Advance Cooking for the Eery'day Cook.

School is in and we are doing it big this week. Are you ready?  

Coconut onion Johnny cake muffins 

Coconut onion Johnny cake muffins 

Today our recipes are a little more advanced than usual, but truly if you're patient enough to read all of the steps and put your touch on everything, you will get it done. 

This recipe was something I remember doing some 15 years ago, but it was recently reimagined after I spoke with one of my favorite cooks Suzette Wallace.

Firstly, the topping must be made separately and added just before baking.

Ingredients for the topping:

2 egg whites (reserve the egg yolks for the muffin)

1 cup freshly grated Bahamian Coconut

1 bunch of green onion, roughly chopped

1 small red onion, roughly chopped

½ cup white organic sugar

MOP ( If you don't know what MOP means that says you haven't been following me and shame on You!) 

In a food processor blend, all the dry ingredients then stream in the egg whites until it all comes together.

Disclaimer......

Listen this isn’t your conventional Johnny cake nor is it a true muffin batter. It is the fusion of the 2. I won’t tell a lie. Usually I record my recipes as I go along, but this time I really wasn’t going to share this recipe, so this is all from the notes I took and sometimes I leave things out. So, if it’s a bit dry or too wet, add or subtract. The end batter should be able to be scooped with a large ice cream scoop.

Ingredients:

2 lbs All purpose flour ( From now on referred to as AP flour) 

2 egg yolks from the topping

1 whole egg

8oz cold unsalted butter

½ cup organic sugar

1 heaping tbsp of baking powder

1 even tsp baking soda

1 even tsp salt

1 cup grated fresh coconut                            

1 quart of milk

½ cup vegetable oil

Melted salted butter for finishing.

MOP:

Mix together all the dry ingredients well. Mix together all the wet ingredients without the butter.

Crumb the butter and the dry ingredients together.  (Meaning in a food processor or kitchen aid or the old school way flake the butter into the flour until it resembles sand). Then fold in the wet ingredients. If you over mix the batter will become DOUGH! (Meaning the gluten will form and you will have a tough bread type very dense muffin). 

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into a lined muffin pan. I use large tulip muffin cups for presentation. Then spoon a tsp of the coconut egg mix on top of the muffin before you bake it.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes then rotate the pan. Then a final bake for 6 more minutes should do. (However, every oven is different so…..)

As soon as they come out the oven brush with a little salted butter and serve.

How the topping should be placed.  

How the topping should be placed.  

THE PERFECT STEAK! FOLLOW THESE STEPS AND YOUR NEXT MEAL CAN LOOK LIKE THIS!   

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The Perfect Steak

As a chef, I was taught the improper meaning of the word consistency. That all food should look and be the same!  However, as I’ve matured I have realized that this is true in some areas and highly irregular in others. How do I get Ms. Debra to make the macaroni the same way as Nadia does? Even if I hand out recipes every day for the same thing they will both produce a product that has their individual fingerprints on it.

I am not a franchise chef. I do not wish to employ or program people to be robots. So, I set standards and encourage everyone to follow them. I also encourage cooks not to be so rigid and understand that unless you are a private chef cooking for the same people at every meal period to let the food flow. No two plates should be identical in presentation but certainly in technique and flavor profiles. 

Please note that any recipe I share is mine. Your job is to make it yours.  Add a little this. Take away a little that and adapt it to your liking. For example, I prefer a hard pan seared char on my steaks. I believe that the open flame of a grill is too harsh to let the “Beefiness” of the meat shine through.

So, here’s my technique for steaks.

1.Choose a great steak. Something at least an inch thick so that you can have a good sear and achieve a good medium temperature.

2.I use a pan on a stove cranked all the way up. I mean this will surely set of your fire alarm that has been chirping in the kitchen for months

3. Season your steaks liberally. Remember that most of the seasoning you apply whether on a grill or pan will “cook” off. Also, if you are going to slice your steaks be sure to add some finishing salt for that extra pop of flavor.

4. You will need a knob, okay more lake a few knobs of good butter, some thyme and fresh rosemary to pan baste the steak while it cooks.

5.Here’s where the technique comes in. Turn your steaks every 30 seconds and count equal turns for each side. This is a bit time consuming but it works!

6.Always, listen this is no joke. Always rest your steaks for at least 7 to 10 minutes before you slice them. You must let the juices redistribute evenly.

Follow these tips and I guarantee that you will have the Perfect steak. (Perfection however is relative lol). 

Not my favorite way to cook a steak but sometimes you want that char that only an open glame can give like on these Asian style beef short ribs. 

Not my favorite way to cook a steak but sometimes you want that char that only an open glame can give like on these Asian style beef short ribs. 

Be patient so that you get a perfect char on the outside of your steak.  

Be patient so that you get a perfect char on the outside of your steak.  

This is one of my favorite recipes. Simple, but complex!   Whole Roasted Chicken.  

Select the best birds you can find. 

Select the best birds you can find. 

Chickens make me happy!     

Chickens make me happy!  

