Lifestyle

Meatless Monday - Chef Potluck

(Part 1)

Thursday, March 15, 2018



My late mother used to say “you must live good with people”. How right she was! I consider my chef and food producer friends family. During my 10 years of working in food on the island, I have established a strong and incredible network of passionate culinarians who have supported me from JuicyChef to Kingston Kitchen and now Meatless Monday Jamaica. I have called upon them to spread the Meatless Monday message throughout the island and without hesitation those I have communicated with so far have said, JuicyChef, we are with you. What do you need us to do? How blessed to be loved and to share a sincere fellowship with industry peers! There is strength in unity. Jamaica has an amazing food corps of individuals, from humble street-side cook shops to five-star properties, daily vanguards of local food culture.

As food professionals, we strongly believe in our island as a culinary destination. We are a group who practise different dietary lifestyles. We are convinced climate change is real. We commit to becoming healthier. We all believe vegetables are sexy and love working with local produce just as much as or probably more so, than meat. Produce challenges us, it also excites us from season to season as we adjust our recipes according to availability and cost. The humblest of items can produce the most swoon-worthy meals, if you just know how to coax them out to truly shine.

Jamaicans are food people. Like older societies such as the Japanese and French, we are super-proud, and rightly so, of our traditional dishes even if ours is a newer cuisine in the grand scheme of world culinary history. We must hold on tightly to these dishes; they are tasty, unique and irreplaceable. But as the world has become a village and we are exposed to other food cultures, it's OK to expand exploration of the palate and enjoy other flavours. We can use them for inspiration and to meld them into our own cuisine using locally grown ingredients, just as how others are implementing our style of spicing into theirs. Even our crops are becoming expanded as non-traditional crops are being planted in our fertile soil, for example, mushrooms and arugula. After all, our food culture is a marriage of the people who came: African, Spanish, British, Indian, Chinese and Arab.

We at Meatless Monday Jamaica and our affiliates have diverse palates. Contrary to popular belief, we are not all vegan, but an all-inclusive group. Today I wanted to break down the different types of diets we follow. Humans by nature are mostly omnivorous and eat most edible things (as long as they are not poisonous) according to culture, personal taste and budget. Those who identify as carnivores are serious meat lovers; on the opposite side of the spectrum are vegans. Their diet excludes animal products such as dairy, gelatin, eggs and honey. On the extreme end of veganism are raw foodists whose food is left mostly uncooked (some items may be heated to a max of 115C) to preserve maximum nutritional value. Ovo lacto vegetarians are those who incorporate eggs and dairy into their meals. Pescatarians eat mainly fish and seafood and omit poultry and red meat. Flexitarians are mostly 70-80% vegetarian and eat animal protein on occasion. I have been a practising flexitarian for eight years.

Obviously raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians are plant-based daily, so other types of eaters are the demographic we wish to encourage to give up meat one day a week for health and climate change. A few members of my food family joined me at home for a Meatless Monday Jamaica potluck. Today we share our vegan and vegetarian recipes with you to keep the inspiration going. Remember, if you are a food company or a restaurant who would like to formally join our national campaign, contact the team at meatlessmondayjamaica@gmail.com. Home cooks, do not be shy to send in your delicious meat-free recipes and share with us. We are a food movement for all. See you next month!

 

From my kitchen to yours, with love!

JuicyChef xoxo

Founder, Meatless Monday Jamaica.

 

Who: Cherie Dowdie, Live! Juice Bar
Dietary Profile: Flexitarian
Dish: Spicy Pumpkin Corn Soup
Inspiration: An upgrade on your Saturday soup! Creamy, hearty, spicy, and made with local heirloom roasting/soup corn. This corn is hard to find, and is only sold seasonally. If you find the dried version shell kernels and cook in a pressure cooker until softened. Cool and separate with liquid into smaller portions (however much you think you'll cook at a time) and freeze. Freezing is key. Once frozen and cooked again, the kernels soften further. My brand assists people on their health journey every single day. When JuicyChef reached out to me to be part of Meatless Monday Jamaica it was only natural to immediately say yes. My soup serves 6-10.

