Back in the early 1800s, England and Spain invaded Haiti, which was then a French-controlled island known as Saint Domingue. A self-educated former slave named Toussaint L’Ouverture made a pact with the French powers-that-be: If they would guarantee the freedom of the island’s African slaves, he would train them as an army and kick the invading forces to the curb.
After L’Ouverture held up his end of the bargain and tried to issue Haiti’s first constitution in 1801, diminutive dictator Napoléon Bonaparte sent a huge battalion to restore French rule on the island. But when L’Ouverture was imprisoned in France and it became clear that the cheating brie-eaters were intent on bringing slavery back, revolution erupted, lasting for two years before the French were ultimately defeated.
So, you ask curiously, what’s all this got to do with soup? Well, like a Seinfeld scene-stealer, the French forces were all “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” before they got their butts kicked, forbidding the Haitians from eating pumpkin soup because it was considered too sophisticated a delicacy for the slaves’ pedestrian palates. So, when Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti a free republic in January of 1804 (making them the world’s first black-led free republic), pumpkin soup became a symbol of Haitian freedom from oppression. Now, every year Haitians make this delicious Pumpkin soup recipe in January in celebration of Haitian Independence Day!
This Crock Pot Carnitas recipe could not possibly be easier: You just throw the ingredients in a crock pot, cook for 4-6 hours and savor the intoxicating aromas that fill the house upon your return. Every time we eat them, it takes me back to a delicious meal we had when we visited Mexico’s Riviera Maya…
INGREDIENTS: 3 lbs pork shoulder or pork butt • 4 cups chicken broth, hot • 2 tablespoons garlic powder • 2 tablespoons onion powder • 2 tablespoons cumin • 1 tablespoon chili powder, medium hot • 2 teaspoons ground coriander • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper • 1 tablespoon lime juice • 1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
DIRECTIONS: Add hot chicken broth to crock pot. • Add spices and lime juice to crock pot and mix well into chicken broth. • Add pork to crock pot. • Cover and cook on High for 4 to 6 hours or until most of water is reduced and a sauce thickens. • Pull meat apart with two forks. • Put meat in oven, under the broiler, for a few minutes to crisp them up. Enjoy! –Bret Love
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Hoppin’ John is a “soul food” dish popular in the American South, but its origins can be traced to West Africa and European cultures dating back to the Middle Ages.
Back then, eating beans on New Year’s Day to bring good luck in the coming year was common in France and Spain, while the combination of rice and beans has been popular in Africa for hundreds of years. Together, they formed a New World tradition now known as Hoppin’ John, which typically consists of rice, black eyed peas and bacon, ham or ham hock.
Widely eaten on New Year’s Day in the Southeastern U.S., the dish is believed to bring a prosperous year full of good luck, with the peas symbolizing coins (one of which is often added to the pot). For extra good fortune, it’s often served with Southern food staples like collard or turnip greens (whose green color represents money) and cornbread (the color of gold).
Even if don’t believe in such superstitions, the dish is remarkably tasty, and we’ve altered the Joy Of Cooking‘s traditional Hoppin’ John recipe a bit to suit our tastes. Wishing all of our readers a Healthy, Happy & Prosperous New Year!
INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 cups dry black-eyed peas • 8 oz smoked ham, diced • 1 cup of green bell pepper, chopped • 1 cup of celery, chopped • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic • ½ teaspoon dried thyme • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes • 2 large bay leaves • salt and pepper to taste • 4 cups water • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice • 1 cup shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
DIRECTIONS: In a large pan place the peas, ham (or bacon, if you prefer), peppers, celery and spices. • Cover with water and bring to a boil. • Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1 1/2 hours. • Stir in the rice, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. • Season to taste with salt and pepper. • Sprinkle shredded cheese over top.
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It would be impossible to overemphasize how much I love oatmeal raisin cookies. I may rarely eat oatmeal for breakfast, but for some reason when you put it into cookie form I simply can’t get enough. Mary’s variation on an old Martha Stewart Christmas cookies recipe is arguably the best oatmeal raisin cookie I’ve ever had, with a lower sugar content, lots of fiber and extra fruit to emphasize the soft, chewy texture I love. Around Christmas, we always add extra fruit– golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried figs– to give it that fruitcake vibe that makes the house smell like the holidays. With our friends’ annual Holiday Cookie Swap party this weekend, we’ll be making over 6 dozen tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to helping (i.e. licking the spoon)!
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. • Whisk to combine flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. • In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, honey, eggs and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir to combine. • Mix in oats and your fruit/nuts addition. • Drop 2 tablespoons of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. • Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until golden brown, around 8-10 minutes. • Cool a few minutes on the sheet, and then transfer with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely. • Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Growing up in the American South, sweet potatoes and yams were a staple of our diet. There were candied yams in our school lunches, baked sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon sugar for our meat-and-three dinners, and my mom’s famous sweet potato souffle with brown sugar and pecans at every holiday meal. Which all goes to say, I *KNOW* my sweet potatoes.
Part of my job as a freelance writer is reviewing restaurants, which we do fairly frequently. Never before, in all of our hundreds of restaurant tastings, have I been so insistent on having a recipe as I was after trying Chef Doug Turbush‘s Sweet Potato Ravioli at Marietta, GA’s Seed Kitchen & Bar. I could wax rhapsodical about the amazing textures and flavors of this decadent dish, but instead I’ll just urge you to try it for yourself. Turnbush’s staff makes the pasta from scratch, but to save time we recommend buying pasta sheets or won ton wrappers at your local farmer’s market or high-end grocery store. It’s seriously the best sweet potato recipe we’ve ever had!
Sweet Potato Ravioli With Winter Mushrooms, Pepitas, Parmesan, Brown Butter & Sage
by Chef Doug Turnbush
• SWEET POTATO FILLING- Sweet Potatoes 1 pound • Mascarpone 4 oz • Raz El Hanout 2 tsp • Salt 2 tsp
DIRECTIONS: Wash the potatoes, wrap in foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until completely tender throughout. • Peel and pass through a ricer, place in food processor and add the mascarpone cheese, the spice and and salt until smooth. • Cool and set aside.
• WINTER MUSHROOMS- 1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned • 1 Cup Shitaake Mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned • 1 Cup Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned • 1 Cup Brown Beech Mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned • 4 oz Vegetable Oil • 2 oz Butter • Salt & Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS: Saute the mushrooms in the oil until nicely browned, add the butter to finish and then season with salt and pepper. • Set aside
• PEPITAS- 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds, raw • 2 oz Whole butter • 2 tsp Salt • 2 tsp Sugar
DIRECTIONS: Heat the butter in a wide saute pan until frothy and very hot, add the pumpkin seeds and toast 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown and begin to pop. • Add the salt and sugar and set aside
• BROWN BUTTER- Rice Wine Vinegar 1 oz • Gluten Free Soy Sauce 2 oz • Butter 8 oz
DIRECTIONS: Heat the rice vinegar and soy in a pan until simmering, whisk in 4 oz cold butter until fully incorporated. • Set Aside. • In a separate pan, heat 4 oz of butter until it reaches the brown butter stage (it will take on a light brown color and a nutty aroma). • Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. • Once the brown butter has cooled, slowly pour into part 1 while whisking vigourously.
• GARNISH- Sage leaves, julienned 4 ea • Chives, minced 1 tsp • Parmesan Cheese 1 Tbsp
* FINAL ASSEMBLY *
Prepare a pot of boiling water, drop in eight pieces ravioli for 3-4 minutes until tender. • Mix with sauce and sage julienne. • Place in bowl and top with pumpkin seeds, chopped chives, and shaved parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
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