the Katahar. Then, separate the "flesh" from the seeds/nuts. Next, you must remove the outer shell from the seeds. Finally, I shredded the flesh in to tiny strips and cut the seeds/nuts into halves.

First, you will need to peel off the tough green skin from the Katahar.
Then, separate the “flesh” from the seeds/nuts.
Next, you must remove the outer shell from the seeds.
Finally, I shredded the flesh into tiny strips and cut the seeds/nuts into halves.

Now for the curry…

Prepare a curry paste I added 1 onion, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp water to the food processor and blended until finely chopped.  Then, I combined 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin), 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp curry powder, and 1 tsp salt. Mixed it together to form a curry paste.

Prepare a curry paste!
I added 1 onion, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp water to the food processor and blended until finely chopped.
Then, I combined 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin), 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp curry powder, and 1 tsp salt.
I mixed it together to form a curry paste.

Cook curry paste in a pressure cooker on medium heat, with about 3 tbsp of oil.

Cook curry paste in a pressure cooker (without the lid on, just like you would a sauce pot) on medium heat, with about 3 tbsp of oil.

When most of the liquids have evaporated from the paste and the curry almost brown in color, add the katahar.

When most of the liquids have evaporated from the paste and the curry is almost brown in color, add the katahar.

Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook until flesh and nut are tender (melts in your mouth tender).

Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook until flesh and nut are tender (melts in your mouth tender).

Once the katahar cooks, add 2 cups coconut milk and reduce heat. Let simmer (without pressure lid on) until broth thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the katahar cooks, add 2 cups coconut milk and salt to taste. Then, reduce heat. Let simmer (without pressure lid on) until broth thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Katahar curry is best enjoyed with white rice!

Katahar curry is best enjoyed with white rice!

Katahar Curry (Makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:
1 medium katahar (peeled and prepared)
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp geera
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
2 cups coconut milk
5 cups water (for pressure cooking)

Directions:
Peel and separate katahar flesh and nuts/seeds. Peel nuts and cut into halves. Shred flesh into tiny strips.
Prepare a curry paste by combining onion and garlic in a food processor with about 2 tbsp water. Add curry powder, granulated garlic, geera, salt and garam masala to processed onion and garlic. Add oil to a pressure cooker on medium heat, with lid off. When oil is hot, add curry paste. Saute curry paste until the liquid evaporated and curry is almost brown in color. Then, add katahar, followed by water. Increase heat to high, add lid and pressure cook until flesh and seeds are tender. When katahar is fully cooked add coconut milk and a bit more salt to taste (of needed). Reduce heat and let simmer until curry broth thickens.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. You can peel and prepare the katahar overnight. It took me about an hour to peel the little katahar I had.
2. You can add more spices or pepper to the curry paste. I have a pretty good curry powder that has loads of spices so I often don’t add anything else to my curry paste.
3. I didn’t want the curry to lose the richness of the coconut milk, through the pressure cooking so I chose to add the coconut milk towards the end as a thickening agent.
4. I had to check my pressure cooker 3 times and add a bit more water before the katahar was fully cooked. It pressure cooked for like an hour.
5. Logic tells me this would be a great slow cooker dish, so next time I am fortunate to come across katahar I will try it in the slow cooker. Of course I also need to buy a slow cooker, first. (smile)

Happy Cooking!

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Tilapia Scampi… versus Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp and Tilapia ScampiI made shrimp and tilapia scampi a few nights ago and it was so quick and easy and delicious, I thought I would share. I really should have made this one of my dinner in 30 meals, but you get the idea.

