Applesauce Pancakes

In the United States, most of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day (Tday) on the 27th of November, and I’m sure you’ve seen many Tday recipes floating around the blogosphere.

In the States, most people cook and eat large amounts of food with families and friends from near and afar. It is a great day to appreciate and be thankful for what we have whether it be little or too much.

These apple pancakes are a good meal to have the day before or the day after Thanksgiving (or any day!). I amped the recipe that came from Everday Food by substituting milk with buttermilk and by adding fall spices and vanilla extract. Also the recipe calls for applesauce, which prompted me to use my crockpot applesauce!

So whether you’re celebrating a holiday or not and whether it is fall or spring in your hemisphere, I suggest conjuring up the ingredients for these pancakes along with some fluffy eggs and lightly burnt (just how I like it!) turkey sausage! Feel free to eat the pancakes plain, with syrup, or honey!

Applesauce Pancakes
adapted from Everday Food
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated/caster sugar
2 tsp of cinnamon or pumpkin spice
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (473 ml) buttermilk or milk, room temperature
3/4 cup (177 ml) applesauce
4 Tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Optional topping: Sour cream (did not use) or applesauce
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F/121 degrees C. Whisk together dry ingredients, including the sugar. Add in wet ingredients and combine until combined and still lumpy. DO NOT OVERMIX! There should still be lumps. 
Heat a cast-iron skillet, flat-top, or griddle over medium heat. Brush surface with butter or cooking spray. 
Pour batter onto griddle 1/3 – 1/2 cup at a time. Cook batter until bubbles form around the edges (2-3 minutes), then flip pancake over and cook for approximately 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter and allow previous pancakes to stay warm in the 250/121 degree oven.
Feel free to serve with sour cream, applesauce, syrup, honey, or plain!
Copyright – Memoria James –

Crockpot Applesauce

As a child and young teenager, I loved applesauce. I anticipated the soft, sweet, cinnamony, gentle taste as I eagerly ripped open the aluminum top of the plastic, kid-sized package. One second later, I had eaten all of the applesauce and was always disappointed there was no more.

Now that I’m what many would consider a seasoned adult (my mom would object), I am no longer a fan of applesauce. . .that is, not the store-bought kind. I originally tried out this apple dish as a means to make apple juice/cider while making applesauce a byproduct. After much frustration with the muslin cloth and the realization of how little liquid yielded from the 10-14 cooked apples, I decided to stick with applesauce.

But that very little bit of juice/cider that managed to seep drip through the cloth was really like liquid gold! It was thick, sweet, and oh so flavorful. I hope to try making more apple cider soon. Anyway, when I tasted how AMAZING the juice/cider was, my curiosity was peaked. I tried the applesauce and SWOONED! I couldn’t believe it had only 2 tablespoons of sugar instead of the 1/4-1/2 cup called for in other recipes. It was perfect.

It was thick and soothing to my tongue and throat. It had a perfect balance of sweetness and cinnamon, clove, ginger, allspice, and other fall-like flavors. This applesauce was so amazing that only a couple of days later, I bought more apples to make more! The other great thing about this recipe is that you don’t need to peel the apples. Just cut them, place them in the crockpot, squeeze a bit of fresh, lemon juice on top along with brown sugar and spices, and allow it to cook and fill your house with the rich, delicious perfume of fall, apples, cinnamon, and love :). I hope you give this recipe a try!

Crockpot Applesauce
by mangiodasola
10-14 small- to medium-sized apples (I have now used Jonathons and McIntosh apples)
1/2-1 small lemon
2 Tbsp brown sugar, optional (depends on how sweet your apples are)
cinnamon to taste
pumpkin spice (cloves, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon) to taste
Cut the apples (no need to peel them*; they will be pulverized later). Place apples into the crockpot. Squeeze lemon juice on top of the sliced apples. Add sugar, cinnamon, and other spices. Allow apples to cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Pulverize the softened apples with a hand blender or transfer them to a blender. Blend softened apples until they reach your desired consistency. Eat the applesauce warm or cold! Enjoy!
*If you prefer a chunkier applesauce and are not a fan of apple skins, then you should peel the apples before cutting them. My applesauce was blended well enough that I rarely tasted any skin. It was perfect for me. Also, the skin has extra nutrients!
Copyright – Memoria James –

Baked Turkey Tacos

When I’m on track with my diet, I prefer to eat raw in the mornings and evenings and eat a healthy, cooked meal for lunch. When I’m craving something a bit more naughty, I make these guiltless, turkey tacos.

