Monday, February 23, 2009

soca dumplin

the first lime for the carnival ended up by ma. that's dawi's late grand mother's pad. just a few friends, some food, some drinks and the soca monarch runnin' in the background for ambiance. the menu was bess... geera chicken breast (because if you know dawi, you would know he only eats chicken breast), pigeon peas and my arch nemesis... dumplin. i love a good dumplin, but i cannot knead dough to save my life. that's why i bought a bread maker, but that's a different entry soon to come.

i had to get some flour and two bags of ice, at half eight on carnival friday night. needless to say, the chicken was done by the time i got there. hard luck dey. but i had no beef with the chicken. the dumplin was who i was out for that night.

anyway, dawi is a peas man. he love him some peas. for this particular meal, he went the curry route. done with his mix of curry, saffron, salt and water.

into the pot it went with some oil.

a rough chop went down on some onion and celery.

then they went into the curry.

he put in the peas next.

and the pepper was the last to go into the pot before he covered it and left it to simmer.

as is the case with all good pots on a lime, the pepper just had to burst.

but it turned out well none the less.

dumplin time! that started with a bowl of flour sprinkled with a little salt.

when he started to add the water, i saw the folly of my ways. he took his time and added the water a little at a time as he mixed it up.

knead knead knead...

knead some more...

then he started to work it into a ball.

next thing you know, he had a ball of dough and i was thinking to myself: "why do i need this bread maker again?"

to shape the dumplins, he put just a little oil on his hands so the dough wouldn't stick to them. another shortcoming of mine identified.

a hand full of dough does the trick.

next step: shape into rounds with finger tips.

then he press the rounds flat between his palms.

oh yeah... while all this was going on, he was bringing a pot of water to boil. but so fast was the kneading process, that we still had to wait for the water to boil.

oh well... who say drinks to pass the time?

on recommendation, i had a vodka with bitter lemon, and an olive. not bad.

by about mid drink, it was time to drop in the dumplins. notice they fell to the bottom. when they're done they would float to the top. i have no pictures of that, so you would have to take my word for it.

after taking the dumplins out of their hot bath,

he transfered them to a dish, rang the chow bell and...

t'was a nice meal. inspiration to attack this dough making thing again.

leh we bubble...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A lil pasta something...

I couldn't find my favorite all-purpose elbow pasta (in the red pack) this week in the grocery, so I tried something new.

It's called pipe rigate, and it's more or less fat elbow pasta with one end pinched closed. A pasta like that is great for retaining sauces, but I had something else in mind.

I wanted to do something relatively fast but fancy-looking. I cut up some tomatoes, pimientoes, green peppers, onions and garlic. I grated some carrots and opened a tin of black olives.

Here's a tip...if you're cutting up veggies to sautee, and putting them all into a container like the one pictured above, leave the garlic and onion for last. Why? When you throw everything into the pot, you want the garlic and onion making the most contact with the hot oil, releasing their juices (and scent) first and foremost. Tomatoes don't have to cook as much, so you should cut them up first and put them at the bottom of the container.

I dumped them all into a high-heat frying pan with just a bit of olive oil. Colorful...smelled good too. I only let the veggies sautee up for a few more than five. DON'T cook the carrots! See how I had them separate?

And then I forgot to keep taking pictures.

But you didn't miss much. I mixed up a cheese sauce, as detailed in the last post. Then I mixed the sauce and the veggies together.

I had some white fish fillets seasoned up there waiting for next week, but say what...plenty fish in de sea.

I beat an egg and put it in a container. I dipped the fish slices in the egg, covering them without removing the seasoning. I forgot to take pictures of this.

But I remembered to shoot the rest of the battering process, which involved laying the egg-covered fillets in seasoned bread crumbs.

And placing the fillets into the frying pan.

Here's the finished product, which I just finished eating before writing this post.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

plant ah seed

recently, the government started paying attention to food security. part of their drive encourages people to go back to the days when growing food at home was common. thing is, those days are still in full swing up morvant. i grew up with stuff growing in the yard. so as i was on base, i decided to go snap happy in the yard for a little bit.

ochro is a nice thing to have handy. good to add to a lil fish broth (which around these parts is usually a spur of the moment thing) nice for the calalloo on a sunday too. and talkin' about calalloo...

who say dasheen bush? the calalloo pack is convenient eh, but not more convenient than walkin' outside and pickin' it fresh.

bird pepper. we usually blend some up, add some other seasonings and a little vinegar and keep them in a bottle in the fridge. tasty.

a big childhood memory was shellin' peas. didn't have to do it too regularly, but it was unpleasant for me everytime. i did however like to eat the raw peas right out of the pod. and playing with the little worms you find in them sometimes was fun.

so up here, shadon beni grows like lawn. if i buy shadon beni, my mother will have a fit when she finds out.

i mean, there's a lot of shadon beni. a lot.

there's also thyme and basil, but not as much as the shadon beni.

another thing that i've always had around is a lime tree.

it seemed like that lime tree never stopped bringin fruit. it was a friday evening chore actually. before sabbath, we used to go out and pick buckets of limes. talk about scratches. but for a big glass of lime juice with rum and rasin flavoured essence and bitters, a few scratches was well worth it.

lemons too. my mother uses these rough skin ones when she's seasoning meat.

we've always had lots of fruits. the usual julie mango and orange. but when last yuh see one of these? a five finger. these are actually the least acidic five fingers i've ever had. nice tree. hope it stays around.

pommecythere. i could never spell this! so i'll just call it golden apple and hope that's the correct name. anyway, these are mini ones. when ripe, they aren't much bigger than this, but sweeeeeeet!!!

well if yuh don't have a coconut tree, yuh not ballin'. plain and simple.

a banana tree is also a great thing to have. you can get green fig to drop in yuh soup or to eat with a lil saltfish or sometin'.

as well as you can put a bunch to ripe to have as part of your fruit serving for the day. don't forget fig punch too.

with fresh ingredients around, you kinda feel like bubblin' a pot or two. you also save yourself some dollars, which is kinda important considering what's going on with the economy these days. and you don't have to do it big. a little herb garden with your own seasonings is a cool addition and a nice start to growing stuff at home.

leh we grow... and then leh we bubble.

Monday, February 9, 2009

de cassava was butter

so on my birthday, a friend of mine brought me some cassava. not as a gift. i ordered it before and it just happened to come then. now honestly, i don't know all that much about cassava besides i like it, but it was fresh from her father's estate, plus she said "it like butter q!". so i was thinkin' "this is some bess cassava!" i reasoned that this might be a nice time to try this cassava saute thing i've been thinking about. so i gathered up some ingredients and got to makin' a quick ting.

the usual suspects... onion, celery, a pepper, lime and some garlic. the garlic was late for the photo shoot. the cassava on the other hand arrived early, took off it's brown suit and slipped into its pot of boiling water to get ready.

diced it all up.

cut the cassava up too.

did i mention i like the zesty difference a lime makes in almost everything? fresh from the garden too!!

then i put a spoon of butter into a sauce pan. i just averaged how much it would take to coat the amount of cassava i was going to use. now because i know some readers are dependent on particular sound effects to make sure they get it right, TSSSSSSSSHHHH! is the sound you're looking for here.

put in the seasoning with a little salt and some black pepper, and let them saute a little in the butter.

in goes the cassava, mixing it up to ensure the butter and the seasoning goes all through and through. didn't leave it on too long to ensure that the cassava didn't mash up totally. wanted it to be kinda chunky.

and daz it dey! cassava and then some.

leh we bubble!