• Danica Johnson

Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"




What's Brewing With You?


Hey everyone it’s Tuesday and my mouth is already watering because we are talking all about the goodness of the holidays FOOD! Of course, since it’s What’s Brewing With You Tuesday, we gotta talk about our warmth in a cup. So I got you always because that’s just my jam but my mouth is watering so we are gonna hit food first. If you haven’t learned by now, I, of course have to hit you with some facts and some history first so without further ado…


History of our food


As I’m sure you can assume most traditions with our food came from Africa but were altered or adapted to fit the ingredients available in America. As you fill your tables with some of this tasty food for the holidays I know it will be nice to pay homage to those that cultivated these delectable dishes first.


Blackeyed Peas



This dish is still seen on black families tables today but has it’s origin in slavery. Brought to America through the transatlantic slave trade as food for slaves. It first arrived in Jamaica around 1675, before spreading throughout the West Indies, and finally reaching Florida by 1700, North Carolina in 1738, and into Virginia by 1775. Blackeyed peas became one of the most popular food crops in the South around the American Revolution.


Blackeyed peas can be made several different ways my preferred method is in a slow cooker with these ingredients:

· Chopped green onions

· Chopped white onion

· 3 garlic cloves

· 1 bag 16 oz black eyed peas

· Some smoked turkey (or bacon depending on how I’m feeling)

· 6-8 cups of chicken broth

· Red pepper flakes

· Black pepper


Okra



Okra is another food that arrived in the America during the transatlantic slave trade in the 1600s. Okra called "gumbo" in Africa gained popularity in New Orleans. Amongst the French in Louisiana, Creole cuisine and African cooking came together to create the unique cuisine we know of New Orleans today.


I love friend okra that is just my guilty pleasure so I wanted to share my method with ya’ll:


· 1 lb okra (caps cut off and sliced)

· 1 cup flour

· Salt and pepper to taste

· 1 egg

· ¼ cup milk

· Vegetable oil

For sauce I use spicy aioli, cumin yogurt dipping sauce, and the famous Louisiana Remoulade.


Fried Food



I know everyone knows about the chicken but did ya’ll know this deep fat frying cooking technique actually originated in the motherland. Prior to refigeration Africans understood that frying chicken and beef preserved their food for a longer period of time. This frying method was brought into plantation homes by house servants and soon became a popular and desired food.


I personally don’t really fry foods anymore (besides the occasional okra) but here are some ingredients I haven’t tried that sound amazing:


· Creole seasoning

· Cayenne pepper

· White pepper

· Dried herbs like thyme, oregano and parsley

And if you’ve been using these all along DON'T JUDGE my seasoning game is a little weak. Haha


Cornbread



Cornbread is the soul of all dishes in our house. You can’t have a meal without some good ole fashion cornbread. This indigenous crop was used by Africans and recreated traditional African cuisine in America. “Fufu” is a traditional West African dish which is also found in the Caribbean. In South Carolina this dish is called “turn meal and flour.” Fufu mixtures were used then to make pancakes and hot water cornbread. Cornbread can be compared to African millet bread.


Here’s a the best cornbread recipe I’ve seen thus far:


· 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted (or bacon drippings)

· 1 cup all-purpose flour

· 1 cup yellow cornmeal (or polenta)

· 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

· 2 teaspoons baking powder(optional: yields a fluffier cornbread)

· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 1 1/2 cup buttermilk shake before measuring

· 2 large eggs


Grits



Grits were seen as early as 1739. A naturalist named Mark Catesby noted that he saw slaves making a mush from corn meal called pone bread. He noticed that they took hominy Indian corn and made grits, a food that was similar to an African dish called Eba. Eba is a staple food mainly eaten in West African subregions and more notably Nigeria and parts of Ghana. It consists of dried grated cassava flour known as garri. I have known grits to be made different ways and eaten at different times of the day. I personally haven’t had the full experience with grits to comment but I will leave a recipe below for ya’ll.


