Sunday, January 7, 2024

Fireworks Firestarters Firecider

I think I found my people, Fireciders... Oh I dance and sing, making these 

Ok, so... Here are 9 recipes... Most importantly, add, subtract, and just have fun... It's your journey!!

Does anyone want some recipes...... I name mine because.. why not...

The Massive Remedy:

2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp cloves, 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1-star anise, 2 large pinches of fresh sliced Ginger, 1 large pinch of freshly sliced turmeric, 1/2 handful of fresh cranberries, 1/2 handful of blueberries, 1/4 cup of raw beets sliced, 1/4 cup garlic cloves, 1/4 cup fresh garlic cloves, 1/4 cup Fresh sliced Anaheim pepper, 4 slices of red onion, 4 slices of the each of the following lemon & lime & apple & orange, topped well with fresh cut Rosemary that I had to push in there, 1/2 cup 100% pure uncooked honey and finally Apple cider vinegar with the mother.


2 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 tbsp of black peppercorns, a large pinch of fresh sliced Ginger, just a pinch of freshly cut turmeric, 1-star anise, 1/2 handful of both blueberries and raw cranberries, 1/4 cup fresh sliced beets, 1/4 cup garlic cloves, 1/8 cup fresh sliced Anaheim pepper, 2 slices of red onion, 4 slices of apple & lemon & lime & oranges, fresh cut Rosemary on top, 1/2 cup os 100% pure uncooked raw honey, and finally Apple cider vinegar with the mother

The Fruit One:

3 cinnamon sticks, a decent pinch of cloves, 1-star anise, 1 pinch of fresh sliced Ginger, 1/4 pinch freshly sliced turmeric, a large handful of raw cleaned cranberries, a large handful of fresh blueberries, 5 slices each of apple & lemon & orange & lime, few sprigs of new cut Rosemary, 1/2 cup raw 100% pure uncooked honey, and finally Apple cider vinegar with the mother.

Vitamin C:

It was late with these two; they were last, so the measurements could have been written down... I had all this leftover stuff, so I decided to build it:

1 tbsp black peppercorns, cinnamon, 1/4 cup fresh Ginger, a little less than 1/8 cup of freshly sliced turmeric, a handful of cranberries, 1/4 cup Anaheim pepper, 7 garlic cloves, 5 slices red onion, 1/8 cup fresh beets, around 6 slices of lemons & 7 slices of oranges, 2 lime slices that were left, lots of new cuts Rosemary, 1/2 cup 100% pure uncooked honey, and Apple cider vinegar with the mother

Tropical infusion:

2 cinnamon sticks, 3-star anise, 1 tbsp whole cloves, 1 tbsp mint, 4 garlic cloves, 1 handful quartered pineapple slices, 4 lime slices, 5 orange slices, 6 lemon slices, 3  apple slices, 3 more quartered pineapple slices, 1/8 cup cranberries, 1/8 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raw, unfiltered honey, top with apple cider vinegar with the mother and cheesecloth the top. Then, close your jar.

Herbal Dream: (note- I had fresh roots)

1 cinnamon stick, 3-star anise, 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns, 1 large pinch whole cloves, 1 pinch fresh sliced beets, 6 garlic cloves, 1/8 cup Anaheim peppers, 1 large pinch of diced fresh mullein, 1 tbsp burdock root, 2 tbsp fresh sliced Ginger, 1 heaping fresh sliced turmeric, 2 tbsp freshly sliced horseradish root, 1 pinch cilantro, 2 slices red onion, 2 slices apple, 3 slices lime, 4 slices lemon, 3 slices orange, 1/8 cup cranberries, 1/8 cup blueberries, top with fresh cut Rosemary, 1/2 cup ra,w unfiltered honey, and then fill the rest with apple cider vinegar with the mother and cheesecloth the top. Then, close your jar.

Healer's Remedy:

1 cinnamon stick, 5-star anise, 1 tbsp whole cloves, 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns, 1 pinch cayenne pepper, 2 radish slices, 2 pinches of fresh sliced beets, 6 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup Anaheim peppers, 1 large pinch of fresh cut mullein, 1 tbsp burdock root, 2 tbsp fresh sliced Ginger, 1 heaping tbsp freshly sliced turmeric, 1 pinch freshly sliced horseradish root, 2 slices red onion, 2 slices apple, 3 slices lime, 4 slices lemon, 3 slices orange, 1/8 cup cranberries, 1/8 cup blueberries, fresh Rosemary, 1/2 cup raw unfiltered honey, and then fill the rest with apple cider vinegar with the mother and cheesecloth the top. Then, close your jar.

Super Fire:

1 cinnamon stick, 3-star anise, 3 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, 2 LG pinches of fresh sliced beets, 6 garlic cloves, 1 handful of fresh sliced jalapenos, 2 tbsp fresh sliced Ginger, 1 heaping tbsp freshly sliced turmeric, 2 tbsp newly sliced horseradish, 1/8 cup cilantro, 3 slices red onion, 2  apple slices, 4 lime slices, 3 slices lemon, 1/8 cup cranberries, fresh Rosemary, 1/2 cup raw, unfiltered honey, and then fill the rest with apple cider vinegar with the mother and cheesecloth the top. Then, close your jar.

4 tbsp freshly sliced horseradish, 4 tablespoons fresh cut mullein, 9 slices jalapeno, 7 slices fresh quartered pineapple slices, 1 pinch fresh sliced Ginger, 1/8 cup cilantro, 1 pinch freshly sliced turmeric, 7 garlic cloves, 5 slices oranges, 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1/8 cup cranberries, 1/8 cup blueberries, Rosemary, 1/2 cup raw, unfiltered honey, and then fill the rest with apple cider vinegar with the mother and cheesecloth the top. Then, close your jar.

