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papaya, feta, and red onion salad recipe

September 2, 2009

Your humble correspondent isn’t the biggest salad fan out there.  Sure, they are nutritious and all that good stuff, but sorely lack in the creativity and all important filling factor.  I am man, hear me roar.

Always one to troubleshoot (as long as it doesn’t require all that much original thought, time, or effort), substitute some ingredients here and there, throw a few extra things in, tweak this and that, and you’re left with a creative, substantial, and filling salad —complete with a lovely pastel pink color that does absolute wonders for one’s masculinity.  Roar.

Ingredients:

Half of a large papaya -seeded, skinned, and chopped into 1 inch chunks.

Get to know your ingredients…

  • Look for a papaya that’s soft and yielding…like what you look for in a ripe avocado
  • Papaya tastes similar to cantaloupe
  • The black seeds are edible –they are spicy and sometimes used as a substitute for pepper
  • Unripe green papaya is often used in curries
  • Papaya is grown in the tropics –think India, Brazil, the Caribbean, etc.

Papaya for papaya, feta, and red onion salad recipe

Half of a red onion sliced into thin strips

2-3 ozs. of good crumbled feta cheese

A half inch piece of ginger, finely minced

10-15 mint leafs, finely chopped

From da garden to man salad

From da garden to man salad

Juice of half a lime

3 TBS olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp honey

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together.  Taste and adjust accordingly for seasoning.

Serve.

Serve with:

Brazilian shrimp and bean cakes to Jamaican Jerk to any dish that needs a sweet, bright, and tasty addition.

Man up

Man up

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jamaican beef patty filling recipe

August 31, 2009

Ask 10 grounded people the most popular food to come out of Jamaican and you’re bound to get the same 10 responses –the Jamaican beef patty.  Quintessentially Jamaican, flavorful, spicy, and tasty (not to mention beyond fulfilling after bar hopping beer-a-thons and a great vehicle for late night hot sauce eating contests), it’s the one item sold in the most random of places.  And by random I mean pizza shops, neighborhood convenience stores, the very back of your grocer’s freezer, and just everything in between.

Far from food

Far from food

Getting back to the topic at hand, the best part of the Jamaican beef patty is the filling —the outside, yellow tinted crust is more of a delivery mechanism -not that there’s anything wrong with that.  In an attempt to cook the best part of the patty and save a bit of time, this recipe is just for the filling and makes a great main course.  Bonus points as it’s 100 times better, more flavorful, and complex than those so called pizza shop, neighborhood convenience store, and freezer beef patties.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef –I used 85-90% lean

2 TBS vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 finely chopped scallions, green and white parts

3 minced cloves of garlic

1-2 habanero peppers (remove the seeds and ribs if you can’t take the heat)

A half inch piece of ginger, finely minced

1 tsp dried thyme

2 TBS curry powder.  Use Jamaican betapak if you have it, though Indian madras (yellow curry powder) works just as well.

2 tsp ground allspice

.5 cup plain bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

A handful of frozen loose peas.

Directions:

Heat the oil and 1 tsp of the curry in a large skillet over medium heat.  Fry for about 1 minute.

Add the onion, scallion, ginger, garlic, habanero, and salt to taste and cook for 5 minutes.

Chop a thon

Chop a thon

Mellow yellow

Mellow yellow

Add the ground beef and break it up with a spoon.  Cook for about 8 minutes (or until cooked) and drain the fat.

Add the remaining curry powder, thyme, and allspice and stir to combine, allowing a crust to form on the bottom of the pan.

Add about a half cup of water and scrape the crust off the bottom.

Crusty.

Crusty.

Mix in the breadcrumbs (it should be thick and mushy…adjust if necessary) and cover for about 15 minutes over low heat.

After 15 minutes scrape the crust on the bottom, add the peas, taste for seasoning, and serve.

Serve with:

Jamaican rice and peas, Caribbean style pineapple habanero hot sauce, a simple green salad, and red stripe galore.

Jamaican patty who?!

Jamaican patty who?!

homemade caribbean style pineapple habanero hot sauce recipe

August 27, 2009

12 –the number of hot sauces in my fridge.  From Tabasco to Sriracha, green jalapeno to four different kinds of habanero, each has its own distinct purpose and right to exist in my fridge.  And trust me, they all get used.

What with a mountain of habanero peppers growing in the garden and a need for a sweet and uber spicy hot sauce, the Bill Nye the Science Guy lab equipment came out and, after much experimentation, this Caribbean style pineapple habanero hot sauce recipe was born (hot sauce number 13).  The Caribbean part is obvious -it’s a bit Jamaican (habanero, thyme, scallion, ginger, garlic, allspice), a little Trinidadian (mustard), a touch Barbadian (molasses), and no doubt a whole lot spicy.

Nerd.

Nerd.