· ½ cup of white stone-ground grits

· 1 ½ cups of half-n-half

· 1 ½ cups of water

· 2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter

· 1 teaspoon salt

· Black pepper


Collard Greens



Thanksgiving in my house is nothing without collard greens. I accepted the fact that I nor anyone else will EVER make greens like my mama because she can throw down. However, I’m open to being a sampler for anyone. Collard greens and dandelion greens were first recorded in 1887. Poke greens and turnip greens were brought from Jamaica to Africa in 1674 and arrived in North America in 1738. I want to introduce ya’ll to a different way to make greens…the vegen way:


· 1/2 small yellow onion

· 3 cloves garlic

· 2-3 cups vegetarian broth

· 1 teaspoon applewood smoked salt

· ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

· 2 lbs collard greens

· Black pepper

· Hot sauce


Rice



This was something I didn’t know until this year and that was the first successful cultivation of rice in the United States was done in South Carolina Sea Islands by an African woman. She later taught her planter how to cultivate rice. The first rice seeds were imported directly from the Island of Madagascar in 1685 and Africans supplied the labor and the expertise. Africans were brought directly from the Island of Goree to teach Europeans how to cultivate this cash crop. There are so many different ways rice is used in dishes. We use it in our thanksgiving broccoli rice which I honestly eat for like a month.


I know all of you ate good over the holiday so please share some things you did with these ingredients and favorite foods I’d love to hear from you. Also be on the lookout for upcoming cooking classes we are offering through our Eclectives Kitchen Cyphers. Check them out and make sure to sign up before a class you really want fills.

Now as promised some fun coffee ideas for the holidays…


Holiday Brew


That perfect holiday cup of coffee doesn’t always have to come from Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Believe it or not you can make some amazing things in your home fresh from your favorite coffee brewing method without spending any additional money or paying $6 for a Venti Caramel Brulee Latte (even though I’m sure you still may). I personally pair this coffee goodie below with cinnamon rolls on Christmas day:



· Choose your favorite medium roast coffee

Mix together the following ingredients in a bowl

· Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

· 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

· ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves

· ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamon

Pour into the coffee filter before brewing the coffee

Brew using your favorite coffee method (Christmas I use a regular drip coffee maker because I’m up so early)

· Top with whip cream and sprinkles or a mint chocolate bar


And viola Christmas in a cup. You can add your favorite creamer or some milk to richen it up.

So my plan fam is to do close to 10 days of unique coffee ideas for the holidays (I’m going to give myself grace by only doing 10 not 12 and not 25). I want to share with you what I’m going to attempt but if you want to know more about how it’s done and how to make that perfect cup check out Eclectives Just Right Coffee Tutorial Hosted by Me. I got you on that special cup! Here’s my plan of action:

1. Spiced apple Latte

2. Copycat Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte

3. Gingerbread Coffee

4. Holiday Coffee (special mix)

5. Christmas Eve Coffee (spiced with Kahlua)

6. Eggnog Latte

7. Christmas Coffee Cocktail (better with friends)

8. Bloodstone Coffee

9. Snickerdoodle Latte

10. Nutella Latte


So I’ll fill you in on my success during Just Right and I’ll dish all the juicy recipes so stay turned!

Alright fam that’s everything I have for you this Tuesday. I’ll leave some amazing recipes below as well as the usual book recommendations, coffee, and businesses to support. Check out our Eclectives and get signed up so we can hook you up with some AWESOMENESS! I’ll reveal the launch day in the upcoming blogs. As always loved ones stay safe and...

--Be Well

Your family at Eclectuals

"Where we mind your mental diet!"



Book Recommendations


Cooking Gene


Brown Sugar Kitchen



Support Black Businesses


Los Angeles


Stuff I Eat


Lettuce Feast


T&T Lifestyle


Happy Ice


Compton Vegan


Houston


Soul Food Vegan


Chicago


Majaini Soulful Vegan Cuisine


Can't Believe It's Not Meat


Original Soul Vegetarian


The Cultured Vegan




Coffee Recommendations

Eclectic Soul

From Southern Ethiopia a medium roast, slightly sweet and fruit-forward with deep rich, complex medium-body flavor

Ground or Whole Bean



We Are Someone You Should Know

--We are purveyors of literature, gourmet coffee, fashion, style and art." We believe in cooperative economics in the black community locally and nationally thereby promoting and/highlighting other black artisans and black owned businesses through our book subscription Eclectic Crates and our Artisan Market of goods and services.

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