#1 What are they- fire ciders...

#2 What do they do- Immune system booster (short answer)? Yes, as they have medicinal value... I looked up everything and read books... The internet has all the answers, too...several studies have shown that the tonic helps the body balance blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation... helps relieve nasal congestion, supports digestion, warms the body during cold seasons, boosts immunity, helps the body balance blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.

#3 Why are there so many kinds, and what is each for? Because they are fun. Some people like fruity versions, others like the spicy ones. Herbal ones are great when you're sick, and vitamin C is also good.

#4 Do you have to boil them, ferment them, etc... - DO NOT BOIL THEM; just make them and keep them in an excellent, dark space

#5 How long do they sit - mine are sitting 6wks, then I will strain them

#6 How long do they last - after straining, put the juice in a jar in the fridge for up to 6 months... Thanks the remaining ingredients and mash through a strainer and pour through a cheesecloth and then use that juice to add to your apple cider vinegar with the mother to start a new batch

#7 How much do you take? It's up to you!!! If you're new, start with a tbsp and then a tablespoon of honey afterward... Work up to a shot a day.

#8 What's apple cider vinegar with the mother - Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother is the purest form of Apple Cider Vinegar you can get. It has yet to be fussed with; it is unrefined, unfiltered, and 100% natural- YES, IT HAS TO BE THIS KIND.

#8 How much apple cider vinegar with the mother do you use- I have put all the recipes in the post... Starting from the bottom to the top. So, in the end, fill your jar up, leave about a half inch, and add cheesecloth as a barrier between the metal lid and your ingredients.

#9 What do I do with it- leave it in a cool place for 6 weeks and shake it daily... You should add more apple cider vinegar.

#10 What size jars- I bought 32oz jars... But I've seen folks Clean and recycle their jars at home. It's a beautiful way to keep Mother Earth clean!! I'll be reusing my jars!!!!

For #11, do I mix it with water? No!!!!

#12 Which is best for inflammation - it depends on what kind of inflammation you have... If it's the esophagus, that's trial and error. Because apple cider vinegar is bitter, all be, and we're adding vital ingredients...

But it helps the body balance blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.

#13 What's best for kids- well, my boyfriend hates apple cider vinegar, so I made the tropical one with pineapple and fruit .. that's his go-to... Make a really fruity one.

#14 Do you always add honey? No, but I did this. I'm just getting started on making a plethora more and more...

#15 Can I use store-bought prepared horseradish - no, it has so many preservatives... However, someone found one that did not!! That was a rare find because it'll make you cry

#16 How do you store your roots- freezer... Lol, you can store your Ginger, your horseradish, and your turmeric in the freezer. That way, it keeps.

#17 Does it need to sit on the counter or in the fridge - it depends on your climate... Currently, it's cold in my area!! So, mine is on the old freezer top .... And it gets shaken every day... Now, come this summer, it will get boiling here, and it will be in the fridge...

#18 Do I have to follow the recipes - NO!!! Have fun. Make it your journey to find what you like, and it's your creation 

#19 Why do you have so many recipes - why not... I do not have a fire cider recipe book, but I understand it exists... They have hundreds of recipes... I wanted to find ways to help friends and family and started this ...ney... Along with healing my body,!!!

I have autoimmune issues, and I'm tired of medication that doesn't work... So I took it to the kitchen... Our ancestors did this... My doctor says I'm doing more suitable for my body with these than they can... I can't hardly eat anything...My body aches in pain, but I'll find something for them, too! I'm working on a rosemary beeswax salve, and I go out in the forest and forage for mushrooms, herbs, and anything else to learn.

Please have fun making them either on your own or with friends... Put some music on and create to your heart's content.

Edited and reposted via a Facebook posting to share  

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Latin Dishes with Strong African Roots

How has African Culture Influenced Latin American Dishes? Latin Dishes with Strong African Roots Highlighting some of our favorite plates to honor the uncredited ways African roots have deeply influenced Latin American culture and cuisine.

By: Johanna Ferreira | (@cup_of_johanna)

The deeply ingrained anti-Black racism that still very much exists in Latin America is the central reason why the African influences that have significantly impacted our cultures still often go ignored. There is even erasure regarding the African roots behind many of our staple cuisines. "The Caribbean, Central and South America are vastly influenced by African cuisine," says Dominican-American Chef and Culinary Instructor Irbania Tavares. "This all originated with the European slavery trades before African-influenced foods, such as Sancocho, Mofongo, Tacu Tacu, and Feijoada, became national dishes in the Caribbean and Latin America." Everything from West African techniques to spices largely influences our cuisines, which Tavares believes is essential to embrace and acknowledge. 

"Understanding where the dishes that we love and enjoy so much come from creates a connection and deeper appreciation of the food we eat," she adds." It also creates respect for the culture that contributed to it. The African Diaspora left an immense influence in Latin America and in any other country they were enslaved."

Culture • Food

African culture influenced most Latin American dishes. Latin American countries are areas once colonized by Europe. They enslaved over 11 million Africans in Latin America. Thus, Africa influenced social, racial, economic, and cultural diversity and culinary diversity.

Mangu (Mashed Plantains)  Dominican mashed plantains – one of Dominicans' most beloved dishes and base of "Los Tres Golpes" – are our gastronomy's most complete and complex breakfast. And if you want to make one that delights any Dominican, here is my "secret" best mangu recipe.

