Thursday, September 29, 2011

Limes Afterschool Madness. Kids with Soul.

La Sagesse Beach

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Golden Apple (Spondias Dulcis, June Plum, Jew Plum, Dew Plum, Pommecythere)

Spondias Dulcis, or more commonly known as "Golden Apple" in Grenada, is a fruit that grows in clusters of up to a dozen.  It falls from a tropical tree while still green and is characterized by its tangy sweet sour skin and fibrous pit.

The Golden apple is used both in sweet and savory dishes depending on its ripeness.  When green, the fruit is commonly eaten as is (with or without skin just like green mangoes)  with salt and other salty/spicy dips, made into salsas, chutneys, and into juices and smoothies.  When fully ripe, the Golden Apple will be deep yellowish-orange in color.  When yellow, the fruit is eaten just like an apple or stewed with sugar to make an applesauce-like dessert. Sweet and juicy with a light tang, the Golden Apple at this stage is, in my eyes, the best.  Its feel and juiciness resembles that of a mango but with completely different flavor.  

Some people are turned off by the texture of its fibers (characterizing dull spikes of some sort) and I must admit that I was one of these people at first, but the more I ate them (I bought a whole bag), the more I fell in love with its flavor.  At the end, I was willing to work around the fibers to get to the good stuff.  Be sure to try one out first before you buy a whole bag. If you're sensitive to its fibrous pit, you may end up disliking the fruit. 

I'm not fond of the skin. It's too bitter and tangy for me and you can't bite through it easily as you can with a mango, but try it out for yourself.  If you end up liking it, then score!... the skin is packed with vitamins.  If you end up not liking it, peel it off with a paring knife or peeler.  Once you peel the skin of, you will see four major fibers running down on the side. Take them off with your fingers first before eating.

To remove the seed, leave peel on for grip then peel cut it as you would a plum using vertical slices all across the circumference of the fruit.  Pull slices away from seed.  If you take the skin off first, the fruit will be too slippery for you to hold and therefore you will be unable to make slices and take the seed out, unless you eat the fruit like an uncut apple (this is how I eat it).

Links to Recipes:
sweet and spicy pickle
June Plum Juice
June Plum Chow

bolognese in a hurry- my new favorite pasta

I visited a restaurant here in Grenada called La Boulangerie and found many types of pastas on their menu.  I wondered to myself, why is it that I only know how to cook traditional Spaghetti and Chicken Alfredo when there are many other different other pastas out there to cook?  I decided to venture out.  I glanced at the restaurant's menu and took a mental note of the name of a pasta that stood out- "Bolognese."  I read the description and was immediately drawn into the idea of adding white wine into a pasta sauce.  Wow, I thought... Just add one more special ingredient and you come up with a completely different type of pasta.  The grape taste from the white wine definitely shines throughout the dish.  The usual recipe calls for carrots and celery, but I didn't have any at the time so I used just garlic and onion instead.  I'm sure they would've made the sauce taste completely different than what I came up with but without them, the dish turned out delicious.  I will definitely try it out with celery and carrot next time and when I do, I'll  be sure to update you guys! 

3-4 servings;15-25min
11oz spaghetti 

1 1/2 tbs oil
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 medium onion diced
1tsp dried parsley flakes or dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4tsp paprika
1 6oz can tomato paste

3/4 - 1 lb ground beef
salt pepper
3/4 cup white wine (I used a chardonnay)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp ketchup

1. Boil a pot of salted water.
2. Prepare onions and garlic.
3. heat pan of oil. medium high heat. add garlic and onion. add a little salt to draw water out. cook until translucent. Add parsley, red pepper flakes, and paprika. stir and cook for 1 min. cooking spices in oil will bring out flavors.
4. add spaghetti noodles to boiling water. boil until al dente (slightly undercooked). drain but do not rinse. it's okay if there's a little water left. do not cover or water will boil over. stir occasionally. 
4. add tomato paste and stir constantly. cook for 2-3 min until you start to see oil separate.  add white wine. stir and cook for 2 min on high heat to cook out alcohol.
5. add ground beef, chicken broth, and ketchup. stir occasionally. cook meat through and thicken sauce ~5-10min.
6. add in spaghetti noodles and stir to mix until sauce sticks to noodles. it should stick right away but just in case there's excess water from your noodles, cook until water evaporates.

