Black-Eyed Peas Cook-up

Need a black-eyed peas recipe? We have something different than the over the stove beans and rice. Try making a black-eyed peas cook-up!

Cook-up rice is a traditional Guyanese one-pot rice dish that consists of rice, a variety of meats, and fresh herbs that are cooked in coconut milk. It’s definitely a great option for New Year’s day! Check out the ingredients for this classic black-eyed peas cook-up recipe from our O.G. Multi Cultural Cooking Network site.

The first Image is the black-eye peas cook-up being prepared and the second image is the final result.

3 lb boneless chicken thigh (or whatever meat you like)
2 lb medium shrimp (optional)
1 medium onion
½ bunch green onions
4 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
3 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
Hot pepper to taste
5 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 medium tomatoes
2 bouillon cubes (chicken flavor)
2 tsp Goya Adobo
2 cans of black-eyed peas
2 stalks of celery with lots of leaves(diced)
1 sweet red pepper (optional but looks good)
4 tbsp vegetable/olive oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2½ cups rice (parboiled or jasmine)
1 coconut or (1 can coconut milk)
3 cups of water

See the instructions for black-eyed peas cook-up. (Recipe by MCCN contributor Grace Oliver)


A Holiday Tea Tradition

Written by guest blogger Michelle Yaruta

Christmas tea at Kate Pearl Tea Room in Westminster, MD has become a holiday tradition for my family. We dress up, from the youngest, who is 10 years old, to the oldest, and make a day of it. The owners and employees of the tea room take great care in decorating, down to the last detail. The staff is always friendly and goes the extra mile to be accommodating.

The tea is served in courses and can take 1 and ½ hours to 2 hours. Every year the menu changes and the tea room can accommodate vegetarian patrons and those with allergies. The first course this year was an orange cheesecake dip, served with pretzels. This was followed by a chocolate chip scone, complete with clotted cream and raspberry jam. A salad followed with feta cheese, pomegranate, and raspberry vinaigrette. After this, was an apple cider beef stew and a holiday drink that was topped with a lemon and pear foam.

The main dish was a three-tiered appetizer, sandwich, and dessert presentation. The appetizers consisted of spinach puffs and bacon, sausage & stuffing meatballs. The next tier had a pork tenderloin on baguette, topped with cranberry. And the dessert was a mint meringue, a sugar plum cookie, and a chocolate-covered cherry made to look like a mouse. And just when you think you cannot eat another bite, a small scoop of ice cream with peppermint crumbles was served to finish up the meal.

As always, we left full and happy. Tea is never a disappointment and we will continue to go back every year. The menu is ever-changing so it never gets boring. In addition to Christmas tea, Kate Pearl Tea Room has special themed events throughout the year.

Sunset Bay Cafe, Miramar Beach, FL

View from Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort-Bayside

Recently, I had the pleasure to visit Miramar Beach, FL for my birthday weekend, and I was so pleasantly surprised by the family-friendly travel haven. I stayed at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort Bayside and loved my view of the bay and the beautiful trees and landscapes. There was so much to enjoy! The first morning when deciding on breakfast I tried the restaurant on the property called Sunset Bay Cafe.

I had already gotten the scoop from the resort’s shuttle drivers that this was a very popular breakfast spot. Seriously, the cafe definitely gave me Jimmy Buffet, Pina colada vibes but I’ll admit, I’m just the cheeseball to enjoy that sort of thing. The Sunset Bay Cafe sits right off of the bay and has large spacious windows to gaze out into the great blue beyond. You can even go outside to eat right by the water.

Enough of the scenery! Let’s talk about what decorated my plate. I had the blackberry pancakes complete with whipped cream and maple syrup, and some scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon and coffee to complete my walk on the wild side. My cousin and mother joined me and both ordered the Sunset Platter, which included eggs your way, English muffin, choice of bacon/sausage and some divine fried potatoes.

Our orders were pretty basic, but it was also so delicious, ample portions and the kind of place where you know you could be a regular if you lived in the area. We got there relatively early but no sooner than we got there the placed filled up quickly with brunchers. Again, we missed the stand-in-line rush because we had received the press release from the shuttle drives before we even set foot in the restaurant. Thank you Sandestin shuttle drivers!

Now, like I said, our orders were basic but their menu really isn’t. They serve breakfast and lunch and among the breakfast choices are: strawberry cream cheese waffles and French toast, Banana Brûlée waffles and French toast, shrimp and grits, breakfast croissants and all kinds of omelets and Benedicts. The Sunset Bay Cafe lunch menu includes dishes like seafood tacos, shrimp grilled cheese and yardbird among other things.

Congratulations are are in order for the cafe! The votes are in for 2021’s Best in Destin Best Brunch Award, and Sunset Bay Cafe won for the second year in a row. That’s quite an endorsement in an area where there are so many good places to eat. So if you are looking for a bonafide foodie spot when visiting the Emerald Coast, follow the local lean and grab a table at Sunset Bay Cafe.

Thinking about Georgian Cuisine? Think Khachapuri!

Khachapuri from the Adjarian and Samegrelo regions of Georgia
(Photo Credit: Andrew Butko, Wikipedia)

Khachapuri is a favorite national dish of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. It is a Georgian stuffed cheese bread that is typically eaten for breakfast or as a side dish. It’s typically made by using a round of dough and adding loads of cheese in the middle.

