Sunday, December 16, 2007

Govind Armstrong: A Chef I Respect

Along with Marcus Samuelsson, Chef Armstrong is the man!!

Table 8 Restaurant in Los Angeles with chef Govind Armstrong

Govind Armstrong interviewed by John Gabaldon

Monday, December 10, 2007


I am in the process of Compiling/Creating/Adapting family recipes in order to preserve them for future generations of my family. I have tried to convince my mom for a few years now but I finally decided to take matters into my own hands in order to accomplish this task. You see my mom wasn't against the idea but she isn't one for stopping along the way to compose a recipe. She is one who improvises her dishes on the spot. So you could just imagine how it was when I would stop her during cooking in order to figure out the measurements used for a particular dish. HAHAHA, she could have strangled me for that!!!

My next conquest is to compile our family recipe for pelau and my grandmother's calalloo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Diggin' through the archives(To all the people who have posted comments)

First off, my bad, I am still kinda new to the bloggin' ting and I just spotted all the comments, I been under a rock I guess. Anyways, My bad and I appreciate the comments and I will do my best to respond in the future. Now, as for the sorrel from my original post, I wish I could find sorrel that fresh in july but i found that flick online y'all. I hope y'all like the recipe I posted and if ya have additional ideas, holla at me. Until then.....


Sorrel(My Favorite Drink, continued...)

So, I finally got around to making some sorrel. Well, mom gave me a refresher course on the fine art of sorrel brewing. Sorrel is actually a member of the hibiscus family, and it is used in red zinger tea by a well known tea company as well. So technically, sorrel can be classified as a "tea." I can't express how much I love sorrel but let's just say, I usually can't wait until christmas before I have to get my sorrel "fix." I mean, how can one resist the tempting siren's call of that familiar crimson nectar that most trini's consume during christmas time?!? I for one a matter of fact, as I type this, I have a nice cold glass within arms length, LOL! Anyways, I am posting the recipe for my mom's sorrel for you guys to try your hand at. You will first need to brew what I call the concentrate. Once you have made that, you can dilute with additional water in order to cut down on some of the sweetness(before doing so, see my side note below). Enjoy.


If the sorrel, you end up with is a bit on the sweet side, that is ok. because the reason we brew it a bit sweet is because the ice you put in the glass will weaken it's potency significantly. Another thing to keep in mind is, the longer you let your freshly brewed sorrel sit, the more potent it will become. in other words, the flavor's will be much more pronounced. It is a two-part process(but a simple one, so don't be alarmed y'all).

.::Part one::.

Sorrel Concentrate:

  • 8 qts. water
  • 4 1/2 oz. Sorrel, dried
  • 2 tbs. cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks(if long) or 8 cinnamon sticks(if shorter)

.::Part Two::.

Additional Flavorings(when preparing to serve):

  • 1 tsp. Angostura Bitters
  • 2 cups. Sugar

Method of preparation:

  1. Strain off sorrel, cloves and cinnamon sticks until you are left with approximately 8 cups of sorrel "concentrate"
  2. Next, add sugar and angostura bitters to "season" your sorrel.
  3. Finally, sample and adjust/dilute according to your taste preference.

Yield: 2 quart pitcher.


you will have, sorrel concentrate left over to make additional pitchers as you need them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I missed you mommy...

So, it's been almost six years since I last saw my mother. I am still uncertain why it took me this long to have her come visit or to hop on a plane myself. But all I know is that now that she is here, I really understand how much I've missed her. Now, another thing that any homesick trini misses is........her "sweet hands(cooking)." So I have went down the list of things I've been craving and couldn't cook myself. The one meal that truly hit the spot was sunday dinner! It consisted of Stew chicken, Calalloo, Macaroni pie, Lentils, White rice & a side salad(trini style: seasoned tomato & cucumber). Tonight I had some roast bake & buljol. Tomorrow, we shall feast on Pelau!!!!!!!!!!! Now, saturday, I will be making Sio Pao("POW") for my mom to freeze and take home. All I can say is thank you mommy, thank you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hip Hop Chef

Meez 3D avatar avatars games
I created this 3-d version of myself at

So here's how it currently stands. I am looking into some new continued education classed at The French Pastry School out in Chicago for next year BUT I am also, considering enrolling at The French Culinary Institute to get a formal education on "hot foods" in order to pursue my dream of one day putting west indian food(especially trinidadian food) on the culinary map in a major way...but my dilemma is parting with $38,000 dollars. I fear debt y'all and in a major, major way! Any opinions are welcomed...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Long Lost Me