They are comprised of extra lean ground turkey with a blend of seasonings, pico de gallo, a bit of cheese, and corn tortillas. To make the taco shells, I heat up the tortillas in the microwave to soften them up, then I spray the grates in the oven, and lay them there to form the shell. They come out crunchy and oh so flavorful that I sometimes feel like I’m eating something full of calories and fat.

The cheese is the only true guilty ingredient, so control how much you put on your tacos.

When I made the tacos this time around, I baked the finished tacos in the oven for a few minutes in my oval French oven to allow the cheese to melt and to become one with the rest of the ingredients. Because this extra step was impromptu, the pico de gallo was warm so I had to add a bit more at the end. If you decide to make a baked version of these tacos, add the cold pico de gallo after they’ve baked. I enjoyed the contrast of flavors and temperatures of the cold salsa and hot, meat filling.

When I made the tacos this time around, I baked the finished tacos in the oven for a few minutes in my oval French oven to allow the cheese to melt and to become one with the rest of the ingredients. Because this extra step was impromptu, the pico de gallo was warm so I had to add a bit more at the end. If you decide to make a baked version of these tacos, add the pico de gallo after they’ve baked. I enjoyed the contrast of flavors and temperatures of the cold salsa and hot, meat filling.

Baked Turkey Tacos

[For the PICO DE GALLO, I chopped up and mixed together 2-3 roma tomatoes, a handful of green onions and cilantro, and one partly deseeded jalapeño. I seasoned the mixture with 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt (to taste) and the juice of 2 limes. Store the pico de gallo in the refrigerator before making the tacos.]

Make the taco seasoning:
(go to allrecipe for a smaller version of this recipe; however, I suggest making a large portion of the seasoning to keep on hand. Below is the recipe based on a serving size of 50, which still isn’t much since you’ll be using 3 Tbsp of the mixture for the taco filling.)

1/4 cup & 1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp onion powder
1 14 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 tsp dried oregano or “Italian seasoning” mix
2 1/2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp & 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp & 2 tsp sea salt (or Kosher or table salt)
1 Tbsp & 2 tsp black pepper (freshly ground or powder)

Mix all ingredients in an airtight container. You will need only 3 Tbsp of this mixture for this recipe.

Ground turkey filling

1 lb of extra lean ground turkey (around 3 grams of fat/serving), regular ground turkey, chicken, beef, or minced mushrooms or other veggies
3 Tbsp of taco seasoning (see recipe above)
1-2 Tbsp water (optional; use only to make the seasoning less intense for children or sensitive folks)

Taco preparation
Meat or veggie filling
Block of your favorite cheese(s), grated (not the pre-grated stuff, please!)
6-8 corn tortillas
Olive oil, oil spray, or Pam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C. For two people, microwave 6-8 tortillas in a wet paper towel for about 45 seconds. Separate the tortillas carefully (I use a brush dipped in oil to separate and coat them). Brush or spray the tortillas with oil on both sides and sprinkle salt, if using, on both sides as well.

Spay the oven grates with Pam really well! Place the oil- and salt-coated tortillas on the grates of the oven. For wider tacos as the ones shown in this post, place the tortillas over two rows. Baked the tortillas for 7-10 minutes or until the taco is crunchy throughout. Take out the shells CAREFULLY by pushing them up from underneath the grates. They should pop right up if you sprayed the grates well enough.

Now fill the taco shells with your meat/veggie mixture, cheese, pico de gallo or salsa, and any other fixings you prefer. ENJOY!

Copyright – Memoria James –

Healthy Fried Brown Rice

Healthy Salmon Fried Brown Rice with Kikkoman Soy Sauce (not low-sodium.)

I love Chinese-American food, and I love making Chinese-American food. In the past I have made Orange Chicken, Lemon Chicken, and Chicken Fried Rice. At Chinese-American restaurants, I usually order Orange Chicken or Fried Rice; however, these dishes are usually high in fat and sodium due to the amount of oil, sugar (in the sauces), eggs, and soy sauce.