Ingredients:
3 quarts coconut milk
6 heaping cups unpeeled pumpkin chunked
4 large onions
10 medium cloves garlic
1/2 Scotch bonnet, deseeded
2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup sweet potato diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup fresh, or pre-cooked corn kernels
salt to taste

Method:
Bring 1.5 qt of coconut milk, onions, garlic, pumpkin, pepper salt to boil over low heat just until cooked.
 Transfer to blender and process until smooth. Please exercise extreme caution blending hot liquids. If you've never blended hot liquids in your blender before, add ingredients in small amounts at a time.
 While your pumpkin stock is boiling, combine your remaining coconut milk, carrots, sweet potato, corn, thyme and salt to taste and boil on low heat until cooked. Add pumpkin stock and let simmer for 2-5 minutes stirring constantly.
 Serve.


Who: Jacqui Sinclair, JuicyChef, Meatless Monday Jamaica, Kingston Kitchen
Dietary Profile: Flexitarian
Dish: Hawaiian “Poke”
Inspiration: I was in Oahu, Hawaii, last year and gorged on poke. Poke pronounced (“poh kay”) was originally a fisherman's dish and at its most basic is like sushi, the freshest raw fish but mixed with onions, seaweed and soy. I especially fell in love with the classic shoyu style ahi tuna and the spicy mayonnaise version on salmon. The following are my vegetarian/vegan riffs. Furikake is a blend of seaweed flakes, salt, sugar and sesame seeds.  Togarashi is a blend of chilli pepper, black pepper, tangerine peel, nori, black and white sesame seeds and poppy seeds. The blends are not commercially available here but the components are for you to make your own as I did.  Sriracha sauce is available in most supermarkets on the aisles which feature Asian products. Both recipes serve 8 as an appetiser or 4 as a main meal with rice, pickled cucumbers and avocado.

JuicyChef's Shoyu Mushroom Poke
Ingredients:
1.5 kg (roughly 3lbs) white mushrooms, stems removed and cut into chunks
100 ml low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce (omit if vegan)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsps freshly crushed garlic
1 tsp togarashi (optional)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 stalks of escallion, green parts only, thinly sliced
White sesame seeds, for garnish

Method:
 In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce (except vegans), sesame oil, ginger, garlic and togarashi if using.
 Add onions and half the escallion.
 In a large bowl add mushrooms and pour soy mixture all over. Stir to combine and cover and refrigerate for one hour before serving.

JuicyChef's Spicy Tofu Poke
Ingredients:
1 kg (2 standard blocks) tofu, drained, rinsed and cubed
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 escallion stalks, finely chopped, reserve some green bits
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste based on your heat tolerance)
2 tbsp mayonnaise (vegans substitute with veganaisse)
Furikake, for garnish (optional)

Method:
 In a small bowl whisk soy sauce and sesame oil together.
 Add tofu, escallion and onion into another bowl and add soy and sesame mixture, rub all over ingredients and marinade for one hour in the fridge while chilling.
 Mix Sriracha sauce and mayonnaise/veganaisse until combined. Add to chilled tofu mix.
 If using, garnish with furikake and serve.


Who: Chef Gariel Ferguson
Dietary Profile: Carnivore
Dish: Spicy Pumpkin & Chick Pea Casserole

Ingredients:
1 medium pumpkin/butter nut squash, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick sprinkled with light salt and pepper
2 cans chick peas
3 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 cans coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 cup garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh scallion, chopped
3 tbsp lime zest
2 tbls fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh lemongrass tied in a bundle
1 green Scotch bonnet pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Garnish
Chopped scallion and cilantro

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium-sized saucepan heat vegetable oil and sauté garlic, ginger, scallions, lime zest and lemongrass bundle with salt added to your taste. When aromatics start to soften and become translucent reduce heat to medium and add coconut milk along with whole Scotch bonnet pepper. Allow mixture to simmer for 15 mins to infuse flavours. Turn off heat and cover pot for mixture to rest for about 10 mins. You can burst pepper at this point for more spice, then strain and reserve sauce for assembly.
Choose a casserole dish that will suit the amount of sliced pumpkin you have and layer pumpkin, sliced onions and chick peas, alternately finishing with pumpkin as the last layer. Pour coconut cream mixture over arranged casserole up to halfway the depth of the casserole pan and cover loosely with foil to allow for some steam to be released while cooking. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 35 mins until pumpkin is tender, then remove foil paper and bake for an additional 15 mins to allow for casserole to develop some colour. Remove from oven and rest so that liquid can be reabsorbed, and then serve garnished with chopped scallion and cilantro.