Mofongo Puerto Rican dish Mofongo is a Latin American dishMofongo is made ‌of mashed plantains, mashed green plantains with garlic and vegetables. Chicharron (fried pork skin), chicken chunks, or shrimp are folded before shaping the food into a mound. Mofongo originates from the Angolan slaves

Mogo -   What is mogo? Mogo, also known as cassava or yuca, is a root vegetable. It is similar to a potato but has a little more texture and a slightly sweet, nutty taste. You can enjoy mogo boiled or mashed as chips and, of course, in this chili mogo recipe! If you’ve ever had chili paneer, this is pretty similar, except instead of cubes of fried cheese, we have chunks of crispy cassava.

Rondon Run down, also referred to as rundown, run dun, rondón, fling-me-far, and fling mi for, is a stew dish in Jamaican cuisine and Tobago cuisine. The traditional Jamaican dish is eaten in several Latin American countries that share a coast with the Caribbean Sea. 

 Vatapa -  is an Afro-Brazilian dish made from bread, shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts, and palm oil, kneaded into a creamy paste. It is a common food in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil and is usually accompanied by white rice. The vatapá was introduced in Brazil by the Yoruba people under the name of Sheba-tapa.

 Tacu tacu - is known across Latin America. Its ingredients, rice, and beans, are a staple food rooted in slavery. The black slaves loved to cook bean stews. In Peru, slaves fried leftover rice and beans with lard to make tacu tacu.

Okra soup -Okra soup is another Latin American dish from the Garifuna region in Trujillo, Honduras. It is a root soup, where the main ingredient is the African vegetable okra. 

Spicy Tacnena The spicy tacneña is one of the most delicious tripe-based dishes and nutritious that we can find in all the gastronomy of Peru. Spicy Tacnena was born on cotton and sugar cane farms in the Sama Valley, in Peru, where African slaves lived. During slavery, slave masters gave them the inferior parts of the animals they owned. From these, the slaves and later the Garífuna community made recipes such as chicken foot soup, pig’s foot, pig’s head, pig’s tongue, fried giblets, chicharrones, and Chihara.

Mondongo is a common Latin American dish made by cooking a soup whose main ingredient is ox tripe. Mondongo soup is seasoned with pepper, onion, garlic, tomato, and aromatic herbs. Mondongo is in the African Kikongo language, meaning “intestines, entrails of a certain animal.

Tamales is also one of the Latin American dishes that use African cooking techniques. Corn flour is mixed with lard, meat, and stew, then sealed in the shape of a square for cooking. Latin Americans use banana leaves like Africans to seal dishes that require concentration of flavor, moisture, and consistency, being cooked slowly. In the Mississippi Delta, African Americans developed a spicy tamale called the hot tamale that is made from cornmeal instead of masa and is boiled in corn husks.

Snookums’s Okra Soup Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn
2 cups thawed frozen lima beans
1 cup diced fresh Roma tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt
tap here
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sliced fresh or thawed frozen okra (if using fresh, slice into 1-inch pieces)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 lemon
Steamed rice for serving (optional)

Heat a large gumbo pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and sauté until the vegetables soften. Mix in the corn, lima beans, and Roma tomatoes. Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Turn down the heat to a simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

In another saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the sliced okra and ginger, season with a little salt and pepper, and stir. Squeeze the half lemon over the okra (the lemon juice will help cut some of the slime). Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Once the broth mixture has simmered for 20 minutes, add the okra. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir the soup, then serve over rice (or enjoy it without).

Arroz con Glandules' The main components of arroz con gandules are rice and pigeon peas. The key to the delicious flavor of this and many Puerto Rican recipes is aromatic sofrito, which is a blend of green peppers, onion, garlic, sweet Caribbean peppers known as ajis dulces, and recao (or culantro). Sofrito is the most essential ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking. 

Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves 
1/2 white onion
1/2 red onion 
1/2 red pepper 
1/2 green pepper 
1 cup of cubed salchichón 
2 tsp of Loisa Sofrito 
1 Can of green pigeon peas y drained 
1/2 cup of tomato sauce 
3 to 4 olives 
2 cups of medium-grain rice 
2 cups of water 
1 tsp Loisa Organic Adobo
1 tsp Loisa Organic Sazón 
1 teaspoon Loisa Organic Oregano
5-7 leaves of culantro  
For the Tostones 
1/2 tsp Loisa Sal Marina
1/2 tsp Loisa Organic Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Loisa Organic Garlic Powder 
Cilantro for garnish

1. heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.
2. add the mashed garlic cloves with the onions and peppers once the pot is hot.
3. Add 1 cup of salchichón, 2 tsp of Loisa Sofrito, 1 can of green pigeon peas, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, and 3 to 4 olives. Stir well for about 2 minutes or until all ingredients are incorporated.
4. add 2 cups of medium-grain rice and boil 2 cups of water. Stir very well for 1 minute.
5. Add your Loisa Adobo, Sazón and Oregano.
6. Let the boil uncovered for about 10 minutes; do not stir the rice until most water evaporates.
7. Reduce the heat to low; now you can stir the rice once; place the cilantro on top, cover the pot, and cook for about 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
8. Turn off the heat, uncover the pot, and remove the cilantro.
9. Serve with fresh cilantro on top and some tostones y Fuacata !!
Unfortunately, there's a gap of knowledge to be filled when it comes to how descendants of enslaved Africans have shaped Latin American cuisine. Our Spanish colonizers really went out of their way to erase African and Indigenous communities from our history, which is why they are often left out of historical contributions altogether. To honor the uncredited ways that Africa has deeply influenced Latin American culture and cooking, we highlighted a few popular Latin American traditional dishes with strong African roots worth taking pride in.