Healthier Vegetarian Fried Brown Rice

In order to compromise my love for fried rice and desire to eat healthier, I made the two dishes you see. I made fried rice healthier by reducing the amount of oil normally used, omitting the eggs, using brown rice (you could also use cauliflower rice), adding less soy sauce (or use low-sodium soy sauce), and incorporating more veggies or healthier meats such as salmon.

The results? A quick, delicious, and satisfying meal that more than satisfies my craving for the unhealthier version! This dish was a cinch to make. I made the brown rice the day before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I made the fried rice in a non-stick pan so that I wouldn’t need much oil. In fact the oil was used to cook only the salmon and veggies. I then complimented my fried brown rice with some hot, black tea.

Even if you are not trying to lose weight, you should definitely try this dish out! 

Healthier Vegetarian or Salmon Fried Rice
Serving size: 1-2 people
1-2 cups of brown rice, cooked preferably the day prior (I followed the instructions on back of the bag)
1 Tbsp of olive or coconut oil
Salmon (I used one of the frozen portions of skin-on salmon), optional
Mixed Vegetables (up to you! I used garlic, mushrooms, onions, and frozen mixed vegetables)
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce (preferably low-sodium)
Pour 1 Tbsp of oil in a hot wok or skillet. If using salmon, cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes each side. Cook the onions, mushrooms, and garlic (or whatever veggies you’d like) alongside the salmon. Remove everything from the skillet and set them aside. 
If using a non-stick wok/skillet: without adding extra oil, heat up the cooked brown rice and frozen, mixed vegetables. While they are heating up, cut up the salmon. Once the rice and veggies are heated up, add the salmon and other veggies back in with the rice. Once sufficiently combined, mix in the soy sauce. Turn off the heat. Serve, and enjoy!
Copyright – Memoria James –

Southern Skim Milk/Fat-Free-Yogurt Biscuits


Due to my sudden craving for buttermilk biscuits and conflicting unwillingness to go to the store and spend money on buttermilk, I conjured up these Fat-Free Yogurt Biscuits. I am not a fan of the so-called “buttermilk substitute” of milk and lemon/vinegar (too “liquidy” compared to the real deal and not as flavorful) nor did I have lemon, so I decided to combine skim milk with fat-free, Greek yogurt and use that as a substitute.

I was a bit wary about the result of these Fat-Free Yogurt Biscuits until I took them out of the oven, broke them open, and took my first bite…They were AMAZING! I surprisingly didn’t miss the buttermilk at all, even though my buttermilk biscuits are amazing in their own right.

OMG! I want another one right now.

When I usually make biscuits, I make cheese or sausage and cheese biscuits. However, these Fat-Free Yogurt biscuits were so good on their own that I forgot the cheese! I then decided to make sausage gravy using skim milk again. I was nervous about the end result of this gravy, too, but it turned out very well.

Look at that chunky gravy! Yum!
After eating this delicious brunch and appeasing my craving, I didn’t feel as greasy and heavy as I usually feel aftefr eating buttermilk biscuits with whole-milk gravy. I was full, but I felt satisfied and ready to tackle the rest of the day! I paired this dish with scrambled eggs and low-calorie orange juice. I think from now on I’ll be making my biscuits with fat-free yogurt and skim milk (I know you’re shocked, mom!) in place of buttermilk.
I used my go-to recipe for buttermilk biscuits. The only change was the buttermilk substitute and the amount of yogurt/milk mixture. I add a bit more than suggested.

  Southern Skim Milk / Fat-Free-Yogurt Biscuits 

I always halve this recipe; full recipe below
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or half wheat flour!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (without aluminum)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup skim, fat-free milk
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage)

PREPARE COLD BUTTER AND YOGURT/MILK MIXTURE: Cut the butter into small cubes or grate the butter with a cheese grater. Place the butter in the freezer. Measure out the milk/yogurt mixture (or buttermilk, if using), and place it in the refrigerator as you prepare the dry ingredients.