Who: Nick Davis and his partner Marta Lamolla, One One Cacao and Marta's Yard Pilates.
Dietary Profile: Flexitarians
Dish: Nick's One One Cacao Diary Free Banana Bread and Marta's Chocolate Cupcakes
Inspiration: We like to keep things simple, local and affordable. You can pick up our chocolate used in this recipe from  the Toyota Cafe and Ujima Market in Kingston which we attend every other week. I love banana bread; it is my go-to-recipe for a fun way to bake with chocolate. We believe in wellness and balance, our chocolate treats are healthy and Marta's Pilates clients do not feel guilty indulging in a bar or two. We are the first Jamaican chocolate brand signed up with Meatless Monday Jamaica as the message ties in with our organic ethos.


Marta Lamolla - Marta's Yard Pilates

I'm not vegan; I like my meat but vegetables have always been an integral part of my family meals, so I would consider myself flexitarian.
 I love chocolate cupcakes but the ones on the market are mostly very sweet and full of fats of all sorts. On one of those weekends when I felt like baking but had no eggs, I was inspired to try a vegan cupcake recipe with no eggs, no butter and no dairy.  I substituted a few ingredients to make them more Jamaican in profile and they turned out beautifully.

Makes 12 cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1/4 cup One One Cacao hot chocolate powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 spoon organic cinnamon
1 cup Rock Steady Blue Mountain Coffee
1 tbsp lime juice
6 tbsp coconut oil
Frosting:
4 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup One/One Cacao hot chocolate powder
4 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
Method:
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.
In another bowl, mix together the coffee, lime juice and coconut oil.
Bring the liquid and the dry ingredients together and using a fork mix them well.
Put the mix in a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
Bake for 18 minutes at 350
 You can use a toothpick to check it comes out clean to know they are ready.
Voilà! Delicious chocolate cupcakes on a cool Sunday afternoon.

Nick's One One Cacao Dairy-Free Banana Bread
Ingredients:
115g coconut oil
115g white flour
115g wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
40g roasted cocoa nibs
25g cane sugar
3 eggs, beaten
5 bananas well squished with a fork
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
20g toasted peanuts, crushed
150g One One Cacao dark chocolate cut into small chunks the size of the peanuts.

Method:
 Preheat the oven to 180 and use some extra oil to grease the loaf tin. You'll need one that can hold 1kg.
 Mix the flours together, in teaspoon of baking soda and squeeze a little lime juice. It'll foam up and act like baking powder in the loaf.
 Add the salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
 Soften the cocoa nibs in warm water for 20 mins. Then dispose of the water and set aside the nibs.
 In another bowl, mix the coconut oil, sugar and beat the eggs. I cheat and use a food processor until light and fluffy.
 Add the mushed bananas, toasted peanuts and add the chopped chocolate. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
 Add mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 45 to 50 mins. To test, push a skewer in. If the dough looks raw add another 5 mins.
 This banana bread is best served the following day, slightly warmed with a nice cup of  Blue Mountain Coffee.

Who: Franny Mahfood, Nutritionist, Heart Foundation of Jamaica

Dietary Profile: Vegetarian

Dish: Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Inspiration: As a nutritionist, I am passionate about healthy diets and heart health. This recipe is inspired by my Lebanese-Jamaican heritage. I am a trustee of Meatless Monday Jamaica and excited to share this cabbage recipe, and many more to come. Franny's Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Leaves Serves 6 Ingredients: 1 medium cabbage 1 cup garbanzo beans cooked or 1 cup canned, rinsed well 1 cup chopped parsley 1 cup diced plummy tomatoes ½ cup diced purple onion ½ cup parboiled brown rice ½ tsp allspice Head-peeled garlic ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper ¼ cup olive oil Juice of 4-6 limes 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes Method: Cut a deep cone into the core of the cabbage at the stem end with a pointed knife and plunge the whole cabbage into boiling water to soften and loosen 1 to 2 layers of leaves... detach these and plunge again until all leaves are separated. Cut the large leaves in half. Prepare the filling: Combine parsley, garbanzo beans, rice , purple onions, tomatoes olive oil, lime juice and spices. Roll each leaf with a small amount of filling and place in saucepan onto the loose cabbage remains that are on the bottom of the pot with the garlic. Pack tightly the cabbage leaves; when all cabbage leaves are in the pot, cover with water and crushed tomatoes. Add to the pot a small plate so leaves stay in place.. Cook for an hour. Add lime juice at the end and sprinkle some parsley.