Sunday, December 17, 2023

Polynesian Hospitality the Luan Celebrating African American Pacific Islanders

 The dominant image of a Pacific Islander includes light skin and straight or wavy hair — but that's not how everyone from the region looks. Allure spoke to 10 Melanesian women about their experiences with colorism and anti-Blackness and how we can broaden the world's view of what an Islander looks like.

Gaiety reigns at an easy-going Polynesian luau. Traditionally, everyone samples the exotic foods with his fingers (though chopsticks or forks are permissible) and ti leaves substitute for cloths on the table or ground. (No ti leaves? Use fens or matting instead.) 

Your luau can include any number of these dishes from Trader Vic's of Oakland and San Francisco, or if you are in Chicago, Three Dots and a Dash.  I want to try the PuPu Plater. 

The name pū-pū is a Hawaiian word for appetizer.

Pu pu platter is a staple of American Chinese restaurants, consisting of a platter filled with various small dishes and appetizers. This platter is believed to have been introduced to North America from Hawaii via Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic during the 1940s and 1950s.

A typical pu pu platter often includes spare ribs, chicken wings, egg rolls, fried wontons, crab rangoon, skewered beef, fried shrimp, and beef teriyaki. At the center of the platter, there is a small hibachi grill, and the fire can be used to reheat individual appetizers or make them more well-done.

Everything must be cooked before because the grill can only do so much. 

Mass flowers everywhere- exotic blooms or garden flowers that don't wilt too quickly -- daisies, mums, carnations. In the centerpiece, group tropical fruits with flowers.


(Mother Bessie's Better Homes & Garden's Holiday Cook Book, 1969)

Rumaki (Water Chestnuts with Chicken Livers)

Kona Chicken

Steamed Rice

Batter-fried Shrimp with Sauces

Chinese Peas with Water Chestnuts

Waikiki Salad

Raspberry Sherbert with Coconut 

Beach Boy Punch (under 18 non-alcoholic)


Blanco Tequila, Italian Amaro, Grapefruit, Lime, Cinnamon


London Dry Gin, Almond Orgeat, Lemon, Pineapple

Rumaki Ingredients:

1 ½ cups teriyaki sauce

½ teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

12 ounces fresh chicken livers, halved

1 (4 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and sliced

12 slices bacon, cut in half

1-quart oil for frying


In a medium bowl, mix together teriyaki sauce, garlic, and ginger root. Place chicken livers and water chestnuts in the mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Wrap each half slice of bacon around one chicken liver half and a slice of water chestnut. Secure by skewering with small skewers or toothpicks.

Carefully lower skewered wraps into the hot oil in small batches. Deep fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until bacon is evenly brown and of desired crispness. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

Kona chicken recipe


3-lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

1⁄2 cup gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J Wheat-Free Tamari Soy Sauce)

1⁄2 cup chopped green onion

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄4 cup dry white wine

1⁄2 cup honey (find a substitute for honey if diabetic) 


Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a 3 1/2 quart crockpot.

Combine onions, soy sauce, wine, and water; pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove chicken from pot.

Arrange on a broiler pan.

Brush with honey.

Broil until golden brown, brushing with honey several times.

Grill instead of broil, if desired.

Batter-fried Shrimp with Sauces

(I will keep it real and use this recipe influenced by a New Orleans Fried Shrimp.)

It’s as quick as anything to make deep-fried shrimp! Prep Coatings: Prep the seasonings and flour mixtures (per recipe below). Marinate: Using buttermilk and seasoning, marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes. Bread Shrimp: Dip shrimp in flour mixture, being sure to coat thoroughly.

Cook in Cast Iron: Slowly place shrimp at 350F for 2-3 minutes, rotating every minute and a half.

For more pictures on how to complete this recipe, keep reading.

Stir-Fried Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts - Omnivore's Cookbook

Stir-fried snow peas and water chestnuts are some of my favorite spring vegetable dishes. It’s colorful, with vibrant green, orange and white. It’s sweet, like the fragrance of newly blossomed flowers. It’s crispy, like the warm wind that touches my face.

  •  2
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 small carrot sliced
  • 1.5 cups water chestnuts peeled and sliced

Waikiki salad recipe ingredients INGREDIENTS

2 (3 ounces) packages of cream cheese softened
1⁄3 cup Miracle Whip
1 (8-ounce) can of pineapple tidbits and juice be reserved
3 -4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 cup slivered almonds
1 1⁄2 cups of seedless grapes, halved

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in Miracle Whip and 2 tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice.
Stir in pineapple tidbits (I sometimes use 2 cans if I want more pineapple), chicken, almonds, and grapes.
Chill until serving.
Great on Hawaiian rolls or on top of Bibb lettuce. (I will opt for the lettuce)
ADD-IN IDEAS: maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges, cilantro, macadamia, walnuts, or pecans instead of almonds


Beach Boy Punch is a simple mixture of juices and ginger ale. It is the perfect crisp drink to include at any family gathering.

1-quart Cranberry Juice
1 pint (16 oz) orange juice
2 quarts ginger ale
Juice of 2 lemons

This Beach Boy Punch recipe comes from our Nanna Anna’s very own cookbook that she typed, yes, typed out for us in 1998!! 

