Monday, April 27, 2009

Cooked: Black Rice, White Beans & Haitian Baked Chicken

If there is anything I love more than shoes it is  rice & beans  . I'm an Island girl born in Brooklyn raised in Miami & now live in LA so I have had so many variations of rice & beans from several Cultural influences, Jamaica, Cuba, India, Zambia, Ethiopia, Trinidad, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Louisiana oh the list goes on & on but not because I am partial to my Haitian roots, Haiti's vast repertoire of rice & beans are the BEST!  

Whether it is cooked with rice or poured over rice separately our beans are more al dente & the usage of aromatic spices POP & oooooooh wee the addition of the spicy scotch bonnet or habanero pepper is what makes ours the clear cut winner! 

It's bolder than even Louisiana's own & definitely not smoky like theirs is. Our food is also heavily influenced by French cuisine. Perfect marriage between the flavors of the Yoruba Diaspora & European techniques. 

Cooking Haitian food has such an incredible respect for the past & I love toying with different ways of making it so it is fabulously current & my hope for the future is that it is as accessible in this Country as it's culinary counterparts such as Mexican, Italian & Chinese food & I will gladly lead the brigade. Every time I have a bite I seriously feel bad for those that have never had it. 

I bought some Forbidden Rice (black Chinese rice) on my field trip to Little Tokyo. Black rice has more fiber, a nuttier taste & gluten free. It's a much healthier alternative to the heavily processed long grain white rice. 

As per Wikipedia it got it's name "Forbidden rice" based on two theories. One theory as to the name is that it was reserved for emperors in ancient China because of its nutritiousness and rarity. Another theory is that when the Greeks took over parts of the Middle East, they had it banned due to the belief that it was being used by their enemies to aid them in battle. 

However, the most likely theory is that the name is simply a marketing ploy. I like the taste much more than brown rice & figured how cool it would be if I can take a Miami staple, Black Beans & Rice & flip that baby on it's head. 

I had a can of Cannellini Beans on hand & some fab sliced pork belly (uncured bacon) & because of it's peasant nature & hello I'm broke I made a Cassoulet... I'm still burping it, good googly moogly it was SO good!

I've been saving some pink peppercorns I bought from Monsieur Marcel in the Farmer's Market at the Grove. That's a BAD habit I have, I save stuff for dates that never happen *snort* mostly lotion, gourmet ingredients, soaps & panties... with the exception of my panties they all go bad before I get to use them... terrible! 

Not doing that anymore, so I figured I would add them to my Haitian style citrus marinated baked Chicken with garlic, peppers & cloves. The sauce in the chicken is really rich so the sweet & pungent flavor of the peppercorns were such a FAB addition & I'm glad I added these pretty pink & flavorful berries to what I already thought was a perfect dish. I am tickled pink it all worked out.

♥♥I was thoroughly inebriated the night before at Perri's party hence the rich dinner to soak up all the liquor. I left my camera at the bar & had to use my iphone to take pics... sorry♥♥

Marinating the Chicken

This is why being a Single cook rocks I busted out & broke in my Hello Kitty Rice Cooker & baked the Chicken in the toaster oven. No stovetop or oven to clean... FAB!

3 slices of pork belly for the Cassoulet


Baked: Perri's Buttercream Red Velvet

My very good friend/pole teacher Perri♥ turned 26 this weekend & wanted me to host her party at my bar. I told her I would bake her cupcakes & she told me red velvet are her absolute FAVE!. I wanted it to be special because she is so I made a Buttercream base, added cocoa powder, some grated dark chocolate & red food dye. 

The buttery flavor with the subtle hints of chocolate really popped & it was so moist *she shudders* (ew... that word) & truly decadent it had to be enjoyed piece by piece. Watching a room with some of the most talented & stunning pole dancers around mop up my cupcakes was so AWESOME!!! 

My battery was dead on my camera so I don't have the ingredients shot but check these bad boys out, so pleased it came out well and check out my girl Leigh Ann's pole studio and check out more videos on my girls on their youtube channel 

Perri & Leigh Ann Orsi, owner of BeSpun Studio

My little Tart loved the bottle of citrus Belvedere I got her

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Of course I had to be the ring leader

I don't know what I was coveting more? Her Metallic Loubou's, Herve Leger Bandage dress or her rocking bootay!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ My friends RULE!♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Brain Food/Ab Work: Spice Up Your Life

Here's a little shoutout to my Pole Crew. I can seriously watch this all day.. so funny!