I was out running errands all day, got home and realized, I didn’t defrost any meat, and wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make for dinner. Home delivery in my neighborhood is Chinese food, Chinese food and Pizza. I didn’t want any of that. First I though, I guess it’s vegetarian night… I’ll just cook up something quick. But it was the night before I started my month long, no carbs, clean eating diet and I wanted to be a bit bad! I know, I know. Don’t judge me. So I went to the freezer and the shrimp was staring at me. I knew it wouldn’t take long to defrost so I grabbed it. I knew I would make shrimp scampi for my husband, but what would I could for myself, since I don’t eat shrimp. And then the cliched light bulb went off. Tilapia Scampi. I made shrimp scampi the way I always do… my variation of a food network recipe. I followed the same recipe for the tilapia, with one exception, I added some pesto for additional flavor.

I hope you try these two simple recipes the next time you make pasta!

Now for the Tilapia Scampi…

I followed instructions on the pack and cooked the pasta. This is about 1/3 of one packet of pasta (I didn't want to have leftovers).

I followed instructions on the pack and cooked the pasta. This is about 1/3 of one packet of pasta (I didn’t want to have leftovers).

I seasoned the tilapia with salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

I seasoned the tilapia with salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

I then cut the tilapia into quarters, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion and two roma tomatoes.

I then cut the tilapia into quarters, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion and two roma tomatoes.

In a medium suace/saute pan on high heat warm 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Cook, onions, garlic and tomatoes until soft. When cooked, add 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup of sweet white wine and 1 tbsp pesto (I had store bought pesto).

In a medium suace/saute pan on high heat warm 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add onions, then garlic and tomatoes.
Reduce heat to medium  and cook, until tomatoes are soft (about53 minutes).
Then, add 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup of sweet white wine and 1 tbsp pesto (I had store bought pesto). Feel free to add a pinch of salt if needed. Cook down until a semi thick sauce forms.

Add Tilapia Pieces to sauce. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes.

Add Tilapia Pieces to sauce. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, until tilapia is cooked and nice and flaky.

Add cooked pasta. Toss together and remove from heat.

Add cooked pasta. Toss together and remove from heat. Be careful not crush up the fish when tossing the pasta.

Tilapia Scampi

Tilapia Scampi

 

Tilapia Scampi (makes 2 servings)

1/3 pack of thin spaghetti
4 cups of water (for cooking spaghetti)
1 tbsp salt (for pasta water)
2 Tilapia filets
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp parsley flakes
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sweet white wine
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp pesto (I used store bought, premade pesto)

Directions:
Cook pasta according to instructions on the box.
Season tilapia with lemon juice, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper and oregano, then cut into quarters. In a medium sauce/saute pan warm olive oil on high heat. When oil is hot cook onions and garlic. When onions are brown and soft, add diced tomatoes. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until tomatoes are soft, then add wine, pesto and butter. Cook until sauce is semi thick, then add seasoned fish to the sauce. Cover and let tilapia cook for about 3 minutes on each side, coating with sauce. Add cooked pasta, toss together and remove from heat.


Tips and Rambling

1. This makes 2 generous servings, but I only added 1/3 of the pasta to my sauce, because I just didn’t want that much pasta.
2. It’s a good idea to cook the sauce while the pasta is boiling so that the pasta and the sauce finish cooking at the same time. This way you won’t have clammy pasta.
3. Always add a generous amount of salt to the water (like sea water), so that the pasta will not taste bland.
4. You can check to see if the tilapia is fully cooked by flaking the flesh with a fork. If it’s white, tender and flaky, it’s done. If tough and pink, it needs to be cooked some more.

Happy Cooking!

 

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Shrimp Scampi… versus Tilapia Scampi

Shrimp and Tilapia Scampi

I made shrimp and tilapia scampi a few nights ago and it was so quick and easy and delicious, I thought I would share. I really should have made this one of my dinner in 30 meals, but you get the idea.

