Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's almost here!

So Thanksgiving is almost here, and of course I must ask, "What are you cooking?" Almost every year, we go to a big family Thanksgiving dinner, but I still like to cook food at home, usually the day before or after. This year I'm keeping it simple with a turkey, small ham, stuffing and a green bean casserole. Believe it or not, I have never made a green bean casserole! I decided to forgo my usual sweet potato pie and try Alton Brown's famous recipe for green bean casserole.

I grew up making stuffing using hard crackers, not cubes of bread. It's put together totally in a pan, and then some is used to stuff the turkey, and some eaten as is. My Trini-style recipe is still my all-time fave, but last year I made a dressing using cornbread, and it definitely rivals my cracker stuffing. Ham, fresh collard greens, raisins and pecans are the stars of this dish, and it is baked for half hour in the oven. It makes a wonderful side dish for your holiday meal.


3 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped ham
3 cups chopped fresh collard greens
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
2 eggs
6 cups crumbled cornbread
1 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add ham and saute for 2 minutes. Add collard greens and onion to pan. Saute for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Pour vegetable stock into the pan with the collard greens, and let simmer for 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add crumbled cornbread, raisins, pecans, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock and collard greens mixture. Mix well, then spread into a buttered baking dish (9-by-13 inch size). Cover dish with foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Beef Tagine

I'm always trying to come up with different slow cooker recipes, and this Moroccan-inspired beef stew has earthy, exotic flavors with the cumin, coriander and turmeric. If you're gone all day, set up in the morning, let cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours and add the raisins within the last hour. 


3 lbs boneless chuck roast, chopped into medium pieces
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cans chickpeas, 15.5 oz each
1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added, 14.5 oz
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 ½ cups raisins
Fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup sliced almonds

1. Season beef pieces with sea salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until just browned on all sides.
2. In a slow cooker, layer onion, green bell pepper, chickpeas and tomatoes. Add beef.
3. In a bowl, mix beef stock and tomato paste. Pour into slow cooker over beef and vegetables. Stir well. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours. Remove lid and stir in raisins. Stir well. Cover and cook for 1 more hour.
4. Garnish with sliced almonds and fresh chopped parsley. Serve with couscous.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creamy Onion Appetizers

These are an easy, hot appetizer that my guests always enjoy. Just five ingredients, most you probably have on hand already!


15 Athens Mini Fillo Shells (1 box)
4 oz cream cheese, chive and onion flavor
3 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
Red pepper flakes, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Let frozen Athens Mini Fillo Shells thaw for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and Parmesan. Fill fillo shells with cheese mixture and place on a baking tray. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and top with spring onion and red pepper flakes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blueberry Coconut Sangria

Growing up on a tropical island, coconuts were definitely not in short supply. Coconut trees are everywhere, men climb them from the time they are young boys, and when you go to the beach, don't lay out on the sand under a tree because a coconut just might fall on you! Coconuts are sliced open skillfully and easily with a cutlass (machete), and the sweet water is drunk straight from the nut. They are then split open and the soft jelly inside is eaten, using a small part of the husk that was sliced off as a spoon.

As a child, when your mother wanted to cook with coconuts, you were given the fun task of throwing the dried coconut against the hard ground to break it open. When it split open, we would collect the pieces so the meat (hardened jelly) could be grated, then used in a delicious dish.

Blueberries may be small, but they are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. They are a good source of dietary fiber, and are low in fat, making them one of my favorite go-to snacks! The kids love them for their beautiful blue-purple color and sweet juiciness. To find out more about winter fresh blueberries and their amazing health benefits, visit littlebluedynamos.com.

Needless to say, I am excited about this recipe, because it combines two of my favorite fruits, blueberries and coconuts. Different from your regular sangria, this drink has fresh blueberries, orange and lime soaking in a refreshing mixture of coconut water and white wine. Ginger ale is added just before serving for a little fizz. The blueberries are smashed first to release more flavor, and when left to soak and chill overnight, they give the drink a beautiful light purple color.

Just mixed


8 oz winter fresh blueberries
1 orange, thinly sliced into wheels
1 lime, thinly sliced into wheels
7 cups coconut water
2 cups dry white wine (like Chardonnay)
8 oz ginger ale

1. Reserve 1/4 of the blueberries for garnish. Place the rest in a bowl and smash with the back of a spoon.
2. Combine smashed berries, orange and lime wheels in a large pitcher. Add coconut water and white wine. Stir well and place in fridge overnight to chill.
3. Just before serving, strain into a new pitcher. Add ginger ale and stir. Pour into glasses and garnish with the reserved blueberries and some of the orange and lime wheels.

Serve chilled