Saturday, March 30, 2019

GUAVA DUFF


I have been running yachts throughout the Bahamas for over 35 years. When it comes to food, there is nothing better than cultural cuisine like pigeon-peas and rice, cracked or scorched conch, chicken souse or fresh fish. All of these items may be obtained all year long. But by far my favorite part of Bahamian delights is a dessert item called Guava Duff.

In the early years when I started working in the Bahamas, this delicacy could only be had during the ripening in the late summer months. But with guava’s popularity, a canned paste can be used year around; though the fresh fruit variety is my favorite.

When in Nassau, the Poopdeck and Green Parrot serve duff up; with the latter being my fav. Or, you may follow the instructions below and make your own while out-island.


Preparation:
Filling Ingredients:
4 c. guava flesh thinly sliced or cut (peeled and seeded- pulp removed and saved for sauce)
¾ c. brown sugar (depends on the sweetness of the guavas)
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Preparation of filling:
Cook guava flesh with nutmeg, sugar and salt a day ahead in a medium saucepan on medium to low heat until thick, soft and sugar is dissolved (about 25 to 30 minutes). Let cool and set aside in refrigerator until ready to spread in dough. This can be made a day in advance.

Guava Sauce Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 ½ c. sugar
1 c. powder sugar
½ can sweet condensed milk
Guava pulp from the guavas (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
Brandy to taste (how much is up to you!!)

Preparation of Guava Sauce
Cream the butter and sugar well. Blend in powder sugar and add sweet milk. Stir in the pulp and rum/brandy, vanilla and set aside. This may seem like it will be too sweet but it actually isn't. If you are in doubt, then decrease the amount of sugar and taste. If it needs more sugar, then just add more. Better to be safe than sorry, right!!

Dough Ingredients
2 ½ c. flour
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, softened
¾ c. milk (room temp)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preparation of dough:
Before making the dough, get a large pot/pan with cover (that can fit your duff) that is oven proof and fill half way with hot water. Preheat to 350° and place pot/pan in oven while waiting for the dough to be prepared.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. In larger bowl, blend sugar, eggs and butter. Add milk to combine and mix dry ingredients. At this point I took some of the guava flesh and mix in the dough (you can skip this part and just add it in for the filling only). Knead until stiff. Add more flour if necessary to make a smooth dough. If you want to make 2 small duffs, just cut dough in half and proceed with the instructions for the duff. Take a rolling pin and roll out dough in rectangular shape (about ½ to ¾ inch thickness). Spread the rest of the guava flesh (from the fridge) in the dough to within an inch of each side and roll up duff sealing the edges.

In the old days, the duff would be wrapped tightly in a pillow case or old white t-shirt.  Today, we cut a large piece of parchment paper and double foil. Wrap the duff in the parchment first and then seal with the double foil. (Double foil simply means to cut 2 large pieces of foil and lay on top of another to create a thicker piece of foil). Place duff in pot/pan in oven covered. The water has to be half way up the duff or completely covering the duff. Cook for about 1 hr. and 20 mins turning the duff (if the water is halfway up the duff) halfway through cooking. If the duff is completely immersed then there is no need to turn it. This procedure can also be done on top of the stove by boiling the duff in a double boiler.

When done, take out of pot/pan and open duff (being careful not to burn yourself from the steam) and let cool down until it is nice and warm. To ensure that duff is done, stick a knife in duff and if it comes out clean, then it is done. If it comes out with a sticky doughy consistency, then wrap it back up and cook it for another 20 to 30 minutes. Slice as thin or as thick as you like and pour warm guava sauce over the duff. Enjoy, JW

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

I am pre-positioning a 70 foot motor yacht to Nassau for the owner/operator who will fly in direct from the Northeast (I fly out) and cruise their yacht in the Exumas for a week. At the end of their trip, they tie back up in Nassau, fly back to the Northeast and I fly in to bring the boat back to Ft. Lauderdale. After all, who wants to spend 30% of the vacation time going back and forth to where they want spend their vacation? This way, they get to maximize the fun stuff; which is what yacht ownership is all about.

As I am running the yacht solo, with an anchor out en route, I like to prepare my meals in advance. The inspiration of this recipe comes from my friend Susie in Destin;  a registered nurse and on the “keto diet.” Now, I do not profess to know what a keto diet is, but it sounds exactly like the Atkins Diet©. Maybe someone can comment below. In any case, this is a terrific meal for dinner or cold for next day sandwiches or “mid-rats.”

INGREDIENTS

½ c. bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1tsp. sage
1 tbsp. course black pepper
½ tsp. sea salt
3 lbs. lbs. ground sirloin
1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage
14 slices of bacon
6 Babybel© mini cheese wheel

PREPARATION
In a stand-mixer, add the first 12 ingredients and mix well. Take half of the meat mix and press it into the bacon prepped bread pan. Next, unwrap the Babybel© cheese and press it into the meat creating a lengthwise row. With the remaining meat, cover the cheese forming a typical mean loaf. Finally, starting at the ends, pull the overhanging bacon finishing the wrapping of the loaf.


