Yogurt Marinated Harissa Spiced Chicken Wings

4-lb. organic chicken wings (tips removed)

1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt

4 cloves garlic confit, chopped (regular garlic works fine)

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

3 tbsp Harissa

Kosher salt

Coarse ground black pepper

The How To…

In a large mixing bowl, add chicken, drizzle with olive oil, and season generously with Harissa.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, shallot, lemon zest, and 2 tsp. each of the pepper and salt. Wait about 30 minutes before adding chicken to yogurt mixture to ensure the Harissa has had a chance to work it’s way through the meat. Mix together and refrigerate overnight.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put on a broiler pan or on a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Season both sides well with salt and pepper. Let chicken come up to temperature before roasting, about 30 minutes. Roast the chicken wings, uncovered, until they achieve that beautiful caramelized color and crispy skin, 45 to 50 minutes. Make sure to turn wings a few times so each side cooks properly. Let rest for 10 minutes, before serving.

Avocado Pesto + Whole Wheat Fettuccine + Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms

After a weekend that involved copious amounts of eating, I decided to give my stomach a little bit of a rest. This dish literally took me about 20 minutes to make and it was light and crazy delicious. 

Ingredients

½ pack of whole wheat fettuccine 

1 ripe avocado (peeled, pitted, and diced)

1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves

1 cup Shiitake mushrooms (washed and sliced)

1/3 cup pine nuts

4 cloves garlic confit

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus a little extra

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Water as needed

The How To

Put pasta to boil till al dente (12-15 minutes) with a couple pinches of salt. Drain and set aside.

Combine avocado, basil, pine nuts, and garlic confit in a food processor or blender. With machine running, slowly stream in the lemon juice, olive oil, and water as needed to achieve a smooth pesto. Puree until completely blended and creamy.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown color achieved and set aside.

Toss pasta in pesto until fully incorporated. Plate, top with mushrooms, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Vadouvan Spiced Lentil & Cannellini Bean Soup + Crumbled Goat Cheese + Crispy Black Forest Bacon + Truffle Butter Sourdough Toast

Rainy afternoons, and dark dreary skies have been pretty much the norm of late which put me in the mood for a nice hearty soup. This dish was inspired byChef Jamie Oliver’s recipe which calls for bacon, so immediately I was sold. The addition of vadouvan spice, garlic confit, and goat cheese adds an earthy richness, and gives the dish another layer of flavor.

Ingredients

6 strips of smoked bacon, chopped

1 red onions, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped

2 cloves garlic confit, chopped

A few sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

½ teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon red chilli flakes

1 teaspoon of vadouvan

2 cups dried lentils, a mixture of green and red

8 cups organic vegetable stock

1 can of cannellini beans, drained

Crumbled goat cheese

Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

Olive oil

The How To… (Serves 4 - 6)

Place a large lidded saucepan on a medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and bacon to the pan. Fry slowly until the bacon has rendered and gotten crispy, then add the thyme, chilli flakes, onion, carrot, celery and garlic confit.

Cook gently with the lid on for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Move contents of saucepan to a heavy bottomed pot, then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are soft, 30 - 40 minutes. (Check the packet instructions as different types of lentils vary in cooking time. If you’re mixing your lentils, cook for the longest amount of time to make sure they are all cooked properly).

Add the tin of cannellini beans and, if the soup’s a little thick, some more water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes, then taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Ladle into bowls and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, goat cheese crumbles, and the chopped parsley.

 

Honey Fried Chicken + Watermelon Caipirinha

Summer is winding down so I decided to go out with a bang! I was inspired to make this dish after a Netflix marathon session of “The Mind Of A Chef”. Season 3 features award-winning chef of 610 Magnolia, and self proclaimed fried chicken aficionado, Ed Lee. In the fourth episode, he teams up with acclaimed chef Ashley Christensen, of Beasley’s Chicken + Honey to recreate her famous Honey Fried Chicken. With notes in hand, I knew I wanted to take a stab at making my own version of that dish. Paired with a watermelon caipirinha, quite possibly THE most perfect accompaniment to fried chicken, this spread was an absolute triumph. 

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds of chicken (combination of wings and drumsticks)
  • Canola oil (for frying)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp of coconut vinegar
  • 1 ½ cup of all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp of coarse sea salt
  • 3 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Gindo’s Spice Of Life pepper sauce
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon

The How To…

Fried Chicken

Cut away the tips of the wings. Place chicken in a strainer, and squeeze lemon juice over evenly and then wash off. Move chicken to a bowl, season with salt (2 tsp.) and pepper (1 tsp.), and let stand for 15 minutes. Add buttermilk and coconut vinegar to the bowl. Leave chicken covered in this bath for 5 hours minimum, but for best results refrigerate overnight.

