I just want to start this post by thanking all my wonderful readers for still being here. I’m telling you life is something else. I am currently in Toronto (Canada) spending some time with my family here. Except for the accident I got into on my first full day here, it’s been great. The weather is lovely and the food is good. I’ll post a picture of my Gracie (after the accident) at the end of this post (I named my Jeep Grace, so Gracie is what I usually call her) (Please don’t laugh at my naming her(yes, it’s a her)). Anywhoos, this post is a review! I don’t know how many of you watch shows like Man Vs Food (Travel Channel) or Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network) but I loveeeee both of those shows. I’m always tuning in to see where’s worth eating at if I make it to particular places. On Thursday, I drove 11 hours from Northern VA to Toronto and Buffalo was one of the cities I had to pass through. When I thought of where I should eat once I stopped there to rest a while, Anchor Bar came to mind. I remember them from being on Guy Fieri’s show as being the place where Buffalo wings originated and since those things are practically an addiction for me, I HAD to visit the place.
What a week this has been. On Monday, the nation had to deal with the tragedy in Boston. On Tuesday, a dozen detectives broke down a door to an apartment on the floor above me. Apparently an 11 year old was missing and a pedophile lives in this building. On Wednesday was so dreary and saddening for me (just because). On Thursday I had such a hectic day that partially involved a visit to the hospital. Today, all day on the TV, there has been extensive coverage of the manhunt for the suspect in the Boston Marathon Explosion and that just has me feeling BLAH! I cannot think of a better time for a cocktail. This one is mostly tropical and is exactly what I need to take me away! Have a great weekend guys.
Instagram is so addictive. On my Facebook, I recently posted a status saying exactly that. I literally can spend hours on that network. My favorite hash tags to search and then drool at pictures of are #FrozenYogurt #Saltfish #Dessert #Breakfast and #Dinner. And scrolling through hundreds of these pics daily can take away from the other things I have to do in my day. Take for example, my dear food blog. Ha! I’ve been meaning to post a recipe since Saturday and here I am posting today a random post about….Instagram. In any case, if you’re on Instagram, follow me. My handle is IamSimplyTia. Here’s some photos of what I’ve been eating lately.
Risotto was one of those dishes that I would only have when I ate out at a restaurant. For some strange reason, I had a fear of trying to make it myself. I knew it required a lot of stirring and with my luck, I just figured I’d end up messing it up by letting it burn or some other mess. Luckily, my attempts at it have been successful. I love that you can do so many things to risotto. Oh the possibilities are endless. No matter who you make this one for, they’d be sure to thank you all day/night and if you make it for yourself, you’d be patting yourself on the back for a while to come.
If you want a fruit that is high in dietary fiber, a powerful antioxidant, a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium, then tamarind is the fruit for you. Granted, it’s very tart, it’s tasty once you get past that tangy taste. For people who crave sour junk food, then tamarind is a great and healthy alternative for you. Now, you won’t just find it just any where. Last week was actually my first time seeing it outside of the Caribbean. I was in the International Food Store when I bounced up on them and darn near did back flips. Now mind you, I have NEVER been a tamarind fan (I’m not a lover of tartness) but have you ever seen a thing that you hadn’t seen in a longggg time and so you just get/buy it for nostalgic purposes? That was me with these tamarinds. Once I got home and the novelty wore off, I started to think about what to do with them. In my country, we make a snack called tamarind balls which you can read more about @ Uncommon Caribbean. I knew I didn’t want those. After brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making a drink. I added some fresh lime juice to it and the result? A drink that I would make over and over for many years to come.
“Hot-cross buns! Hot-cross buns! One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns! If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons; One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns!” When I was growing back in the Caribbean, there were several foods that were a MUST around Easter time. Hot cross buns were “one” of those treats.This recipe has more dried fruits that the usual buns (that I’m familiar with) but I still love them. I was a little nervous about making these cross buns because I have an irrational fear of yeast. For some reason, when recipes call for yeast, I get panicky expecting the worst to happen. Luckily for me, although this recipe took some time, it went well and my buns came out GREAT! For those of you who celebrate, I just want to wish you a Happy Good Friday. Enjoy the day.
This pork has to be the best tasting pulled pork I’ve had. Better, even, than the BBQ pulled pork I make from time to time. Don’t get me wrong. That bbq pulled pork is some pretty good stuff but I like the complexity and familiar flavors in this pork. There’s a little tang to it that just kicks you (nicely) in the mouth once it gets on your tongue. I really have no other words to describe how delicious this dish is. You have to try it for yourself to understand where I’m coming from. Odds are you won’t be disappointed!
Peanut punch is one of my favorite West Indian drinks! It’s originally from Trinidad & Tobago. On my recent trip to St.Vincent, I spent a good $50US in peanut punch box juices. After a night of hanging out, I needed something to coat my stomach, and peanut punch was always my first choice. Peanut punch is a milky drink with a strong peanut flavor, if you haven’t already guessed. It’s so easy to make and is quite similar to the Caribbean Guinness Punch. Peanut Punch is also notorious for being an aphrodisiac, building one’s back and giving lots of energy because of its high fat content. Because this beverage contains a lot of protein and antioxidants, it is also regarded as a health-promoting drink. Try some today. It’s super yummy! That should be enough to persuade you.
Gin & Tonic is a classic cocktail that has been around since the 1700s. It’s simple and does the job. Because I’ve had blueberries hanging around here & wanted to make it fun to begin the weekend, I decided to spruce up the old classic a little bit. The recipes on the web call for straight forward gin and tonic but in addition to using blueberries, I also used some lime juice. It made for a very delicious, fruity and just plain fantastic drink!