Place the loaf inside a 9” baking pan to catch any drippings. Bake until the interior temperature reaches 160°. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minute before removing from loaf pan. Enjoy.



 

 

Monday, January 28, 2019

IRISH BEER CHEESE

It’s the last weekend of December as I write this and it is bloody cold outside. In fact, it’s 53°, drizzly and blowing. Checking last years’ records, on this same day it was 88°. So much for global warming.

Back in my flying days, we had a Gulfstream trip in which we flew 8 bankers to Dublin, Ireland. This afforded the crew a four day layover at The Conrad on St. Stephen’s Green, before the return flight back to the US. After a night of “discovery” in Dublin, I just had to get out of the city. So the next day, I walked to Houston Station and took a train to the 10th Century city of Kilkenny; two hours away. It boasts a medieval castle, a 1000 year old town of cobble stone streets, secret passageways and narrow Norman alleyways and The Round Tower which dates back to the 6th Century. Truly a mystical experience.

I happened into a 16th Century tavern, The Hole in the Wall, for a bite to eat. On the menu was Irish Beer Cheese which I found delicious. I spoke to the innkeeper and happen to get the recipe for this warm and inviting soup.

Back to the present; I have yacht owners in town. It is kind of a bummer because there is a steel-wind blowing and seas to 15 feet out in “the stream.” It was my memory of KilKenny and the recipe I acquired that brought a little warmth and delight into their weekend. This recipe is super easy to make and I can confirm; Yacht Owner Approved.
 
INGREDIENTS:
4 tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. course black pepper
1/2 c. flour
1 (12 ounce) bottle Irish Ale
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
5 c. chicken stock
2 c. (1 lb. package) mild shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. processed cheese
2/3 c. sour cream
PREPARATION:

In a Dutch oven (I like cast iron) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add garlic, onion, chili and black pepper, Sauté for 6-8 minutes until onion is translucent. Sprinkle flour over onion/garlic and stir for 3 minutes (this is the roux). Stir in a good lager (I use O’Hara’s Irish Red but Harpe will do) and chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from heat.

Next, with a ladle, add mixture to a food processor or blender (may have to do it in batches) and puree until smooth. Pour soup back into the Dutch oven, over low heat add sour cream and the cheeses; stir until the cheeses melts. Serve in sourdough bread bowls (available at Panera). Garnish with chopped scallions and bacon. Enjoy, JW

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

SWEET and SPICY STEAK


This week, my crew and I are delivering a 580 Sea Ray from Grand Cayman back to Florida via the Windward Passage route. Because of en route fuel stops, Cayman Island is about as inconvenient a place as there is for yachts to get to. Heading back to Florida, the route thru the Yucatan Channel is shorter by two hundred miles, but requires 360 miles non-stop from Cancun to Key West and in head seas. Eastward thru the Windward Passage to Great Inagua affords a longest distance between fuel stops of 231 miles and is pretty much beam to following seas thru the Bahamas back to Fort Lauderdale. Just wait for weather in Port Antonio and then dash to Matthew Town.

Port Antonio is without a doubt one of the most beautiful natural harbors. Errol Flynn made this his home and just up the road at “Goldeneye,” Ian Fleming wrote his spy novels. Port Antonio is also where “Jerk” style of cooking originated. Sweet and spicy chicken and pork is the staple here. With that inspiration, here is a “rubbed” steak recipe sure to please.


INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. spoked paprika
1 lb. beef tenderloin of NY strip
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided.


PREPARATION:
Make your rub by mixing well all of the dried ingredients. Brush the steak with 1 tsp. of the olive oil. With washed hands, coat the steak with 1 tsp. of olive oil and then massage the rub into with steak and set aside. Next, bring the remaining olive oil to medium then add steak cooking on each side for 5-6 minutes, or desired temperature. Once cooked, move the steak to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with potatoes and star fruit garnish with cheese cake for dessert.
Enjoy, JW

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Sloppy Jose


I grew up in the foothills of Southern California in the 1960s. Coming off the post-war 1950’s, it seemed like California was always on the cutting edge of music, technologies, fast cars and fast food. Taking over from the casual dining experience of Howard Johnson, Sambo’s, Shakey’s Pizza and  Bob’s Big Boy, America embraced the fast food convenience of McDonald’s (“tens of thousands sold) , In-N-Out,  Jack in the Box, A&W, Colonial Sanders and Taco Bell. In 1968, I could leave junior high school during lunch break on my bike, go to a fast food restaurant and get a cheese burger for .25 fries for a nickel and a large soft drink for .20 cents!

One of my favorites was what Taco Bell called the “Bell Burger.” It was a Sloppy Joe style sandwich using your season beef and cheddar cheese used in their tacos; add lettuce tomatoes and onion for the “Bell Grande.” During special promotions, I could get 5 for a dollar! Sadly, the Bell Burger was a casualty of the Burger War and was extinct by the mid-1970s. I do not profess to have their secret recipe, but this is pretty darn close. It is a simple and quick recipe if condiments are prepped in advance. The picante sauce is fresh and without preservatives. This would be a great item for game night.
 
