Roasted Garlic Butter Bean Dip

roasted garlic

This easy and delicious dip makes a great alternative to hummus, and is equally as versatile. Spread it on your favourite crackers, toast, or use it as dip for veggies and chips.

Ingredients

  • 2 x 14oz can butter beans
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 4-5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 small handful of parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Drain butter beans reserving the can liquid.
  2. Rinse & drain them well.
  3. In a food processor, whizz butter beans, olive oil, lemon juice, roasted garlic, paprika, and parsley with 2 tbsp of reserved butter beans liquid until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste
  4. Transfer to a dipping bowl, drizzle with a few extra drops of olive oil and garnish with chopped parsley.

This recipe came about after a necessary pantry clean-out to get rid of out whatever was approaching its expiry date. I had a few cloves of roasted garlic from a previous dish and decided to whip up something. The end result was  a creamy, garlicky dip with a welcoming hint of lemony zing.

Notes:

  • Roasted garlic is one of my favourite ingredients. Roasting mellows the sharp bite of raw garlic, intensifies the natural sweetness and nuttiness. I usually roast a few heads of garlic whenever I am baking so I can conserve on energy.
  • To roast, slice a thin layer off the top of each head of garlic just enough to expose the cloves. Place the heads on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. I usually sprinkle a bit of salt to help tenderize during the roasting process. Seal the foil and roast until cloves are lightly brown and tender, about 40 minutes.

One love,

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[photo: bitchingkitchen.com]

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Stephen’s Triple C Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

There are quite a few things happening here, and I am not too sure how to process it all. First, I am still on a high from the delicious success of this off the cuff recipe. But probably more unsettling is that I am confused, happy, and a tad uncomfortable with how much I ended up liking celery after years of shunning the vegetable.

This recipe idea came about for two main reasons: I bought a pack of celery stalks with the hopes of beginning the journey to acquire the taste for it; and secondly I had just roasted a whole chicken and wanted to repurpose it and create a fun recipe. The end result? A chicken, chickpea and celery salad, with a refreshingly zesty lemon vinaigrette.

celery (1)What you’ll need

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 14oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken breast chunks (or your fave part)
  • Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • Zest of one lemon (about ½ tsp)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

(See my note on zesting a lemon in a previous post).

Method

  1. Add butter to a skillet over medium heat and sautee chicken chunks until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Season chickpeas with salt, pepper and cumin.
  3. In the meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
  4. Combine sauteed chicken breast, celery and seasoned chickpeas in a mixing bowl. Pour vinaigrette and fold to combine.
  5. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least one hour.
  6. Serve chilled.

Recipe notes

  • I deboned a chicken breast from the Chinese five spice whole roasted chicken I made earlier that day. Any roasted chicken will do, and you can even use poached chicken breast or your favourite part.
  • I reheated the chicken breast by sautéing the chunks in a tsp of butter. This allows the chicken to be rehydrated and makes the dish a little heartier.
  • Because they tend to be bland, it’s best to season the chickpeas before combining with the rest of the ingredients. You can use regular S&P or some seasoning salt to give it an extra kick. I added cumin for another depth of flavour.
  • Allow the dish to sit at least an hour in the fridge after adding the lemon vinaigrette. The ingredients will have time to soak up that lemony goodness and the flavours will come together better.

chickpeasI must admit, for someone who was warming up their tastebuds to the aggressive and sharp bite of celery this was a pretty daring move diving head on into a dish with raw celery as a main component. Cooked celery isn’t as strong.

The beauty of the palate is that it’s constantly changing and adapting to new tastes. But sometimes we grow so comfortable in the usual fare that we refuse our palates the right to grow and explore a much bigger, more exciting world of taste. Don’t be that guy.

One love,

SC

Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

lemons for Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

When life (read: a co-worker) gives you lemons, you make lemon-cake-with-coconut-vodka-cream-cheese-frosting, duh. I mean, what else?

