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Pecan Rum Cake

Thinking of hosting a New Year’ Eve party? If so, treat your guest with a slice of rum cake. It is a classic and easy holiday dessert. I remember watching my grandmother Eunice in the kitchen baking rum cakes every holiday season. Her rum cake was loved by neighbors , family and friends and included various dry fruits that were soaked in rum. This Christmas as I think of my late grandmother, I decided to honor her by baking a rum cake.

Since I am not a fan of fruit in my cakes, I wanted to add another ingredient to enhance the flavor; so I decided to add pecans. With its light and velvety flavor, Appleton Estate dark Jamaican rum was the excellent addition to my recipe. Paired with butter and brown sugar it made the perfect glaze for a slice of cake that will melt in your mouth. Your taste buds will be excited and begging for more.

Drunken Pecan Cake

For cake

1 box of yellow cake
4 Eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Appleton Estate Rum
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs vanilla power
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans

For Glaze

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup water water
1/2 cup Appleton Estate Rum

Instructions for Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix together eggs, vegetable oil, rum, and water until incorporated  using a hand or stand alone mixer
  • Add cake mix and vanilla power and mix for 2 minutes until smooth
  • Spray bunt baking pan with butter. Add sugar equally to the bottom of baking pan making sure that it gets into groves.
  • If adding pecans, sprinkle on the bottom evenly.
  • Pour cake mixture in baking pan. once completed, slightly hit the baking pan on counter to level out and get rid of air bubbles.
  • Bake for 36 minutes or until cake tester is dry
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking pan
  • Once removed from baking pan, use a toothpick to make small holes into the cake
  • Brush cake with glaze until well absorbed. Repeat in 30 minutes
  • Ready to serve or  sit for a few hours for a strong rum finish

Instructions for Glaze

  • In a heavy bottom sauce pan, melt butter and sugar together while constantly stirring. Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat
  • Add water slowly and simmer for another 2 minutes
  • Remove  saucepan from fire and slowly add rum while stirring

Tips

  • For a stronger rum flavor, 3/4 cup rum and 1/4 cup water
  • Pecan lovers can add 1/2 cup pecans
  • If not a pecan lover, substitute for any other nut or simply bake without

Jerk Chicken

Ingredients

6-8 skinless boneless chicken thighs

2 Tbs Jerk Seasoning

1/2 cup Jerk dry rub seasoning

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Season chicken & marinate for a minimum of two hours.

3. Bake for 1 hr or until tender covered

4. Once cooked, uncover for 30min to get crispy

5. Cool before cutting and serve with your favorite side. Because of the Spice, it goes well with sweet potatoes or rice.

Tip:

For better flavor, cook on an outside charcoal grill.

Tri-Tip Chili

I was so excited about the rain this past weekend that it put me in a great mood to cook. For months now I have been talking to family and friends about making smoked tri-tip chili and now was the perfect opportunity. I bought a few cans of beans and the tri-tip was already prepared which made the opportunity and process much more easy and exciting.

Envisioning this chili to be filled with smoky flavor from the grilling process of the Tri-tip, I gathered all my spices for extra enhancement. Using a heavy hand with the cumin, chili powder and bay leaves helped me accomplish my goal. A glass of dry red wine ( with a smoky, cocoa note) was also added and it was a great compliment to the overall flavor.

Chili is best when it simmers on low heat for hours. My recipe simmered for about two. Onions, green onions, sour cream and cheese are all great toppings and that can be added to this soul comforting meal.

 

 

Ingredients

1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs oil
1 can pinto beans, dark red kidney beans, Tri- bean blend, light red kidney beans
2 28oz Cans of five tomatoes
3 cups water
2 pack McCormick Chili seasoning mix
5 lbs of smoked Tri-Tip
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 seasoning salt
1 tsp salt
7 bay leaves
1 Tbs brown sugar

 

Directions

1. Dice onion and garlic
2. On low heat, simmer until translucent in soup pot or cast iron pot. Add both cans of dice tomatoes
3. Open cans of beans and pour into stainer to rinse off excessive liquid
4. Add rinsed beans to pot
5. Add 3 cups water and one pack of chili seasoning mix to pot. Stir, Cover and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer.
7. Cut Tri-Tip into cube and add to pot.
8. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking
9. Add another chili seasoning mix and 1/2 cup red wine
10. Add remaining of seasoning and simmer on medium to low heat for 2 hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking
11. Serve hot with your favorite toppings.

Chicken Soup

I’ve been battling a terrible cold for a few weeks now and needed something to get me feel better. I remember as a child, whenever I wasn’t feeling well, the women in my family would make this amazing Jamaican chicken and veggies soup. Now, I find myself doing the same for my family.

It is rich of wonderful vegetables such as turnips, chayote, carrots, onions and my favorite kabato pumpkin. Combining these veggies with chicken, spices, herbs and a pack of Grace chicken noodle mix delivers a soup that will aid in a speedy recovery and a lot of flavor for those lost taste buds.

Ingredients

14 cup(s) water
1 Kabato pumpkin
3 medium carrot
2 clove(s) garlic
2 turnips
2 Chayotes
2 tbs  salt
1 tsp all spice
1 onion
1 packet(s) Grace Cock Soup Mix
2 stalk(s) escallion (green onion)
3 sprig(s) thyme
6-8 pieces of drumettes
6 whole pimento berries
1 whole scotch bonnet pepper

Directions

  • Clean and wash chicken in a vinegar or lemon and add with water in soup pot on medium heat.
  • Grate 1 carrot and add to pot.
  • Dice pumpkin, 2 carrots, turnips, chayotes and add to pot.
  • Cut onion into four sections along with crush garlic and add to pot.
  • As the pot comes to a boil, it will began to foam up. Using a large spoon, take foam off top and throw away.
  • Add salt, all spice, 3 pimento berries, 1 escalation, and 1 sprig of thyme. Cook for 45 minutes.  Stir constantly to prevent sticking at the bottom of pot.
  • Add Grace Cock Soup Mix and stir into the soup along with remaining of escallion, thyme, pimento berries and scotch bonnet pepper.
  • Stir the mixture, cover and leave to simmer for a further 15 minutes.

 

Note: This soup is great with any vegetable of choice and an also be made vegan or vegetarian.

 

Fried Ripe Plantains

Plantains also known as cooking bananas are a great snack or addition to a meal. As a child, they were and still are one of my favorite snacks. Growing up in Jamaica, I remember my grandfather having acres of plantain trees and watching the process from small bananas buds to ripen plantains was an amazing experience. They typically have a vibrant yellow color which can be very appealing to birds as well as humans.

This highly starchy fruit can be enjoyed ripe or unripe and have various ways it can be prepared. Plantain porridge and chips are just a few ways this fruit is prepared . Personally, I prefer them ripe because of their naturally sweet flavor, however when I am craving something salty; the unripe ones are just as delicious. Cinnamon, brown sugar or powdered sugar are great ways to their flavors enhancers and per your preference you can add only one or all three.