Monthly Archives: February 2012

My zone!

Standard

Everyone has a ritual, something they do that provides an oasis when things are chaotic. Cooking is my oasis! Just like Superman I have my own Fortress of Solitude, it’s the kitchen that is my oasis. A place where cooking puts me in a calm reflective state and I’m able to do my best work. My home becomes the center of smells that bring strangers to my door in hopes of tasting what has tantalized their noses.

Looking back into my childhood I believe cooking became my safety zone because it’s one of the times I was able to share my feelings with my parents. After getting home from school I would take off my uniform pleated skirt (those things are hard to iron) and sit on the kitchen floor by the door in my shorts and white shirt and tell my mom all about my day. Or the weekends when my daddy was making bread and he would talk about his childhood. Those times were filled with something I can’t verbalize but it’s an emotion that wraps around me every time I cook.

That feeling of love and safety I believe comes through fingers and is sprinkled into my food. Perhaps, that is why sometimes when I provide the recipe to a dish my friends say, “you didn’t give me everything, you missed something.” I haven’t but my food taste like Olga. Who I am comes through in the food but that’s not to say when you make something it doesn’t taste right. It’s simply the dish now has your stamp on it and that’s ok.

Good food doesn’t have to taste just one way. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have so many restaurants, chefs or recipes. My Caribbean cooking allows me to capture or re-capture an image, a feeling on a plate and share it with others.

What’s your zone?

Advertisements

Just getting started!

Standard

Many of my family and friends always told me they loved my cooking but the little girl in me always believed they were just being nice. So when the GoodTaste! Pittsburgh Next Food Star competition was announced I made the decision to go ahead and prove it to myself.

During the various cooking heat I discovered I just loved cooking in front of an audience. I was actually calmer during the cooking segment than I was waiting to go on or waiting for the judge’s decision.

So on November 5th, 2011 when well-known and award winning chefs choose my Curried Goat and Fungi dish over killer cupcake maker Meredith Blake Matthews dish. I started to cry and a light went off in my spirit that this (cooking on air) is what I should be doing.

So imagine how I felt after chef and author Mourad Lahlou told me, “I don’t know what you do for a living but if you don’t pursue this, you will regret it.” Chef Lahlou provided some tips and encouraged me to “think different” in my cooking and presentation. Maybe, I’ll be the next Food Network Star!

Caribbean dishes are flavorful and easy to make but can sometimes be confusing since each islander may call the same dish by a different name and use different techniques in achieving the final result.

Have no fear, that’s why I, your culinary ambassador, am here to guide you through the diverse landscape of island cooking. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube at OGCooking.

Curried Goat ingredients: Curry Goat, 2 pounds of goat, 2 cloves, 1 whole onion, 1 green pepper, 2 springs of thyme, salt, pepper and paprika, parsley (dry), curry, vinegar, oil and water.

Fungi ingredients: 2 cups of cornmeal, Okra (fresh or frozen AND optional), salt and two sticks of butter.

Recipe: Curry Goat

Wash the goat in vinegar then rise with water. Combine all the dry seasons onto the goat. Heat up a deep pot with oil. Place the seasoned goat into the hot pot, turning the goat over in the pot to ensure all the meat is nicely browned. When you no longer see any blood place the finely chopped garlic, onion, green pepper and thyme into the pot. When you can smell the onion and garlic, it’s time to add your hot water and additional curry. Cover and let cook for two hours.

Recipe: Fungi

If you’re cooking the fungi with okra (fresh or frozen) you need to cook this first in a boiling pot of water without salt. When the okra has separated and you can see the seeds, separate the okra with some of the water into a bowl and set aside. In the remaining hot water add four pats of butter and the dry cornmeal. Stir the cornmeal until it thickens, slowly adding the okra until it’s smooth and no lumps are visible. You’ll see the cornmeal bubbling – do not be alarm, this is part of the process. When you no longer see any dry cornmeal take a spoonful and place it into a bowl that you have placed and spread butter inside. Roll the cornmeal around the bowl into a ball.

Final dish:

Place the fungi and curry goat into a bowl. There you have a beautiful and hearty dish. Enjoy.

The master chef with Olga.