Sunday, December 10, 2023


 The deep, rich flavors of a traditional spice paste fortified with curry leaves and curry powder are beautifully combined with the hearty taste of slowly stewed oxtails. Serve with rice or lontong  (an Indonesian traditional rice dish), and a little Pickled Fruit Salad or Mango Sambal on the side. 


1-inch piece of ginger

1 stalk lemongrass

1 medium onion coarsely chopped.

6 cloves garlic

2 fresh red or green jalapeno chilies, seeded.

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce

1/4 cup of water


1 medium potato

1 medium carrot

1/2 small jicama

2 pounds oxtail, cut into segments.

2 tablespoons cooking oil.

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 cinnamon sticks

10 dried curry leaves (optional)

1 can (13 ½ oz.) unsweetened coconut milk

3 cups water

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar.

Mint leaves


Getting Ready

1.      Thinly slice ginger and bottom 6 inches of lemongrass. Place in blender with remaining spice paste ingredients and process until smooth.

2.      Peel potato, carrot, and jicama. Cut potato into 1 ½ inch chunks, carrot, and jicama into small cubes.



1.      In a large pan, parboil oxtail in water to cover for 5 minutes; pour into a colander and let drain.

2.      heat oil over medium-low heat until hot in the same pan. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant—6 to 8 minutes. Add curry powder, cinnamon sticks, and curry leaves.

3.      Return the oxtails to the pan, stir them, and coat them with seasonings. Add coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

4.      Add vegetables to meat; cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until all vegetables are tender when pierced.

5.      Ladle into bowls and garnish with mint leaves.

6.      Makes 6 servings.


Curry doesn't grow on trees. It's a seasoning blended from many spices. So, what, then, is a curry leaf? It is the shiny dark green leaf of a South Asian plant that smells a lot like curry when it's crushed (though the resemblance is purely coincidental since the plant is not related to any of the curry species. 

Curry leaves figure prominently in South Indian and Malaysian cooking. You can sometimes find fresh ones in Indian markets, but you're more likely to find them dried. To release their aromatic essence, crush them in a mortar and pestle or grind them in a spice grinder.  

From India To Thailand, a Guide To the World’s Curries

Characteristics: Caribbean curries, unlike in India, are generally prepared with pre-made curry blends high in turmeric. They often include cumin, paprika, cardamom, garlic, and fenugreek. Those are then made into a paste or powder, added to a protein, and marinated before cooking. The powder is also added to the pan before cooking, creating popular dishes like curry goat and curry chicken.

“Jamaicans, we like to see that bright yellow,” says Hugh Sinclair, a native Jamaican who goes by Chef Irie and hosts “Taste the Islands” on public television in South Florida.

You’ll find this curry style throughout the British West Indies, varying slightly from island to island. But places like the Cayman Islands (which used to be part of Jamaica) and other islands nearby will have very similar styles.

Origins: Jamaica’s curries were heavily influenced by British colonial rule, and as such, they’re based more on pre-made curry mixes than anything families make themselves. That said, once slavery was abolished and Indians came to the islands to work in the sugarcane fields, more Indian-style curries became prevalent. So, while the traditional Jamaican curries are more popular, you can find Indian styles throughout the country.

“In Jamaica, we have a large Indian population, and in Indian households, they’re making their own curries,” says Sinclair. “They’re mixing the spices in real-time when cooking the dishes like in mainland India.

Characteristics: Traditional Indian curries are generally based on coconut milk with a salt or acid component like lime juice, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onions, and two spices, usually turmeric and curry leaves, sometimes cumin. Further inland, dried coconut replaces coconut milk, and you’ll find other meats like chicken used instead of fish. Coastal Indian curries will be more coconut milk and turmeric-based, with a yellowish color. Inland curries use more tomatoes and are redder in color.

“Even in India,” Irani warns, “you’ll find three different people arguing over what a curry should be.”

Origins: Curry was primarily developed in southern parts of India, and though you might see recipes for North Indian curries, this is more just a generic term for sauce-based dishes from that region. As Irani said, it’s really only one dish, not an entire collection of dishes. And definitely not a spice blend. Initially, it didn’t have much in the way of tomatoes, onions, garlic, or ginger. Still, when Europeans came to India, they brought those ingredients, simultaneously borrowing and helping to develop food in another land.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

Thanksgiving Day in 2024 was a special occasion for my family, as it was the first time in twenty years that we were all together in one city and state. Previously, we used to be scattered across different locations like California, Florida, Germany, Georgia, Maryland, and Chicago. This year, my oldest son was able to join us, which was a great addition.  I used to have dinner with friends and host small parties while my family visited their respective families (divorce does that). However, this year was different, and we could all enjoy the holiday together.

Dani's  art project, she built a "Lego Cockatoo."

Cozy, vegetarian acorn squash stuffing for Thanksgiving.

 I’m really excited to share this recipe with you. Roasted acorn squash halves topped with herbed stuffing make a delicious holiday-worthy main dish. It’s the perfect option if you’re serving vegetarian and gluten-free eaters.


2 Whole Acorn Squash

Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to season the squash

3 tablespoons Countryside Creamery Sweet Cream Salted Butter

2 Stalks of Celery, chopped

1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Stonemill Ground Sage*

1 teaspoon Stonemill Rosemary Leaves*

1 teaspoon Stonemill Thyme Leaves*

1 teaspoon Stonemill Paprika

1 teaspoon Stonemill Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper

1 Box Chef’s Cupboard Tuscan Seasoned Sourdough Stuffing*

1/3 cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries

1/3 cup Southern Grove Chopped Pecans

2 Green Onions, sliced

1 ½ cups Chef’s Cupboard Vegetable Cooking Stock

2 Simply Nature Organic Cage Free Brown Eggs, slightly beaten

Acorn Squash Stuffing


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Microwave the acorn squash for 2 minutes to soften slightly before cutting each in half. Scoop out the seeds to create a hollow in the center of each.