Make sure chicken is at about room temperature when ready to fry. Season flour with paprika, cayenne, and the rest of the salt and pepper. One by one, lift each piece out of the buttermilk to briefly drain the excess, then place in  a grocery bag with the flour mixture. Fold the bag closed, and shake to thoroughly coat the chicken with the flour mixture, about 30 seconds. Move coated pieces to a baking rack.

Chef Trick… let chicken sit on the rack for at least 20 minutes before frying. That allows for the buttermilk to react with the flour, which aides in the coating being absorbed by the chicken which gives it that great crunchy texture once cooked.

Heat up at least 3 inches of oil (canola or peanut) in a deep heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, adjusting the temperature of the oil as necessary to maintain 325°F. I highly recommend investing in a cooking thermometer. It will change your life!

Once the oil is hot enough, add a few pieces at a time and fry in batches, and be careful not to splash. Cook until crispy, deep golden brown. Roughly 10 - 12 minutes per batch. Once finished, move to a clean baking rack to cool.

Honey Sauce

Add honey, thyme, butter, garlic, and Gindo’s Spice Of Life (or red chili flakes) to a saucepan and sauté over low heat. Once flavors are fully incorporated, and the honey has a vicious consistency (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and drizzle over the chicken.

Watermelon Caipirinha

  • Limes
  • Leblon cachaca
  • Organic sugar
  • Watermelon puree
  • Crushed ice

Fill cocktail glass with crushed ice. Cut 1 lime into 8 equal pieces and add to martini shaker. Add 2.5 tbsp of sugar and gently muddle. Add 2 shots of cachaca, about ½ cup of watermelon puree, and ice from cocktail glass. Shake generously, pour, and savor. This makes one serving.

Meal was served on VerTerra Dinnerware

 

Broiled Alaskan King Crab In Garlic Parsley Butter + Pan Roasted Filet Mignon Topped With Belcampo Bacon & Maytag Blue Cheese

I am a professed binge watcher, and my latest obsession has been the modern cult classic The Deadliest Catch. I began thinking to myself, no better way to pay homage to one of my favorite shows, than to create a dish using Dutch Harbor Alaskan King Crab. If you’re in the mood to splurge, this inspired “surf & turf” medley is succulent and an absolute winner. Shoutout to the Belcampo Meat Co. for their awesome meats!

Ingredients

2 lb. king crab legs

9 oz. filet mignon

½ cup unsalted butter, plus a little extra

8 garlic cloves; 6 finely minced, 2 smashed

½ lemon, juiced

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 leaves of fresh sage

1 tbsp. Maytag blue cheese

1 slice of cooked thick cut bacon

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

The How To…

Garlic Crabs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, on broil. In a small saucepan over medium low heat add butter, minced garlic, a few pinches of parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice into the sauce and sauté for 5-7 minutes and set aside.

Break down crab legs by cutting them at the joints. Move segmented pieces to a steamer until them are pretty much warmed through, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from steamer, and once they’re cool enough to handle, use kitchen shears to cut away  portions of the shell in order to expose the meat.

Arrange the pieces on a racked baking dish, brushing each piece with a generous helping of the garlic sauce. Move pan into the oven on the center rack, and cook until the crabs start showing a nice golden brown color; 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven, and spoon on a little more sauce over the crab, and sprinkle on a few pinches of fresh parsley for garnish and plate up.

Pan Roasted Filet

Rub steak all over with a drizzle of olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Let steak sit at room temp for an hour before cooking. Once ready, add about a tbsp. of canola oil in a cast iron pan over high heat and add steak.

The trick is to let a deep brown crust develop on all sides. Don’t be tempted to turn the meat too often. For a steak this thick, I turned it once about every 6 minutes. Once nicely crusted on all sides, drop temp down to medium and add a tbsp. of butter, smashed garlic cloves, rosemary, sage, and thyme. 

Once the butter in melted, baste the steak with the pan drippings sufficiently on both sides. Once it’s cooked to medium, remove steak from pan and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Add bacon and blue cheese over the top and plate up.

Egg Pappardelle + Spicy Lamb Ragu + Ricotta Cheese

The first time I had this dish was at Ajax Tavern in Aspen, CO about five years ago. Since then I’ve come up with my own version, so that I can indulge anytime I want. This dish is a cakewalk to throw together, and utterly delicious.

Ingredients   

1 pack of egg pappardelle (8.8 oz.)

½ pound of fresh spicy lamb sausage (casings removed)

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic (smashed)

½ cup ricotta cheese

½ cup red wine (Cabernet)

1 bottle of high quality Marinara sauce

1 ½ tsp. crushed red pepper

Fresh basil

Parmigiano Reggiano

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

The How To…

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat with a few pinches of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet warm the olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. 

Add the lamb sausage meat, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the lamb has browned and the juices have evaporated. Remove garlic cloves. 