 

 

As we embark on teaching the Bahamian cooking public the secrets of the professional kitchen, we must first teach what we call the “Basics”!

One of the most basic meals any first-year culinary student must learn is, “The Roasted Chicken.” In its simplicity, it is very complex. However, once perfected it teaches an invaluable lesson that carries through too many other dishes. Also, as one of the worlds most prepared dishes we can all relate to the sensations of nostalgia that roasted chicken reminds of all off. From the carving of the chicken to wild yard birds and their morning crows, this dish is reminiscent of many childhood and professional memories for me.

Here are the fundamentals that this dish teaches;

  1. Purchasing, selecting and buying the best bird. Look for an evenly, un-bruised skin bird. One free of any discolorations and extra blood in the packaging. The ultimate would be never frozen as well.
  2. Preparation and organization- This meal requires overnight refrigeration and 4 ½ hour preparation which would require anyone to organize the planning and serving of this dish.
  3. Food safety- Chicken is from that start of its consumption been the biggest health risk. There is only one chicken, The French blue foot chicken that can be consumed below temperatures safely! Thus, the handling storage and preparation of this food item is essential.
  4. Simplicity- As chefs create and develop their skills; we often become so complicated that we forget that less is often more. This dish reminds us that simplicity is always best as this dish screams Chicken and that is exactly what we want it to do.
  5. The chemistry of heat- because of the controls of heat we are reminded that slow heat allows the muscles of most meats to relax versus high heat that contracts the muscle and forces the juices out.

  
Crispy skin is pure technique  

Crispy skin is pure technique  

  A bird so lovely that it had its own photo shoot by famed Bahamian photographer @scharadlphoto 

  A bird so lovely that it had its own photo shoot by famed Bahamian photographer @scharadlphoto 

Perfection often takes time.  

 Simple but Complex!

Crispy skin and succulent flesh are the key goals for this dish! However, to have crispy skin you need high heat and moist flesh you need low steady heat! Thus, lays the conundrum and the complexity of this dish! Follow the following stages and you will prepare the perfected roasted chicken!

Preparation process! (You will need to plan and be patient!)

Four Stage Process

Stage one – brine the chicken – 8% salt solution. Rinse in cool the salt for an hour. Change the water every fifteen minutes- This process makes the chicken even more succulent!

Stage two- This stage creates an extremely delightful crisp skin. (remove the wing tips) boiling water- Plunge the chicken into the boiling water for 30 seconds, to remove any bacteria. Carefully remove and plunge in boiling water! Bring the water back to the boil and repeat the process. After 30 seconds remove and shock in cold water. The key now is to let the chicken dry! This mimics what the Asians do in peeking duck recipe that creates that memorable skin. To do this, drape the chicken with a light airy towel and allow it to dry overnight in your refrigerator. The air in there is very dry and helps with this process in a safe environment.

Stage 3- Lightly season the bird with rock salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the bird straight away into a 60-c oven use a store-bought thermometer that is more reliable than the oven setting. This will cook for 4 ½ hours. The low gentle temperature will allow the bird to cook evenly and safely without drying out which would occur at high temperature. In the meanwhile, take 1 lb. of unsalted butter and the wing tips that you reserved and heat until the butter turns a nutty brown and is infused with the pan roasted wing flavor. Then strain. Pour into a meat basting injector and reserve.

Stage 4- Browning the skin. At the stage, the bird will be totaling cooked but it will not look appealing and will not be crisp! However, we don’t want to dry out the rewards of a slow roasting 4 ½ hours of patience! So, thesim trip here is to do it fast and gentle! To do this, heat a skillet for 7 minutes, add a neutral vegetable oil! Add 2 sage leaves and 3 sprigs of thyme and roll the chicken evenly in the oil for no more than two minutes. Using the basting needle inject the roasted butter into the chicken, whose skin should be wonderfully brown and crisp after the hot thyme oil bath. To serve, sprinkle with fresh plucked thyme leaves and rock salt.

Serve with roasted potatoes and glaze carrots and peas!

Bey all the recipes can't be easy. You want easy or you want memorable. Ok den. Go cook! 

The best ##$%#&@ chocolate cake, full stop!  

 

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The best chocolate cake ever. That or your money back.  ( What money? Lol!) 

May Favorite Chocolate Cake adapted from a recipe I got from Food52.com my favorite recipe site)

This recipe is best in a bundt pan for whatever reason, but my adaptation is used for everything from sheet cakes to cupcakes to birthday cakes. It is that awesome.

Remember baking is a precise genre of cooking. However, baking is affected by so many variables. Things such as oven uniqueness, brand of flour, size and age of eggs and so much more. So, you may have to adjust this recipe like all the recipes I record. 

2          cups organic sugar               

1 ½      cups all-purpose flour

1          cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1/2       teaspoon salt

1          teaspoon baking powder

2          teaspoons baking soda

1          cup evaporated milk

½         cup freshly brewed strong black coffee

½            cup Vitamalt™

1/2       cup vegetable oil

2          eggs

1          teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F. Use a non-stick pan and lightly grease it for good measure.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Combine all the wet ingredients. Combine and mix until everything is incorporated. Then, with the mixer still on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix well and be careful that the batter is smooth but not overworked.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, but of course you should be able to check if a cake is done with a pick.