Ingredients:

3+ habanero or scotch bonnet peppers.  Remove the seeds and ribs if you can’t take severe heat.

Orange death.

Orange death.

3 rings of canned pineapple and 2 TBS of the juice

.5 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme

3 cherry tomatoes

1 medium sized clove of garlic

A half inch piece of fresh ginger

The white part of 3 scallions

.5 tsp white vinegar

Juice of half a lime

2 TBS molasses

4 TBS yellow mustard

.75 tsp ground allspice

A dash of cinnamon

Salt to taste

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Blender eye view

Blender eye view

Store in the fridge –tastes best after a couple of days.

Serve with:

Anything needing a sweet and tasty kick.  This hot sauce also makes a killer grilling sauce (NOTE:  it has a relatively large amount of sugar and can burn if not tended to) and great dip for pretzels and the like.

Delicious pain

Delicious pain

southwestern zucchini and corn pancakes recipe

August 24, 2009

I saw a similar but different enough recipe for zucchini pancakes on a cooking show a few months ago and resisted the urge to make until the garden zucchini were in full bloom.  Sure, I could have run off to the store and made the necessary purchases, but where’s the fun in that? Exactly.  Fast forward a few months and yes, the garden zucchini are indeed in full bloom.  Too much bloom.

In my mind, nothing goes with zucchini like onion, chili powder and corn –classic New Mexican style.  Throw in a few other supporting characters, make a turn here and there, and you got yourself a tasty, unprocessed, and relatively easy to make meal.  In fact, this is so good and reheats up so well that I made it twice this past weekend.  Good times.

Ingredients:

1 ear of corn.  Fresh, please.

4 small/medium-small zucchinis

1 minced jalapeno pepper (remove the seeds and stems if you can’t take the heat)

Half of a small red onion, finely diced

2 cloves of minced garlic

2 eggs

1.5 tsp chili powder (homemade is best, of course)

White or wheat flour

.5 tsp baking powder

Vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Remove the husk from the corn and lightly roast over your stove or in your grill.  Once cooled use a sharp knife to remove the corn from the cob.

Invisible gas range.

Invisible gas range.

Grate the zucchini using a cheese grater or food processor.  Lightly salt and add to a colander for 10 minutes.  Squeeze, removing as much of the water as possible (pretty amazing just how much water these things contain).

Hand shredded.  Limited knuckle damage.

Hand shredded. Limited knuckle damage.

Combine and mix all the ingredients together, save for the oil and flour.

To complete the batter, mix flour into the other ingredients until you have a….pancake-like consistency.

Everybody in the pool.

Everybody in the pool.

Add 2 TBS of vegetable oil to a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Once hot add about 3 TBS of the batter per each pancake (I’m able to fit 3 pancakes at a time).  Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until nice n golden brown.  Repeat until all the batter be gone.

Cooking away.

Cooking away.

Serve with:

A nice roasted chicken, beer, and more beer.

Veggie pancakes.  Skip the sizzurp.

Veggie pancakes. Skip the sizzurp.

fire roasted corn and tomato salsa recipe

August 22, 2009

Nothing quite says summer like this salsa:  garden fresh tomatoes, locally grown sugar sweet corn, fresh cilantro, and a small cast of supporting characters.  You can skip the whole roasting thing, but I find it brings everything together by adding layers of sweetness, smokiness, and all sorts of other good flavors.

Invest 5 minutes of time, cook this up, and throw that jarred stuff labeled ‘salsa’ away.  Even the so called ‘gourmet’ stuff is retched (not to mention a waste of money).

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes

Today's victims.

Today's victims.

Half of a small onion

1 ear of corn.  Fresh, please.

1 habanero or jalapeno pepper, finely diced (remove the seeds and ribs if you can’t take the heat)

Juice of half of a lime

Salt and pepper to taste

A handful of minced cilantro

Directions:

Roast the tomatoes, onion, and corn over your stove top or in your grill until you get a bit of charring.  No need to go crazy here, especially with the corn.

Roasty.

Roasty.

Remove the kernels from the corn using a sharp knife and mix with the diced pepper, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and cilantro.

Peel, seed, and dice the tomatoes and add to the other ingredients.

Serve with:

Tostones, on top of grilled chicken, or with chips.  Dig in.

Why even bother with jarred 'salsa'?

Why even bother with jarred 'salsa'?

a conversation with marc summers from the food network’s unwrapped

August 20, 2009

The setting was ideal –a sprawling, nondescript, Middle-American suburban dwelling complete with ‘any town’ stores, ideals, and values.  The air was thick with apprehension, waiting for the D-list celebrity king himself –Marc Berkowitz, aka Marc Summers.  Cordial gestures and small talk later, the interview of the century commenced:

Presenting.....Unwrapped's Mark Summers!!