DRY INGREDIENTS/BUTTER INTEGRATION: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubed/grated butter into the dry ingredients and mix into the dry mixture until the butter bits resemble small pebbles. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

ADDITION OF LIQUIDS: Next, add the cold yogurt/milk mixture and stir until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Make sure the mixture is not too dry or too wet. Adjust accordingly. The biscuit dough should be wet.

PAT IT OUT!: Turn the dough out onto a floured board or clear wrap/cling wrap. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick (I fold the dough using the cling/clear wrap so that my warm hands do not directly touch the dough or warm the butter). Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.

BISCUIT FORMATION: Use a round cutter to cut into rounds OR with a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares, like I did!

COOKIE SHEET PREPARATION: Lightly brush the cookie sheet with butter, and place the biscuits on a cookie sheet. If you desire the sides of the biscuits to be soft, put them on the sheet touching each other. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart.

PREHEAT OVEN: Place the cookie tray of biscuits in the freezer while the oven preheats to 450F/230C. This step will allow the butter in the dough to remain cold and to create a flaky biscuits with light layers.

BAKE AND ENJOY!: Once the oven is at temperature, bake the biscuits for about 10-12 minutes.

Easy SAUSAGE GRAVY with skim milk

2 links of raw sausage, remove casing
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 – 2 cups skim milk
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper

Cook sausage in a thick skillet, like a cast-iron. Once the sausage is cooked thoroughly, add 1 Tbsp of oil to the sausage, if needed. Next add the flour directly to the meat. Stir until the meat is coated with the flour and oil. There should be a brown film on the bottom of the skillet. Next, add the milk 1/2 cup at a time until the gravy reaches the thickness you desire. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Copyright – Memoria James –

Mom’s Blueberry Salad

As you can see, I didn’t bother styling this salad. I just let it be. . .
A little more than 24 hours ago my mom arrived safely at home after spending more than 3 weeks with her favorite and only offspring – me :). While I love her dearly and enjoy spending time with her, I have to admit it is nice to have my bed and my place to myself again. 
On the day I made the pasta on the previous post, my mother volunteered to make the salad *gasp!*. My longtime readers know that my mom doesn’t like nor knows how to cook. However, she is the master of chopping veggies and throwing together salad-like meals (case in point – the pizza she decorated).
After spending too much time eating salads from Panera Bread as a graduate student in upstate New York, my mother’s tastebuds changed somewhat drastically. So, upon her return to Texas a few years ago, I was surprised when she told me that she now likes olives, which she at one point detested. To make matters worse Also, she became fond of adding various fruits, onions, and nuts to her salad. Now, I know that most foodies like these additions to salads, but I am boring a purist. All I fancy on my salads are lettuce (the simple kind like the water-drenched, nutrient-lacking iceberg lettuce or healthier, romaine lettuce), red tomatoes (mom and I agree on extra tomatoes), cheese, and ranch dressing. If I feel like eating a “fancier” salad, I may add on hard-boiled eggs and cucumbers but nothing more than those two ingredients. 
My favorite thing about this salad? The ratio of tomatoes to everything else.

So, when my mom volunteered to make this salad, I had completely forgotten about the changes in her food preferences until I saw the salad she placed in front of my camera. I instantly gave her my shocked look and promptly said, “Mo-om, it has blueberries, olives, and walnuts in it!” While rubbing her hands together in delight with a fork in one hand she said, “YUM! I know! (pause) Oh! I forgot you don’t like those things in your salad! (proceeds to flick her hand nonchalantly) You can just pick them out. They won’t hurt!” Thanks a lot, mom!

Fortunately the salad was pretty photogenic. Once we sat down to eat our meal, I did remove the unwanted items immediately to the disappointment of my parental figure. I also made sure to get the part of the salad withOUT the yucky bleu cheese dressing on it. Her pour/action shot was cute, but I wish it would have been ranch dressing instead. 
Anyway, there’s no real recipe for this salad. I will just list the ingredients she used and likes to use just in case you feel like venturing out with salads – if you haven’t already. I apologize now for not joining you. . . 🙂

Mom’s Blueberry Salad
Roma tomatoes
Black or green olives
Fresh blueberries
Chopped walnuts
Hard-boiled eggs
Freshly-chopped mushrooms
Purple onions

Other possible ingredients (feel free to add more in the comments section):
Orange slices (including mandarin oranges)
Chopped Pecans
Romaine Lettuce
Feta cheese
Copyright – Memoria James –

Cream of Tomato Soup

Here’s another dish I had to consume during my wisdom teeth “saga” (I exaggerate, of course). This soup was very good and hearty. However, it didn’t take long for me to get tired of soups. What I liked about this recipe was that it had a small enough yield for one or two people compared to the soup recipe from Ina Garten (why do most of her recipes yield so much?).

