Home-Grown Rules!

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Home-Grown Rules!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

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There has never been a better time to grow your greens, says Donna Noble, author of My Goodness! Greens. Thursday Food welcomes Noble, who will for the month of June share recipes from her much-sought-after cookbook.

 

The year 2020 has brought a whole new meaning to the importance of eating local. The pandemic emphasised the great advantage of a country able to feed its people fresh, nourishing, healing food grown in home soil. Locally grown produce is not only healthy for people, but is also healthy for the environment. Buying local supports our economy, and eliminates air travel which greatly reduces the food carbon footprint and the need for chemicals required to keep produce fresh.

We are extremely lucky to live on a tropical island where fresh fruit, vegetables and ground provisions are available nearly year round. Jamaica's markets and roadside stalls are usually brimming with mounds of beautifully arranged produce, displayed in basins or artfully hanging from the stall rafters. Each stall is unique, arranged with the vendor's style, picture postcard-worthy and capable of inspiring mouth-­watering recipes. Most of us have our favourite go-­to spot on the road or in the market. The smiles and spirit of welcome feels like arriving at a friend's home. If it is a slow shopping day, updates on family and the latest news now travel through our masks, in between weighing the pumpkin and inquiring about the availability of a 'today' pear!

Then it is not unusual to find a likkle brawta tucked into your bag, sweetening the day as you unpack the bounty at home.

Hot summer days are the perfect time to enjoy local vegetables and fruits in green meals and salads. Whether you choose produce at the market or harvest from your own garden, locally grown gives us a special opportunity to enjoy nutritious, flavourful food at their peak. The recipes in my cookbook My Goodness! Greens offer new and exciting recipes that incorporate all this gorgeous produce with our meals. Vegetables and fruits are melded with leafy greens, herbs, spices and wholesome foods from all food groups.

Today we combine leafy greens with sweet, refreshing, delicate Otaheite apples, the perfect partner for bold and spicy jerk chicken, all drizzled with a lime vinaigrette. Our second recipe features our beloved pumpkin, the key ingredient that gives our pumpkin soup its beautiful, rich ochre colour. We roast the pumpkin to bring out its sweet, earthy flavours and combine with okras, coconut infused quinoa, chickpeas and nuts. Spiced up with chermoula, a traditional North African sauce, you have a completely satisfying, nutritious and delicious meal.

 

There has never been a better time to explore our connection with local and home-­grown food and all that it offers our mind, body and soul.

 

Grow. Gather. Cook. Create. Eat. Deliciously!

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin, Red Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Chermoula

 

Ingredients:

For the chermoula sauce

6 oz olive oil

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped – reserve 1 tsp to add to sauce

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped – reserve 1 tsp to add to sauce

8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated

4 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground cumin or seeds, toasted and ground

1 tsp ground coriander or seeds, toasted and ground

2 tsp chilli powder

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp Scotch bonnet or cayenne pepper, to taste

8 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest of one lemon – substitute lime juice if lemons are not available.

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

Place all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a medium-­sized bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. You can also make this in a food processor. Pulse to blend. Add the reserved herbs and stir.

Set aside 2 tsp of the sauce for the salad. Refrigerate until ready to use. Chermoula can also be used as a marinade for poultry, fish and meat.

 

For the salad

1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed 1 ¾ cups coconut milk

2 oz unsweetened coconut flakes 2 cups pumpkin, cut into cubes

1 doz green or red okras, cut into 1/2” rounds

1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil – a little more if necessary

2 tsp Chermoula sauce

1 head garlic, trimmed for roasting

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and pressure cooked or boiled until soft or 1 cup canned

1 cup young red callaloo leaves – you can use green if you prefer

1 cup unsalted pistachios, toasted

1 tsp cilantro leaves to garnish

1 tsp sea salt

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

Bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add the quinoa and ½ tsp sea salt and stir. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer the quinoa until the liquid is absorbed, 10-­12 minutes. Turn off the heat, and the coconut flakes and fluff the quinoa. Cover and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the pumpkin with 2 tsp chermoula sauce and 1 tsp sea salt and enough olive oil to coat the pumpkin. Use your hands to massage the oil into the pumpkin. Brush the top of the garlic with oil. Place the pumpkin and garlic on a large baking tray, in a single layer. Toss the okras and onion with a little olive oil and sea salt. Arrange on a second baking tray.

Place both trays in the hot oven. Roast the okras and onions, stirring occasionally until just tender, about 15 minutes. Roast the pumpkin and garlic for about 30 mins. or until the pumpkin is just cooked, but still firm and the garlic cloves are soft to the touch.

Place the cooked quinoa and pistachios in a salad bowl. Add the roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Squeeze the soft roasted garlic over and toss to combine.

Add cilantro, amaranth and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the chermoula on the side.

 

Note: If you are unable to find West Indian pumpkin, usually called Calabaza in overseas markets, substitute acorn or butternut squash.

 

Jamaica Jerk Chicken and Otaheite Apple Salad

Ingredients:

For the lime vinaigrette

4 oz lime juice

8 oz extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 tsp honey or to taste

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved

A stalk of fresh or pinch of dried thyme

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

Place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitted lid. Shake well to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours to infuse the herbs in the dressing. Strain to remove the thyme and garlic. Taste and adjust honey, salt and pepper if necessary. Keep refrigerated and shake well before using.

 

For the salad

3 firm ripe otaheite apples, seeded and thinly sliced

4 cups assorted lettuce and greens, torn into bite-­sized pieces

1 stalk green scallion, chopped for garnish

 

For the jerk chicken

4 6-8 oz boneless chicken breasts

2 tsp your favourite jerk marinade

2 tsp grapeseed oil

Oil for grill or sauté pan

 

Method:

Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place the chicken breasts, one at a time, on top of the wrap. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top of the breast and press it around the chicken. Using a meat mallet, lightly pound each chicken breast to about 3/4” thickness. Place the chicken breasts, single layer, in a glass baking dish. Season well with the jerk marinade and marinate for 1-­3 hours.

Bring the marinated chicken to room temperature. Preheat your grill and brush with oil. Discard the marinade. Grill chicken breasts on each side for 8 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F, and the juices run clear. Set aside to rest.

 

Alternatively you can cook on the stovetop using a grill pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 1 tsp oil in an ovenproof sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Sear the chicken on both sides. Place the pan in the oven and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes or until the juices run clear. Set aside to rest.

Slice the chicken breasts in thick slices.

Place the salad ingredients in a bowl. Lightly toss the salad with the lime vinaigrette.

Plate and drizzle a little lime vinaigrette over the jerk chicken as well. Serve with vinaigrette on the side.

 

Note: If you are unable to find Otaheite apples in the overseas market, substitute Bosc or Bartlett pears.

 

For more recipes, My Goodness! Greens cookbook is available at www.donnamnoble.com and in stores at Craft Cottage Village Plaza, Liguanea Drug & Garden, General Food Supermarkets Kingston & Ocho Rios, Butcher Block Manor Park and Lavange Ltd

 

Check out my tips for growing your very own organic kitchen garden series in Sunday Style.

 

Credits:

Donna Noble - Author of My Goodness! Greens

Recipe creation + Food and prop styling: Donna Noble

Photographer: Robyn Noble

Photos copyright My Goodness! Greens


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