*Click HERE for a cooking dictionary. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Carib Sushi Menu

*Click on pictures to enlarge them

thinly sliced shashimi, onions, and olive oil

thin rolls with wrapper on the outside

*Chirashi- This is a Sushi dish which is made of seafood, mushroom, vegetables and sushi rice.
*Ceviche- Raw fish or seafood pickled and "cooked" in the acidic juice of citrus fruit. Ceviches are often flavored with herbs, chiles and other ingredients.

a piece of raw fish (or other topping) on top of a small oblong brick of sticky white rice.

A Japanese dish of bite-sized pieces of raw fish eaten with soy sauce and horseradish paste: "tuna sashimi".

Rolls that have been created "inside-out" with rice on the exterior, and nori on the interior. Uramaki are typically sized in between futomaki and hosomaki, filled with two or more ingredients, and coated in sesame seeds or small fish roe.

*Temaki- Cones of nori (dried seaweed) filled with sushi rice, as well as fish and/or vegetables. Similar to maki, these are also known as hand rolls.
*Futomaki- Thick, large, oversize rice and seaweed rolls, up to an inch and a half in diameter, filled with fish or vegetables.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pan Fried Chicken+Tomato Sauce Reduction+ Bacon Bits served with a side of Potato Pancakes- Breakfast Dressed up for Dinner

Peanut Butter and Jelly is to Chicken and Bacon hahaha.  Then again, Bacon with anything is good period.
For an American, Breakfast is an integral part of life.  Ronald Mc Donald, Denny's, IHOP, and Aunt Jemima taught me this.  Even my non-English Speaking parents knew this fact of American life.  That being said, I've grown dependent on breakfast.  It's the fuel that get's me going in life.

Since I've grown up a bit and got a lot of exposure to the Food Network, I've been putting spins on my favorite foods left and right.  I took a look around my fridge-eggs, bacon, ketchup, and around my counter- potatoes and flour, and decided to put a spin on breakfast.

I made a real tomato and tomato ketchup combination sauce (ketchup packets) to top off my grilled chicken (Chicken Mc Nuggets) and fried a potato, flour, and egg mixture (hashbrowns). O, and of course, topped everything off with crispy bacon bits.
2-3 servings; 30-40min
Potato Pancakes-
1 1/4cup packed shredded White Potato (I used Russet, 2 medium potatoes)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp four
dash cayenne pepper
dash cajun seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 egg
oil for frying

4 strips bacon cut into 1/2'' strips (keep 2 tbs fat rendered from bacon)
1 lb chicken thighs thawed out, room temp.
2 garlic cloves minced
1tsp. minced ginger (~1/4'' slice)
salt/pepper/cajun seasoning for dusting chicken
2 medium tomatoes diced
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
juice of 1/2 medium lemon (1/4 cup)
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
pinch salt
1tsp bay leaf powder (can purchase at MNIB in excel plaza, one of my fav. spices)

Potato Pancakes-
1. Peel Potatoes, Shred, rinse and drain 3-5 times until water runs somewhat clear.  Strain and squeeze out as much water as you can. Transfer to mixing bowl.
2. add salt, flour, cayenne pepper, cajun seasoning, parsley, and egg. Mix well.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge for 20 min.
4. heat pan on medium high heat. add oil ~2tbsp.
5. Drop in 3 heaping spoons of potato mixture into pan and flatten out with back of spoon in an even layer (the smaller the scoops, the crispier the cakes will be).  Wait until one side browns, you can check by lifting with spatula.  Then flip and brown other side. Repeat until potato mixture is gone.