Garnish with ganache , fresh berries and flowers or what ever makes you happy! Just enjoy your cake. You made it! 

Garnish with ganache , fresh berries and flowers or what ever makes you happy! Just enjoy your cake. You made it! 

Hors d'oeuvres 4.0

Throwing a party doesn't mean that you have to serve "stables" of meats, tables of side dishes and an endless buffets of food. How about a tapas or appetizer only party? 

 

Small Bites!  

My biggest tip today is don't try to recreate new recipes for everything. Simply take some of your existing dishes and MINIATURIZE them. Meaning nothing should be more than 2, maximum 3 bites. 

My top seven miniaturized dishes in no particular ranking;

  1. Baby loaded baked potatoes
  2. A twirl of spaghetti Bolognese 
  3. One riblet if smoked bbq pork ribs  
  4. A shot of hot or cold soup with @glfarmsbahamas fresh blossom shoots 
  5.  Hot fish sliders. Okay I know sliders are a bit played out, but when you use purity bakery pull away brioche clusters and make spicy hot fish then a slider is 100 percent endorsed.
  6. "Leftover" tacos. Listen a tortilla was made to  envelop  what ever you have for it. So try turning those leftover baked lamb chops or steamed pork chop into the most amazing 2 to 3 bites "teaser". 
  7. Mini chicken n' da bag. Inside of leg quarters use a wing and some hand cut fries. French in "hot sauce ketchup" and serve. 

 

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This is my BBQ Edict! Barbecue basics 2.0 and Party in da' backyard. (MY first 2 in 1 blog)

This is by far the hardest blog to write to date. Not because I have nothing to say, but frankly because I feel like a bag of microwave popcorn ready to explode. 

When anyone mentions the word   Barbeque I  get excited!  Maybe because it's in my Caribbean DNA.   

Fun fact. Barbecue comes  from the Haitian word Barabicu which for the Taino people meant "scared fire pit"! 

Photo- Me doing a demo with some other local chefs on old school    Barabicu! 

Photo- Me doing a demo with some other local chefs on old school  Barabicu! 

Fast forward to today when the American Bbq giants like Aaron Franklin and Kenny Gilbert are doing things that would make any of our ancestors very proud. Restaurants like Franklin Barbecue in Austin Texas are notorious to having 6 hour waits and sell out of barbecue every single day they open their doors. 

Developing the sort after    HUE    that smoking meat obtains due to the maillard reaction. ( This was after 2 hours. Only 5 more to go). 

Developing the sort after  HUE  that smoking meat obtains due to the maillard reaction. ( This was after 2 hours. Only 5 more to go). 

Okay, now that we done some history and paid homage here's a few recipes and tips for anyone getting into barbecue. 

  1. Don't take it too seriously. Unless you plan to make a living from this, historically BBQ is about sharing and having fun. Yes there are certain techniques etc, but none of them are designed to replaced the joys that slow cooking meat should bring. 
  2. Buy good meat. Dis isn't the time to go to the market and buy the cheapest cut of meat available. Good in. Good out!       
  3. Don't rush it. I said it before, Caribbean people have the propensity to go hard and fast. In this case, to go low and slow is often best. So grab some friends and hang out in da' backyard and chill. 

Most importantly- Never ever ever ever boil ribs or precook any meat for this method of preparation. If you do I will personally come to your house with a fire extinguisher and ruin your event! 

My friends @tuesdaywhiteblogs and @shesomajor two amazing hometown bloggers who I look up to, would probably scold me for combining these two "blogs" together, but I just have to.  

A backyard party event we did to celebrate the engagment of a friend's sister.  📸 by @terrelwcareyphoto ( Most of today's photos are btw) 

A backyard party event we did to celebrate the engagment of a friend's sister.  📸 by @terrelwcareyphoto ( Most of today's photos are btw) 

Although this may not be the typical scene for us in the Bahamas, this is a very Pinterest version of what I'm talking about. However, it was the best picture I had so don't hate cuz! 

So usually we are a bit rowdier, more scattered and all crouched of a styrofoam plate ( sorry tree huggers) with mountains of food. A few items of which I would love to discuss today. 

  1. If you're in charge of the potato salad and you put it anywhere near the fridge prior to your arrival, it's no wonder your last lover left you. You play too much! Something about potato salad and being refrigerated does NOT work.  
  2. Stop waiting for Johnny to bring the sodas to put anything to drink on ice. Step your hosting game up and offer an arrival drink. (OF COURSE I WOULD SAY MY COCONUT SWITCHA FROM MY PREVIOUS POST) 
  3. If you're going to put anything on the grill don't skimp on the condiments. From raw onions to good pickles to decent mustard good backyarding deserves the best.

 

Insert pickle recipe here.

1 cup white vinegar  

1 cup sugar  

3 cups distilled water  

1/2 cup pickling spice.  