Add the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half. 

Add the marinara sauce and simmer over low heat until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Add the ricotta and stir until mixed. Add the pasta and stir to coat. Season with salt to taste. Plate and finish with a little olive oil, fresh basil, ground black pepper, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Avocado Tuna Salad With Wild Arugula + Buttermilk Biscuit

Ingredients

2 tins of chunk albacore white tuna

½ avocado (smashed)

1 handful of wild arugula

1 tsp. of shallots (finely minced)

Smoked paprika (pinch)

Garlic powder (pinch)

Cumin (pinch)

1 tbsp. of mayonnaise

1 tbsp. of spicy Dijon mustard

1 tsp. fresh Meyer lemon juice

i tsp. of olive oil

Rice wine vinegar

Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste  

The How To…

Combine tuna, mayo, spices, avocado, shallots, and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix together until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, gently toss arugula, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, and salt. 

Slice and toast biscuit until warmed through. Plate up and dig in.

 

 

Japanese Curry Duck Breast + Baby Arugula Salad With Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette & Parmigiano Reggiano

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Whenever I’m putting together a dish, I’m usually led by whatever protein I decide to work with, and everything flows from there. However, on this particular occasion I was inspired by a particular ingredient, Japanese curry. On a recent trip to Napa, a close friend of mine visited Whole Spice at the Oxbow Public Market, and surprised me with a treasure trove of spices and specialty salts! Harissa, zahtar, vadouvan, zhug, Herbes de’ Provence, Alderwood smoked sea salt… what can I say, I have great friends. As a West Indian I’m always partial to anything curry, so naturally I decided to experiment with that one first. There were subtle differences between West Indian and Japanese curries that I was able to discern right away. While West Indian curry is quite pungent, the Japanese blend is more delicate, yet still aromatic with nice citrus notes.  I figured it would go nicely with duck, paired with a light salad with a bit of acid to balance off the richness of the dish.  

Ingredients

2 boneless skin-on duck breast

½ pound of baby arugula (washed)

1 tbsp. of unsalted butter

1” piece of ginger

4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 medium lemon

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Parmigiano Reggiano (finely chopped)

Japanese curry powder

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

The How To…

Duck Breasts

Drizzle duck with olive oil and season with curry powder (1 tsp.), garlic (½ tsp.), ginger (¼ tsp.), salt, and pepper. Add butter and place duck skin side down in a cast iron skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Cook, without flipping, until fat is rendered and skin is crisp, 6–7 minutes.

Flip duck; reduce to medium and cook until browned and to desired doneness, about 4-5 minutes for medium rare or until an instant-read thermometer Inserted into the thickest part of the duck reads 130°.

Transfer duck to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing on an angle.

Salad

In a large salad or mixing bowl, combine arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano (¼ cup), and the zest of an entire medium lemon.

In a separate bowl, whisk olive oil (¼ cup), balsamic vinegar (2 tbsp.), juice from ½ the lemon, and minced garlic (1 tsp.), until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.

Braised Oxtails + Butter Beans + Sticky Rice

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Being that my family and I are from Trinidad, oxtails is a dish I grew up eating in copious amounts. Whenever my mom would make them, the smell would permeate every nook and cranny of our house. The deep rich aroma of the meat being cooked down in a cast iron pot, is a food memory that is forever lasting. I recently went home for a visit, and teamed up with my mom to recreate one of my all time favorite dishes, and of course it was as good as ever. That said, I went ahead and included the recipe so you could take part in this gluttonous enjoyment. Enjoy!

Ingredients  (Serves 4 - 6)

3 lbs. of oxtails

1 large onion (chopped)

(1) 1 inch piece of ginger (grated)

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce

4 sprigs of thyme

2 tbsps. of dark rum

½ cup of stock

½ cup of water

Olive oil

2 tbsps. canola oil

2 tins of butter beans (drained)

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Sushi Rice

The How To…

Lightly coat oxtails with olive oil, season generously with salt, pepper and measured out Worcestershire sauce. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Add canola oil to large heavy bottomed pot over high heat. Add meat and cook until all pieces are nice and brown on all sides. 

Once all the meat is browned, reduce to medium heat, add garlic, garlic, ginger, and onions and cook until translucent. Add a tiny bit of stock if needed.

Move meat and rest of the pot contents to pressure cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, excluding the stock, butter beans and the rice. Cook on high heat until meat is tender, 60-75 minutes. 

Move contents from pressure cooker back to large pot, add butter beans, and the rest of the stock. Cook over medium low heat (25-30 minutes) until liquid reduces down, stirring occasionally. 

Prepare sticky rice as instructed. This is optional, but I like to add a hint of rice wine vinegar to my rice. It provides a nice hit of acid that compliments the richness of the oxtails really nicely. Plate up and dig in.