Anyway, make sure you season this soup well. If you’re eating this soup right after an extraction, purée the soup more than I did. I ate this after 3 or 4 days of my extraction, and I was lazy, so I didn’t purée it. I will be sharing one more soup I consumed during my extraction, then we can move on to solid foods again hehe. On the top of the soup, I added small squares of a grilled cheese sandwich as garnish!

Cream of Tomato Soup
adapted from Life’s Ambrosia and Ina Garten

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup chicken broth or dry white wine (I don’t drink alcohol, so I used extra broth)
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted or regular crushed tomatoes (I always use a box of Pomì)
3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp granulated sugar (to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes)
Black pepper
Kosher salt
1/2 cup half-n-half or heavy cream

Chopped fresh basil
Grilled cheese sandwich chopped into squares

In a large saucepan heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted add onions and garlic, cook until onion is softened about 5 minutes. Add in 2 Tbsp of flour to form a roux. Cook the roux for 3-5 minutes. Pour in broth or wine, and allow to cook for 1 minute. Add in crushed tomatoes, vegetable or chicken broth and granulated sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

Slowly stir the cream/half-n-half into the soup, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

For a smoother soup, blend the mixture, and process it until smooth. Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh basil and/or grilled cheese sandwich squares.


Copyright – Memoria James –

Blackberry Cobbler with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Blackberry Cobbler with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Blackberry CobblerHankering for some Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream? Yes, please! Then you’re in the right spot!

When strawberry season was well underway, I wanted to go to a berry farm near where I live. I saw a link to all the picking farms in the United States (and many other countries) and found 2 places that sounded promising. Then, after I saw photos of some beautiful, enticing strawberries on Monica’s photo site, Natural Lighting, I had to ask where she got the berries (actually, I just found out that strawberries are NOT berries. Read more about it here.). She told me that she got them from Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls, Texas.

Blackberry farm

Because I don’t like to go to public places by myself (yeah, I have issues), I waited for my mom to arrive to go to the farm. Well, rain happened; my mom didn’t want to go to the farm at first; and then, finally we went the day before she left….and guesss what?! We came the very day after the strawberries were in season there!! ARGH! I was so disappointed. I had been wanting to go for so long. Next time, I will have to get over my fears and go alone haha.

Blackberry Farm
My mom washing her hands after berry picking. Her box was empty because we were going on our second round to look for any leftover strawberries. We were unsuccessful in our quest. 🙁

Anyway, even though the strawberries were no longer in season there, the blackberries were coming in with fury. So, my mother and I grabbed a box each and picked a bunch of these dark beauties. I thought I’d add that I picked the most berries*.Blackberries*sidenote: Ignore the comment my mom is going to make about her picking the hard-to-get-ones-for-me-because-they-were-deep-behind-or-in-the-middle-of-a-bunch-of-thorns blackberries for me. Don’t believe her! She was just delirious from the hot sun! LOL!

So, what did I do with these luscious berries?! I made the only type of fruit cobbler I like – the one with a pie-pastry-like topping as opposed to cobblers with biscuits on top of the fruit. Behold a yummy Blackberry Cobbler with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Yum!

blackberry cobbler ice creamI searched everywhere for the right recipe for a pastry-topping for this Blackberry Cobbler. I remember finding the perfect one over a year ago that I had made with peaches two or three times. Since I have a new laptop (I’M STILL A PC AND AM DARN PROUD OF IT! WOOHOO!), I no longer had that website bookmarked. Fortunately, I found the site again because the recipe is popular even though it was posted in 2006. In addition to his recipe, I picked and chose other ingredients and methods from three other recipes to end up with the one that is warm and settled in my tummy right now as I type. YUM!
Blackberry Cobbler

This Blackberry Cobbler was amazing. My only mistake was not mushing up the berries. I think it is definitely a personal preference, but I didn’t like tasting the less-hot interior of the berries after the first two bites. I think it would have been a better balance of crunchy, butter pastry taste and sweet, sour, berry taste if I had mushed them a bit. Nevertheless, it was still amazing.

