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Ackee & Saltfish Recipe

I have to begin by saying that I have avoided eating ackee and saltfish for the longest. I’m weird about texture, and this dish reminded me of scrambled eggs. I went to visit my Nana, and saw that she made some ackee and saltfish. I built up enough courage, and gave in to trying Jamaica’s national dish. Let’s just say that I regret that it took me so long to try it. Ackee and saltfish is a very simple meal to make. Here’s how I created this dish:

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Ingredients:

1 Roma Tomato

1/2 Large White Onion

2 tbls Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 lb of Boned Salted Codfish (Saltfish)

1 Can of Ackee in Salt Water

Scotch Bonnet Sauce (Use the pepper if you can find it)

1/3 Green Bell Pepper

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

De-salt the codfish by either soaking it overnight, or boiling it for at least 30 minutes. I boiled it for 25 minutes, drained it, and boiled it again for 15 more minutes. Chop the onion, tomato, and green pepper. During the last codfish de-salting boil, heat up the olive oil. Add the green bell pepper, black pepper and onions. Cook until the onion softens. It should only take about 5 minutes. Then add the codfish and scotch bonnet. Scotch bonnet is a hot pepper. So, I would add at your discretion. Cook for about 5 minutes. About 2 minutes into this cooking process, I would add the tomato. The tomato doesn’t need a long time to warm up, and you don’t want it to be mushy either.  While these ingredients are cooking, drain and rinse the ackee. By the time you’re finished with that, you can add the ackee to the mixture. It doesn’t take very long for the ackee to soak up the flavors you built. However, ackee is very fragile, and you want to try your best not to make it mushy. Constantly stirring it will cause that. I would suggest using two forks to toss the ackee in the mixture. I would cook this combination for at least 5 minutes. Then your ackee and saltfish is ready to serve.

I made rice for my ackee and saltfish, but I think it’s best paired with breadfruit, green bananas, and fried dumplings. Bon Appetit!

Jonah’s Fish & Grits [Thomasville]

I was born and raised in Florida, so I think I am well-versed in my Southern cuisine. Some may argue that Florida shouldn’t really be considered Southern in nature, but I begs to differ.

Although, I was born in the South, I must say that I am a bit picky when it comes to certain foods that are of Southern decent, e.g. grits. I haven’t always liked grits, and that’s mainly because I am weird when it comes to different food textures. However, over time, I’ve become very fond of grits. And I absolutely love fish & grits and shrimp & grits. Whenever the opportunity presents itself for me to order this meal, I will rise to the occasion.

Needless to say, I just had to order the shrimp & grits at Jonah’s Fish & Grits. Although I haven’t eaten grits for an extremely long time, I am quite aware of when I get bad batch. That seems to happen a lot when dining out. Grits, like rice, is easy to prepare, but for many, it’s hard to master. I was skeptical, but after reading the description, I knew that is what I wanted.

This dish did not fail; it was so good! My Mom is an amazing cook, but I have to say that Jonah’s shrimp and grits was just about as good as hers. It pains me to say, but it’s the truth. The entrée was a mixture of sautéed shrimp, cheese grits, and vegetables, and it was served with a homemade hushpuppy, which was also really good. The serving size was perfect, and very filling.

Our server was nice, and helpful. I wasn’t asked if I wanted another coffee. That kind of erked me, but other than that the service was decent.

The restaurant is small, and set up like a cafe. It doesn’t really have a personal atmosphere. It’s perfect for lunch with the coworkers, or a quick meetup with a friend. I definitely recommend this restaurant, and the shrimp & grits!

Cantina Laredo [Chicago]

Let me start off by saying this restaurant is gorgeous. The atmosphere is amazing! There are two floors for dining. The first floor was a bit more crowded, and set up more like your typical restaurant. The second floor, where we dined, was arranged like a lounge. There was a very relaxing and laid back ambience that I truly enjoyed, especially after walking all day. There were huge windows they let open and allowed for the cool breeze to come through. It was great!

I will say this though, the menu was lacking. They did not offer a lot of items, at least not to my liking. Thankfully, I was able to locate something to eat. I ordered a quesadilla with a small side of guacamole. The quesadilla was pretty good, but the guacamole stole the spotlight. I absolutely love avocados and I love guacamole. I’m not easily moved by a lot of guacamole, but this was definitely noteworthy. It was fresh and wonderfully prepared.

Our service was pretty good. Our glasses stayed full, our complimentary chips and salsa were brought out quickly, and all of our questions were answered throughly and truthfully. He also provided us with recommendations when asked.

I would recommend this restaurant. The food was good, but if you’re looking for a wide variety of Mexican food to try, this place probably won’t suit your needs. It’s not a typical Mexican restaurant. It’s more “modern” as it states under the restaurant name.

*There are other locations around the Nation.

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