I know, I know, I's been a loooooong time since my last post. My appologies, 2 kids is harder than many think, especially when one is teething. i haven't forgotten about my sorrel post by the way. That recipe is still on it's way. Let me catch you up to speed on my happenings. I am currently debating which culinary path to take concerning my career that I put on hold to spend time with my children. I am looking at two schools in particular. the French Pastry School in Chicago, Il. or the French Culinary Institute in New York, Ny. My long term goals are to be happy, have a prosperous career and to introduce the rest of the world to trinidadian cuisine on a grander scale. I just need to get my college funding together first and these goals shall be attainable. Until then check out a few chefs who inspire me.

Govind Armstrong:

Marcus Samuelsson

Anthony Bourdain - Leftovers

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My favorite drink

That's right people, I will be posting a blog & recipe for my favorite drink, period....SORREL or Jamaica as the latinos know it. Until then check this picture I found of sorrel on the net. I can't recall where I found bad.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Oink, Oink.....

So here's the deal, last night I concocted a last minute dinner for the extended family in the form of smothered pork chops a la big sexy(lol).

5-6lbs. pork chops(pork loin, bone in)
4 12 oz. jars of pork gravy(or you can make from scratch)
1 1/2 onions(combination of 1/2 white and 1 yellow), thinly sliced
1 1/2 cans(12 oz.) sliced mushrooms
2 packets Goya Ham flavored concentrate(powdered)

Seasoning/Marinade for chops:
Garlic powder
1/4 cup soy sauce
black pepper, freshly cracked

*Note: I kinda eye balled the initial marinade so apply as much as you like but NOT too much.

Add olive oil to the pan turn heat to high

next add thinly sliced white onions and saute'

next place pork chops on top of onions and brown chops

next, add jars of pork gravy, mushrooms and top with 1 yellow onion thinly sliced

place in over to continue cooking at 325 degrees fahrehiet

cook at that temperature for 45 minutes

finally, increase oven temperature to Broil and continue to cook for 50 minutes.

serve immediately.

Total cooking time: 1hr & 30 mins.

Not bad for some last minute dinner plans.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Happy Cinco de Mayo(Belated)!!!

Yesterday was Cinco De Mayo a.k.a. The Fifth of May is primarily a regional, and not a federal, holiday in Mexico; the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. It commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza SeguĂ­n over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

So naturally, as a current resident of Tucson, this is a time of celebration for many! In the spirit of the day we had some taqueria style food whipped up by the household. I am usually the one cooking all of it but today I only took on salsa duties. I decided to keep it simple since I had worked earlier in the day. I put together a roasted tomato & tomatillo salsa. Now I know you're probably wondering what I know about salsas or mexican food in general but believe me I know a thang or two homie. I have a HUGE advantage by residing in the southwest just shy of the mexican border. As you may also know, I used to cook full time as a profession. During that time, I came across a kind co-worker who just so happened to reside from Mexico City. She was the first person to introduce me to the traditional mexican cuinary fare. I mean when I learned my first salsa, I made this right in her own molcajete( mexican style mortar & pestle, made of lava rock), she brought from home. It was a roasted serrano & tomato salsa. I also learned how to make refried beans, antojitos("little whims") such as, sopes & quesadillas, I also learned how to make Horchata...the list goes on, so like I said Im pretty well versed but would LOVE to learn even more! Anyways, enough tootin' of my own horn. Here's a basic recipe of that salsa. Hope you like it. If it seems too hot, cut back on the chiles or take out the seeds inside.

Roasted Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa:

3 tomatoes
3 tomatillas
5 jalapeno chiles
11 serrano chiles
1-2 garlic cloves
handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
salt(to taste)


Roast All ingredients until charred a bit on the outside. You can place in a plastic sandwich bag(closed) and later remove them to take off the darkened skins. Alternately, you can leave the skins on for a more rustic appearance. It won't affect the overall taste much.

Note #1:

You can do this on a comal or put it in an over on "broil" for 5-8 mins on top shelf(spray ingredients with a little pam or alike spray)

Grind ingredients in the following order:

1.)garlic & chile peppers(make a paste to use as a flavor base, add salt here to use as an abrasive to aid in grinding)

2.)tomatoes & tomatillas

3.)Lastly, roughly chop cilantro and add just before serving.

