Lentil Soup and Roast Okra

Happy Black History Month 2018. I’m using this opportunity of celebration as an opportunity to promote self care by reminding visitors about the importance of seeking professional medical assistance. Here’s my story:

One sunny summer day, I walked into my dentist office to complain about the pain of my shifting teeth and to make sure there wasn’t an underlying problem. I walked out with an autumnal schedule for a root canal and an appointment with a gum specialist who would later require surgery to be done in two phases. The dentist said I was a few months away from having one tooth swell with excruciating pain. It may sound like horrific news, but if I reframe my experience, I’m relieved to have caught these problems early, and lucky to have pretty good dental insurance to help pay for the work (I’m still broke).

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Vanilla Rosewater Ice Cream

Ice cream isn’t going to save the day. Fear of change won. Racism won. Anti-semitism won. Anti-immigration won. Sexism won. Anti-LGBTQ won. All the -isms in the world won. And, I have a right to be scared and will stay mad. When the conservative trend was noticed in Europe and Turkey earlier this year, it was a comforting thought that we in the United States were slowly moving in a positive direction. But, when the majority of people used voting booths — similar to how the Klu Klux Klan wear hoods — to vote for a racist candidate on Tuesday, I’m wondering who among my white friends, are truly my friend.

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Rosemary Chicken Stew with Stir-Fried Collard Greens

Besides being known for its Italian style-New York pizza, Saraghina recently opened a new bakery. Essential Italian pantry items, such as bread, morning pastries, olive oil by the pound, spices, cheese, candy and more, are the shop’s speciality. It’s freshly made pasta by the pound is the star. Having access to fresh pasta close to my apartment is a game changer in my menu planning. It means serving dinners made elegant with fresh pasta, and the meals aren’t time consuming. Ironically, the first recipe using Saraghina Bakery’s pasta was a time-consuming Rosemary Chicken Stew with Stir-Fried Collard Greens.

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Peanut-Tomato Chicken Stew

These past couple of years, a few food blogger friends and I, contributed recipes to KwanzaaCulinarians.com. This would’ve been our third year, but I needed to rest. I regret that we failed our fans in this decision, but this is a better solution for me. In addition to taking a relaxing vacation from my 9 to 5 job, I’m enjoying this time of year more than requesting 31 food bloggers and chefs to take time from their busy schedules to write Kwanzaa-inspired stories and recipes. Read more

Duck and Turnip Stew with Dandelion Greens Garnished with Pickled Okra

Often when we think of Southern Soul food, we think of mac and cheese, fried chicken, collard greens, and potato salad–to name a few dishes. In reality, it’s about the first animal shot in the morning and served in a stew in the evening. Depending on the size, it’s served in various forms within the next few days. Bellies are salted and cured for preservation (Read: Bacon). Bones, such as poultry backs with little meat, are used for broth. Inners are fried to a crisp or simmered in broth. Fat is rendered into lard for baking or frying. Brains are served in rich root vegetable gratin dishes freshly made with butter, cream or buttermilk (that generation wasn’t lactose-intolerant). Generations ago, our grandparents feasted on wild possums, doves, turtles, squirrels, rabbits and deer. As Craig Samuel, co-owner of Peaches Restaurant in Brooklyn, mentioned, “…it’s the food that kept our grandmothers…[and families] alive…” Read more