Blackberry Cobbler

I had run out of butter *GASP THE HORROR!* due to a 3-STICK ERROR (it still makes me sad to know I wasted that much butter) in a chocolate frosting I made, so I had to use butter-flavored shortening in the crust. I think the shortening caused the crust to be harder to handle. It still worked out in the end.

If you would like to use another pie pastry recipe, feel free to do so. I doubled the pastry recipe and used 2 extra cups of fruit because of the size of my dish (I will be blogging about this dish very soon). I like the double layer of pastry because you get a good amount of contrasting, yet complementary flavors.

Blackberry Cobbler

Don’t forget to make some vanilla bean ice cream to go with your Blackberry Cobbler!!

Don’t forget to check cout a plethora of other ice cream flavors such as vanilla bean with brown sugar, espresso, milk chocolate, Mexican chocolate, gelato al limone, chocolate chip cookie dough, coffee, double chocolate toffee, mint chocolate chip (w/extract), and Mint Oreo Ice Cream!


Blackberry Cobbler – The Pie Pastry Variation
adapted from Stephen Cooks and other sites

Yield: 6 – 8 modest servings

Pastry (I doubled this for an 11″ oval dish) for the blackberry cobbler:
1-1/2 C flour
6 T butter
3 T shortening
1/2 tsp salt
3 T ice water
1/4 C sugar

Fruit Filling for the blackberry cobbler:
6 C blackberries
3/4-1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup AP flour
2 T cornstarch
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 T melted butter

To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, shortening, salt and sugar in the processor bowl with the steel blade. Pulse a few times until the mixture is like cornmeal. Add the ice water and pulse a few times, just enough to mix the water into the other ingredients. Turn the mixture out into a plastic food storage bag (it will be crumbly, not yet like dough) and quickly knead it through the bag a few strokes, till it just starts to hold together. Refrigerate for an hour or more.
Pastry processMeanwhile, preheat oven to 475º. Combine the blackberries, sugar, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir mixture until you see mostly the color of the berries.Taste and correct seasoning and sugar content. Stir in the melted butter (I didn’t have butter, so I added the 1/2 Tbsp left of COLD butter to the top of the filling right before baking. See photo below).

Reserve and keep cold 1/3 of the dough. Roll out the rest to the approximate shape of your dish. (I used an 11″ oval baking dish with double the pastry, but with the recipe as is, you can use a 5″ x 9″ oval baking dish about an inch and a half deep or a 6″ square dish or 7″ round dish). Butter the baking dish and spoon in half of the fruit mixture. Lay the pastry sheet over the fruit.

Bake about 12 minutes in a preheated 475º oven, until the pastry is just starting to brown. Spoon in the rest of the fruit mixture.

Blackberry Cobbler lattice
Ooops! I messed up on the collage of process photos. Just ignore the first and last photos.
 Roll out the reserved dough, cut in strips and lay in a lattice pattern over the fruit.
Lattice before baking

Sprinkle with sugar and bake about 15 minutes more, until the fruit is bubbling and the lattice is browned.

Blackberry Cobbler baked

Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.
Spoon of blackberry cobbler

Copyright – Memoria James –

Jerk Chicken with Rice and “Peas”

When I make international dishes, I try to be as authentic and traditional as I can possibly be as I was with the Murgh Makhani, Tamales, and Lasagne al Ragù. However, there are times when I work so hard one part of a recipe, that some component of the side dish fails a bit in authenticity. Such is the case with this Jerk Chicken with Rice and “Peas”.

The first time I ever tried Jerk Chicken was in New York City (is that right, mom?) a few years ago when my mom was attending NYU for her grad degree. We went to a small Jamaican restaurant in the outskirts of the major city. I had heard of the dish before but had never tried it before. After my first bite, I fell in love instantly and never forgot about that experience.
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to eat the dish again until I made it a few days ago. So, this is my second time tasting this flavorful, spicy chicken dish that originated in Jamaica. Once the marinade is mixed together, everything else is very easy. So, the key to Jerk Chicken is the marinade. It is comprised of many ingredients that vary from recipe to recipe. However, the universal ingredients are Scotch Bonnet or Habañero (don’t forget the “ñ”! Without it, the pronunciation changes) peppers and pimiento or allspice berries.

