Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hey Mon! - An Ode To Sunny Anderson

You should really enlarge this first picture! Just click on it to enlarge it!

So, we all know how much I love Sunny Anderson, right? I mean – seriously. At first it was Sara Moulton – remember her? Then it used to be Ming Tsai with East Meets West. Then Rachel Ray. Then Ina Garten (who I am still in love with). But now, it’s Sunny Anderson. She’s like the greatest, hottest thing to hit DirecTV’s channel 231. She did a show recently where she did this cucumber drink. I swore I wasn’t going to try it. But the foodie in me wouldn’t let it rest. I tried it – and let me tell you – it’s my NEW FAVORITE DRINK. Please, please, please give this drink a try.

So, I developed a whole menu around the drink. What did I plan? Jerk Chicken, Coconut Spinach, and Sweet Potato Risotto. You can’t have a Caribbean inspired meal without plantains, right? They were on the plate as well. I finished it off with Sunny’s Mean Green Cucumber Juice.

Jerk Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut and cleaned

1 tablespoon of each (ginger, mustard seeds, hot paprika, thyme, fennel seeds, black pepper, red pepper, and ground cloves)

¼ cup of each (white sugar, brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, and fresh lime juice)

5 cloves of minced garlic

1 habanero pepper, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl except for the chicken. Reserve ¼ cup of marinade to baste over chicken. Put the chicken in a plastic freezer bag. Pour the marinade over it. Let it sit in the refridgerator overnight. Bake in a 385 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until done. Be sure to baste chicken every 7-8 minutes with reserved maridade.

Coconut Spinach

4 strips of bacon, cut and rendered

1 bunch (about 4 cups) of fresh spinach

¼ cup of coconut milk

1 teaspoon of each (salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes)

½ a medium onion, sliced

2 cloves of minced garlic

In the same pan as the rendered bacon, over medium high heat add onions and garlic. Cook for approximately 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and seasonings. Once well incorporated add spinach and cook until wilted.

Mean Green Cucumber Juice

2 English cucumbers

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups water

Special equipment: cheesecloth

Peel the cucumbers, saving the peels. Grate cucumber flesh on a box grater. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. When sugar dissolves, add the grated cucumber and simmer until cucumber is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In a blender, puree reserved cucumber peel and cucumber syrup until smooth. Line a strainer with cheese cloth over a bowl. Strain cucumber mixture. Gather cheesecloth in 1 hand to squeeze out all of the juice. Chill until cool, about 1 hour. Serve in glasses over ice.

Sweet Potato Risotto

1 ½ cups of Risotto style rice

3 cups of chicken stock

1 medium sized sweet potato, cubed (about 1 ½ cups)

3 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes

Prepare Risotto according to instructions using chicken stock. Once mixture begins to boil add sweet potatoes and cook until rice is done and sweet potatoes are tender. When most of the liquid has evaporated gently fold in butter and seasonings.


The coconut spinach with bacon, onion, and garlic!

A finished pic of the jerk chicken - glad I've got non stick!

Frying up a few plantains.

Plating - yup - the triangle plate couldn't stay gone for long.

You're supposed to grate the cucumber...I had to chop it.

The cucumber boiling away in the simple syrup.

Getting a whirl in the blender!

The bacon, onions, and garlic.

Sunny said use a cheese cloth - I didn't have one. This was the best I could do.

I used a whole's cheaper and really easy to cut up.

Limes, garlic, and a scotch bonnet pepper for the marinade.

I reserved some of the marinade and let the rest do it's magic over the chicken.

I just love chicken...don't you?


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love Jerk Chicken! That Coconut Spinach sounds mighty interesting! A wonderful meal!



Timah said...

I just so happen to have a whole chicken and a bunch of spinach sitting in my fridge (with no concrete plan of how to prepare it), so I'm going to try this for dinner some time this week. Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the inspiration.

Swedish Mike said...

Darius, this looks well good!

I think I'll have to make myself some of that Sweet Potato Risotto soon.

// Mike

Prudy said...

Love all the pics of this sure fire hit!

houstonmacbro said...

Okay, no you didn't got there with Sara Moulton! Hilarious. But I am also in love with Ina Garten. Not sure why.

Anyhow, I love jerk chicken but have always shied away from cooking it. I always think it's gonna end up firery hot and just unpalatable. No?

I might have to try a milder jerk seasoning or your recipe listed here which doesn't sound nearly as hot.

Thanks again for keeping me gastronomically enlightened and inspired.

Sunny Anderson said...

yaaaaay! i'm so glad you liked the juice! crazy right? simple and yummy ... your chicken looks tasty too!!! great pics!

Happy cook said...

I just clicked the picture to enlarge it, now i am depressed as i want to hav ethat delicious looking chicken and i don't have.
I am going to make this once. 1 habanero pepper that has to be hot.
We don't get this peper always here. I have seen it sometimes in the shop. So next time when i see them and i will make these chicken

Charles said...