I was out running errands all day, got home and realized, I didn’t defrost any meat, and wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make for dinner. Home delivery in my neighborhood is  Chinese food, Chinese food and Pizza. I didn’t want any of that. First I though, I guess it’s vegetarian night… I’ll just cook up something quick. But it was the night before I started my month long, no carbs, clean eating diet and I wanted to be a bit bad! I know, I know. Don’t judge me. So I went to the freezer and the shrimp was staring at me. I knew it wouldn’t take long to defrost so I grabbed it. I knew I would make shrimp scampi for my husband, but what would I could for myself, since I don’t eat shrimp. And then the cliched light bulb went off. Tilapia Scampi. I made shrimp scampi the way I always do… my variation of a food network recipe. I followed the same recipe for the tilapia, with one exception, I added some pesto for additional flavor.

I hope you try these two simple recipes the next time you make pasta!

Now for the Shrimp Scampi…

I followed instructions on the pack and cooked the pasta. This is about 1/3 of one packet of pasta (I didn't want to have leftovers).

I followed instructions on the pack and cooked the pasta. This is about 1/3 of one packet of thin spaghetti (I didn’t want to have leftovers).

While the pasta was cooking, I seasoned the shrimp (they were already peeled and deveined with the skin on). To season the shrimp I used, a pinch of salt, a pinch of cayenne powder, 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Let that sit for about 10 minutes.

While the pasta was cooking, I seasoned the shrimp (they were already peeled and deveined with the tail on).
To season the shrimp I used, a pinch of salt, a pinch of cayenne powder, 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
Let that sit for about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan on high heat, warm 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  When oil is hot, add seasoned shrimp and cook on each side for about 1 minute (until each side is a light pink color). Remove from heat and reserve.

In a medium saucepan on high heat, warm 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
When oil is hot, add seasoned shrimp and cook on each side for about 1 minute (until each side is a light pink color).
Remove from heat and reserve.

Using the same saute pan, on medium heat, cook 1/2 diced onions and 3 finely chopped garlic cloves, in a dash of olive oil.  When onions are brown and soft, add 2 diced roma tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tsp parsley flakes. Cook until tomatoes are soft, then add 1/2 cup sweet white wine and 1 tbsp butter. Add shrimp and cook for 2 to 4 minutes.

Using the same saute pan, on medium heat, cook 1/2 diced onions and 3 finely chopped garlic cloves, in a dash of olive oil.
When onions are brown and soft, add 2 diced roma tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tsp parsley flakes. Cook until tomatoes are soft, then add 1/2 cup sweet white wine and 1 tbsp butter. Add shrimp and cook for 2 to 4 minutes.

Add cooked pasta to shrimp sauce.

Add cooked pasta to shrimp sauce.

Toss together, remove from heat and enjoy.

Toss together, remove from heat and enjoy.

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi (Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:
1/3 pack of thin spaghetti
4 cups of water (for cooking spaghetti)
1 tbsp salt (for pasta water)
About 16 pieces of large shrimp (deveined, peeled, tail on)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp parsley flakes
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sweet white wine
1 tbsp butter

Directions:
Cook pasta according to instructions on the box.
Season shrimp with lemon juice, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper and oregano. In a medium sauce/saute pan warm olive oil on high heat. When oil is hot add seasoned shrimp, cook on each side for about 1 minute, then remove from heat and set aside. In the same sauce/saute pan cook onions and garlic. When onions are brown and soft, add diced tomatoes. Season with a pinch of salt and add parsley flakes. Cook until tomatoes are soft, then add wine and butter. Cook for another minute, then add shrimp back to the sauce. Cook for about 3 minutes, coating shrimp with sauce. Add cooked pasta, toss together and remove from heat.

Tips and Rambling

1. This made 2 generous servings.
2. It’s a good idea to cook the sauce while the pasta is boiling so that the pasta and the sauce finish cooking at the same time. This way you won’t have clammy pasta.
3. Always add a generous amount of salt to the water (like sea water), so that the pasta will not taste bland.
4. My husband’s comment when eating dinner was: “You sure know how to cook shrimp, for someone who’s never tasted it.” Ha ha. I love this man!

Happy Cooking!