Combine in sauce pot. Bring to a boil for exactly 10 minutes remove from the heat and cool. Add to any vegetable and  pickle  for at least 48 hours in a sealed container.  

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For me having a party always means getting others involved. However, as the host you should ensure that you have at least one conversational dish in your repertoire. For me that is my tomato salad with coleslaw vinaigrette. 

 

Tomatoes salad with coleslaw vinaigrette  

Tomatoes salad with coleslaw vinaigrette  

Yes as promised here is my simple yet one of the most amazing dishes for the summer.  

1 lb of cabbage, freshly shredded, very thinly 

2 whole medium carrots, freshly grated 

1 red onion, finely sliced

1/2 green bell pepper,  diced

1 pound of assorted fresh ripe tomatoes. Don't be cheap buy the good kind. 

3 cups Hellman's mayonnaise  

1/2 cup white sugar  

Juice from 1 lime 

1/4 cup white vinegar  

1 heaping tsp of fresh ground black pepper 

A dash or 2 of Kosher salt

M.O.P.

Combine the cabbage, onion,  bell pepper, carrots and salt and bruise them in a bowl with something heavy. This is to release the natural juices from the vegetables. (I'm sure you've figured out by now that we are taking left over slaw juice and using it to dress another salad.) Let this sit at room temperature for 1 hour. 

Next, mix in all the remaining ingredients and let this sit for 3 hours or up to overnight in your refrigerator. Remove and strain. Squeezing out all the juices. 

Just before your ready to serve cut the tomatoes and dress liberally with the Coleslaw vinaigrette.  

I assure you if you master this recipe you will be the talk of the party. 

Whew! What an entry . My fingers are tired. I hate reviewing my work and frankly I think this is enough info for one read. 

So check in with me this week and stay tuned for some more tips and recipes for exciting backyarding. 

Summer School 4.0

Will muddoes! Who would have thought that I would open a school. Me a principal?

Ok so it's not that serious. This isn't your typical online school in anyway, but I always wanted to say that. It's simple. Log on each week Wednesday (in fact check in daily for random recipes and updates) this summer for some amazing recipes, tips and training. Also feel free to send me your kitchen questions.  It is also the best place this summer for young budding cooks of any age. So log on.    

The sights and smells of Summer.  

The sights and smells of Summer.  

CULINARY SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Basic Terms and Fundamentals

The materials for this course were developed by

The training division of the Simeon Hall Restaurant Management Group Ltd.

Revision Date June 2017/ Copyright © 2016

All Rights Reserved

  1. Key Terms

Aromatic – enhance and support the flavors of the dish

Brown stock – When you roast the bones before blanching in water.  This creates the dark brown color.

Degrease/ degraisser – to take away the fat from the finished product.

Chopping – a method used for something that will be strained, roughly cut into relatively even pieces.

Dice/ Dicing – Producing cube shapes, next step after your julienne.

Extraction – to take and get out, for example stocks use mire poix to get the flavor out of it.

Fumet – sweating the main ingredients before simmering, and often has white wine added.

Mignonette pepper- fresh milled whole pepper seeds

Remouillage – Reserving the simmered bones and mirepoix and simmering them again for a second time.

Sauteuse –  large sautee pan

Steam jacketed kettles – large production pot that is used for stocks. 

Stock – a flavorful liquid that is made by simmering bones of meat or poultry with mirepoix and aromatics.  Stock is used as the base of many soups and sauces in the culinary industry.

White Stock – combining all ingredients with cool water and allowing to boil and then simmered over light heat.

Seeding – to get the seeds out of the product.

Slicer – machine that slices products into thick or thin flat pieces.

Brunoise – fine dice, 1/8 x 1/8 x 1/8 inch cubes

Batonnet – larger julienne, ¼ x ¼ x 2 – 2 ½ inches

Small dice – ¼ x ¼ x ¼ inch cubes

Bouquet Garni – made of fresh herbs and vegetables, and tied up into a bundle, used to give flavor to the stock.

Depouillage-  cleaning of a sauce is the most important process in building a sauce.

Concasse/ concasser – blanching a tomato, then shocking it in ice water, so that the skin peels off very easily.

Mince/ mincing – Very fine cut used for many vegetables like onion and garlic.

Fond – another name for stock.

Medium dice – ½ x ½ x ½ inch cube

Onion pique – studding an onion with whole garlic and bay leaves, used to flavor béchamel sauces.

Rondeau – used to cook mirepoix for a brown veal stock.

Sautoir - The Sautoir is a heavier pan typically, with straight sides.  This is because it is commonly used for sauces and reductions, where the flat, heavier bottom helps the cooking process.

Stock pot – a pot that is usually taller than it is wide to reduce the amount of surface area which reduce the amount of evaporation

White mirepoix – flavors white stocks and soups with mild flavor.  Contains 2 parts onion or the white part of the leek, 1 part celery root, and 1 part parsnip.

Peeling – to remove the skin on some vegetables without taking off too much.

Shocking – to stop the cooking process by setting item in cold water.