 
Seasoned Beef:

1 lb. Ground beef
¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried onion flakes
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 dash garlic powder
½ c. cold water 

Picante Sauce:

1½ c. cold water
1 tsp. cornstarch
½ (6-oz) can Tomato paste
1½ tbsp. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper

Additional Items:

6 hamburger buns, steamed slightly
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
½ diced tomato
½ cup diced onion

Preparation:

It is best to make the sauce first.  In a saucepan add the water and cornstarch and whisk until fully dissolved. Next add vinegar, salt, cayenne and tomato paste. While bringing it to a boil, continue stirring sauce. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until sauce thickens. Cool sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator.
 
Now for the filling: In a stand mixer or food processor, combine the ground beef and dry ingredients until well mixed. In a large skillet over medium heat, add beef and the ½ cup water. Stir the mixture while it cooks, breaking up large chunks. Cook until slightly browned. In a colander, drain off any grease or liquid. While cooking the beef mixture, steam the buns slightly in a rice maker or double boiler.

To assemble, spread some sauce on the bottom bun. Next, add two tbsp. seasoned meat. Sprinkle meat with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.  Serve with guacamole as garnish. Enjoy, JW

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken


I’ve never seen a buffalo fly, but Buffalo Style Wings have been made their mark as a favorite appetizer and party fare. It wasn’t long ago that wings were just scraps relegated to the stockpot for making broth or soup. With the commercialization of chicken harvesting, consumers opted for the better portions of chicken, the breasts, thighs and leg portions, the wings ended up going to soup factories.

 

There is much debate about who actually came up with the recipe for hot chicken wings, but the consensus points to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The story goes that back in 1964, the owner of the bar had to feed a group of her son’s friends and with a bunch of wings on hand, deep fried them and then tossed them in a buttery chili sauce and served them with bleu cheese dip and celery. The wings were a hit!! The City of Buffalo has designated July 29th Chicken Wing Day. And as a matter of record, the Anchor Bar serves 70 thousand pounds of chicken monthly!

 
This recipe combines the sweetness of the yam with the spiciness of the chicken and then finished with the coolness of the yogurt-bleu cheese topping.

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 c hot sauce
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground cayenne
4 sweet potatoes
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water
Chopped green onions

PREPARATION:

Coat a slow cooker with nonstick spray and place the chicken in the bottom of the cooker.

In a separate bowl, add the hot sauce, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, pepper and coconut oil and microwave for 45 seconds and then stir. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and cover the slow cooker. Then cook for 1½ hours on high until chicken is fully cooked. While the chicken is in the crockpot, prepare the sweet potatoes. Coat with butter, wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 400° for 45 minutes.

Leaving the sauce in the crockpot, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with a fork on a separate plate. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch with the water and pour back into the slow cooker with remaining hot sauce. Combine using a whisk. Cook sauce on high for 30 minutes.

Add shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and toss it well into the sauce so that it is entirely coated.

Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing:
 
½ c nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. milk
½ tsp white vinegar
¼ tsp black pepper
⅓ C crumbled blue cheese

Once everything is prepared, split the sweet potatoes and mash with skin on. Spoon on the chicken,  yogurt-bleu cheese and garnish with chopped, green onions. Enjoy, JW

Monday, October 1, 2018

Florida, the Sunshine Cake

“I like spring, but it’s too young. I like summer, but it’s too proud. So, I like best of all autumn, because its’ tone is mellower, its’ colours are richer and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its’ golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and it is content” Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

For those of us in South Florida, November means the return of the snow birds and yachts returning for refit and sale. And November is the start of the holiday season. My grandparents were early snow birds; having bought a winter home here in 1953 to escape the bitter Indiana winters. Grandma Maloy would make the most wonderful delights when we would fly out for the holidays. This is one of her recipes.


CAKE INGREDITENTS:
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. all purpose flour
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. lemon juice

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Separate the egg whites from yolks. This is an easy task if you put a bowl in the sink, crack an egg and roll the egg yolk between your left/right hands, letting the white fall to the bowl below. Put yolk in another bowl.  Now, in a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; then add the cream of tartar and salt while continuing to beat until there are stiff peaks.

In a separate bowl combine the sugar, flour, egg yolks, orange juice, and lemon juice. Beat until combined and then gently fold the whipped egg whites into the mixture.

Gently spoon the batter into an ungreased 9” spring form cake pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned and the top springs back when lightly touched.

Invert pan until cool (at least 1 hour). Remove cake from pan and place on serving plate. Drizzle cake top with orange frosting.

 
FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
1 8 oz. package plain cream cheese, room temperature.
1 stick butter (8 tbsp.), room temperature
3 c. powdered sugar (sifted)
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. orange zest

PREPARATION:
In a large bowl (I use a stand mixer) mix the butter and cream cheese at ow speed until blended. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all well blended. Add orange juice and zest and then blend at medium speed until the mixture is fluffy. Drizzle the frosting over the cake. Sprinkle additional zest or garnish with mandarin orange sections. Enjoy, JW