I’m just in a mood for all these West Indian goodies these days huh? *whimpers* I really miss home so I guess I’m just digging up everything that reminds me of the Caribbean. Today, I’m sharing this recipe for peanut sugar cakes, West Indian style. When I first showed peanut sugar cakes to my American friends, I remember one of them saying “Oh that’s the same thing as peanut brittle” *gasps* It probably is close in looks or preparation but I think peanut sugar cake is in a class of its own. Coconut and groundnut (peanut – I prefer to call it groundnut) sugar cakes are staples in Caribbean culture. I remember as a little girl, I used to save up my money to go buy a bag with two groundnut sugar cakes from the ladies under the Building & Loan Building in St. Vincent. When I went home on my last trip, I made sure the first day I was in town, to get groundnut sugar cakes from them. Last week, with all the groundnuts that I had here that my MIL sent from Georgia, combined with my missing home, I decided to make groundnut sugar cakes. I scoured the web and asked almost a dozen of my friends for a recipe. Each one told me that they didn’t know how to make it but their grandma or mom would. Because I couldn’t wait any longer for any of them to get back to me with good news from their grandmas or mothers, I decided that I had to experiment and do it on my own. I knew it required roasted peanuts, sugar, ginger and water but what proportions and in what order of preparation – no clue. Luckily, my hunches were right. Today, I give you peanut/groundnut sugar cakes!
Other than breasts, wings are my favorite part of the chicken! My favorite type of wings are Buffalo Wings but I’d try any thing once. The recipe I used as inspiration claimed to produce some saucy, succulent wings but I prefer my wings to be cripsy. Very cripsy. I usually oven fry my wings first but for this particular recipe, I deep fried them. I got the crispiness I desired by mixing a combo of all purpose and cornstarch. The sauce for these wings were sweet and had the obvious zing of the ginger. Quite delicious if you ask me!
My wonderful cousin Lisa, who is in Disney World right now, celebrating hers and my cousin, Nephetari’s birthday, has been asking for this recipe for weeks. I kept promising to make it so that she can later make it too and I finally got around to it. Yay me! Lisa is a vegetarian but does not like dairy milk. The coconut milk and now this homemade coconut condensed milk would be perfect for her (and many of you out there who don’t really care for dairy milk). If you made a sweetener substitution, it can even be perfect for vegans! I really could not stop licking the spoon once it was done made and I just cannot wait to use it in my dessert recipes, oatmeal or anything that calls for condensed milk or milk and a sweetener. Yum-O! If you try it, which I’m urging you to do, please come back and tell me how you liked it.
I could do all sorts of things to potatoes. There is no way that the potato can be prepared that I would dislike. If I had to pick one vegetable that I couldn’t live without, it would be the…(you guessed it). These days, as I’m trying to watch my weight because summer is just around the corner (and no that’s not the only reason one should be conscientious when it comes to eating and eating healthy) *smiles* , I’ve decided to find healthier ways to use my potatoes. This recipe is simple and it calls for baking these potatoes as opposed to the conventionally frying. They were very tasty and near guiltless.
Ever since I was growing up in the Caribbean, I would always hear adults talk about three drinks that were good for “building one’s back”. Now as a little, innocent girl, I didn’t quite get what they meant but the context in which I heard it, I learned early on that I was going to stay far away from these 3 drinks. As a teenager, I continued to hear talks about these elixirs (if I may call them such) and then as a young adult, fully cognizant of what these West Indians meant, I still wanted to stay far from anyone who drank said drinks. These drinks were, plainly, deemed to be aphrodisiacs. If a man drank them, he is said to be able to put on a heck of a show behind closed doors. Stamina and energy, they claimed, for days! The three drinks are Linseed, Sea Moss and Guinness Punch. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, coming up on Sunday, I’m going to be so kind as to share the recipe for the latter with you. Because of the presence of the Irish in the Caribbean during the last few centuries, staples of their culture can be found throughout the Caribbean. Every where you go throughout the West Indies, Guinness is the drink of choice by many. Should you make this punch and drink it or serve it to someone, please be forewarned of the powers you (or they) are about to acquire. And if for some reason this drink does not give the magical powers in the you-know-where *winks*, well you/they didn’t drink enough. I kid. Not. Come back & tell me what you think.
Update: Excluding the people that I know for sure live outside of the U.S, I had 13 entries. Each VALID entry was assigned a number in the order in which they commented. E.g Heather was #1, Hedonist #2, Tessa #3 etc. Our winners are #3, #1, #4. I will contact you guys tomorrow. Find the screen shot in post.
Many bloggers have giveaways just to draw more traffic to their site or they do it when a company wants them to advertise their product. Frankly, I’m not doing it for either reasons. I am so pleased with the handful of readers that I have and I just wanted to show my appreciation to you guys. Many of you have stuck by when I was absent for weeks at a time. You have given me encouragement to keep blogging and you guys are so welcoming when I get back from my little “breaks”. I know that I do not have a fancy website, nor fancy photos (most of the time my photos are taken with my iPhone or my digital camera). In spite of all that, I’m very proud of my site and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I have to write about food and share my love for cooking with the world. When I was planning to do this giveaway, I had no idea what I should give. I asked the opinion for a couple folks and this is how I came to be giving away “Jerk seasoning items”. Luckily there are THREE prizes to be given away. So that means that three lucky individuals will be getting these gifts. They are not identical gifts but I’m sure they would be items you’d love.