Now, if you’re a keen ROF follower, you’ll notice that there aren’t any dessert-related posts on the blog. I am really not a big fan of sweets, nor do they fit into my healthy lifestyle regime. (Or, quite possibly it’s because my baking skills aren’t at a level where they can be shared with the world.) But I surprised myself over the weekend when I attempted to make this cake from my recently-acquired lemons. One of my favourite desserts hands down is a good plain cake, and this come pretty close.

With total inexperience – (this is my second attempt at making a cake from scratch; the first was a banana cake some years ago, and it was pretty average) – I had to do a little research for the basic proportions of a plain pound cake. After I grasped that concept I decided to make the recipe my own. This is what I came up with:

  • 1½ cups AP flour
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 4 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 2½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp (⅜ cup) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously coat a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift flour along with baking powder and salt.
  3. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and continue creaming until sugar crystals are fully dissolved into butter and mixture doesn’t feel grainy. With the mixture at a low speed, add eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate. Add the vanilla.
  4. Alternating dry and wet ingredients add the flour mixture and lemon juice and zest in small batches and mix until smooth.  (You may have to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula to fully incorporate flour).
  5. Pour mixture in to greased Bundt pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Gentle shake pan until all sides are loosened. Place on a desired serving platter and invert pan to remove cake.

Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting (sliced)

BUT WAIT.

We’re not done yet. Even though the cake is delicious as is, there’s always room for a little booze. And cream cheese. Here’s what you’ll need.

Coconut-Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4oz (½ block) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup coconut-flavoured vodka
  • ¼ cup water, to be used as a thinner as necessary

And here’s how to make the magic happen:

  1. Over medium heat, melt butter. Add cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and whisk to incorporate. Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add vodka and mix thoroughly. Mixture should be the consistency of a thin porridge. Use water to thin mixture as necessary. If mixture is too thin, continue stirring over medium-low heat until desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Spoon hot frosting over cake and allow to cool at room temperature.
  4. Slice cake and enjoy.

Yes, it does taste as awesome as it sounds. And it really doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe Notes:

  1. Sifting the flour along with the rest of the dry ingredients does two main things: it allows lumps and other unwanted particles to be removed, while aerating the flour allowing for a lighter cake in the end. Sifting also allows for the rest of the dry ingredients (in this case, the salt and baking powder) to be properly incorporated into the flour before it’s mixed into the rest of the batter.
  2. Using lemon zest really makes the cake that more lemony as opposed to using just the juice. The zest contains essential oils packed with lemon flavour. To zest a lemon, you can rub the lemon along a fine grater, rotating each time, ensuring only to grate the top layer of yellow skin. Avoid pressing too hard and grating the white pith, which is extremely bitter and will spoil the taste of your cake. You can also use a zester and gently scrape the holes of the zester along the surface of the lemon from top to bottom, also rotating as you go along. You’ll end up with longer ribbons of zest, which u can then chop into finer pieces.
  3. Ingredient temperature is an important factor in baking. If a recipe calls for something chilled, best you chill it. Just as important is allowing ingredients to be at room temperature before incorporating them. For example, room temperature eggs will disperse more easily through the batter and allow for a fluffier cake. Cold butter does not beat well. Cold milk (or water) will coagulate and create clumps in the batter, requiring extra beating time to mix the ingredients. The easiest way to get your baking ingredients to room temperature is to simply allow them to sit at – room temperature.
zesting a lemon - thekitchn

Zesting a lemon [photocredits: thekitchn.com]

P.S. Thanks to my handy little helper, Corve, who thoroughly enjoyed the process and end result. Also, apologies for the crappy photos; my camera (phone) is out of commission for now.

One love,

SC

Bruschetta with Gorgonzola Cheese and Coffee-Flavoured Honey

Following the success of the recipe in my previous post, I was determined to find yet another that starred my beloved gorgonzola cheese.  Between my ADHD and uncanny ability to wake up just in the nick of time, I am always looking for quick recipes that don’t sacrifice taste and quality. And I didn’t have to search far.