Who: Franny Mahfood, Nutritionist, Heart Foundation of Jamaica

Dietary Profile: Vegetarian

Dish: Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Inspiration: As a nutritionist, I am passionate about healthy diets and heart health. This recipe is inspired by my Lebanese-Jamaican heritage. I am a trustee of Meatless Monday Jamaica and excited to share this cabbage recipe, and many more to come. Franny's Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Leaves Serves 6 Ingredients: 1 medium cabbage 1 cup garbanzo beans cooked or 1 cup canned, rinsed well 1 cup chopped parsley 1 cup diced plummy tomatoes ½ cup diced purple onion ½ cup parboiled brown rice ½ tsp allspice Head-peeled garlic ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper ¼ cup olive oil Juice of 4-6 limes 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes

Method: Cut a deep cone into the core of the cabbage at the stem end with a pointed knife and plunge the whole cabbage into boiling water to soften and loosen 1 to 2 layers of leaves... detach these and plunge again until all leaves are separated. Cut the large leaves in half. Prepare the filling: Combine parsley, garbanzo beans, rice , purple onions, tomatoes olive oil, lime juice and spices. Roll each leaf with a small amount of filling and place in saucepan onto the loose cabbage remains that are on the bottom of the pot with the garlic. Pack tightly the cabbage leaves; when all cabbage leaves are in the pot, cover with water and crushed tomatoes. Add to the pot a small plate so leaves stay in place.. Cook for an hour. Add lime juice at the end and sprinkle some parsley.

 

Who: George Matthews, Executive Chef, Karma Bay and Summertime, Gore Villas

Dietary Profile: Pescatarian

Dish: Tomato Basil Pie

Inspiration: Many of our guests require healthy meat-free meals. Living on this island makes it easy. Tomatoes from Jamaican markets are always delicious and I like to utilise them in different ways. Accepting the invitation to be a Meatless Monday Jamaica chef was a no-brainer. Try my dish with a glass of Riesling. George's Tomato Basil Pie Serves 8-10 Ingredients: 2lbs peeled, vine ripened tomatoes 1lb fresh, shredded mozzarella 3 cloves minced, garlic Fresh basil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil Pie crust Salt and pepper to taste

Method: In a saucepan with oil, saute onion, garlic over medium heat for 3 to 5 mins then add chopped tomatoes, cook then simmer for 30 mins on low, season with salt, pepper to taste, add basil. Let cool. With pie crust made to desired size in pie dish or shell, fill cooled tomato filling, fill pie crust then top pie with mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted. Let cool and enjoy.

 

Who: Gillian Ferguson

Dietary Profile: Carnivore

Dish: Vegan Chocolate Mocha Mousse

Ingredients: 2 packages extra-firm silken tofu (each 12.3 ounces) 4 ounces 70% Bittersweet Chocolate or 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate coarsely chopped ½ cup Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 3 tablespoons instant coffee ¾ cup good-quality wet sugar or maple syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla ¼ teaspoon salt 1 to 2 tablespoons coffeeflavoured liqueur (optional)

Method: Drain the tofu in a colander for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate coarsely and melt it in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Place the tofu in a food processor or blender. Process until creamy, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Stir in the cocoa and instant coffee. Process until well blended, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the syrup, vanilla, melted chocolate, and optional liqueur. Process until smooth. Transfer the mousse to individual dishes or to a large bowl. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Mousse keeps up to one week in the refrigerator. To serve: Garnish with chocolate shavings, Cacao Nibs, and/or a crisp cookie or biscotto. Serves 5 Special Equipment Food processor or blender

 

Who: Executive Chef Dennis McIntosh

Dish: Oven-Roasted Cumin-spiced Vegetables With Cilantro Pesto...

