Every month is declared an “awareness month” by various causes and special interest groups. Some are widely popular and accepted like October for Breast Cancer Awareness, while others are more obscure or specific in their audience appeal, such as April being “Amateur Radio Month.” In keeping with the awareness month theme, June features quite a few food-based awareness declarations! Below, we have compiled a recipe for each food theme to celebrate. Enjoy!
Candy Month: White Chocolate Mint Truffles
1 lb. white chocolate, chopped
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1⁄8 tsp. peppermint oil
3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. vanilla sugar
Put white chocolate into a medium bowl; set aside. Heat cream and peppermint oil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until cream just begins to simmer, then remove from heat and pour over white chocolate; let sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir mixture until smooth and shiny. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Combine confectioners’ sugar and vanilla sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Remove chocolate from refrigerator and, using a teaspoon-size measuring spoon, divide chocolate into 60 portions. Using your hands, roll portions into balls. Roll each ball in sugar mixture and place on a baking sheet.
Return balls to refrigerator and keep chilled until ready to serve. Serve chilled.
Caribbean-American Heritage Month: Ackee & Saltfish (Jamaica’s National Dish)
1 Can of ackee, drained
1/2 lb boneless salt cod
3 tablespoons oil
2 onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper skin finely chopped up
1 small tomato, chopped
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 sweet pepper chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Soak the salt cod in a pot of water overnight to remove most of the salt. If the cod is still very salty, boil in water for 20 minutes. Drain cod and cut or break into small pieces.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the onions, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper, tomato, tomato paste and green peppers. Stir for a few minutes. Add the cod. Stir. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the can of drained ackee. Do not stir because this will cause the ackees to break up. Cook for a few more minutes then sprinkle with black pepper.
Best served with bammy, roast breadfruit, fried or cooked dumplings, or fried or cooked plantains, cooked yams and Jamaican sweet potatoes.
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Month: Chickpea and Mango Salad
50 c. plain fat-free yogurt
50 c. fresh cilantro leaves
2 tbsp. mango chutney
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
50 tsp. ground coriander
50 tsp. salt
25 tsp. Pepper
2 can no-salt-added garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 large ripe mango
1 package baby spinach
50 c. sliced almonds
Naan (Indian-style flatbread) or pita bread
In food processor, purée yogurt, cilantro, chutney, oil, lime juice, coriander, salt, and pepper until smooth. Transfer to large bowl.
To same bowl, add beans and mango. Toss until well-coated. Chickpea mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated in airtight container up to overnight. To serve, add spinach and almonds; toss to combine. Serve with naan.
Papaya Month: Seared Scallops with Spicy Papaya Sauce
1 small papaya – peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound sea scallops
In a medium bowl, combine papaya, red pepper, jalapeno onion, lime juice, cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
In a large sealable bag, combine flour, black pepper, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add scallops, and shake to coat.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallops; cook and stir until golden. Serve scallops over papaya sauce.
Seafood Month: Mussels, Clams and Shrimp in Spicy Broth
1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
24 small Littleneck clams (about 2 1/2 pounds total), scrubbed
24 mussels (about 1 1/2 pounds total), debearded
20 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined, butterflied
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Warm crusty bread
White rice, cooked
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper. Saute until the garlic is tender, about 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the flavors blend, about 5 minutes. Stir in the clams. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the mussels. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels open, about 5 minutes longer.
Using a tongs, transfer the opened shellfish to serving bowls (discard any shellfish that do not open). Add the shrimp and basil to the simmering tomato broth. Simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes. Divide the shrimp and tomato broth among the bowls. Serve with the warm bread and/or over cooked white rice.
Soul Food Month: New Orleans-style Crawfish Étouffée
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped bell peppers
1 pound peeled crawfish tails
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and sauté until soft and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the crawfish and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium. Stirring occasionally, cook until the crawfish begin throwing off a little liquid, 10 to 12 minutes.
Dissolve the flour in the water. Add to the crawfish mixture and season with salt and cayenne. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley and green onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and serve.
Steakhouse Month: Steak with Red Wine-Shallot Sauce
1 1-pound New York strip steak (about 1-inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large shallot, minced
3/4 cup boxed red wine
2 to 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the steak dry and season generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Place the steak, standing up on the strip of fat, in the pan and hold it with tongs until the fat renders and the pan is slick, about 2 minutes.
Place the steak flat in the pan and sear until deep brown on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until a thermometer inserted sideways into the thickest part registers 120 degrees for medium-rare, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Reserve the drippings in the skillet.
Add the shallot to the drippings and cook over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half and slightly syrupy, about 7 minutes; remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, to make a glossy sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper or season to taste. Slice the steak against the grain and serve with the sauce.