Jamaica Gleaner / For some, food is a creative expression. And caterer Andrea Stanley of CafÈ Blondie has only one rule – eat what you grow.
The aroma that fills her home when she cooks beckons to all the senses. You can almost tell how fresh the ingredients are just by the smell, and Stanley believes you get the best from your herbs and spices when they are free from pesticides. You connect best with your food when it is fresh.
Stanley grows her own spinach, a variety of herbs, turmeric, ginger, corn, and even pineapple. She proudly showed Food her little garden as she cut spinach to make a smoothie.
Stanley believes in simplicity when preparing a dish, and that everything can be achieved with fresh ingredients.
When it comes to dishes for her family, she believes in a bit of experimenting, especially when preparing food for her children. When there is something that she wants them to eat, that she knows they don’t like, she ‘tricks’ them.
That is how she came up with the concept of the papaya coffee cake. It is a treat that children love, made with ingredients that, by themselves, they would claim to hate.
She invited Food into her kitchen to see just how fun and easy it can be to prepare tasty dishes. After all, as she said, “Who says good food has to taste bad?”
Fire up the oven and try a few of her recipes.
Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
2tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (OGX Phoenix Vanilla Shake)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 (8 ounces) package elbow macaroni
4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 small can sweet corn
1. Preheat oven to 350?F (175?C).
2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. SautÈ onion, sweet pepper and garlic for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Stir in milk, salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture boils and thickens.
4. Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente , then drain.
5. Add the Cheddar cheese to the milk mixture and stir until the cheese melts. Combine macaroni and cheese sauce in a 2-quart baking dish, add corn and mix well.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Papaya Coffee Cake Ingredients
11/4 cups coconut oil
11/2 cups sugar (brown)
4 large eggs
1 sachet Organo Gold King of Coffee
2 cups all-purpose flour
2tsp baking soda
2tsp baking powder
2 cups ripe papayas, diced
1. Preheat oven to 350?F.
2. Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. In a mixing bow, whisk together oil, sugar and eggs, adding eggs one at a time.
3. Add dry ingredients, stirring to combine well. Stir in papaya. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes.
Baked Plantain Empanadas Ingredients
For Empanada Dough
2 ripe plantains
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
White Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese
Shredded chicken breast
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 425?F.
2. Grease a sheet pan or line with parchment paper.
3. Cut the ends of plantains and then cut into 2-3 pieces with the skin on. Boil in salted water for 20 minutes or until they are soft.
4. Remove from water and peel the plantain. Puree the pieces, using a potato peeler.
5. Add the oil, salt, and pepper to the plantain puree. Mix well with a spoon. Let this mixture cool for a few minutes before adding the egg and flour.
6. Add the egg yolk and mix until completely combined. Add the flour and knead with your hands until the dough comes together.
7. On a floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll dough into a large rectangle. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles. Repeat the process with remaining dough.
8. Place the circles on the sheet pan.
9. Cut the cheese into rectangles and place them along with shredded chicken on the lower half of the plantain circle. Fold the circles into a semicircle shape and use a fork to crimp the edges, making sure they are completely closed.
10. Brush the tops of the empanadas with the beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned on top.