I did research on Youtube and did a regular search as I always do when I look for an authentic recipe, if I don’t have a traditional cookbook. I looked for Jamaicans preparing the meal to see how they did it and then compared their methods with others found online and other sources. I finally settled on a recipe from a website called Jamaica Travel and Culture.
Okay, here is how I broke the code of authenticity: First, I grilled the chicken in the oven instead of on the grill. Second, I didn’t play reggae as I cooked :). Third, for the rice and “peas” (the recipe calls for “red peas”, which are really kidney beans), I used black beans instead of kidney beans because I didn’t have the latter. Fourth, I did add in coconut milk. I just couldn’t. I already don’t like coconut very much, so I just couldn’t pour 1/2 cup of the stuff in my rice and beans. I just couldn’t….and I didn’t. Lastly, I didn’t have 1/2 cup worth of soy sauce, so I used what I had.
Nevertheless, everything tasted really good. The chicken was still too spicy even though I used only half of the marinade. I reserved some of the marinade, and used it as a sauce. If you use all of your marinade in with the chicken, be sure to boil the sauce before using it. I just kept some of the marinade separate from the raw chicken. The rice and peas dish was really flavorful and helped cool the tongue down from the spicy chicken. Okay, I’ll shut up now and give you all the recipe. Please visit the cook’s website to see process photos or watch the video of her in action.
GIVEAWAY REMINDER: If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter in my giveaway! The deadline is at midnight! If the number of questions is deterring you from entering, just tell me which cookbook you would like in order to qualify.

Jerk Chicken
halved & adapted from Jamaica Culture and Travel (full version)

One 3 1/2 lb chicken (3lb of chicken breasts may be used if preferred)
6 sliced scotch bonnet peppers (I used 2 habañeros in my halved version, & it was still hot.)
2 Tbsp. thyme (I used a few sprigs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped)
2 Tbsp. ground allspice (I crushed allspice berries in a mortar and pestle)
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used 1 Tbsp of leftover ginger/garlic paste)
3 medium onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 to 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp nutmeg
1-2 tsp ginger (I used 1 Tbsp of leftover ginger/garlic paste)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1 cup orange juice (I used 2-3 fresh oranges)
1 cup white vinegar

Chop the onions, garlic and peppers. These do not need to be chopped too fine as they will be liquidized by the blender or food processor. Blend all of the ingredients (excluding the chicken) in a blender to make the jerk sauce.

The marinade added to the raw chicken.

Cut the chicken up in to 4 pieces. Rub the sauce in to the meat, saving some for basting and dipping later (I made slits in the chicken like I did with the murgh makhani). Leave the chicken in the fridge to marinade overnight up to 2 days.

OVEN: Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turn the meat then bake for a further 30 minutes. OR Slow cook the meat at 212 degrees (100 degrees C) for 45-60 minutes per side.

GRILL: Grill the meat slowly until cooked, turning regularly. Baste with some of the remaining marinade while cooking. For best results, cook over a charcoal barbecue (ideally over a rack of pimento wood).

Chop each quarter chicken portion in to 5 or 6 smaller pieces using a heavy cleaver. Use a wooden spoon (or something similar) to hold the chicken in place whilst chopping and NOT YOUR HAND (you will be chopping with enough pressure to cut through bone!!!). (This step is not necessary if you’re using chicken parts or drumsticks, like I did). While chicken is baking, make the rice and peas.

Rice and Peas
adapted from Jamaica Culture and Travel

3 cups of rice (I used regular, long grain rice; however, I assume you could use brown rice)
1 can of tinned or 1 cup of fresh red peas (use kidney beans or pigeon peas; I used black beans)
5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 uncut scotch bonnet pepper (1 habañero or jalapeño pepper. I didn’t have any more peppers)
3 Scallion (spring onions may be used as a substitute)
1 tin (or one cup) of coconut milk (if you dare! hahaha)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (2 teaspoons of dried thyme may be used as a substitute)

FRESH PEAS/BEANS: If you are using fresh peas or beans, then wash them. Pour on three cups of water and leave to soak overnight.