Slicing – a thin flat cut of something.

Julienne – long match stick like cuts, long thin rectangular cuts. 1/8 x 1/8 x 1 – 2 inches

Large dice – ¾ x ¾ x ¾ inch cube

Questions

1.Name the three basic types of stock. __________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2.What are the major uses of stock? _____________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3.What is the standard ratio to yield one gallon of white stock or brown stock?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Summer Recipe.....

TUNA POKE. serves 4 

TUNA POKE. serves 4 

Summer is a time of fresh, light, flavorful food. And this recipe is a combination of all of that. 

There is only one difficulty in this recipe and that is locating fresh  AHI TUNA . Message me and I will share with you my contact. (Yes I'm making sure that you are reading. Lol) 

1/4 cup low sodium doy sauce    

1 tsp sriracha   

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce  

Zest and juice of one orange  

1 clove of minced garlic  

3 stems of green onion  

A splash fish sauce 

1 finger of fresh finely grated ginger

12 oz fresh small diced tuna 

Simply add all these ingredients, mix and serve.  

For plating you can add soy beans, chunks of fresh fruit, more green onions, dried seaweed flakes, etc. 

Thanks so much for checking in with this new community and I hope that we are giving you the resources that you need in today's kitchen.  

 

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Mis en place/ Lesson #2

Do you remember when Grammy used to make you take out the fish or conch or chicken and leave it in the sink overnight. Albeit extremely dangerous and unsafe this was what we call in the kitchen getting your set up ready. 

Or simpler; when she cut up all the vegetables, precooked her peas and soaked salt beef before going to church without fully cooking anything. That's mise en place. A culinary term that simply means make sure you have all you need. No messing around. Throw in a few explicits and you would be in the center of any kitchen before service time. 

Therefore, as important as l the phrase is to learn, it is even more important to execute. Whether at home or in a professional kutchen or cooking at the family summer bbq the term MISE EN PLACE is one for you to know and love from now!  

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Kitchen summer camp!

Okay, so I'm sorry if you thought you was getting some cooking classes for free. Me and free don't go 2 step. It's a virtual cooking camp for the next few weeks. From easy to follow videos to recipes to quizzes and words of the week. We will do it all here. 

This week we follow Chef Jacques Pepin is known to this generation for being one of the most amazing chefs that teaches the fundamentals and sound kitchen techniques to all. 

Bon Appetit magazine is featuring several amazing videos of him showing some of these techniques to the world. This is a MUST watch for anyone interested in cooking professionally or at home. 

Remember if you know the basics you can work hard to learning how to "break" (ok I mean do things your way) dem'. 

Fundamentals of cooking.....these videos never get old!  Click on the links and watch the entire series. It is worth it! 

The art of menu writing.

A fellow chef, a famous local blogger and I had a interesting conversation this week that inspired me to post this blog this morning. If you have been following us, you would know that my style of cuisine is "local ingredients with global techniques". Something  repeated so much that my auyotype puts the phrase in automatically on my android. LOL!  

The topic of discussion was based on the fact that the Bahamas was NOT included in the top 10 foodie spots in the Caribbean by a leading magazine. ( Sorry I'm in the Starbucks on universal about to catch a flight so I ain't gern looking up the source but its on my Facebook. Go check it out!)  

To chop a long story short...... we ended     up speaking about what is Bahamian and are Bahamians ready for the creative fusion food we want to present the world? Do we stay down home to be considered authentic or does my CORNED BEEF BITE disqualify me as a ambassador for a true Bahamain experience. 

Well here's to one of my latest menus for a project I'm working on. It's Bahamian but it's my twist on things. It's what my grandmother would cook if she was born on October 1976 I believe.   

BUT,  YOU tell me. Judge away. Criticise. Love. Hate, express what you feel and we can start a discussion. Remember menus are made to tell a story through food and this is what we are doing.  TELLING THE BAHAMIAN STORY! 

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Shout out to my girl and expert handwriter that hand writes all these menus. We aim to be the first .......sorry can't tell you anymore. Just stay tuned.  

 

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End of Summer Giveaway

THE RULES ARE SIMPLE  

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1. Post any dish you make between June 21st to September 21st , 2017  with the hashtag #makingsummertastegoodagain on Instagram, follow my Instagram and tag me as well @simeonjalljr. A lil secret;  summer dishes will be best, but attempts on my recipes will definitely be favored. Hey dis my giveaway I make my own rules.....

2. The food, the talent ( me and my crew, smt to the grammar police), the wines and all the beverage will be free. All you have to do is supply the venue. BOOM! Ps we will travel anywhere a large plane goes at your expense of course. 

3. This giveaway is for TWO people only. If you want to transfer this towards an event by yours truly you can but that will be at cost.  

4. You can give this gift away. It's value is 450.00     (we're talking about a lavish meal so). However you will have to send that in writing. 

5. The only difficult part of this giveaway is it is subject to my availability and is redeemable for only 6 months. So let's get to planning. 