1. Dust chicken with a thin layer of salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning on both sides.
2. heat non stick pan medium high heat. add bacon bits and lay out in a layer (doesn't have to be even even) stir frequently constantly coating them in its own oil so they can cook evenly.  Once cooked to liking (I prefer Crispy), place aside in a bowl.
3.  Dump excess oil, leaving behind ~2tbps bacon fat.
4. Add chicken strips (they usually come packaged this way from Foodfair) in an even layer. Don't Stir! wait until chicken has cooked 3/4 of the way (~6min depending on your stove).  When you see just a little pink left at the top,flip and finish cooking.  Scoop out chicken and place to the side leaving fat and bits behind.
5. Add ginger and garlic. Cook ~2min. Add tomato, peas, and carrots. stir to cover in fat. cover and cook for ~4min or until tomato turns into mush and peas become tender.
6. in a bowl mix lemon juice, sugar, ketchup, cajun seasoning, salt, bay leaf powder.
7. add lemon mixture to tomatoes peas and carrots.cook without cover (reduce) for ~4min.
8. Top chicken with tomato sauce reduction and bacon bits. serve on top of white rice and a side of potato pancakes.  Enjoy!

*Click HERE for a cooking dictionary.

helpful links for prospective and current significant others

hanging out with my new buddies
The Adventure of A Lifetime
So your husband/wife/significant other dragged you by your wedding ring(or just dragged you) thousands of miles into a place you never thought you'd find yourself in- a lost episode of LOST or perhaps Jumanji?... I like to call it Grenada.

If you and your significant other (SO) are already completely exhausted from the plane ride (where everything that can possible go wrong went wrong), then you're right where you belong hahaa.

Next, you will find yourself at the grocery store face to face with items you're used paying half price for back at home and ask "Why" until you find yourself in the same situation again the next week.  Soon enough, you start exploring around yourself and hear from word of mouth or on the Facebook page of places where you can get a better bang for your buck.  You go here for this and there for that.

Pretty soon you start to wonder if the Significant Others were especially made for you and later find out that YES! Indeed they were hahaha.  They will have the answers to all your questions and then some.  Life starts showing a glimmer of hope and things aren't as bad as you thought they would be.

Later, you get together with other significant others and venture out on the island and pretty soon after, you feel like you're on a 24/7 vacation (meeting paradise everywhere you turn).  Of course you feel bad but hey, you do all you can for your husband (clean, massage, give your shoulder for him to cry on, do the laundry, and cook), so hey why not.  It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that anyone would take advantage of, including your significant other, if they had the opportunity to.

On top of vacationing, you want to be productive as well so you start volunteering to help out around the community or you start working on developing a skill or hobby like dancing, cooking, or blogging. Now you're at ease and feel lucky to be in a once in a lifetime opportunity to be living in a completely different culture, experiencing new sights, sounds, and tastes with time on your side.  You soon find out that the whole country is synonymous with "down to earth" and its persona starts rubbing off on feel like a new person.  You think to yourself, "I'm in my true element," and wish for the whole journey to never end.  Welcome to life in Grenada as a significant other.     

Below you will find helpful links that will help you transition to life in Grenada.

1. Significant Others of Saint George's University website -
I can't describe how helpful this organization has been in helping me settle and transition to life in Grenada.  They know their way around and are more than happy to help guide you through your quests.  Their website contains everything you need to know and more-
2.  Links to Other SO Blogs
    3.  Once you fill out the "New Significant Other" form, you will be assigned a footsteps buddy who you can contact should you have any questions.  You can fill it out while you're still in your hometown and let them know when you're scheduled to arrive.

    4.  Once you've been assigned a buddy, send in a request to be added to the SO's Facebook group.  Here you will find other SOs post updates on events, questions about any and everything, tips, and so on.  Feel free to post any questions you may have (even if you're not here yet).  There's always someone ready and willing to help. They always respond lightning speed with helpful information.
      Of course, you can always contact me if you have any questions at all.

