Festive Rice-1-3

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Being born in a rice producing country means rice was and still is a big part of my diet.   Plain rice can become boring very quickly so every now and then I mix it up a bit.

Festive Rice-1-6 I called this Festive Rice because of the vibrant color from the curry powder and various vegetables; it’s not only pretty but pretty tasty.   It’s not fuss and quick to toss together and makes the perfect side dish.  I served this with pan fried tilapia(will be sharing this soon) and it was a hit!

 

Festive Rice-1-7

 

Festive Rice

8 cups cooked long grain rice

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

4 carrots, shredded

4 scallion, finely chopped

2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

1 tbsp garlic

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 ½ tsp curry powder

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp oil

 

Place a large pot(preferable a wok) over high fire.  Next place oil and butter in pot, when the butter has melted add peppers, carrots, garlic, red pepper flakes and curry powder and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add rice, scallion and salt and stir to coat.  Cook until rice is heated through, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.  Serve warm.

Other Rice Recipe:

 

 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake-1-7

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We celebrated my husband’s birthday this past weekend.   I always bake a cake on his birthday and this year I decided to bake a pineapple upside down cake. Pineapple Upside Down Cake-1-10

It’s something I’ve baked for him when we first met 16 years ago and it was his absolute favorite. Pineapple Upside Down Cake-1-2 I mean it’s pineapple that’s caramelized in brown sugar atop a sweet cake—what’s not to love?  I’ve made many pineapple upside down cakes over the year, some with a cake mix and others from scratch but none as good as this.   Pineapple Upside Down Cake-1-3This buttery cake has an ingredient I’ve never seen used in any other recipe and that’s cardamom.   I’ve always added nutmeg since I love the combination of nutmeg and pineapple and was pleasantly surprised once cardamom was added to the mix.   Pineapple Upside Down Cake-1-9It’s the perfect amount of the spice and the smell is out of this world.  This cake was amazing and the birthday boy approved!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake-1-5

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

For the Topping:

1 20 oz can pineapple rings in juice

¾ stick butter (6 tbsp)

¾ cup light brown sugar

Maraschino cherry

For the Batter:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

2 tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ stick butter (6 tbsp) at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp dark rum

½ cup pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the topping:

Place butter and sugar in a small pot over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until the butter is melted.  Pour into a 9 inch cake pan and spread to form an even level.   Next cut 6 pineapple slices in half.  Place a whole pineapple slice in the middle of the cake pan, then place the half slices around the pineapple slice to form a pattern.  Place a maraschino cherry in the center and add on the outside as little or as many as you like.  Set aside.

To make the batter:

Sift flour, cardamom, nutmeg, baking powder and salt into a bowl.   Next beat the softened butter until light and fluffy and then mix in the sugar.   Next add eggs one at a time making sure to beat well before adding the next egg.

Next add vanilla and rum and mix.  Then add half of the flour on a low speed and mix until incorporated.  Add pineapple juice and mix in then add the remaining half of the flour and mix until incorporated.

Spoon batter over pineapple in prepared pan and spread evenly.   Place the cake in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.  To test if the cake is done, stick a toothpick in the center of the cake.  If the toothpick is clean then the cake is done.   Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.   Run a knife around the edge of the cake then invert the cake onto a serving plate.   Serve warm.

 The Caribbean Pepper Sauce is a staple in West Indian households. My mom always had a bottle of pepper sauce on hand and it would accompany every meal. Let’s me be clear-this is not to be confused with the milder hot sauce, this is liquid fire in a bottle.

Pepper-1 (2)While my mom uses wiri wiri pepper in her sauce, I used scotch bonnet as it is more readily available here in Atlanta. She also kept her sauce pretty simple by using just a few ingredients but the possibilities are endless.

Pepper-1-3Various fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, pineapple, carrots or bilimbi not only reduces the heat but adds flavor. I made two versions-a standard sauce and a mango pepper sauce.

Pepper-1-2How do these sauces differ? The standard sauce will have a lot more heat; this sauce is also a base that you can customize to your liking. For the mango pepper sauce, I added ripe mangoes and a tiny bit of sugar which made it a bit more mellow by reducing the heat of the peppers.

Caribbean Pepper Sauce

Do you make your own pepper sauce? Does your family have their own special blend?

Pepper-1-10

Hot Pepper Sauce
10 oz Scotch Bonnet Peppers, cleaned and stems removed
¼ cup white distilled vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp salt
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a clean jar to store.

Mango Pepper Sauce
1 cup pepper sauce
1 cup ripe mango chunks
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 tsp granulated sugar
Place mango chunks, pepper sauce, turmeric, and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Store in a clean jar.