6. You must type "giveaway" in the comment section of this blog to be eligible. 

Thank you all for your support and I look forward to making someone belly happy soon. 

That's it!  

 

 

Summer tips! Bbq guidelines for just about anyone.

Seasoning: Don't mind all the hoopla about secret this and secret that..... it is often unnecessary hype. So don't get nervous and follow these simple rules.   Rule #1- Use sea or kosher salt. I have no scientific reason behind it, all I know is "dey is work best"

Rule #2- 50 % of the seasoning will simply burn off. So for dry rubs go heavier and for wet marinades make sure that you give the product time to absorb your seasonings. 

Rule #3- Remember that dried herbs burn and fresh herbs add moisture thus blocking proper browning. Try making a drizzle, a sauce or a dressing for after to add last minute or make a marinade that doubles for a sauce that you can grill in like my grilled sweet soy snapper. 

My go-to Asian sauce: 3 cloves chopped garlic/ 1 thumb of fresh peeled ginger/ chopped cilantro/ 1 cup sweet chili sauce/ 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce/ 1/4 cup Hoisin. Combine and thin with a lilt sake and serve. 

There's a huge difference between "low and slow smokin and grillin'. What Caribbean folk usually call BBQ is what most people understand to be grilling.  

Here's my quick "LOW AND SLOW BBQ GUIDE". 

Pork ribs cook in about 8 hrs  

Beef brisket cooks in about 14-16 hrs  

Pork shoulder or pork butt in about 10- 14 hrs  

Jerk chicken 3-5 hours  

    

 

 

What can I say? This is what a good BBQ plate should look like.  

My go to rub. ( So simple you won't believe it)  

1 cup kosher salt  

1/2 cup butcher block or course ground black pepper.  

That's it. I promise. That's it!  

Okay so there's a catch.  

  1. You can't use fresh ground black pepper on BBQ because it's too strong.  
  2. Buy good meats. If you buy good pork or beef or chicken then you don't want to dump a bunch of competing flavors on it  so keep it simple. Taste the smoke and the bbq sauce if you want it. 

The final tip of the day is not from me but from my BBQ mentor, eventhough he doesn't know it and that's the proper bbq sauce. Listen I won't lie I've watched  this video and more of his about a thousand times. My only suggestion is that you try it straight up then put your spin on it. I have and I have 3 sauces thag are 2 die for. 

Obviously this is not my video and I share this without any credit for it. Go support and like this dude who is the king of BBQ in Texas.  

Next up...sides.  

Next week we will focus on my favorite part of  the summer bbq experience.....the accoutrements. From pickles to cornbread to vegan greens that still make you want to slap your mama! 

Watermelon on da vine.

 I'm not sure  if there's a term for chefs that see things in color that is as cool as synesthesia for musicians , but there should be and it would explain how I see red and green when I see the word             "watermelon" .

 

The Bahamian folk song, "Watermelon spoiling on the vine" is one of my favorites and so is this dish. So simple, but yet so complex in flavor.

Add this is one of the few dishes I make where the garnish is vital to the overall experience of the dish. As you will learn I love soups and how you can make any soup seem sophisticated. But that's for later. For now you will need: 

A blender or juicer 

A melon baller

A fine mesh type strainer 

A skillet and other typical kitchen tools. 

INGREDIENTS

1 large local watermelon 

2 limes 

1/4 oz fresh ginger  peeled

A splash or two of Tabasco 

6 large shrimp. Peeled and deveined  ( I use a 13/15 shrimp)

2 tsp store bought blackening spice ( I have some in the making for purchase at a later date)  

Garnish with Green Leaf Farms edible flowers, chives and micro greens. ( Stop being cheap! #yesisaidit)

METHOD OF PREPARATION (M.O.P. for all future recipes)

Cut the melon in half.  And place it in a bowl to reserve all of the liquids. Then use the melon baller to make the perfect melon balls. Then freeze for about 4 hours along with the serving bowl. Yes put the clean bowls in the freezer as well.

Using a juicer extract the juice of the all the remaining water melon and the ginger.

*If using a blender use the collected juice to get it started.  DO NOT ADD WATER! Then strain with a fine mesh sieve. 

Then simply add the juice from one lime ( Yeah I said 2 but you can never tell with limes. Taste it first and if you want or need more add it. It should taste bright and watermelony  not like limeade!). At the Tabasco.

Reserve and chill 

Simply season the shrimp with the blackening and sear in a cast iron skillet. To properly blacken something you should have a intensely hot skillet and a drop or 2 of regular oil. Not EVOO!   REMEMBER TO COOK THE SHRIMP LAST MINUTE. AKA "A LA MINUTE" in kitchen terms.

This way you have a contrast of hot and cold....citrus, sweet, spicy and some bitter from the edible flowers. Culinary perfection. 

Plate up as seen.

 

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Simple can sometimes be the best.  

 

Keep it clean and simple  

Keep it clean and simple  

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This dish combines the sum of the whole to make it work.  

 

Dimple ways to plate up at home.  

 

The muse for this dish.  

We're back and ready for an Awesome Summer in the 242.

