Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I know it sounds like a lousy excuse, but it is, alas, sadly true.

Twitter ate my blog.

This blog, at least over the last 4-5 years* has been diced into 140 character chunks and fed to the blue bird.

Sorry about that. When things are devolving madly, in heretofore news ways, it's easier to shoot out small blips of stuff than it is to sit and compose.



Posted by JMG at 2:16 AM 0 comments

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It only took almost 5 years, but...

...I think that, for me, the recession is finally over, effective today.

It's about as much a month as I used to pull in every 4 days, but hey, I'm unbelievably grateful and relieved.

Thank you, God.


Posted by JMG at 9:24 PM 2 comments

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jamaican-ness, for KPB

Jerk Chicken and Caramelized Pineapple

This serves 4 and goes pretty quick, but you’ll need to think ahead about two days. If you can't find decent pineapple, none-too-ripe bananæ work just as well. The idea is to have a caramelized sweet something to tame the heat from the jerk.
  • 2 t ground allspice
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ½ t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • ¼ t dried thyme
  • ¼ c plus three T brown sugar
  • 2 T soy sauce (low-sodium, ideally)
  • ¼ c lime juice (+/- 4 limes)
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • ½ c peanut oil
  • 3 spring onions, chopped finely
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 1-3 habanero or Scotch Bonnet peppers (the habanero is pointy, the SB is squat-shaped, they are both incendiary and interchangeable), seeded and deveined depending on your heat tolerance. My preference is two, one seeded and one intact.
  • 4 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken
  • 5 T gold or dark rum, divided
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, halved, cored and sliced lengthwise into 12 spears
Add allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, thyme, ¼ c brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar and oil to a blender. Blend well. Add green onions, garlic, ginger and hot peppers and purée until smooth. Divide jerk sauce in half. Reserve half in refrigerator.

Place chicken, 2 T rum and remaining half of jerk sauce in a zippered plastic bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or up to two days.

At least four hours prior to cooking, place pineapple, remaining three T rum, and remaining three T brown sugar in another zipper plastic bag. Shake to combine and dissolve sugar. Place in refrigerator to marinate.

Light charcoal and when they are covered with gray ash, bank over one side of your grate.

Note 1: In Jamaica, this is cooked over “pimento” (i.e. allspice) wood. Your best bet to mimic this is to use soaked wood chips in a foil packet, with a bit of (soaked separately) bay leaves, rosemary and allspice. Make sure to poke a few holes in any such packet, an explosion of flaming splinters is unappetizing. If you're stuck doing this in an oven, add 2 T smoked paprika to give the illusion of cooking over live fire. Some people - people who buy bay leaves at wholesale or have a laurel tree - make a "nest" of soaked bay leaves to put between the grates and the chicken. It helps, but I don't consider it mission-critical.

Set to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grill grate. Place chicken on the grill, skin side down. Cook until skin is crisp and charred, about 4 minutes. Move to “cool” side of the BBQ and flip, turning and basting occasionally with marinade until a crust forms on the outside of chicken and an thermometer reads 155°F (It'll rise upon resting) when inserted into the thickest part of the breast (about 30 to 45 minutes). As chicken nears the end of cooking, remove pineapple from the refrigerator and cook, brushing with glaze, until browned and lightly charred on all sides (about 6 minutes).

Note 2: Be aware that the chicken is prone to flare-ups, so it needs to be watched and fussed with a bit during the cooking and basting process.

Remove chicken and pineapple from grill. Allow to rest for a 10 minutes. Serve with remaining jerk sauce and lime wedges.

Jamaican Beef Patties

  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 1 c cold butter or shortening
  • ¾ c iced water
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 egg (or 2 yolks, if you have any extra)
  • 2 T peanut oil
  • 1 med yellow onion, diced as finely as your patience will allow.
  • 4 spring onions, chopped finely
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • ½ t Scotch Bonnet pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground/minced beef
  • 1 t fine sea salt
  • Water
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with ¼ c water)
For the dough: Combine the flour, salt, curry powder, and butter in a food processor and pulse to combine.

In a separate bowl combine water, vinegar, and egg/yolks. Add "wets" to the food processor, and pulse until a cohesive ball JUST forms. Cover dough in cling wrap and let it rest in refrigerator for at least ½ hour.

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat, add onions, scallions, thyme, and Scotch bonnet peppers. When onion begins to soften, add ground beef, salt, and enough water to barely cover the meat. Simmer, over low heat, for 20 minutes. Add bread crumbs and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut the dough into 3 (for cocktails) or 6 inch circles (if you're posh or fussy) or squares (if you're lazy or frugal). Place 2 T of the meat filling onto half of each dough round. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold the dough over the filling to make a half moon/triangle shape and seal with a fork. Place the patties on a parchment lined cooking sheet and place in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes.

Sweet Potato Pudding
  • ¼ c all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 3 lb sweet potatoes (ideally the Caribbean boniato or batata)
  • ¼ c shredded coconut
  • ¼ c raisins
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ½ t ground ginger
  • ¼ t ground nutmeg
  • 1 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 c coconut milk
  • ¼ c evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Butter and flour a 9”x13” baking dish.

Grate (the grater attachment on a food processor is ideal) the potatoes and put in a large bowl. Add the flour, coconut, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and mix well.

Heat the sugar, coconut milk, and evaporated milk in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Pour the coconut milk mixture into the potato mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, smooth the top, and bake until set, about 1½ hours.

Posted by JMG at 11:11 AM 0 comments

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Almost there.


Posted by JMG at 11:08 PM 0 comments

Monday, July 08, 2013

Here's a hint.


Posted by JMG at 1:38 PM 0 comments

Monday, July 01, 2013

People get ready...

Almost that time of the year, again.

Posted by JMG at 8:33 PM 0 comments

Friday, June 14, 2013

Riffing on a thing here

Today is National Bourbon Day. Which is a good thing, I s'pose, as Bourbon is a close 2nd in the category of My Favorite Ardent Spirits. We all know about my favorite Bourbon cocktail -- the Whisk(e)y Sour, details upcoming thereon -- but when the thermometer starts to creep upward, chasing the spike in humidity, something minty is called for.

Now, it seems that normal people who grow mint have it overrun their yard. I end up with a terracotta pot of damp dirt and beige twigs. Still, dum spiro, spero. So, in order to not make nothing but a waterfall of mojitos all summer* long, here's my choice cocktail:
Joe's Julep
    2 oz. Bourbon (my go-to for mixing is Maker's Mark)
1 oz. Rye (Templeton's is nice, if you're especially manly-manlike, add an extra ½ oz.)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
18 (!) mint leaves, any varietal, but Yerba Buena (mentha nemorosa) is optimal.
1 oz. superfine sugar (just put regular sugar in the food processor and zap it for as long as your patience will allow)
Now, here's the thing. You're really going to need a silver, as in .925 Sterling, cup. You can get away with silver-plated copper. (Oh, just go on eBay, will you?) It's actually important, and not merely decorative.
OK, I'll let it go this one time.

Put mint and sugar in your silver cup, in that order...you need the sugar on top of the mint to act as a cushion, because you must muddle the mint very gently. Don’t crush the mint, because you will release bitter compounds. Add the liquids and stir like crazy. Load up
the cup (I mean, realllllly pack it) with crushed ice and garnish with a healthy spring of mint, clapped between your hands to enliven same.

* Summer in Miami lasting from March through November.

Posted by JMG at 7:07 AM 1 comments