Note #2:

You can use a food processor(pulse feature)or an immersion blender(stick blender) to make the salsa but keep in mind the traditional method and far superior method would be to use a molcajete.

Oh yeah, before I forget we also had tacos de carne asada(Carne Asada tacos)& Nachos(far from traditional mexican food....LOL).

To make your own tortilla chips:

1 bag of corn tortillas of your choice, white or yellow
vegetable oil

turn oil in fryer up to 375 F.

take the stack of tortillas and slice in half horizontally, making semi-circles

now with each individual semi-circle slice a "V" into it diagonally

you should end up with roughly 3 stacks of pyramid shaped chips, if you want more

slice down the middle of each chip stack(this entire process is called quartering)

repeat process with other semi-circle

once oil has come up to correct temperature drop chips in but DO NOt over crowd the fryer, because each time you drop chips in it will drop the temperature of the oil and you want the oil as hot as possible, in order to get a crisp chip with as little grease as possible.

cook chips for 3-15 minutes until crisp. *See note below.

*Note: cooking times will vary depending on brand of tortillas. just experiment and keep a close eye on them as they cook.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Curry Chicken: Revision pt. 1

I wanted to post this video of Chef Dex throwin' down on some Trini style curry chicken. My method is very similar to his and I will post my current recipe shortly. Until then,here's the lesson.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Mango Kucheela (Kuchela)A specialty of Trindad made from air-dried green mango, hot chile peppers, vinegar, salt, spices and brown sugar. The condiment is a very hot, salty, sweet mixture which is served with everything from curries to a traditional pelau (pigeon peas cooked with meat and coconut milk). Serves: 4


12 green mangoes

1 head garlic (peeled cloves)

5-6 hot peppers (congo) or scotch bonnet

1 pkt. Anchar masala (amchar masala see recipe)

1-1½ c mustard oil

2 tsp. light brown sugar

salt to taste


Peel and grate mangoes Squeeze some liquid from mangoes

Spread out on a flat surface and dry for 1 day or leave in an oven on low heat for a few hours Mince garlic and peppers together Combine grated mango, garlic, pepper, sugar, anchar massala and salt

Blend in mustard oil and place in a clear jar with a tight fitting lid.

The following recipe is from "Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail." by Madhur Jaffrey, Crown Publishing.

Amchar Masala: A Trinidadian mixture using many of the spices used in Indian pickling. Here they are roasted first, acquiring a dark color and an intense flavor. This mixture is often sprinkled in toward the end of the cooking period.

Makes about 8 Tablespoons

4 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds

1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds Put all the spices in a small, cast-iron frying pan and set over medium heat.

Stir and roast for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spices turn a shade darker.

Remove from the pan, allow to cool, and then grind as a finely as possible in a clean coffee or spice grinder.

Empty into an airtight jar and store in a dark cupboard.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

For My Family

this is a post for my family members that have yet to see the latest addition to my offspring. He was born on April 6th, which just so happened to be "Good Friday." If you are catholic then you are well aware what that day signifies. Anyways, I want to introduce y'all to my 2nd son Jaiden Alonso. For now, it is rest time for myself...later.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Red Beans & Rice

I will be the first to say I love red beans & rice. I have been hoping to experience the real deal down in New Orleans, but that obviously was put on hold when katrina hit. So until then I will have to settle for the recipes I have found online and in new orleans cookbooks. Best believe I haven't been to new orleans but I would put some money down that my current recipe is a contender! I have combined the best techniques and ingredients for my go to recipe. the recipe above is a more modified version I do when I am trying to feed the "need" and don't have much time, but it still hits the spot. I apologize that the majority of the recipes and food shown on the site lately have been anything but trini food. I have just been in the mood to master some recipes I consider to be damn good! I will be showcasing more trini and west indian recipes soon enough but until then enjoy the variety.
Red kidney beans, dry- 1lb.
Large yellow onion, chopped- 1 each
Green bell pepper, chopped- 1 each
Celery, ribs, chopped- 5 each
Garlic, minced- 5 to 6 cloves
Hamhock, smoked or creole style pickled meat- 1 large, 3/4 lb.
Thyme, sprigs- 5 each
Salt- To taste
Creole seasoning blend or Tony Chachere's original creole seasoning- To taste
Bay leaves- 1 to 2 each
Vinegar- 1 tbs
Hot sauce- 1 tsp
Ketchup- 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Boil Beans
Saute Trinity until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans to the Trinity. Followed by: the hamhocks, sausage, seasonings and enough water to cover.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2hrs at least, preferably 3hrs. until it gets nice and creamy.
Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn't burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot.
If it's not getting creamy, take 1 to 2 cups of beans out and mash them, then return them to the pot and stir. * the starch in the beans works as a thickening "agent."
You may need to add a little water or chicken stock at the end to adjust the consistency to your preference.
Serve generous ladle fulls either over rice or place a scoop of rice on top of the beans.
Garnish with some sliced green onions/scallions cut on the bias(diagonally).
Finish with some good french bread on the side.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