This summer promises to be a scorcher. And I'm not talking about the sun, but the grill, the stove and spices. Noone loves summer grillin and chillin like I do. So every week we will focus on getting you all out of the laziness associated with the summer kitchen and excited to cook regardless of the outside heat. 

Nothing is of limits and any food question you have we will answer together.  So let's get started.  

 

Firstly you will need my top 3 reads of the summer. Yes 2 are magazines. 

 

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My 2017 Summer "bible" 

 

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You aren't a true foodie if you don't have this one.  

 

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I love this book and I just got it yesterday hot of the press.  

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In the Bahamas we have some of the best seafood but rarely eat ceviche of fish.  So see the photo below and try to honestly admit that you won't eat ceviche of some fashion after this.  

 

Remember you have to use super fresh fish for it to be safe.  ( We will get into more details about how to make the perfect ceviche at a later date). 

Remember you have to use super fresh fish for it to be safe.  ( We will get into more details about how to make the perfect ceviche at a later date). 

Hog snapper " crudo" style ceviche with quick pickles and brined sea purslane 

Sweet chilli with extra garlic friend plantain     I'm not writing a recipe for this because it's so simple.....just lightly flour plantains and fry. Then take some store bought sweet chilli sauce add some garlic and warm over medium heat. Then toss the just fried plantain rounds in the sauce garnish with greens and become the star of your summer time hang out! 

Sweet chilli with extra garlic friend plantain  

 I'm not writing a recipe for this because it's so simple.....just lightly flour plantains and fry. Then take some store bought sweet chilli sauce add some garlic and warm over medium heat. Then toss the just fried plantain rounds in the sauce garnish with greens and become the star of your summer time hang out! 

Remember K.I.S.S. Keep it stupid simple!  

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Make summer fun, plan a trip to go and gather out of your community bush aka forage. I did it and look what all I found. 

1. Wild rosemary 

2. Wild sage 

3. Bahamian olives 

4. Sea purslane 

5. Love vine bush  

Finally remember that nothing says summer like a grill/ smoker. Take the party outside, around the pool or the beach or under a tree in your backyard. With a wireless Bluetooth speaker, a few Kalik Radlers and a grill you can make anything happen. We will journey through the next few months and I promise that you will graduate head of the cooking class if you just simply enjoy the ride. As always remember to Eat, pray, love, grill and have fun! 

It will be epic.

In the kitchen aka the Lab.  

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Someone asked me just yesterday why I didn't open a restaurant of my own. Was it funding or was it fear or was it location or what? To their surprise my answer was simply complex!

 

I told her it just was not time. (If I tried to explain exactly what I mean by this, that would last for hours, so just breeze pass all of the philosophical mumbo-jumbo that is implied here. Lol!) 

However, I also explained to her that not a day goes by and I don't create a plate or see a vegetable or become inspired by the curves of a woman and think of some dish my spot will serve. 

Truth is, it hasn't been until now that I truly have a sense of what my spot will be called. (The name is amazing!) What it will serve and where in the Bahamas it will be.  #patience . But for now....I am so happy working with the team I have and building a great product in the island where I am.

Don't get me wrong, it will happen. I am not in a hurry, but I am working on every little detail daiky. From menus to water conservation to how to deal with a restaurant that has a 30 to 60 day reservation list, we are in the lab. And just to prove it to you all I'm releasing 3 of the menus that are the cornerstone of my intended spot. Menus that will change every week and ........okay that's enough.

Read them and give me some feedback and I will select some of those who respond to attend a tasting dinner that I will hold when I take vacation this year.

You asked for it and it will come . Just remember #patience!  

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Guava duff souffle is ridiculous.  

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You didn't even know that I've been in the lab.  

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The conch chowder ravioli is sick!  

......Conch ain't got no bone.

It's election day in our amazing Bahamas and the streets are filled with Bahamian pride. With that in mind we are sharing not 1, not 2, but 3 amazing seafood recipes and a video!

What says Da' Bahamas like seafood? So when everything has settled and we are all back to doing what we do, come back and try one or all of these amazing recipes. Then take a picture and post it with the hashtag #mrpopupbahamas and be entered to win some amazing prizes. 

Have a safe and beautiful day Bahamas!  

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#mrpopupbahamas

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Did you know that a conch is mollusk? 

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Did you know that although conch is found throught the Caribbean, the preparation is the most unique in the Bahamas? 

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Regional cuisine!  

Remember when....

The streets of the capital are littered with the carts from a variety of cultural ambassadors. People who without effort are the first to show visitors and locals alike an unedited peak into the lives of the people. Whether it be here at home or as far away as Bangkok, the street food vendor has forever been an important member of the food culture system of any country.

Go back a few years to when you could find conch salad on a random street corner. (Yes pickling in the heat in a reused mayonnaise jars.)  Or do you remember driving with your father when he would stop to a grill with blistering coal, a cast iron skillet and conch fritters or fish plopping away....

Bahamian street food nowadays is confined to the weekends only the side of a wharf or cookout where the soul of the food has been changed and virtually lost.

