Monday, February 1, 2010

Avocado, mango and pineapple salad

This salad looked really pretty and was very flavourful... it went well with the Caribbean theme.


  • 1 medium shallot sliced thinly

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

  • 3 cups mescalin mix

  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced mint

  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced basil

  • 3 medium avocados sliced

  • 2 kiwis sliced and halved

  • 1 mango sliced a quarter inch thick

  • half a medium pineapple diced

Toss shallot with a tbsp of rice vinegar for 10 minutes. Drain shallot, reserve the vinegar and add the red wine vinegar into shallot vinegar and whisk in the oil. Toss a tbsp of vinaigrette with shallots and mescalin mix with the mint and basil. Arrange the avocado, kiwi, pineapple and mango decoratively on a plate and top with the mescalin mix and remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Sorry, no picture of the salad, you will have to believe me that it looked and tasted pretty good!

Sweet and spicy roasted vegetables

For our party of 8

6 medium carrots halved lengthwise and cut in 1 inch pieces

2 red onions cut in 8 wedges

2 cups butternut squash cut in 1 inch pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

Toss the vegies with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 450 F for 30 minutes.

While it is cooking, heat 2 tbsp oil in a small frying pan and add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground ginger, a half tsp cinnamon and a quarter tsp cayenne and cook until fragrant. Stir in 2 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp fresh thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle the mixture over roasted vegetables. mmm mmm good!


I use the recipe from Cooks Illustrated edition number 74


  • 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined, toss with salt and pepper and olive oil and 1 tsp garlic and set aside

  • 8 cloves minced garlic

  • 10 chicken thighs

  • 1 red bell pepper sliced 1/2 inch thick

  • 8 oz chorizo sausage sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias

  • 1 medium onion finely chopped

  • 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained and diced some more

  • 2 cups arborio rice

  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1/2 tsp crumbled saffron

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 12 mussels

  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas thawed

  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

Although I prepared the last 3 ingredients, I forgot to add them!!!
It didn't affect the flavour!!

I use a paella pan to prepare this dish...

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat 2 tsp oil in pan or dutch oven add peppers and cook until they are a little blistered and set them aside.

Add 1 tsp oil to pan on medium high heat and add chicken pieces to brown on both sides (~3-4 minutes per side). Set aside in a bowl. Reduce heat to medium add the chorizo sausage , cook stirring frequently until fat starts to render. Transfer to the same bowl with the chicken. Add enough oil to the pan to equal 2 tbsp, add onion and cook for 3 minutes and then add the garlic and cook for a minute more until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and stir until mixture begins to darken. Stir in the rice and stir until well coated. I prepared the dish this far in advance earlier in the day. Then half an hr before you want to eat... finish the recipe... So...

Stir in chicken stock (if using a dutch oven reduce the chicken broth by 1/2 a cup) wine, bay leaf, half a tsp salt and saffron. Return chicken and sausage to the pan bring to a boil, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover pan the shrimp to the rice mixture and add the mussels hinged side down and they stand upright. Arrange pepper in a pinwheel in the centre and scatter the peas. Cover and return to oven for another 12 minutes until the shrimp are opaque and the mussels have opened. Let stand 5 minutes, discard unopened mussels and bay leaf, sprinkle with parsley and pass the lemon slices!

Callaloo soup

You will need a ham bone (with some ham left on it, Eric is my supplier) or a pork hock.

Use a large pot, add 1 sliced large tomato, 1 large sliced onion, 2 frozen packages of okras and 1 package of frozen spinach and the ham bone. Add water to cover the ingredients. Add salt and pepper and bring to a boil then simmer for ~ 1 hr. When the okra seeds turn pinkish, remove the ham bone and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Serve hot and pass the pepper sauce!

Caribbean night

We had our Dominican Republic travel buddies for dinner and a little Caribbean flair!
There were flowers palm trees and exotic birds pasted to walls to help create the atmosphere. Music filled the air and the welcome drink was a rum punch made with dark rum and triplesec.

The dinner menu for 8 was as follows:

Hors d'ouevres of mini meat pies, antipasto and mini egg rolls (all previous entries)

Callaloo soup (sorry, don't know how to spell it)!


Chocolate souffle with whip cream spiced with rum

Sweet and spicy roasted vegetables

Avocado mango, and pineapple salad