Lightly brush each squash half with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place the squash face on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender, but not mushy, when pierced with a fork.

Prepare the stuffing by heating the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, and garlic, and season with sage, rosemary, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until veggies are starting to soften.

Remove from heat and add one complete package of Chef’s Cupboard Tuscan Seasoned Stuffing, dried cranberries, green onions, and pecans. Stir to combine.

Add vegetable stock and egg, stirring to combine.

Spoon stuffing mixture into roasted acorn squash halves. Return to the oven to continue roasting at 425 degrees for 10 minutes until the stuffing is browned and the squash is caramelized.

Recipe courtesy of @phenomenalphoods.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Arugula, Grilled Radicchio & Cherry Salad


Arugula, Grilled Radicchio & Cherry Salad

A citrusy vinaigrette, tart cherries, and crumbled goat cheese bring out the best in the charred radicchio and endive in this flavor-packed dish.


2 heads radicchio, cut into sixteenths

3 heads Belgian endive, halved

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup olive oil, divided

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 bunch chives, chopped

1 bunch tarragon, chopped

5 ounces arugula

1 pound cherries, halved and pitted

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled


Combine the radicchio and endive in a work bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil and toss to coat. Let marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Grill radicchio and endive until just charred, about 1 minute per side. Remove from grill, arrange on a platter or sheet pan in a single layer, and place in refrigerator to cool.

Combine orange and lemon juices and zest in a small sauce pot. Reduce by half and cool to room temperature. Whisk in the chopped herbs and remaining olive oil to make the vinaigrette.

Remove the cores from the grilled endive and radicchio. Combine the radicchio, endive, arugula, and cherries in a large work bowl. Toss with the desired amount of vinaigrette and season to taste. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Arugula & Pear Salad with a Balsamic & Sherry Vinaigrette

 Arugula and pear Salad with a Balsamic and Sherry Vinaigrette

Last month, while at the Nugget Market in Sacramento, California, I picked up some recipe cards that caught my attention. They looked delicious, and I decided to try them all to discover new foods and salads as I continue my journey of managing diabetes through a healthy diet. Since 2022, I have managed to lose 40 pounds in a year, and my A1C is at a normal level of 5.6.  It has not been without sacrifice I am not a vegan, I still eat protein and am mindful of not being anemic.

This simple salad of peppery arugula, sweet pears, fresh goat cheese, and candied pecans gets even better with a flavorful homemade vinaigrette.

1 small shallot, minced
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
½ tablespoon honey (omit and use a substitute)
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pear
5 ounces of baby arugula
1 cup candied pecans
Vinaigrette, to taste
4 ounces chèvre
To make the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a work bowl and whisk. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify.

For the salad, cut a pear in half, remove the core, and slice it into thin wedges. Combine pear wedges, arugula, and pecans in a work bowl. Toss with vinaigrette to taste and arrange on serving dishes. Top with crumbled chèvre.

Extra dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Vegan Cauliflower Roast

Thanksgiving Recipes Will Appeal To Everyone At The Table

Looking for a plant-based entree everyone will love? This flavor-packed cauliflower roast might steal the show with its savory blend of seasonings and the sweet, spicy, and umami balance of Fly by Jin Zhong Sauce. Nugget Market is my favorite.


1 head cauliflower

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Fly by Jing Zhong Sauce


Preheat oven to 350

Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower, leaving the head intact. Combine sesame oil, vegetable oil, garlic, sesame seeds, turmeric, fennel seeds, and salt to form a paste. Rub the paste evenly over the surface of the cauliflower head, pressing into all the nooks and crannies.

Place the cauliflower on a lined baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. Baste liberally with Zhong Sauce and return to the oven to glaze for about 10 minutes, until just tender,

To serve, slice cauliflower roast into slabs or cut into florets.

Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Cauliflower

A whole roasted cauliflower makes for a fantastic vegan main dish. This one is roasted around extra veggies and has a slightly sweet balsamic glaze. It's easy to throw together and will leave you feeling full, not heavy. Win!

Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

@Kat Wirsing

This sweet potato pie is extremely good, thanks to an oat pecan crust and a creamy, spiced filling. Look for vegan marshmallows to top it, or keep it simple with your own vegan whipped topping using coconut cream.



Cooking spray

1 1/2 c. pecans

1/2 c. old-fashioned oats

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 c. melted coconut oil


1 (15-oz.) can sweet potato purée

1 c. almond milk

3/4 c. dark brown sugar (substitute diabetics Pyure Organic Brown Sweetener ) 

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger


1 (13.5-oz.) full-fat coconut cream, refrigerated (Taste of Thai works best)

3 tbsp. powdered sugar (omit if you are diabetic)

Pinch kosher salt

Pyure Organic Brown Sweetener | Brown Sugar Substitute | Zero Carb, Zero Sugar, Zero Calorie | Measures and Bakes Like Brown Sugar | Plant-Based for Keto...

Friday, October 13, 2023

Banana Flax Pancakes

I woke up this morning craving pancakes; since I'm on this diabetic diet, I'm trying something new for breakfast. I have a couple of bags of flaxseed and flaxseed flour. I need the fiber, so I found this recipe from Kristen McCaffrey I'm trying this morning. 