I myself believe that evolution and modification are inevitable as seen in my take on a street food recipe but I believe that the experience and Soul of the event should and can always remain the same. 

So when you see me at a random stoplight selling 4 for dolla don't be surprised.  Just as sure as a balled up greasy brown paper bag symbolizes an awesome time in the Bahamas Street food 4.0 shall be an experience you will never soon forget.....

Eat. Pray. Love. 

 

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Blog Bites #2  

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Amazing recipe can be manipulated to be sweet or savory.  

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Plating sticky rice and lamb ribs

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Fry dry Guppies.  

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Asian sticky ribs  

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Crispy fried chicken feet  

Cheers to an amazing dinner.

Last night was the first time I ever made a "herb" centric dinner that was for a Farmer and his wife that grows the most amazing herbs in the Bahamas.  Farmer Antonio S. Hall and Vanessa Hall. I also did another first by trying to recreate the cover photo on my favorite magazine for them using only local ingredients for the exception of the flour in the bread. Even the yeast I cultivated myself. Thanks for being two of my favorite Muses in a long time. Continue to be great! Ps thanks Condenast.

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Their version.  

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My version.  

Blog Bites is here! Dis and every Wednesdee.

We said we would and so now we are....this and every Wednesdee.  We have a cupboard full of amazing recipes, tips, videos and so much more waiting for you.

 

Tell a friend or do whatever it takes to make sure you step that kitchen game up. Some of yinna are lit but not in da kitchen.  So see you here!  

Special shout out to the best Graphic artist in the game.  You rock #girlboss.  

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Thanks to all our partners  

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This is a must have recipe!  

Summer is almost here!

Baggie 2.0


“Fishman, Fishman, Fishman”, echoes faintly in the distance in harmony with the chimes of a noticeably aged bell and the cranks of a squeaky bicycle chain. Slowly and painfully we watch as a gentleman, who by anyone’s standards should be sitting under a coconut tree enjoying his final years, fights to pedal the terrain of the beachside island hills. However, the treasures he holds in his wire basket quickly gather a mob of curious onlookers and the Mamas of the community sit patiently knowing that they will have first pick of the litter. These little treasures –6 for $5, 10 for $8 and a special bundle for my grandmother, the community’s informal Matriarch, sits fastened with a little straw string as Fishman clumsily pitches his bike against the tree.

As sure as the sun sets, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:15pm Mr. Brown aka Fishman can be found at the same point in Nassau. Fishman’s customers as just as predictable; the same customers receive the same order, with the occasional newcomer getting the leftovers and subsequently moving up the hierarchy for his next visit. Jacks and snappers were his specialty – all still sweating with ocean water and minutes away from the pan of flavored oil on my Grammy’s stove.

I remember telling this story a few months ago to some young students at a culinary school as they sat in a combination of awe, disbelief and frowns. “Selling fish from a bike, Chef?” one proclaimed. “Isn’t that bad sanitation Chef?” another asked.

Then in the middle of the storm of questions I asked, “What is the Bahamian National dish?” A surge of silenced entered the room; doubt and uncertainty calmed their voices and made them think. No one wanted to answer so I started point to them in the right direction. 12 different answers later and still no one was in agreement. Determined to make them understand the riches of our food culture I pried deeper. Has anyone ever had a salty sausage? What is fat back? How is dried conch made and what dishes do we use dry conch in? What is Johnny Cake? Have your even seen a rock oven? What is cup? How do you make a baggie?

As one who deems himself a curator of Bahamian culinary arts, not only did their responses scare and disappoint me, but their answers prompted me to challenge my students to create what I believe will be the next generation of “the baggie” –Bahamian frozen treat.

As a Chef, I could not simply prepare red, purple and orange KoolAid flavored-baggies, so I created a template that can take any local fresh fruit and transform it to an upgraded, modern version of this nostalgic treat!

Island Baggie - frozen Bahamian summer drink - Makes 4

Mango Thyme Baggie

Ingredients

1 cup fresh mango puree (substitute your favorite summer fruit puree)

3 cups of distilled water

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

juice from 1/2 lime

1 cup fresh cane juice (substitute 1/4 cup light brown sugar and 3/4 cup distilled water)

Method:

Simmer the water and thyme on low heat. Reduce the 3 cups to 2 cups to infuse the thyme flavor. Strain and cool.

Combine all the remaining ingredients and thyme water . Place in sandwich bag with twists. Freeze for 5 hours.

Serve semi or fully frozen on a hot day!

Try some of my new favorite combinations made from fresh fruits-

Pomegranate beet root and strawberry

Orange mango

Tangy lime and white grape

Mr. Brown may be long gone, but the culture of food in the Bahamas is beginning to find new life once again. History always repeats itself and for us this is a great thing. We may not all agree on our Bahamian national dish, but we can all agree that a cold frozen drink in a plastic bag would take any and all of us back to a time and place filled with incredible memories. Our hope is that this article will remind our readers of a great past and take our younger Bahamians into a great future. Isn’t is amazing what food can do?

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