Bruschetta with Gorgonzola Cheese and HoneyKist Blue Mountain Flavoured Coffee

For my version of this time-tested recipe, I used whole wheat bread, gorgonzola cheese crumbled straight from the block, and HoneyKist’s Blue Mountain Coffee Honey. (see my previous post on this line of gourmet flavoured honey here)

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices whole wheat bread, cut in half diagonally
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces gorgonzola, sliced/crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons HoneyKist’s Blue Mountain Coffee Flavoured Honey

Method:

  1. Brush bread slices with olive oil.
  2. Toast in a toaster oven for 6-8 minutes or until bread is golden and crisp.
  3. Remove bread and top with gorgonzola slices/crumbles, return to toaster oven, and bake until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
  4. Drizzle the toasts with honey. Enjoy immediately

Bruschetta with Gorgonzola Cheese and HoneyKist Blue Mountain Flavoured Coffee

This was supposed to be two servings but I couldn’t stop myself. If you’re a lover of sharp cheeses then you’ll definitely fall for this recipe. The first bite instantly awakens your tastebuds to the pungency and saltiness of the gorgonzola, then just as immediately comes the flowery sweetness of the honey. Oh wait, what’s that?? That, my friend, would be subtle, almost unidentifiable notes of coffee. Just, wow.

Go try it. Thank me later.

SC

Jackfruit Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese? Ahmm, yes please!

This recipe idea popped in my head out of desperation for a breakfast quick-fix. I had recently purchased some jackfruit and realised that I needed to consume it before spoilage took over. While rummaging through my fridge, I also discovered a block of gorgonzola cheese that was neatly tucked among a chaos of other neglected ingredients. (I was meaning to clean my fridge for about a week now but hadn’t gotten around to it, because procrastination.)

Jackfruit

Enormous & prickly on the outside, jackfruit somewhat resembles durian. Once cut open, the yellow fleshy fruit pods or “bulbs” are revealed. [image source]

Native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, the jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands. It is commonly found here in Jamaica, but some persons don’t take to the fruit as easily because of its strong smell and flavour that may be cloying. With a starchy and fibrous texture, the flavour of the flesh of the jackfruit can be likened to a combination of pineapple, mango and banana.

gorgonzola cheese

Gorgonzola cheese – marbled by streaks of green and considered the Italian member of the Blue Cheese family – is commonly paired with sweet aromatic fruits like apples and pears, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the very strong, sweet, fruity aroma of the fibrous jackfruit flesh would be as good a compliment to the contrast of pungent, salty, creamy gorgonzola. To bring the flavours together even more, I tossed the salad in ginger extract, which added yet another depth of flavour and aromatic complexity. Also, I’ve had gorgonzola cheese that comes already crumbled, but I find if you crumble it directly from the block it tends to be richer and creamier with a more satisfying taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Jackfruit chunks
  • ¼ cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles (preferably cut from the block for a richer, creamier texture)
  • 1 tbsp ginger extract

Jackfruit

Method:

  1. Combine jackfruit and gorgonzola in a bowl.
  2. Add ginger extract and toss to combine.
  3. Refridgerate for at least 20 minutes to allow flavours to come together and for salad to chill.
  4. Remove from fridge and enjoy.
Jackfruit and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

Jackfruit and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

I really recommend you try this simple dish of robust and contrasting flavours and textures.

One love,

SC

Elle and Vire Jamaica (+ FREE give-aways)

I concede, I’ve been MIA for a while now. Sincerest apologies. The past few weeks were spent prepping for my choir’s inaugural concert. We had a great show! Now that that’s out of the way, I’ve been able to breathe a little easier. Of course I had to make my return worthwhile, so I’ve got a few things in store for you loyal RF readers. Here’s a hint: France. Two return tickets to Paris maybe? Nah B, but it’s still pretty decent. Keep reading.

Recently I’ve come to the realisation that there really isn’t a strong presence of French products in Jamaica. In fact, I even found out that the majority of wines imported here comes from the US and South America, due to the lack of trade with France, and the high costs associated with such.

Nevertheless, pioneering French brand Elle & Vire has been gracing the dishes of Jamaican chefs and home cooks alike for the past decade or so, offering a variety of dairy products and bringing the characteristic French quality home to Jamaicans.

