Saturday, April 17, 2010

What a Jerk

So far, the biggest success, at least according to my intrepid tastetester, is my jerk chicken with sweet mustard coleslaw.  I think the combo was pretty good, plus the crunchy from the slaw made for a good texture combo.  The chicken needed a better crust on it, or it needed to be shredded with more jerk sauce mixed in.  The chicken came out fairly mild in flavor, with just a hint of the sauce, but with extra sauce added plus the coleslaw, it was pretty good.  The sauce itself was pretty overpowering, but in combo, I think it was great.  I didn't have any bread, or rolls, so we used tortillas.  Now I'm pretty sure there aren't tortillas in traditional Jamaican cooking.  So I have to figure out what they would use for a sandwich holder, but it turned out pretty nice anyway.  And I was able to satisfy MJ's question about whether healthy food can taste good.  So far a success.

I do have to crow for a minute.  I was asking MJ to critique the different combos (I did 2 sauces, a Jerk BBQ and a more traditional pan sauce), and he gave me some good feedback.  He also asked what I thought, and my reply was that of all the sandwiches I have made for him, this one was the best.  Flavor combo was good, texture was good, mixture of meat to veggies, etc.  He agreed, but he also told me that the meals he's had with me are among the best he's ever had!  That made me feel great.  So here's the ingredients to the two parts of the dish.  I will have to go find my notes to get the exact measurements.

Jerk Chicken
4 Chicken Breasts
1/2C Olive Oil
1/4C Soy Sauce
1/8C Ketchup
1/8C Worchteshire Sauce
4T Jerk seasoning (need to get the specific spices for this)
2T Lime Juice
2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag and marinate for 24hrs.  Remove chicken and pan fry in lightly oiled skillet, about 8min on each side.  Pour remaining marinade into a sauce pan and boil until thickened.

Sweet Mustard Coleslaw
1C Mayo
1/3C Mustard (using medium German mustard for this one, can use dijon)
1/4C Brown Sugar
1/4C Apple Cider Vinegar
2T Celery Seeds
1t Salt
1/2t Pepper
1/2 Head Cabbage (green or red), shredded
1 Red Pepper, cut to matchstick size
1/2 Red Onion, sliced thin

Mix first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add veggies and toss.  Refrigerate for about 4 hours.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carrot Salad

Its one of those mornings.  You know those mornings.  Where everything goes wrong.  And just when you think you have everything straight and are starting to get some traction to the day you realize you left your ID at home and have to drive back through rush hour traffic....... making you more than an hour late.  Yup, its one of those days.  So I'm taking a quick breather to collect me thoughts, perhaps even my wits, that is if there are any left.  I'm beginning to think my wits have taken a hiatus.  I hope they are having fun wherever they are.  Coming home did give me an opportunity to make myself a shredded carrot salad that I'm loving right now.  Its actually coleslaw, but I haven't shredded any cabbage, just carrots.  I made it for Easter Sunday at a friends place, and there were some carrots and dressing left over.  Since i'm trying to cut down on processed carbs (I say as I put an Eggo waffle in my mouth......), its good to find a salad that I like.  I'm not a big fan of veggies.  But for Charlotte's sake I need to get better at eating veggies.  I'm reading my second book about having a whole food diet and how it is so much better for you.  How do I attract these books?  I didn't buy either of them, they were both gifts.  Something is attracting these books to me.  Ah well, may as well read them and try to eat better.

I'll start with the carrot salad for lunch and perhaps some cabbage rolls for dinner.  We'll see.....

Blue Cheese Coleslaw 

  • 3 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 15 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 4 green bell peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 2 cups shaved onions
  • 4 cups blue cheese, crumbed
Mix all ingredients together.  Or, make dressing, and add to whatever shredded veggies you have.  A la Emily's Shredded Carrot Salad (omit blue cheese for Carrot Salad).  I made half for Easter dinner with 10 people.  This recipe makes A LOT of salad.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Well, this set of sandwiches was a little better, but still not all I was hoping it would be.  The point of these was to put as much bacon/pork/ham on one sandwich as possible and have it still work as a sandwich.  Unfortunately, my sandwich tester really wanted to make the sandwich healthier and requested turkey bacon......  So being the consumate hostess I obliged.   And because he was trying to be healthier I reduced the amount of sauce and the amount of meat.  Sandwich was pretty good.  Needed better meat.  Needed either some really smokey ham, or a sweeter honeyed ham.  I'm thinking the smokey one.  The best part was the pepper relish I made.  It added a nice sweet note to the sandwich.  It could have been a little crunchier, or have a little more zing.....  But overall was pretty good.  And I guess I'm learning how to compromise better.  In my food, in my life.

Charlotte is starting to like the food I make for her, which makes me really happy because I'm pretty tired of taking out hundreds of little glass jars to the recycling.  Plus I want to get to the point where we are eating the same thing, and eating healthy.  But to get her to like my food I had to bring the flavor way down, make things creamier, softer, and definitely less interesting.  Which is a bummer for me.  But she has liked my butternut squash risotto, rice pudding, tomato cheese risotto, mashed potatoes, and pancakes.   I need to find more ways to make veggies so that she will eat more veggies.  She also wants to eat with her hands, so getting things that are healthy (not fried......), veggie, and finger food is difficult.  But I've gotten a few things.

In my home life I'm starting to become zen with the fact that either the house is messy all the time, or I clean it all the time.  I can't just clean occaisionally and have it stay.  And no amount of systems will really keep it as tidy as I want it.  So I'm constantly picking things up.  And constantly wiping down the counter and the high chair.  I've never spent so much consistent time cleaning.  Even with a housekeeper.  But I guess that is where you compromise, either spend the time or be ok with the mess.  So I'm spending the time cleaning.  Right now the dishes are done in the dishwasher, 2 loads of laundry are finished and ready to be put away, and the family room is pretty well picked up.  So on that note, I'm going to go read magazine and collapse in bed.  I might even take a snack to bed.  My weight still isn't where I want it to be, but I also need to feel a little more full and satisfied before crashing.  Otherwise I won't sleep well, will be extremely grumpy in the morning, and basically off-kilter.  So I guess that's another compromise I'm making, I'm allowing myself to be slower at losing the weight in favor of going to sleep happy.

Well, 4th yawn in a row.  I'll add the relish recipe tomorrow.