DHAL

Dhal, a staple in Trinidadian cooking. We make this dish alongside curries or to be eaten alone like a soup or with roti *flat bread*. It’s healthy, flavorful and filling.

So funny story, when I was a teenager I was a bit rebellious *What? Really?! No way!*… I know, hard to believe right!? Anyway, my mom was forcing me to learn how to cook and I wanted no part of it, so I was throwing a hissy fit about cooking dhal and deliberately doing it wrong so she would just get mad at me and shoo me away. Well….she didn’t and I got a pot spoon thrown at me and she made me count each grain of dhal *split peas* in the package! Ever since then I’ve hated dhal and refused to make it! *Yeah! I’ll show her!!*

Years later, I’m pregnant and craving dhal and I didn’t know how to make it! According to Caribbean superstition, when you get pregnancy cravings and you don’t satisfy it, your child will be born with a birthmark shaped like what you were craving! And I was not about to have a child with a dhal birthmark on his head! 😁

Luckily my sister Giselle was visiting me and she is the best dhal maker I know *Yeah! Take that mom!!*, so I paid close attention and wrote down this recipe. I like my dhal not too thick and not too runny, just in the middle.

RECIPE
1 cup yellow split peas
2 1/2 cups water
7 grains garlic
1/2 onion chopped (medium)
1/2 habanero pepper ( keep whole if you want the flavor and not the heat)
1/4 tsp saffron powder
2 pimento peppers finely chopped (or you can use jalapeños)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp whole geera (cumin)

DIRECTIONS

1. Soak split peas for a couple hours and drain.
2. Boil 2 1/2 cups of water and then add the peas.
3. Add the 5 garlic grains, onion, peppers and saffron powder.
4. Let boil until peas are very soft and tender.
5. In a small pan, heat oil and add 2 grains garlic and geera, let it brown over low heat.When the garlic is brown, carefully pour the oil mixture into your split peas. (This process is called chunkaying)

6. Whisk the mixture or puree until smooth and add salt to taste (about a tsp)

TIP: If your dhal is too thick you can add hot water until you get to your desired texture.

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CHEESY BACON JALAPENO BISCUITS

There will be no conversation, just go to your kitchen and make this. NOW!!!! Thank me later!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of crescent rolls (you can use biscuits too)
  • Cheese (Whatever type you like, I used velveeta)
  • 12oz or 16oz package of bacon, cooked
  • flour for dusting (optional)
  • jar of jalapenos

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line your baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly flour your work surface if you don’t want any crescent roll stickage.
  2. Unroll one can of crescent rolls (or 1/2 can of biscuits) on your work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, press the seams together and lightly press & stretch a little into a nice rectangle. Add a layer of cheese (I like a pretty thick layer, & I use Velveeta because I love how it melts) & then add your layer of bacon and jalapenos. Unroll the remaining can of crescent rolls on top & press all the seems together both on top and all around.
  3. Using a pizza cutter or a knife (I prefer a pizza cutter) slice into squares. Place the entire thing on your baking sheet using a large spatula, working in batches if you need to. Lay all the squares right beside each other, just as they were before you sliced it. You want all the cut seams to be touching so that your cheese doesn’t leak out.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the top of the crescent rolls are lightly browned. Remove from the oven & cool on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes before digging in. The crescent squares will pull right apart. Serve & enjoy!

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I’m bringing this appetizer to the Fiesta Friday #64, hosted by the Amazing A because they are so so so delicious! I know they’ll go fast! Thank you to the wonderful hosts!! ,Ginger & Bread and Safari Of The Mind

Santa Fe grilled chicken

The weekend is finally here and we’re supposed to have perfect 80F weather! So that means, pulling out the old grill and getting it ready for months of use! *someone get me a virgin piña colada* 🍹

I love making my own rubs, they’re so versatile and you can experiment so much! I’d like to share with you one of my favorite rubs! It’s spicy, sweet, smoky and just tastes delicious!

You can use the grilled chicken in tacos, or on top of your favorite salad! I love adding avocado, cilantro, chopped onions and tomatoes with sour cream and cheese to these tacos with a squeeze of lime! AMAZZZINGGGGGG!!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper *or less if you’re 🐣*

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded thin (about 4 large breasts)

Preparation

1. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper, salt, pepper, cayenne and brown sugar. Stir in oil; mixture will be moistened but crumbly.

2. Generously rub chicken on all sides with chili mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to marinate (or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day).

3. Preheat gas grill to medium, or preheat broiler to high and set rack 6 to 8 inches from source of heat. Grill or broil chicken until firm, about 5 minutes per side. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into thin strips.

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JERK SALMON

That salmon was such a jerk but he sure tasted good! hahahaha… what… you don’t get it? It’s ok, it’s an inside Caribbean joke. Nevermind! Ha!

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken. Modern recipes also apply jerk spice mixes to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, lamb, and tofu. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called “pimento” in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers. Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt.

It really is so simple to do! My preferred brand of Jerk Marinade is called Walkerswood. You can get mild *no true Caribbean person with self-respect ever buys mild!* or the hot and spicy!  You slather the marinade on and let it do its thing for a few hours or overnight, if you dare and then you grill or bake over a medium to low heat until finished. Let it rest a bit and then prepare your taste buds for the spicy, savory, melt in your mouth goodness *insert Homer Simpson drool* Easy peasy!

SPICY CAJUN TURKEY

*Walks into TA (Turkey Anonymous) meeting*….

“Hello everyone, my name is Natasha and I am a turkey-holic…”

It’s so true and this is by far the best turkey recipe I have, give it a try and let your mouth and tummy thank you! You’re welcome!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon concentrated liquid crab and shrimp boil (recommended: Zatarian’s)

1/4 cup apple cider

3/4 cup honey

1 (12-ounce) bottle beer

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon ground allspice

1/2 cup Creole seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup finely minced garlic

1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey, rinsed well inside and out, patted dry

4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 cups chicken broth, as needed for bottom of roasting pan

2 lemons and 1 onion quartered, rosemary for stuffing

Directions

Make the marinade by combining the Worcestershire sauce, crab boil, apple cider, honey, beer, salt, allspice, Creole seasoning, cayenne, olive oil, and minced garlic in a blender and process until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Fill a large syringe and inject turkey in the breast and thigh area, as well as the back, wings, and legs, with at least 2/3 of the marinade. You will have to fill the syringe numerous times.

Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F and line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil.

Season the injected turkey well both inside and out with the kosher salt and black pepper, stuff the lemon, onion and rosemary into the cavity. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan lined with aluminum foil and pour the remaining marinade all over the turkey. Bake the turkey uncovered for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, add 1 cup of the chicken broth to the roasting pan, and continue to bake the turkey until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part between the thigh and the leg registers 165 degrees F. (If the turkey begins to brown too much, tent loosely with aluminum foil until it is done. Also, add more broth as necessary to keep the bottom of the roasting pan from burning.)

When the turkey is done, remove from oven and set aside to rest at least 20 minutes before carving.