 Meet Kristen McCaffrey August 21, 2023

Hi, I'm the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy, easy-to-prepare, and absolutely delicious food. Meal planning is my secret weapon, and I hope to make mealtime more manageable for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. These tasty Banana Flax Pancakes are nutritious, filling, and a great way to make healthier pancakes that still taste great.

▢ 1 ripe banana, mashed

▢ 2 eggs

▢ 1/4 tsp vanilla

▢ 1/16 tsp cinnamon (or nutmeg)

▢ 2 tbsp flaxseed meal

ADD TO MEAL PLAN…What is this Healthy, Low Carb, and vegetarian


1. Mash the banana in a bowl.

2. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon/nutmeg.

3. Stir in the flaxseed meal.

4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in batter, and once it begins to bubble and firm up on the edges, flip and cook on the other side for around 1 minute.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

African American Food Culture

 by William Frank Mitchell (Author)

The Original Innovators PHOTO: ORIANA KOREN

Like other Americans, African Americans partake of the general food offerings available in mainstream supermarket chains across the country. Food culture, however, may depend on where they live and their degree of connection to traditions passed down through generations since the time of slavery. Many African Americans celebrate a hybrid identity that incorporates African and New World foodways. The state of African American food culture today is illuminated in depth here for the first time, in the all-important context of understanding the West African origins of most African Americans of today.

Like other Americans, African Americans partake of the general food offerings available in mainstream supermarket chains across the country. Food culture, however, may depend on where they live and their degree of connection to traditions passed down through generations since the time of slavery. Many African Americans celebrate a hybrid identity that incorporates African and New World foodways. The state of African American food culture today is illuminated in depth here for the first time, in the all-important context of understanding the West African origins of most African Americans of today.

A historical overview discusses the beginnings of this hybrid food culture when Africans were forcibly removed from their homelands and brought to the United States. Chapter 2 on Major Foods and Ingredients details the particular favorites of what is considered classic African American food. In Chapter 3, Cooking, the African American family of today is shown to be like most other families with busy lives, preparing and eating quick meals during the week and more leisurely meals on the weekend. Special insight is also given to African American chefs. The Typical Meals chapter reflects a largely mainstream diet with regional and traditional options. Chapter 6, Eating Out, highlights the increasing opportunities for African Americans to dine out and the attractions of fast meals. The Special Occasions chapter discusses all the pertinent occasions for African Americans to prepare and eat symbolic dishes that reaffirm their identity and culture. Finally, the latest information on the traditional African American diet and its health effects brings readers up to date in the Diet and Health chapter. Recipes, photos, chronology, resource guide, and selected bibliography round out the narrative.

Cover Copyrighted by William Frank Mitchell (Author) 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Soul power by Shannon Adams-Hartung

 From the Hektoen International Journal, published by the Hektoen Institute of Medicine

SHANNON ADAMS-HARTUNG is a second-year pediatrics resident at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. She majored in global health and history as an undergraduate student and has a clinical and research interest in bioethics. She plans to pursue a career in neonatology and palliative care. Winner of the 2022–23 Medical Student Essay Contest

Cooking fried supper for a benefit picnic supper on the grounds of St. Thomas’ Church 
near Bardstown, Kentucky. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, August 7, 1940

Soul food has deep historical, cultural, and economic roots in the African-American community. Much of the cuisine affiliated with modern-day soul food dates back to the era of American slavery. Before the fourteenth century, the African diet was primarily vegetarian. Meat was used sparingly compared to various grains, rice, millet, nuts, and seeds.

The Middle Passage changed that. Africans were tightly packed onto ships and fed very little, leading to widespread malnutrition and death from nutrient-related ailments such as scurvy and rickets.

 Many who survived the journey to North America managed to bring tribal seeds and roots, such as watermelon seeds, yams, sweet potatoes, and okra and introduced them to the American South.

However, much of the diet of enslaved persons consisted of foods native to their new home, particularly meats and carbohydrates. Enslaved persons often fused traditional African cooking styles with these foreign American provisions. For example, millet porridge—a staple in many West African communities—was quickly transferred to Native American Chickahominy.

Cooking fried supper for a benefit picnic supper on the grounds of St. Thomas’ Church near Bardstown, Kentucky. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, August 7, 1940. 

FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-030967-M4.

Shared by 

Joseph M. Harrington, President/CEO


Throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, food became a central element in African-American life, “a vehicle for self-expression and independence from the dominance of the plantation owners.”5 Culinary decisions were often the only ones that black people could make; thus, they became artists with the raw materials for gastronomic creativity.6 Some enslaved persons had private gardens to sell produce for monetary gain or personal nutrition. Knowledge of certain agricultural practices possessed by enslaved Africans was sought after and implemented by slaveholders: for example, growing rice.7 Strong cooking skills elevated the social status of individuals in comparison to their fellow fieldhands. These enslaved persons had the opportunity to become cooks in the main house, eating better meals while being perceived in a more positive light by the master and his family.8 Some black cooks even gained notoriety. Thomas Jefferson took his chef, James Hemmings, to France for a formal culinary education, providing him with the necessary skills to create recipes still considered influential in American cuisine.9

The significance of food, culture, and tradition during American slavery became one of the building blocks for the concept of “soul food” when it was introduced during the mid-twentieth century. As professor and historian of Southern and black history Charles Joyner said, food—and the new soul food category—became a symbolic representation of black historical lineage. In light of social pressures toward assimilation and common misconceptions alluding to the absence of a distinct African-American culture, middle-class blacks were “eager to assert their racial authenticity after World War II.”10 Dishes and recipes were therefore embraced as a part of the Black Power movement—specific pieces of African American culture tied to slave and African ancestry that could be celebrated. During the 1960s and 70s, as the Civil Rights Movement emerged, soul food restaurants and barbeques began to spring up in major cities, meant to help young people remember their past amid a struggle for a better future.11