See...I can't be coming by your blog when I'm already hungry...that first pic was ridiculous!!!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I almost wish I hadn't enlarged that photo because I ended up with drool on my keyboard. Wow. That all looks so good. I don't think I've ever seen coconut with spinach. I must try it. The risotto looks great too. There is nothing like having fun with risotto. What a meal!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Tons of good flavor going on here Darius!

Emiline said...

Yum, looks great.

I love Sunny!

Sexxy Luv said...

That chicken looks so good i have to try making that one day.

question: is there a substitution that can be used in place of the sugar for the cucumber drink?...healthy thinking! :)

Candy said...

Great Meal and I love Sunny too. Sara will always be my fave though.

Nik Snacks said...

I'm interested in this spinach. I ordered some alderwood chips to smoke my jerk chicken so it really tastes like it's from Jamaica. That's the secret to making it taste 900% authentic, I was told. OK, maybe not the 900 part, but it makes a difference.

Kevin said...

What a meal! There are so many tasty things in it. The cucumber drink sounds surprisingly good!

OhioMom said...

Darius you have me drooling here, I so want a piece of that chicken.

Wandering Coyote said...

I enlarged and I'm glad I did! Wow. I also love your triangle-shaped plates - very cool!

Peter M said...

Jerk chicken is one of favourite ways to enjoy chicken...summer or winter.

RunningMom said...

OMG that looks sooo good. I love coconut milk, my fav. Thai dish has coconut milk in it.

The one I love makes a fabulous Jerk Chicken, yum yum yum.

I think of everything you made, the sweet potato risotto is the one I most want to try.

Maryann said...

Now I have to try the cucumber juice too! ;)

Natashya said...

I think Sunny Anderson is coming to the Canadian food network this season, I look forward to checking out her show.
I love jerk chicken, and your risotto sounds divine. The Barefoot Bloggers are making Ina's Butternut Squash Risotto next week, you should join us!

Pam said...

This looks amazing - I've never made jerk chicken before - thanks for the step by step recipe. By the way, I love the triangle plate.

Bridgett said...

Now this is a feast! There are so many wonderful flavors right on one plate and it all looks and sounds amazing. I love the step by step photos as well.

glamah16 said...

Cucumber drinks seem wierd but when you open your mind they are delicious. I confess I have not tuned Sunny Anderson much but am very aware of her and proud. Great feast.


you put a lot of effort into your cooking - great work

LadyLee said...

Master Chef Darius! Boy you are just WRONG for this right here! HUMPH. Uh, and we are sitting here discussing... staring. LOL!!!

Mail me a piece of chicken, Man!!!

Much obliged!!

Opinionated Diva said...

I just wanna teleport into your kitchen for EVERY episode!!! *pouting*

I'm with LadyLee...mail me some food! Sharing is caring!!!

Complaint Department Manager said...

I do want to try that jerk chicken. It's callin'.

Barbara Gallo Farrell said...

I like the idea of the coconut spinach, Darius. Very creative!

Gloria said...

Darius I love the coconut spinachs! look wonderful , all look fine, !!Gloria

GinGin said...

I found you from Whistlestop and I'm so glad I did, I can't wait to try your coconut spinach and many other goodies here. I've started a GB Ranch Grub, just don't have alot of time to add recipes, as I'm a teacher, but in the summer I will add more recipes. I sure want to try a lot of your goodies. GinGin from Texas

Foodycat said...

OK - so if you are doing chicken like that I accept a non-stick pan is a good thing! That is such a fantastic menu. I would even try the cucumber juice.

kellypea said...

I've never made jerk chicken but this sounds so yummy. I love the combo of spices -- especially the heat! The risotto sounds delish, and that spinach? Wait. Did I see a recipe for that? Are you holding out? heh.

Kin'shar said...

u are just what a women need when she comes home from a long day at work........

are you married?

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks like a fabulous feast! I love all the components!

Lisa said...

Great blog you have! The chicken sounds so flavorful and very interesting side dishes. I will have to try the cucumber drink.

Xem VanAdams-Lumumba said...

Jerk Chicken is one of My ULTIMATE Faves. I have NOT found ONE Hot Spot here in Los Angeles that serves it...NOT One.

Cynthia said...

This is a Caribbean Sunday meal right here!

Maggie said...

I shouldn't have clicked to enlarge it! Now it's 11pm and I'm dying for jerk chicken!!

Dee said...

So I have no idea who Sunny Anderson is? Or Ming Tsai for that matter. But I do know that you cannot keep dangling these amazing dinners in front of me without an invitation. Really.

Dope Fiend said...

im with dee, no idea who this miss sunny anderson is but woooooooooooo i do thatnk her for inspiring this yummy looking meal!

Im drooling!

sony said...


Nicole said...

Oh I will have to try this one. My husband loves good jerk chicken!

Ms. Behaving said...

I'll pass on the cucumber drink...
[ME NO LIKEY THOSE] but baby...I'm all for that jerk chicken!! LOL

It's one of my favorite dishes.

Dining Alone said...

its official, I need a triangle plate!

shweetpotato said...

OHhh jerk chicken YUMMM now Im hungry, I wonder if I could make it hmmm...

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