Adventures in Food: Jerk Chicken

Jerk marinade-- pre-blend. K.Barnes

Jerk marinade– pre-blend. K.Barnes

One of my favourite places in the world is Jamaica. Beautiful landscape, friendly people and tasty, tasty food. Just hours after we landed in Montego Bay, we grabbed some jerk chicken and pork at a local joint The Pork Pit and I loved it. I love spicy food. Some people find adventure and thrills in skydiving; I find it in fiery food. After that, I was trying jerk anywhere we went–roadside stops, local restaurants and bars.

I love jerk– the spiciness, the complexity of the flavors melding together, the slightly charred bits. I love BBQ– I blame it on my Kansas City, Missouri roots (if you don’t know, KC loves it some BBQ). I do typically prefer a classic KC bbq– slow-roasted with a sweet but spicy tomato-based sauce. Jerk is a totally different type of bbq than I’m used to, but it’s still pretty fantastic.

After some recipe trial and error, I’ve come up with the following recipe. Not super authentic, but it works in a pinch.  One of these days, I’ll figure out how to make it with pork. Traditionally, jerk is slow cooked over pimento wood–almost smoked. My apartment balcony barbecue doesn’t have the capacity to smoke, so I use a gas grill. :/

I need a better grill... K.Barnes

I need a better grill… K.Barnes

For jerk marinade:

  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, loosely chopped
  • 5-6 fresh habanero chile, stemmed and seeded (if you don’t have gloves, put your non-knife hand in a plastic bag to avoid getting the juice on you)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsps soy sauce
  • 3  tbsps olive oil
  • 1.5 oz amber rum
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 lbs of chicken with skin and bone (legs and thighs, about 5 each)

Throw all ingredients except for chicken in a blender. Blend until smooth. Put chicken and marinade in a zipper plastic bag. Leave for at least one day, turning once in while. Grill on a greased grill, medium-low heat. To keep it more moist, I usually start with the chicken in foil to keep it from drying out on the gas grill. If you have a charcoal grill or smoker– even better! Once the chicken is nearly cooked, I move it onto the flames directly and crank the heat up to give it a nice, blackened look. Serve with watermelon, grilled pineapple or any other tropical fruits you like.  Drink a rum and ginger beer.

Jerk chicken with grilled pineapple. K.Barnes

Jerk chicken with grilled pineapple. K.Barnes

Adventures in Food: Granola

 

Maple Cinnamon Granola. K.Barnes

Maple Cinnamon Granola. K.Barnes

I had forgotten how much I loved granola until I met up with a friend at the Highlevel Diner for breakfast a couple of weeks ago. The Highlevel’s granola is crunchy, flavourful, loaded with all sorts of grains, nuts and raisins, and served with fresh fruit. I wanted to make something similar for my breakfast before work (or at work in many cases), and this is the recipe I put together.

I’ll still visit HLD for their amazing cinnamon buns, though!

Maple-Cinnamon Granola

  • 3 cups regular oats (not quick)
  • 1 cup slivered or chopped almonds
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup amber maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix all ingredients except for cranberries in a bowl. Spread a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Stir and bake for another 15 or 20 minutes. It should be golden brown when you pull it out of the oven. Let it cool and mix with the dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. Serve with dairy or non-dairy (I like almond milk) and fresh fruit of your choice.

Adventures in Food: The “Back Home” Edition

I’ve long believed that food is a narrative.  If you look at the ingredients and the cooking style, food tells you where you are, where you’ve been, who you are, or even who you want to be. Food tells a story.

Back in Tkaronto (Toronto), I was disappointed with my choices of food. A lot of it bland and boring. Eventually I found a few haunts I enjoyed, and one of my favourites was Caplansky’s Deli.

Smoked Meat Fresser Credit: Caplansky's Deli

Smoked Meat Fresser. Cue the drooling.  Credit: Caplansky’s Deli

Caplansky’s Deli is a Toronto institution– a classic Jewish deli on College Street that everyone should visit at least once. Chances are, you’ll visit again. Whether it was a smoked meat sandwich, split pea soup, a salad, maple and beef bacon donuts, I always loved what I ordered.

Food at Caplansky’s told a story– the story of the Jewish diaspora in Toronto. It’s a story of a rich cultural history, rooted in tradition, but willing to adapt and progress with the changes of time. They make their own smoked meat, and many other foods, in house, but they also sell cheeky t-shirts and house-made mustard; they also opened one of Toronto’s most recognizable food trucks.

Dammit, just thinking about Caplansky’s makes me want their smoked meat sandwich. Sadly, I doubt I’ll be able to find anything here in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) even close; Caplansky’s is a unique story, one not likely to be replicated.