      5. Once you've Arrived Checklist
      6. Tips and Money Saving Ideas for the Kitchen
      7. Fruit and Vegetable Guide 
      8. 32 Productive Ways to Use Your Spare Time
      9. YouTube Videos, Movies and TV Show Suggestions
      10. Cooking Dictionary 
      11. Ingredient Dictionary
      12. Emergency Ingredient Substitutions for baking  
      13. Common Ingredient Substitutions
      14.  There is an SO recipe swap group where SOs post their favorite recipes, tailored to what is available here in Grenada.  Add me on Facebook and let me know if you would like for me to add you into it.  You can also ask me any questions you may have about any other issues and I will definitely hunt the answers down for you.   
      15. Click HERE for a map of Grenada
      16. Click HERE for a map of St. George's
      17. Do It Yourself Christmas Decorations 
      18. What to consider before bringing your pet to Grenada 
      19. My Grenadian Photo Albums
      20. Pool Day Info at the University Club 
      21. Visa Renewal Process
      22. Mail Information
      23. Where to go for ____? (where to go for everything + general advice)
      24. Sample Budgets- cost of living everywhere in Grenada

            Wednesday, September 21, 2011

            Grand Etang National Forest and Annandale Falls

            Entrance to Annandale Fall
            During orientation week you will have the option of attending an SGU organized tour to Annandale Falls (30ft drop with swimming pool at the bottom for a refreshing swim) and Grand Etang National Forest.  At registration, make sure to reserve a spot for you and your significant other (if you have one) before all of the slots fill up.  I highly suggest for you to attend the tour- the ride and costs are covered, it's a perfect time to mingle and make friends, and you get to see what in part, makes Grenada special- its lush and beautiful tropical forests.  If you're lucky, you may even run into monkeys (up close and personal) and drink coconut juice straight from a freshly picked coconut.

            Length of tour:  ~2- 2.5 hr
            1. 4-5 big school buses load up at SGU campus
            2. Bus ride to falls- long and windy on narrow roads. no hike involved. students watch local divers (they take donations) and have a little fun in the water. Jumping off cliffs is not permitted for safety reasons (~20-25 min).
            3.  If you're lucky, you will catch the coconut man at the entrance. These young coconuts are delicious.  Try one out! You can also take a picture with the Banana lady for 2-3ec.
            4.  Leave the falls and head to Grand Etang Forest (~10 min).
            5. Hike up to point of destination. It took our crowd 1hr there and back due to the muddy conditions.  Be sure to wear hiking shoes (no flip flops!) unless you want to mud skate all day hahaa. Wear bug spray and bring water, and don't forget to wear sunscreen.  You can also pay to use the washroom next to Grand Etang House to rinse your shoes. I think it's 5-10ec.
            6. Ride back to campus.
            7. campus bbq

            *These two sites are easily accessible by car or public transportation.
            1.  Grand Etang- from Saint George's University, take the Grand Anse bus. Stop at Texaco. Walk up the corner towards IGA and you will find a local bus stop. Take #1 to St. George's. Ride until the last stop at the bus terminal. 2.50ec. walk towards other buses and find #6-5ec. this will take you to your stop right in front of "Grandetang House." Entrance fee ~5ec/person if you're going separately from school.
            2.  Annandale Falls - from SGU, take the Grand Anse bus. Get off at Texaco. Hail a #1 bus or walk up around the corner to the local bus stop.  Ride to the last stop to the bus terminal.  Transfer to a #7 bus to Annandale Falls.  

            Getting there on your own:   from St. George's turn L, continue downhill past yellow Methodist church for 0.7mi.

            Price -freeVisitor center hours: Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00.

            Main Attractions at Annandale Falls (busy days will prompt more action):
            • Listen to Guitar Man
            • Take a picture with lady balancing a big bunch of fruit on her head
            • get up close and personal with a monkey and his man
            • buy fresh coconut from the coconut man with a machete
            • watch divers dive from great heights above waterfall (donations appreciated but not forced)
            • swim (no diving allowed). Also, no wet cloths allowed on bus. Don't forget to bring extra clothes.
            • Reviews on Trip Advisor 
            Main Attractions at Grand Etang:
            • mud
            • insect bites
            • flip flop suction action in mud (under wet conditions)
            • razor sharp plants
            • Grand Etang House- they sell beverages and sandwiches
            • monkeys (if you're lucky)
            • view of beautiful Grand Etang Lake
            • view of Grand Etang Lake from end of hike (on top of a hill)
            • Reviews on Trip Advisor 
            *for more pictures visit my Flickr album here

            Annandale Falls
            into the water
            coconut man in front of Annandale MmmMm...
            beginning of hike at Grand Etang
            View of Grand Etang Lake at end of hike