10, 9, 8, 7..................."It's Almost Time"

So the countdown officially begins April 1st! My son Jayden will either appear before or after April 10th, 2007. The picture you see of my lady's tummy was taken at 35 weeks. She went back to the doctor today and we were informed that my boy is weighing well over 8 pounds!!!! So if you're family and you're reading this, it's about that time y'all...A new edition to the clan is almost here. Let's pray that there are no complications and he appears healthy. Man, I can't believe Julian is about to be a BIG BROTHER!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sio Pao: The Good & The Bad

Well, where do I start...ok, I finally tried my hand at a "Pow" recipe from the "Sweet Hands" cookbook. The experiment had it's ups and downs. My pow was either just right or filled to much and busted at the seams as you can see in the first picture...hahaha. It is a lengthy process in deed and my next try won't be anytime soon. LOL!! But I do feel a sense of accomplishment because some of them at least turned out good. Not many people can say that, ya know?! Alright, til next time.

Culinary Goals/Plans for 2007-08.

I am mapping out a gameplan to take my culinary skills to that next level, with emphasis on West Indian dishes(mainly Trini food). I am working out some plans to go learn how to make traditional indian food, trini style. that means, Pholouri(of course!!), Roti: Paratha, Sada, dhalpourie, chutney, kuchela,etc...I also want to get better at making "Pow." I love my culture in all aspects, especially the food! well, I will keep y'all posted. 'til then I gotta work at 4:45am. tomorrow, sigh..............


Friday, February 02, 2007

The Sun Rises In The East...

Alright, this next post is for my homegirl crystal. Crystal wanted the recipe for my teriyaki chicken so I'm bout ta hook you up homegirl. Let me start off by saying this is a pretty traditional variation of teriyaki that I learned while working for a local japanese restaurant here in tucson. I forgot to get a picture of the finished product but by the time I got to it, it was damn near gone!!! The recipe is as follows:

5-6 lbs. Boneless Chicken Thigh meat

Teriyaki Sauce:

1 cup Soy sauce

2 1/4 cup Mirin

1 bunch Green Onions(a.k.a. Scallions)
1 Yellow onion, quartered

1/3 cup sugar

3 Garlic cloves, minced

1-2 tbs. Ginger, fresh

For Sauce:

Combine above ingredients and bring to a boil. When at a boil, lower the heat to a light simmer. Continue to cook until sauce reduces and thickens. About 1 & 1/2 hrs.

For Chicken:

Combine desired amount of additional soy sauce, mirin and green onions. Pour over thigh meat and marinade for at least 1-2 hrs. Remove from marinade and grill for 20-25 mins.

To Finish:

Remove meat from grill and let rest. Next, cut into strips lengthwise and cover with desired amount of teriyaki sauce. Serve over white rice and stir fried & lightly seasoned vegetables(of your choice).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Make de damn curry nah!!!

Man, I love curry(not as much as my sister kesa though)and every now and then I have to give into the craving. So I decided to try a few new approaches to my technique. And I must say I am pleased with the results. I am always lookin' for new methods to traditional trini dishes. I believe one should always remain a student and not just settle for the same ol' stuff. Anyways, here's a picture of the curry(trini style!)

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Favorite Chef

currently that title belongs to Chef Anthony Bourdain. If you have Travel Channel, you need to tune in on mondays to catch his show No Reservations. If you are a true foodie(like myself) you will love this show. It is sooo real, he holds no punches on his opinions and gives it to you straight! I love the fact that he seeks out the food, restaurants, etc... that are favorites to the locals of the particular place or country he happens to be visiting. Granted he isn't in a restaurant cooking these days because he is gone 10 months out of the year doing the show, I still appreciate his knowledge and approach.

Thank you Anthony Bourdain, thank you...