Saturday, February 04, 2006

Caribbean Pizza

This is my version of a pizza that I had at Caribee Key, an unbelievably cute little Caribbean restaurant in Atlantic Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida. I tried to find a link to their website, but word on the street is that they're a new restaurant. Might explain why I can't seem to locate a website, despite my best efforts. I digress. If you aren't afraid to try shrimp on a pizza, give this a shot. Otherwise, it's excellent minus the shrimp. Another alternative to the shrimp is to thrown some portabella mushrooms or roasted red bell peppers (from a jar) on top prior to baking.

Approximate preparation time: 30 minutes.

pizza dough (I get mine from our local grocery store,
Publix...sorry guys, I'm not so good at creating my own yet)
3 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes (found in a jar, usually in the produce section)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. jerk seasoning (
Walkerswood makes an excellent version that I use, their Traditional Jerk Seasoning)
about 1 c. mozzarella cheese
1/3 lb. shrimp

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Roll out your pizza dough into a big circle, until it's pretty thin, but try not to break it. If you do, not to worry -- just push it back together and don't stretch so hard the next time. Drizzle a bit more olive oil onto a cookie sheet and place your dough on it. Mix the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and jerk seasoning (adjust the jerk seasoning to your taste) together and spread over the pizza dough. Cover that with the cheese, and spread the shrimpers (or the mushrooms or peppers, whatever your heart desires, really) on the top. Bake for about 15 minutes on the lowest rack in your oven until the edges begin to lightly brown and the cheese starts to bubble.

Tip: To prevent the shrimp from drying out, you can soak them in a brine (1/2 c. sugar and 1/4 c. salt in 2 cups water) while you're preparing the rest of the ingredients. It keeps them plump, and makes them handy for popping any extras into your mouth that "don't fit" onto the pizza.

Jerk Barbeque Tofu

I made this for the first time today, and it is excellent with the Cajun Rice & Beans with Mango Salsa dish posted yesterday (if I knew how to link you directly to it here, I would. Tips are always welcome!). It also adds a bit more protein to that dish, which is helpful for keeping you feeling full.

Approximate preparation time: 15 minutes

1-2 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 container tofu, cubed
1-2 tsp. salt
3-4 Tbsp. Jerk Barbeque sauce (I used one by
Walkerswood, which can be found in caribbean food stores)

Pour the veggie oil into a saucepan and place over high heat for a minute or so to heat. Dump the tofu into the saucepan and add the salt to taste. Be careful that the oil doesn't splatter and burn you; don't worry, it'll calm down after a few seconds. Pan-fry for several minutes (maybe 6-8?), until the tofu becomes light brownish. Be sure to move it around a bit so that it doesn't burn. Add the barbeque sauce and continue saute-ing until it is cooked through (about another 2 minutes).

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cajun Rice & Beans with Mango Salsa

This recipe is one of my recent faves. It's actually a vegan recipe, but I didn't even realize it was vegan until my wonderful hubbie pointed it out to me (come to think of it, I'm actually not sure about the Lipton's mix). I think it's fabulous, but he thinks it's a bit too "veggie." To each his own, as they say...and I say, more for me!

Approximate cooking time: 30 minutes

For the rice mixture:
Lipton's Red Beans and Rice mix (I know, not too creative a start for a fabulous recipe!)
1/2 large red onion
1/2 lb. frozen peas
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

For the mango salsa:
1 mango
1/4 red onion
1 small can chopped pineapple
1 tsp. dried cilantro
2 plum tomatoes
approximately 1 tsp. salt, to taste
approximately 2 tsp. sugar, to taste

Make the Lipton Red Beans and Rice according to the package directions. While the water and butter begin to cook, start the chopping. Dice the onion, the mango, and the tomatoes into smallish pieces. Finely dice the chipotle pepper(s).

At this point, the rice and beans should be about halfway cooked. Add the chipotle peppers and 2/3 of the chopped onion to the rice and then let that all keep simmering while you prepare the salsa. Combine the first five salsa ingredients and stir. Add the salt and sugar little by little, until it tastes good.

The rice and beans should be about done by now. Add the frozen peas, and voila! Serve the rice and beans with the mango salso on the side.

Catching up...

Well, I used to be the computer expert during my college years. Apparently I've become obsolete much faster than I had originally anticipated. I had (err...make that have) no idea what "blogs" were/are, much less a desire to create one for myself. Leave it to my somewhat recurring passion for cooking to inspire me. This blog will begin as a dumping ground for the recipes for which I've become relatively famous. Ok, ok...that might be a bit of a stretch. Famous, if you believe the opinions of my very loving and supportive network of family and friends. I'm sure that all who visit this blog will find many yummy recipes to try out on their own loving and supportive network of family and friends. Beware, recipes are often much better the second time you try them (if you modify them to suit your own tastes, of course). Oh, and did I mention they're all vegetarian? Shhh...if you don't point it out, nobody will ever notice...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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