Established in 1947, Elle & Vire products are found on all five continents, in over 120 countries. Their mission is to offer the very best of French dairy savoir-faire to consumers and professionals.

Established in 1947, Elle & Vire products are found on all five continents, in over 120 countries. Their mission is to offer the very best of French dairy savoir-faire to consumers and professionals.

Elle & Vire is distributed by Chas E Ramson, one of the oldest distributors in Jamaica which started in 1922. The Elle & Vire line of products is managed by Kathryn Silvera, a 4th generation member of the Ramsons’ family business since May 2007.

Kathryn Silvera, brand manager for Elle & Vire Jamaica

Kathryn Silvera, brand manager for Elle & Vire Jamaica

Listen to the Elle & Vire jingle here.

Elle & Vire products

Their line of products include:

  • Assorted Fruit yogurts
  • 0% fat yogurt
  • Plain sweetened yogurt
  • Crème Dessert Puddings (Chocolate and Vanilla)
  • Yaggo milk – for kids (Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry)
  • Yaggo Yogurt – for kids
  • Cooking Cream
  • Whipping Cream
  • Aerosol Whipping Cream (Original and Extra Light)
  • Salted, Unsalted and Low fat Butter
  • Yaggo Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
  • Yaggo Chocolate Spread

I will be developing some quick and easy recipes so check back soon for these. In the meanwhile, you can also check out the full line of Elle & Vire products on Chas E Ramson’s website: www.chaseramson.com and like their Facebook page.

Current promotion Now is the best time to go and grab a few Elle & Vire products, and get a chance at some AMAZING prizes through their How Do You Elle & Vire competition. EnV Promo

Purchase J$500 + tax worth of Elle and Vire products and correctly fill out the slogan ‘How do you Elle & Vire?’ on the back of one of their entry forms. Attach your sales receipt and drop it into one of the drop boxes located islandwide.

You can get your entry form and do your drop off at any of the following locations:

Shoppers Fair Mandeville Shopping Centre, Shoppers Fair Caledonia Road, MegaMart Mandeville, Consumer’s Meat Plus, MegaMart Montego Bay, Loshusan, Sovereign, Brooklyn Twin Gates, Brooklyn Clock Tower, Lee’s Food Fair, Carihome Supermarket, John R Wong, Hi Lo Barbican, Super Valu, Family Pride, Hi Lo Fairview, Progressive Whitter Village, Shoppers Fair Westgate, General Foods Ocho Rios, New Champion Supermarket, Joong’s St. Thomas, Ramtullah, National Wholesale May Pen, MegaMart Waterloo, MegaMart Portmore, Michi Supercentre, Lee’s Boulevard Supercentre, Hi Lo Portmore, Max Value, Shoppers Fair Sav, Hi Lo Basics Montego Bay.

ENTER NOW!!

Elle & Vire products can be found at over 60 supermarkets islandwide.

More freenis!

Thanks to the kind-hearted Kathryn, I have some giveaways for three lucky RF followers. The challenge: name three distinct products from the Elle & Vire line. Ok, so maybe this isn’t much of a challenge. The first three RF followers to answer correctly in the comment box below will win a gift basket from Chas E Ramson. Scroll down and get going!

Hope you were a winner.

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Okra Roti Wrap w/ HoneyKist® Pimento Gourmet Honey

Many persons are opposed to consuming okras because of their slimy texture. But this dish is sure to please even the most squeamish.  Don’t believe me? Give it a try and see for yourself.

Okra Roti Wrap

Warning: This dish is on the spicy side owing to the addition of ½ scotch bonnet pepper. However, the sweetness from the honey balances out the heat and helps to round out the rest of the flavours. If you’re still scared, you can go ahead and reduce the pepper to your taste. 

cut tomatoes okra_raw cooked okra

Do not wash the okra before cutting. Instead, wipe with a damp cloth. Washing will increase the chances of the okra being too slimy when cooked. If it needs to be washed for whatever reasons, use paper towel to dry properly before cutting. To reduce sliminess even more, leave cut okras uncovered in fridge overnight.

Happy cooking,

SC.