BLACK BEANS

When I moved to the United States, I was amazed at the variety of foods! Almost every country’s dishes could be found. Immediately I was drawn to Mexican food, my first experience was Taco Bell and needless to say I was sorely disappointed until I had the real deal at a small authentic Mexican restaurant that didn’t even serve cheese on their tacos! The little lady chef muttered “That’s for Americans! We no do that in Mexico!”

I was blown away, the intense flavors, the spiciness, the savoriness and the desserts Oh my goodness! Give me a coconut macaroon every day please! or maybe a cream filled churro dipped in a ton of cinnamon and sugar *drool* but I digress. Since Mexican food is quickly becoming a favorite, I’ve tried to make a few dishes myself. I found this black bean recipe on Food Network. It’s pretty basic, but very tasty and it goes great with tacos, burritos, carne asada, mexican grilled chicken or by itself! I just love the different shades of purple and navy you see after soaking, so pretty 🙂

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Ingredients
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Kosher salt
Queso fresco and fresh cilantro, for topping (optional)

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Directions

  1. Soak the beans in a pot of water overnight. Drain.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. 11232373_10155538310335431_92394095838773082_o
  3. Add the oregano and the beans, then add enough water to cover (about 9 cups). Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are just tender, about 3 hours. (Usually takes about 90 mins but some beans are just difficult 🙂 )  11234826_10155538309220431_3610207200900571750_o
  4. Add 2 teaspoons salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 45 minutes. Season with salt. Let sit 15 minutes before serving; top with queso fresco and cilantro, if desired.11145064_10155538306350431_8649880011039190911_o10931639_10155095922915431_9103119380237797008_o

The Big Green Secret behind Caribbean Food

SHHHHHH!!! You can’t tell anyone about this!..*comes closer*… Do you want to know why Caribbean food always tastes sooooo good??? Well I’m going to tell you but you must promise to never share! Ok?! Excellent!… I trust you!

It’s this! Green seasoning! We all make it, everyone has their own variation, there’s never an exact measurement, you know you’ve got the right amounts of ingredients by a certain smell! Once you know it, you’ll remember it forever! I just can’t explain it!

Green seasoning is used on meats, fish, vegetables and even for a body scrub *ok maybe not a body scrub…really don’t do that*.

My preferred blend includes;

  • chives
  • cilantro (shadow benny/ bandania is used in the Caribbean, cilantro is in the same family)
  • celery
  • thyme
  • spanish thyme
  • oregano
  • congo/ scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
  • pimento pepper
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • onion
  • salt
  • lime or lemon juice
  • water

Then you blend it together until smooth and store in the fridge. Use this pesto looking mixture to marinate meats, fish and vegetables for incredible flavor! So go on! Grab an islander and have them tell you if you’re on the right track! 🙂
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Roasted Garlic Asparagus

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  • 1 34-2 lbs fresh crisp asparagus
  • 1cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper(to taste)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Heat olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a small pan over low heat until garlic becomes golden and oil becomes fragrant; remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Bend asparagus gently until it breaks at a natural point and discard ends.
  4. Toss asparagus pieces with infused olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet (one with a side edge).
  5. Season asparagus with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast at 400F  for 12 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  7. Serve hot.