"Is it Friday yet?!", that the text message that gets sent out to my friends on Tuesday. These fast few months this job has taken a mental and physical toll on me. While I love being a live in private chef to the family I'm with now (they are a bunch of characters - got to luv them), the caveats of working with a lung cancer patient is that its stressful and some how I got to be a councilor and a family mediator and have to sort through everyone's emotions
My weekends (sorry my day and a half off) I'm always on the go. This weekend was on the more relaxing side and I ended up at a yard sale drinking red wine.
During the yard sale someone had a craving for Jamaican chicken soup that lead to everyone having a craving for chicken soup. I have had my share of making chicken soup with matzo balls (clients are Jewish). I was intrigued to see how to make a Jamaican chicken soup. I was given a list of items to get from the store. I got in the car and a few minutes later I got a call "Just to let you know we need a JAMAICAN SWEET POTATO", I simply replied "Oh OK". What the hell is a Jamaican Sweet potato. You know I know about sweet potatoes, but never heard of a jamaican one.
We all got into the kitchen and started to prepare the soup. It was my day off but I enjoyed being in the kitchen prepping and helping out.
Below is the recipe that I put together after watching what was going on. This soup is more of a stew and you can use any Provisions or root vegetables if you do not have the ones below.
This soup reminds of the Latin American soup Sancocho.
Make sure you invite some friends over, this makes a lot of soup.
Its Thursday not quite yet Friday.... This weekend.. TAMPA here I come.
Jamaican Chicken Soup
Yields 10 - 12 servings
1 whole Chicken ( About 3 - 4 pounds) cut into small portion pieces (do not use liver, giblets, remove skin)
3- 4 quarts of water
2 onions diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 large carrots peeled and sliced
3 chayote (cho cho/christophine) peeled and large diced
2 pounds Jamaican Sweet Potato peeled and large diced
2 ears corn cut into 2 inch pieces
3 green banana peeled and sliced into 2 inch pieces
4 stalks green onions ( scallions) chopped
1 bunch thyme
1 scotch bonnet pepper
4 bay leaves
1 package of pumpkin soup mix (Grace's) or cock soup mix
Dumplings (see recipe below)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil. Add chicken,chayote, carrots, garlic, green onion and cook for about 30 minutes.
2. Add more water if vegetables are not covered. Add sweet potato, corn, thyme leaves, bay leaves, scotch bonnet pepper, dumplings and pumpkin soup mix. Stir to mix, then cover.
3. Allow soup to boil for about an hour, stirring occasionally until chicken and vegetables are done. Remove any fat that had risen to the top with a spoon, also scotch bonnet pepper, thyme and bay leaves.
Dumplings - Spinners(a "healthier" version)
4 ounces white flour
4 ounces whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoon water ( or enough to form a stiff dough)
1. In a bowl, mix flour and salt together. Cut butter into pieces and with a fork or dough cutter cut into the flour. The flour should become crumbly. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until dough just comes together. Lightly knead dough. Do not overwork dough, or the dumplings will be tough. Divide dough into quarter sized balls. Roll dough into rope like shapes (like when you were a kid playing with play-doh) and drop into boiling soup. Stir.
Cooking Demo at Delta Sigma Theta South Broward Alumnae Women's Health Symposium - Wild Rice, Pecan, & Cranberry Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Exhilarated, inspired, and blessed - those are the some of the adjectives that described my emotions after attending the inaugural Women’s Health Symposium hosted by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.- South Broward Alumnae Chapter in partnership with the City of Hallandale Beach in Hallendale, FL. The event was very well attended with over 200 dynamic women (and a handful of men).
The goal of the symposium was to educate South Florida women in holistic approaches to health care, nutrition, healthy cooking, physical fitness, acupuncture, meditation, and thermography. I hosted a 20 minute healthy cooking session titled "I love cooking with herbs". A session dedicated on educating attendees on the affects of high sodium and how to prepare a simple dish made with natural and unprocessed foods. I had to conduct this session four times in an hour and a half.
I'm usually on pins and needles before any demonstration or cooking class. My feelings can be similar to a performer going on stage, nervous but once the curtains come up its all ok. The kitchen setting was perfect, big enough to fit about 20 people but yet had an intimate feeling that I was able to have a dialogue with everyone .
Did you know that the recommended daily allowance of sodium is 2300 mg, which equals 1 tsp (yeah the little one not the big one) a day. Did you also know that the majority of sodium that we are consuming is from processed food?
Here is the dish that I demonstrated, Enjoy!
Wild Rice, Pecan, & Cranberry Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
1 cup wild rice * (see package instructions, substitute 1 cup chicken/vegetable stock for 1 cup of the water)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh Parsley
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs cranberry juice
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar*
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
1) Cook wild rice according to instructions on package.
2) In a medium sized serving bowl, mix the rice, cranberries, pecans, apples, celery, parsley, and green onions together.
3) In a separate jar, mix the vinaigrette ingredients. Just before serving, mix dressing in with the rice mixture. You can mix the dressing overnight, it taste better the next day. Serve warm, chilled, or room temperature.
* Rice to water ratio = 3:1
You can also substitute some brown rice in as well.
Experiment with different fruity wines to change the flavor
You can substitute 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar with 1 tbsp red wine for every 4 tbsp red wine vinegar.