Agua Verde

If you want a refreshing, and cleansing, good for you drink, try this traditional Mexican “agua de fruta” (fruit water.)

Green Water (juice drink)

A big bunch of parsley, washed and chopped, discarding any long thick stems (about 2 cups)*
A large cucumber, peeled and cut into bite size chunks (about 2 cups)*
1\3 of a pineapple, peeled and cut into bite size chunks (about 2 cups)*
2 Tbsp lime juice (1 large or several small)
1 1\2 quarts cold water In a 1/2 gallon pitcher

In a blender blend the parsley with 1\2 quart water and add it to the rest of the water in a 1/2 gallon pitcher. Blend the cucumber with some of the parsley water in the pitcher, strain through a colander into the pitcher. Do the same with the pineapple. Squeeze the lime(s) and add to green water. Stir well and serve. If you prefer a little sweeter, add a little sugar or mix with lemonade instead of water.

Best fresh, but drink within 24 hours.

Actually you can follow this procedure for most any juice drink. Just blend the fruit down to pulp, strain, and add to water. Sweeten to taste. Good combinations are papaya, orange and lime, guava and lime, watermelon, cantaloupe and lime or your favorite combination. The idea is to add to water to make the juice go farther and make it more refreshing by reducing the sugar content (and calories.)

* Ingredients are not exact, start with approximately equal parts of parsley, cucumber and pineapple, then adjust to your taste.

Recipe: Jerk Chicken

In a prior post, I promised to provide the recipe for my Jamaican jerk chicken.

First I must declare that I cook by taste, so all recipes are approximate. Also the original recipe called for fresh ingredients mixed into a paste, I have substituted dry to make it easier for you, though I use fresh whenever possible.

Feel free to experiment and find the perfect “flavorful” for you.

B jerk chickenlue Bear make

 Jerk Seasoning Mix

2 Tbsp dried minced onion

2 Tbsp dried minced garlic (or 1 Tbsp powder)

2 1/2 teas dried thyme

2 teas ground allspice

2 teas ground black pepper

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

1/2 teas cayenne pepper

1/2 teas salt

Mix together and store in an airtight glass bottle until time to use.

To prepare jerk chicken: Wash and dry chicken thighs (the whole chicken may be used but dark meat is more compatible with the spice mix.) Rub with a little olive oil and spice mix (it is flavorful, not spicy hot, so feel free to be generous.)

Saute an onion (sliced in thin slivers) in a little oil (I prefer olive). When it starts to turn translucent, stir in several large cloves of garlic (chopped or crushed). Cook and stir for a minute or so (be careful garlic does not burn). Add chicken, sear on first side and turn. Add a teaspoon or so (a little goes a long way) of umboeshi plum vinegar* (available in the oriental section) and brown. Add a little water to create a sauce, cover and let cook until chicken is tender, adding water to keep sauce from burning. (Taste and add more jerk seasoning if you like.)

When chicken is fork tender, remove cover and let sauce thicken to consistency of a glaze.

For large groups, you can bake in 350 degree oven for an hour or so. Add additional liquid to keep chicken from drying out.

*Umboeshi plum vinegar is actually the brine left over from pickling umboeshi plums (a small, tart oriental fruit.) To substitute, you need something tart (I used tamarinds, soaked them and made a paste) and something a little sweet to balance the tart (I used prunes and cranberry juice for more liquid.) Salt to taste.

 Serve your jerk chicken with:

Blue Bear making tropical riceTropical Rice: Cook rice per instructions; if using canned pineapple, substitute juice for part of cooking liquid. Add 1 onion (I like red onions for color) and a clove or two of garlic (chopped) to the rice while cooking. When rice is almost done, add pineapple tidbits, green pepper (chopped) and 2 cups cooked black beans (add a few Tbsp bean liquid, if desired, for more protein.)

Blue Bear frying plantains Fried plantains make a nice side or desert. Just slice and fry on medium heat until browned on both sides. Plantains will suck up oil: use just enough to keep from sticking; if using a non-stick surface this could mean just wiping the pan with a little oil.

Enjoy!

For the love of chocolate – gluten-free, low carb brownies

I may not be able to sip hot chocolate at the chocolateria in San Miguel de Allende today but I can satisfy my chocolate cravings with this fabulous low-carb, gluten free brownie recipe courtesy of Bob and Kathy in Cuernavaca. Careful, they are addictive!

img_6330-qprLow Carb Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa
  • 5-6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 c flax meal
  • 1/2 cup stevia or 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped nuts
  • In a small bowl, mix meals, sugar, nuts, and set aside
  • Melt butter in a sauce pan
  • Add cocoa and stir until smooth, Turn off heat.
  • Add eggs to cocoa mixture, one at a time and stir
  • Add dry ingredients and stir until mixed

Spread evenly in a greased 9×13″ pan; Bake  for 20-25 minutes (Do not over bake)