Ingredients 4oz carrots 4oz zucchini 4oz onions 4oz eggplant 4oz pumpkin 4oz yellow squash (All of the above are cut into 1/2 and diced) 4 cloves garlic, sliced 4oz olive oil 4 oz tomato, diced 8oz new potatoes Thyme, chopped to taste 2 stalks scallion, sliced Scotch bonnet pepper, sliced Cumin Nutmeg Cinnamon

Method Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the firmest vegetables first. Season with the herbs and spices each time, finish off with the tomatoes going in last. In a pre-heated 375 degree oven place the sauteed vegetables to finish the cooking. This will take 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and present in a attractive serving dish. Garnish with fresh basil and drizzle with cilantro pesto. Cilantro pesto... 6 cloves of garlic 6oz walnuts 3oz cilantro Olive oil Method: Place all ingredients in a food processor and chop as required. Season to taste.

 

Who: Colin St A Hylton, chef, culinary consultant and ex-restaurateur Dietary Profile: Carnivore

Dish: Scotch Bonnet Peppered Couscous

I wholeheartedly endorse Meatless Mondays as a brilliant healthier lifestyle. I myself have now embraced this at least three times per week and the health benefits have been stupendous. For me, a fair amount of weight was lost concomitantly leading to a new wardrobe as my clothes started falling off. A lot of my health indicator numbers happily declined. I'm feeling all of 16 again.

Inspiration: The inspiration for my dish is to show how couscous an underutilised product in Jamaica, can be jazzed up and packed with Caribbean flavours and healthy colourful veggies, providing essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. This can be a lovely side dish or a main with the addition of some smoked tofu and cashews. Ingredients ½ cup coconut oil 1 large yellow onion, diced in large pieces 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped 1 large sweet pepper (diced in large pieces) 4 cloves garlic finely chopped 1 large yellow Scotch bonnet pepper chopped ½ tsp salt 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves 1 tsp salt ½ tsp black pepper 1 cup frozen green peas ½ cup Stone's Ginger Wine ½ cup capers 1 cup couscous 1¼ cup boiling water ½ tsp salt ½ cup fresh dill chopped

Method Heat large skillet then add coconut oil. Add onion, celery and sweet pepper: sautee until crisp/tender (about 5 mins) Add garlic, Scotch bonnet pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme, 1 tsp salt and black pepper stirring for 2 minutes Add frozen peas, Stone's Ginger Wine and capers. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat. Place couscous in a large mixing bowl. Add ½ tsp salt to boiling water, then pour over couscous. Cover tightly with cling film letting steam for 7 minutes Remove cling and fluff up with fork. Add vegetables by folding in. Transfer to serving platter sprinkling chopped dill over the top. * Can be served warm, room temperature or cold.

 

Who: Award-winning caterer/chef Celeste Gordon

Dietary profile: Definite omnivore...I don't put limitations on my dining experiences.

Dish Inspiration: When I thought of Meatless Monday, I wanted my dish to be hearty and a complete meal in itself. Also, I wanted it to have a lot of strong flavours so I thought a paella would accomplish this. Paellas come in all combinations: chicken, pork, seafood, vegetable. It doesn't limit me to one option and I could use any type of vegetables. I wanted to show that 'meatless' does not limit your options. Mushroom Paella Serves 6-8 Ingredients: 1½ pounds button mushrooms, sliced 8 ounces Shitake mushrooms, kept whole 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1 large sweet pepper, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 1 cup filtered water 1 teaspoon saffron threads 1 cup frozen peas ½ cup black olives, whole 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnishing 1 red bell pepper, roasted, cored, seeded, and julienned Salt/pepper to taste

Method: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and all the mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, till they start to brown and become tender. Remove from the pan and reserve. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the pan over medium heat, add the onion, celery and sweet pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the mixture starts to become tender, stirring occasionally. Then add the garlic and paprika and cook for another minute. Finally, stir in the diced tomatoes. Add the Arborio rice and stir till the rice is coated. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the vegetable broth, water, and saffron threads. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Carefully stir to distribute the broth, and let the rice come to a boil. Cover with a lid or foil and finish cooking the rice in the oven. Place the dish in the oven for 10 minutes, or until it just begins to absorb the broth. Check the rice for doneness. Once the rice is almost cooked, add the cooked mushrooms and the sweet peas and gently stir to distribute throughout the rice. Continue to cook the rice until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy and tender. Remove the pan from the oven, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Next, stir in the olives. Decorate the top of the paella with the roasted bell peppers and chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy.

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