But the same can be said for food in Edmonton.

Poor woman's cheese and charcuterie. photo by K.Barnes

Poor woman’s cheese and charcuterie– a story I’m learning to tell on my own. Photo by K.Barnes

In Edmonton, the farmers’ markets are unparalleled. Fresh, local fruit and veggies. Baked goods. Organic, free-range meats– even game meats! I found it so hard to grocery shop in Toronto, but being back in Edmonton, I suddenly want to eat everything. In Edmonton, there is value in hunting/growing/making your own food. Quality, local food is celebrated. The relationship with the land is much different, and it has an impact on the food available.

While I could easily go back into my old favourites for food here in Edmonton, I think I need to find new adventures in food. New stories.

Even if I have to learn to make it myself and tell the stories on my own. First stop– smoked meat?

The Bluegrass State stole my heart

On our trip back home, we took a detour into Kentucky– land of horses, bourbon, and the TV show Justified (I believe in Boyd Crowder!). I absolutely loved it there– wonderful people, beautiful landscape, warm weather, tasty food, excellent live music and relatively cheap. I’d go back in a heartbeat, and maybe try to see some more. The pictures below were taken by yours truly and are from Old Friends (retirement home for race horses), Buffalo Trace Distillery, and Keeneland racetrack.

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Edmonton-Toronto-Edmonton in three weeks

Studio cammin' it up! K.Barnes

Studio cammin’ it up! K.Barnes

It’s been super hectic since leaving Edmonton on April 6th. In a week, my partner and I have packed up a large portion of our apartment, worked, gone to school, visited with some friends and have tried to tie up as many lose ends as we can before we leave next Monday.

It was a busy three days back at Humber News, getting into the swing of things, seeing classmates and re-learning iNews.

A few big stories broke this week: HSF removing Tim Brilhante from the office of president, Jim Flaherty dying, the accused murderers of Tim Bosma being charged with other murders… OY!

On Thursday, I wrote the York lawsuit story, Flaherty’s death and HSF. I also ran Kiah’s studio cam– the first time!

On Friday, I was part of the report team that covered HSF fallout. I was mainly research help, but I also interviewed Tim Brilhante (for 20 minutes– yikes!), filmed Josh’s stand-up and assisted with editing and writing. It was super busy, but exciting!

This week, with only two days on the schedule, I’ll be the Sports and Entertainment Editor and Production Assistant! Should be nice and busy in the newsroom, if last week was any indication.

Afterwards, next Monday I’ll be driving back to Edmonton. Driving through the States this time should be a lot better than when we drove through Canada on the move out here. :)

Award Winner!

2013-10-11 19.22.58

John Greyson and Tarek Loubani return to Toronto. Credit: A. Fernandes

This morning I was notified by my program coordinator that I was the recipient of two Digital Media Gold Circle Awards with the Colombia Scholastic Press Association: one in the breaking news category, and another with the secondary news category!

I’m super proud of both pieces, especially since I worked with fantastic people for each piece and we all worked hard.

Kiah Welsh and I spent a very long time working on a big data journalism piece: a comprehensive, interactive senate expense scandal timeline. It took a lot of work and research, but it turned out great.

Epse Currie, Andrea Fernandes and I busted it at Pearson International Airport when John Greyson and Tarek Loubani returned home after being held in Egypt for fifty days. We were brushing elbows with the national media, or in some cases, accidentally walking in front of the camera in the middle of a stand-up. ;)

Congratulations to all the award winners, but especially the Humber students and grads!

 

Hurtin’ Albertan: The Intern Edition

I tip my hat and it’s good to be back on mountain standard time

I’ve been back in Alberta for the past three weeks, working at Global Edmonton as part of my course credit for school. Six weeks at 40 hours a week = 240 hours. Tagging along with reporters and helping out on their stories. Getting interviews for VO clips and writing the stories. Pitching, researching and chasing. Helping cover the assignment desk.

Mural

Mural on the East side of Global. – k.barnes

In the past three weeks, I’ve learned how to use ENPS (we use iNews/Burli at school) and a bit of Aurora Browse/Edit. I helped out with grabbing interviews and research on “AB Budget Day” at the Legislature and was embargoed– what a day! I was also in the newsroom during the multiple stabbings on the West End. Watching our chopper coverage of the police chase was incredible!

Budget

Tom Vernon interviewing Wildrose leader Danielle Smith at Budget Day in the rotunda. -k.barnes

Still three weeks to go: I’ll be spending more time with the producers, the online team and working on the morning show (overnights!). I can’t wait. :)