Presenting.....Unwrapped's Mark Summers!!

foodnmore:  So, um, what the hell happened to you?  I mean, you had a nice run at Double Dare, and then…

Marc Berkowitz Summers:  (Cutting me off):  Yea, Double Dare was great, and we did indeed have a nice long run.  As time passed, we experienced a perfect storm of poor ratings, my OCD kicking into high gear, and market research indicating Americans were more interested in good, clean, wholesome entertainment –something Double Dare was sorely lacking in.  As a washed up D-list celebrity work was pretty hard to come by for some time.

foodnmore:  Hum…so Double Dare lacked family values and good clean fun –metaphorically speaking, of course??  Certainly not how I remember it.

Marc Berkowitz Summers:

foodnmore:  Yea.  Well, shifting gears, how did the whole Unwrapped thing come about?

Marc Berkowitz Summers:  (Showing signs of relief):  Around 2001 market research indicated Americans were becoming more and more interested in American food and culture.  Casting the net as wide as possible, the producers created a wholesome, middle of the road concept with a behind the scenes view of America’s favorite eats.

foodnmore:  Ah, so Americans were becoming ever-more interested in processed, packaged, hokey, nutritionally lacking food ‘products’ produced by large conglomerates whose sole purpose is to appease their stockholders?  This certainly correlates with America’s uber ballooning comprehensive waste line.

Marc Berkowitz Summers:

foodnmore:  Yea.  By ‘middle of the road’ do you mean Americans and/or the show’s target audience is incapable of language surpassing 6 letters or 3 syllables?

Marc Berkowitz Summers:  Come join us on Unwrapped as we take a behind the scenes look at America’s favorite, fantastically fun, fruit flavored fructose laden flatulence inducing food!

foodnmore:  Very good Marc.  That’s called alliteration.

Marc Berkowitz Summers:  Did you know the Oreo cookie factory produces enough Quintuple Cream stuffed Oreos in a year to reach the moon and back?

foodnmore:  (Perplexed)

Marc Berkowitz Summers:  Did you know Hostess, everyone’s favorite bakery, produces enough Twinkie cream in a year to fill 45 Olympic sized swimming pools?

foodnmore:  Marc, you’re reading their press materials.

Marc Berkowitz Summers:  Doritos are America’s tortilla chip of choice, selling over 45 million bags a year!

foodnmore:  It’s become readily apparent:  not content with your post Double Dare D-list standing, you sold the little bit of soul you had to become a spokesman and whore to the worst of America…prostituting to the sheep.

Marc Berkowitz Summers:  Join us next week on Unwrapped as we take a behind the scenes look at America’s favorite food!

foodnmore:  (Throws interview papers in the air and walks away in disgust)

sausage, onion, and homegrown peppers recipe

August 17, 2009

Taking advantage of the overabundance of (wrong) Italian frying peppers growing in the garden, few things pop into mind as quickly as sausage and peppers.  Perhaps the national dish of the NY metropolitan area, found from semi-fine restaurants to street fairs to everything in between, this dish is easy to make, requires just a few ingredients, and is of course tasty.  And tasty is good.

Homegrown, not by choice.  A good error.

Homegrown, not by choice. A good error.

With what seems like an Italian neighborhood deli for each citizen of Hoboken, finding a source of good Italian sausage (and everything else Italian) is like shooting fish in barrel.  For geographic purposes (read:  laziness) and old skool authenticity (Meat hanging from the ceiling?  Check.  A huge olive and cured meat bar?  Yup.  Italian the dialect of choice?  You betcha’.) I chose Losurdo Brothers Tony Italian Deli, a mere 3 blocks away.  Ten or so bucks poorer and weighed down 2.5 lbs. of the good stuff it was time to get cooking.  Chop chop.

Lending a hand in this decadent endeavor was my friend D of unemployed Indian food feast fame.  I barked orders and he cooked.

Ingredients:

1 lb. of good Italian sausage.  Of I prefer hot (of course).

1 large onion cut into thin strips

3 cloves of minced garlic

2 medium green bell peppers or 5 Italian frying peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 TBS dried oregano

1 TBS red pepper flakes (optional)

White wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add 1 TBS of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  Once hot add the sausage and brown on all sides.  Don’t worry about cooking them all the way through.  Once browned remove.

Tony's finest hot Italian sausage.

Tony's finest hot Italian sausage.

Deglaze the skillet with a few splashes of white wine and add the remaining olive oil, onion, garlic, peppers, oregano, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.

After 10 minutes add the sausage back to the skillet, cover, and cook for 10 more minutes or until the sausage is fully cooked.  Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.  Done. Top with fresh basil for additional goodness.

Mouth watering goodness

Mouth watering goodness

Serve with:

A simple tomato salad (courtesy of D.), good bread, Peroni galore, and that good cheese D. brought over.

Eat your veggies.

Eat your veggies.