CANNED PEAS/BEANS: Skip this step.

Crush the garlic and add to seven cups of boiling water. If you are using FRESH peas add them now and boil for 45 minutes. Test to see if the peas are cooked by crushing a few of them. If they crush easily, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Add your CANNED beans (if using), coconut milk, rice, salt, black pepper and thyme to the mix. Crush the scallion (do not chop), and add to mixture. Also add the UNCUT scotch bonnet pepper, to give it a subtle peppery flavor.

The rice and peas should be ready after about 40 minutes (exact cooking time will depend on the brand of rice used).

Copyright – Memoria James –


Only a few of you guessed which statement was true about me for the Honest Scrap Award. I was waiting until today to tell you all what the truth is. So, let’s go through each one, shall we?

1. I speak 5 languages fluently.
I wish!! I speak about three languages fluently enough to have long conversations and even arguments haha: English, Spanish, and Portuguese. (My mom would tell you that I know 7 to 99 languages. Please don’t listen to her; she’s biased.) I can read, conjugate all verbs, and understand Italian, but I still have a long way to go with that language. I have a reading knowledge of French. Now, I’m learning Korean, and I love it!

2. I used to be a cosmetologist.
Almost true! For about 2 semesters, I took cosmetology courses to help pay for “real” school later on and realized I was wasting my time because I wasn’t good at doing any of the stuff except for the written tests. So, I was too much of a book nerd to be a cosmetologist. On top of that, I caused a lady to walk out of our school building with one barely-gone eyebrow! OOPS!

3. I am a member of the “Mile-High Club”.
NO WAY, JOSÉ! I have nothing else to add to that. LOL! (Shame on you, Jorge, for thinking this was true hahaha)

4. I have some Irish in my blood.
YEP! This is the truth! Also, it is the reason I made this yummy cabbage & potato dish today! I guess one of the only beneficial consequences of slavery in the United States was the blending of cultures and races that especially came about as a result of secretive, amorous or sexual relationships between slave masters and their subjects.

5. I love nuts and alcohol!
Well, I’m sure almost all of my readers know that this one is so NOT true. I do, however, like nuts in Snickers and Toblerone. I guess it is because I can’t taste the nuts; I like the crunchy texture mixed in with the soft nougat, chewy caramel, and smooth chocolate in Snickers.
Well, I know you’ve seen this dish EVERYWHERE on the blogosphere. I chose this popular dish because I don’t like corned beef, and I don’t know of many traditional, Irish dishes as I should. Whenever my mother and I make a trip to Ireland, I hope to remedy that.
This dish was easy to put together. It tasted insanely good for a vegetarian, healthy meal. You’ve probably noticed that not many veggies are showcased on my blog, so embrace this post!! I did add some thick, turkey ham to the dish, though. The carnivorous addition intensified the dish.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

reduced and adapted by Good Mood Blog (Donal, a true Irishman with lovely photos) and Tasty Traveller

2 med-large Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 an onion, chopped into small or large pieces (your preference)
1/4th of a cabbage, chopped (Donal suggests savoy cabbage, but I couldn’t find it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped (I used a few Tbsps of dried parsley)
1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)
2 Tbsp butter

Chop the potatoes, onions, and cabbage before starting.

Place the prepared potatoes in a saucepan and fill with water to boil. Once the water has boiled, turn down the heat, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, until fork easily goes through the potatoes.
Meanwhile, place 1 Tbsp of butter in a hot skillet, and sauté onions until translucent, then set aside.
Drain the potatoes, reserving the water for the cabbage. Place the cooked potatoes in a big serving bowl or casserole dish. Pour the reserved water back in to the saucepan, and boil the water. Place the chopped cabbage into the water, and cook for 6-8 minutes.
Place the onions, salt, pepper, and parsley into the serving bowl or dish with the cooked potatoes. Then add the cooked cabbage, and stir with a wooden spoon. Place 1-2 Tbsp of butter on top, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve, and enjoy!!

Copyright – Memoria James –