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Kelis’ Tasty Recipes from ‘My Life On A Plate’

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I started making these when I had a food truck at South by Southwest music and film festival in Austin, Texas, to showcase my new line of sauces. The meat is a version of
ropa vieja, or “old clothes,” which is braised, shredded flank steak traditional to many cuisines of the Caribbean. My mom makes ropa vieja all the time; I learned to make it from her. To utilize my barbecue sauce, I got the idea to toss ropa vieja with the sauce and then use the meat to make sliders. You can also serve the meat (with or without sauce) with rice, which is how Puerto Ricans traditionally eat ropa vieja, or use it to fill pastelitos, which is the Puerto Rican version of empanadas, or meat pies, using Buttery Flakey Everything Dough for the pie shells. It’s good too with rice or leftover
mashed potato. You can use Bounty & Full Wild Cherry BBQ sauce for this, which is how this dish originated.


Ingredients 6 fresh thyme sprigs 4 fresh oregano sprigs 2 fresh rosemary sprigs 2 pounds flank steak, cut into 2 segments to fit in your pan 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste ¾ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped 15 cloves garlic, peeled 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ½ teaspoon ground cumin ½ cup Root Beer Espresso BBQ Sauce (page 33), or use store-bought 16 small brioche buns, cut in half ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted Method

1. Wrap the thyme, oregano, and rosemary in a doubled piece of cheesecloth and tie it closed with kitchen string to make an herb bouquet.

2. Season the meat on both sides with the salt and pepper.

3. Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until it’s searing hot. Add 1 piece of meat to the pot and sear it until it is deep brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the pan and sear the second piece of meat. Leave the second one in the pot and return the first piece, too. Add the herb bouquet, onions, green and red bell peppers, garlic, paprika, cumin and enough water to just cover the meat and vegetables. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the meat can be gently torn apart with a fork, about 2 hours. Turn off the heat and let the meat cool to room temperature in the liquid.

4. Lift the meat out of the liquid and shred it back into the pot with the cooking liquid. (I like to go at it with kitchen shears.) Remove the herb bouquet and stir in the barbecue sauce. Season with salt to taste. 5. Brush the insides of the buns with the melted butter and toast the insides only under the broiler. Scoop ¼ cup of the barbecue beef onto each bun and serve.

Pineapple Beef

When I was about 15 years old, I worked near a restaurant on the Upper West Side in Manhattan called Penang. My two favorite dishes there were shrimp with mango and beef with pineapple. It was my first encounter with Malaysian food, and it would be a long time before I realized that Penang was a place. Malaysia was a far-off land to me. I couldn’t fathom what it would be like to be there. Fast forward just two years, I signed my first deal, and before I knew it, I was in Penang. I couldn’t believe I was actually there! I loved the food at Penang the restaurant and in Penang the city, but it also became a symbol for me of how far I’d come. Before I ever had a career, before I knew what I was going to do with my life, I used to go to this restaurant for lunch and eat pineapple beef, and now here I was sitting on a beach in this really exotic, beautiful country. I felt in awe of life and how things turn out. This dish and that trip has stayed with me all of these years. Since then I’ve been able to travel to that part of the world extensively and there are so many luscious treasures to taste.

3 rib-eye steaks, frozen, and sliced ” inch thick 2! teaspoons kosher salt 3 teaspoons black pepper 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee 1 tablespoon chile oil ! large yellow onion, coarsely chopped 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger 3 garlic cloves, minced 1! teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon curry powder ! cup pineapple juice 3 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar 2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas, strings removed 4 spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced on the bias (white and green parts) ” cup chopped fresh cilantro Steamed white or brown rice for serving

1. Season the steaks with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper and set aside.

2. Melt the butter with the chile oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and sauté, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Toss in the pineapple, bell pepper, ginger, garlic, cumin, and curry powder, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the bell peppers soften. Stir in the pineapple juice, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes to thicken the sauce. Increase the heat to high, add the steak, and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the peas and scallions, and cook for about 2 minutes to warm them through and take off the raw edge. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Serve with white or brown rice.

Olive Oil Cranberry Cakes with Candied Oranges

This is definitely one of my favourites. I make a lot of breads and desserts, and people ask me to bake quite often. Olive oil keeps the cake moist and gives it a rich texture.

COOK’S TIP: You will need sixteen 2-inch ramekins to make these little cakes.


For the candied oranges
2½ cups granulated sugar 2 oranges, halved and cut into ⅟₈-inch-thick slices

For the cakes
1¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon kosher salt 2 large eggs ¾ cup granulated sugar ⅟₃ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the ramekins Grated zest of 1 orange plus ⅟₃ cup fresh orange juice (from 1
orange) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ²/₃ cup Mandarin Orange Cranberry Sauce (page 138; or store-bought
cranberry sauce)

For the glaze
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Position an oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the ramekins with olive oil and arrange them on a baking tray.

2. To make the candied oranges, line a baking tray with parchment. Sprinkle the parchment paper with 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and set aside.

3. Put the remaining 21/4 cups sugar in a mound in the center of a small saucepan. Pour 6 tablespoons water over the mound, letting it seep into the sugar until it looks like wet sand. Cook this mixture over medium heat without stirring until the sugar has melted and starts to bubble, about 8 minutes. Add the orange slices and simmer until they look glossy and the pulp is translucent. Turn off the heat and use tongs to remove the orange slices, arranging them in a single layer on the sugar-coated baking tray. Set aside.

4. To make the cakes, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the eggs just to break up the yolks. Add the sugar, olive oil, orange juice, and vanilla, and mix to incorporate. Turn off the mixer, add half of the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until no flour is visible. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed until no flour is visible, then add the cranberry sauce and orange zest, to thoroughly combine.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and put the baking tray with the ramekins on the center rack to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set on a wire rack and cool the cakes to room temperature.

6. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Stir the melted butter and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until no lumps remain. 7. When the cakes have cooled, carefully pop them out of the ramekins onto a baking sheet so the bottoms face up. Using the back of a spoon, spread the glaze over the cakes.

Decorate with the candied orange slices.

Source: Access Hollywood

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