03 March 2011

Bloggers' Quandry and Colorful Jerked Beans and Chicken

                                                                                     Image - Doring Kindersley @ Getty Images

Choosing what to post is always such an issue with me. Right from the get-go, this blog has been about sharing the foods that we eat, that I'm interested in learning about, and that I want to pass on to my kids. I love cooking and the more I travel, read, and experience, the more I am amazed at all the food variety there is in the world. Given the finite number of food items on this planet, people find the most amazing ways to combine them for fantastic dishes. Brilliant! I want to play around and sample as many as possible!

Lately though, I have been feeling the pressure from all sides to cut the fat, eat more vegetables, eliminate sugars, eat less red meat, only eat seasonal, brown rice vs white rice, watch out for sustainability issues at the markets, nuts, nuts, nuts, substitute yogurt for dairy that is high in fat, eliminate dairy ... the list seems endless. Being a mindful consumer is a lot of work!

Thus, posting to the blog has become somewhat of a schizophrenic affair ... one day something healthy and the next some bit of decadence that will surely undo the previous day's healthy intake ... I guess I'm just doomed nutritionally, but what a delicious way to go! I truly do strive for moderation, but sometimes, it is really hard. Anyone doing a strict diet and life style change will surely agree. Hell, I'm not doing either and I still find it difficult!

Gorgeous roasted vegetables above, ugly cowpie beneath ... JK.

On that note, a healthy dish with Caribbean influence today ... which brings another quandry. What does a blogger do when it comes to photographing 'ugly food' ? I made this dish a while back just as the recipe stated and it tasted fantastic, but it looked horrible ... all the beautiful colors of the sweet potato, peppers, and green herbs turned to a brown pile after slow-cooking with the black beans. When it was plated, Silent Bob indelicately likened it to cowpies and after we laughed and tried to get past that image, we dug in and it was heavenly! I have been wanting to share it, but ... no ugly pictures!

These ingredients plus rice makes this a vegetarian meal ... add the chicken if you must.

So ... after playing with the recipe a bit, I opted for seasoning the beans and giving them a slow cook, portioning aside some of the onions, peppers and sweet potato and roasting them in the green herbs.

Mustard, thyme, and the Scotch bonnet chilis give this recipe a nice Carib feel ...

When the dish was plated, it was a much better aesthetic experience. To boot, the crusty skin of the roasted sweet potato and the browned edges of the peppers and onions gave the overall dish a new level of texture ... much better all the way around. The photos didn't even compare to that earlier debacle ... I'm glad I revisited Jamaican Beans and Vegetables with Jerk Chicken ... and that's another thing.

Lime juice and the jerk rub ... I used a Pampered Chef Jerk Seasoning

I looked at chicken in the market and turkey cutlets were on sale ... so I did what any cheapskate would, I substituted the turkey cutlets for the chicken thighs.

A word about this recipe - I included directions for plating the beans and veggies, rice, and chicken. I tried to be clear on the timing of the preparations ... sorry if it's confusing. I worked with a timer on the oven and a carry around timer to keep me focused.

We loved this healthy dinner ... and tomorrow I will be baking a decadent cold dessert to share with a bunch from church ... the more the merrier ... and the smaller the portions of that treat. My latest strategy ... no pressure, though!

A word about the recipe ... sorry to leave you with a link, but I was feeling like this was a long post. Hit the link to see the recipe and please DO let me know if you have trouble with the display on the link.

Jamaican Jerked Beans and Chicken - printer friendly



  1. Looks delicious, Susan! That's a great idea to roast some of the vegetables separately to make a colorful, and healthy, topping for the beans!

  2. Susan, this looks delicious and healthy! I can't wait to make it! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend!


  3. I know what you mean about the posts. I second guess myself all the time. Its like when you get dressed for a special event. You try on all kinds of outfits until you find that one that just works. This one works.

  4. We struggle with balancing our idea of healthy, all whole grain (except pasta, my refined grain holdout), meat only once a week, very little dairy and no refined sugar during the week, with feeding small kids and time/energy constraints. Mostly I enjoy the effort of feeding my family but some days the work of it wears me out. I have really loved reading about what you and SB eat. It all sounds so yummy!

  5. Susan, this made me laugh. I absolutely hate when I make something delicious, but it's not the least bit photogenic. It's happened a fair number of times to me. This dish, however, looks wonderful! I love all the colours and it sounds healthy and delicious. Now for some of your maple, pecan and croissant pudding.....

  6. These really sound delicious, and, when all is said and done, taste is what counts. I'm relatively new here and don't often comment, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate the food and recipes you feature here. You've made your blog a lovely spot to visit. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary


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