Although many soul food traditions have obvious historical ties, some items routinely categorized under this culinary subheading have a more complex backstory. Fried chicken is one such example. Although African tribes were primarily vegetarian, chickens were often the only livestock animals enslaved persons were permitted to raise independently.12 Frying and seasoning the heftier portions of a meal, namely the meat, was also in the best interest of enslaved persons as laborers for taste and biological and physiological necessity, as fatty foods provided sustenance and endurance for long days in the field.13 Other foods, while tied to slave culture, are soul food staples resulting from modern social and financial realities. Take, for example, chitterlings or chitlins (pig intestines). As a slow-cooked meat, chitlins could be left alone all day while enslaved persons were in the field and then consumed in the evening hours.14 However, its prevalence in modern soul food is more closely tied to economic practicality. While most pig was used and sold as sausage, bacon, and ham, the intestines were often considered beneath white consumers. Historically, on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, African Americans could not afford to be discriminatory regarding their nutrients; therefore, chitlins and other low-cost foods and drinks such as Kool-Aid became chief components of the soul food diet.

The pervasiveness of soul food in African-American households has given way to negative connotations and stereotyping in the broader community. Many of these items were dubbed “poor people’s food” in the latter twentieth century.15 Watermelons were a frequent source of ridicule throughout history, particularly in popular culture. In the late nineteenth century, Alden Fruit Vinegar trading cards displayed caricatures of blacks with “ugly, animal-like features,” stealing chickens and eating watermelon.16 This idea has persisted into the new millennium, for example, in political opposition to President Obama. In 2012, Kentucky resident Danny Hafley erected a mannequin statue of President Obama eating watermelon because the statue “might get hungry out there.”17 In 2009, Dean Grose, Mayor of Los Alamitos, California, resigned after sending an email with a picture of watermelons on the White House lawn with the caption “No Easter egg hunt this year.”18

Another critical topic is the health impact on the African-American community. Soul food tends to be meat-based and high in fat, with fewer fruits and vegetables.19 Cooking styles further exacerbate this issue, with trans-fat oils and lards used to infuse fried chicken and other meats and butter or margarine added to biscuits and pie crusts for flavor.20 But this trend has consequences. According to a study conducted in 2004, 60% of African-American men and 78% of African-American women are medically overweight. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for black Americans, and 35% of African-American adults have hypertension as the result of unhealthy lifestyles.21 While these trends are likely multifactorial, in 2009, the National Institutes of Health reported that minority soul food diets are etiologically linked to nutrition disparities and “higher incidence [of] morbidity and mortality rates,” including “poorer survival [in the black community with] many diet-related chronic diseases and conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, [and] Type II diabetes.”22

Soul food is more than a dietary choice. Soul food is essential to life in many African-American families, churches, and communities. Black people have consistently used food to connect to the past and continue to eat certain dishes to honor our ancestry and narrative as people in the United States. While it has regularly been the target of negative racial stereotyping and has clear connections to poor minority health, soul food continues to unite African Americans—in history, culture, and, more literally, in preparation, consumption, and fellowship.


  1. Covey, Herbert, and Dwight Eisnach. What the slaves ate: recollections of African American foods and foodways from the slave narratives. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2009, 211.
  2. Covey and Eisnach, What the slaves ate, 211.
  3. Counihan, Carole, and Penny Esterik. Food and culture: a reader. New York: Routledge, 1997, 272.
  4. Mitchell, William. African American food culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009, 7.
  5. Covey and Eisnach, What the slaves ate, 212.
  6. Mitchell, Patricia. Plantation Row slave cabin cooking: the roots of soul food. Chatham, VA: P.B. Mitchell, 1998, 14.
  7. Bower, Anne. African American foodways: explorations of history and culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007, 47.
  8. Bower, Foodways, 51.
  9. Bower, Foodways, 51.
  10. Witt, Doris. Black Hunger: Soul Food and America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004, 6.
  11. Mitchell, Food culture, 73.
  12. Bering, Jesse. “Racist Food Stereotypes and the ‘Obama Fried Chicken’ Incident.” Slate Magazine.
  13. Covey and Eisnach, What the slaves ate, 213.
  14. Bower, Foodways, 51.
  15. Douglas, Mary. Food in the social order: studies of food and festivities in three American communities; Vol. 9. 1973. Reprint, New York: Routledge, 2003, 115-116.
  16. Lemons, J. “Black Stereotypes as Reflected in Popular Culture, 1880-1920.” American Quarterly 29, no. 1. (1977): 104.
  17. Wing, Nick. “Danny Hafley, Kentucky Man, Defends Watermelon-Eating Obama Display.” Huffington Post. December 27, 2012.
  18. NBC News, “Mayor to quit over Obama Watermelon email,” February 27, 2009.
  19. Mitchell, Food culture, 97.
  20. Mitchell, Food culture, 98.
  21. Mitchell, Food culture, 96.
  22. Satia, Jessie. “Diet-related disparities: understanding the problem and accelerating solutions.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109.4 (2009): 610.

SHANNON ADAMS-HARTUNG is a second-year pediatrics resident at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. She majored in global health and history as an undergraduate student and has a clinical and research interest in bioethics. She plans to pursue a career in neonatology and palliative care.

Winner of the 2022–23 Medical Student Essay Contest