Perhaps the most popular version of khachapuri derives from Adjara, a region of Georgia on the Black Sea. It’s called Adjaruli Khachapuri, which is an open-faced, boat-shaped yeast bread loaf that’s often layered with the regional imeruli and sulguni cheeses. These cheeses are not easy to find in the states to Saveur magazine recommends a low moisture mozzarella and a tart feta for the closest authentic Georgian taste.

Right before taking the stuffed bread boat out of the oven, an egg yolk is added to the center of the molten cheese and baked for another three to four minutes. Upon taking out the khachapuri, a slice of butter is added with the egg and stirred into the cheese for some amazing Georgian eating.

(Photo Credit: Denis Dmitriev, Flickr)

Find the recipe for Adjaruli Khachapuri on In addition, you can also check out the recipe for Megruli Khachapuri, which is from the Samegrelo region, which also borders the Black Sea.

Holiday Turkey Stew

Got a few turkey leftovers? We know exactly what to do for that! To say my father enjoys cooking would be to say that the Empire State Building is sort of tall. He loves cooking and he can always be counted on to know what to do with leftovers. Zero-waste is the aim so let’s make some turkey stew.

Now this is a family recipe so please know that these measurements for the most part are a dab of this and a pinch of that. But it’s meant to be a casual dish so have fun and if you add a little more turkey or mushrooms or whatever, it’s all good.

Turkey Stew by Carl Johnson

2 tbsp of Olive Oil

1 tbsp of butter

Frozen mixed vegetables

3 cups of water

1 cup of mushrooms

2 cups of cubed potatoes

1 cup of Elbow macaroni

1 tbsp of poultry seasoning

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper

2 cups of cubed Leftover turkey (Pick turkey off the bone then cube it. Measurements can vary. Dark meat is best but white meat is fine)

2 tsp of cornstarch

  • Coat the Botton of your pot with olive oil and add butter over a low flame.
  • Add mushroom and a cup of mixed vegetables and mushrooms.
  • Once this combination is soft, add turkey to the mixture.
  • Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to the mixture and stir the mixture on low for a 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add water and then the potatoes and macaroni to the pot.
  • Let it cook for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Add cornstarch to thicken.

Serving time…get it while it’s hot!

Christmas Mocktail

Photo from

Alcohol Schmalcohol! Okay, that’s not a word but it is a feeling, especially for those who want to enjoy a good drink without actually imbibing. So thank God for alternatives like mocktails. Try this Christmas mocktail, served on ice with equal parts of the following beverages.


Cranberry juice
Orange juice
Pineapple juice

The Sprite can be switched out with sparkling water or club soda. If you want to get fancy, you can dip the rim of your glass in sugar. It’s all very fun and festive.

I wish they all could be a Crackings experience

Lobster Gouda Grits at Crackings in Destin, FL
(Photo by Monica Johnson from KODAK Digital Still Camera)

I came. I ate. I was more than satisfied. In fact, everybody I came and ate with was satisfied as well. Now, we did have some expert advice about where to go for breakfast in Destin, Florida. MCCN editor, Crystal Johnson had been to this destination before, but it’s nothing like experiencing something for yourself. And yes, she was absolutely right…Crackings was definitely an awesome breakfast experience.

The restaurant does serve other meals like brunch and lunch, but we came for breakfast and it did not disappoint. The menu had items like Lobster Gouda Grits…oh my goodness; Croisseignets, an out of this world cross between a croissant and a beignet; Banana Foster, which is your choice of pancakes, waffles or French Toast, made from scratch with brown sugar banana liquor butter cream sauce, fresh bananas, topped with powdered sugar, pecans, and whipped cream. The Banana Foster is an event unto itself.

I don’t know if I’ll get back to Destin Florida anytime soon, but if the good Lord allows it, I’ve already decided that I want to try the Fish & Grits for my next visit. But truthfully, there are so many other delectable dishes on their menu. It serves up fantastic options for experiencing the gulf’s phenomenal seafood. I don’t think you can go wrong! When in Destin, I know that at some point, I’m definitely going to breakfast at Crackings.

Crackings has two locations in Florida (Destin and Santa Rosa).

Missing NYC’s Zeppole

(Photo Credit: Antonio Rubio, Flickr)

If you go to any kind of fair or outside event, you are more than likely going to run into a vendor selling fried dough. A lot of times that fried dough is in the form of funnel cakes. Oh how I love funnel cakes, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my first love of fried dough. And my first love was for zeppole.

What’s that? You’ve never heard of zeppole? Well, if you’re not from New York or New Jersey it’s probably not as familiar to you. I can speak as someone who grew up in NYC, and it definitely had (and still has) a huge presence of Italian culture and cuisine. Zeppole originates from Italy, and thank God for every Italian mom, grandma and auntie who brought the recipe over to the United States.

Sadly, living south of NYC, I haven’t been able to find a restaurant that offers zeppole. But recently I did a little foodie fact-finding on a Facebook foodie group. I was delightfully surprised to discover that there is a place—not terribly close, but foodies will travel.

Powdered sugar sprinkled generously on Zeppole
(Photo Credit: Jeff Amador, Flickr)

I first experienced these semi-rounded, crispy, airy treats at my family’s favorite Italian pizzeria at the City Line in Brooklyn. When I was a kid, I would go to the pizza shop and get a slice, but if I had a little extra change, I would get the greasy white bag with ten golf ball sized pieces of golden fried goodness made right there on the spot. And I wasn’t going anywhere until my bag of zeppole was oozing with powdered sugar. The powdered sugar is a must so you can lick your fingers. There’s no place for couth when you’re getting down with the zeppole.

According to Olga’s Flavor Factory, zeppole, also referred to as an Italian doughnuts are made with pâte à choux dough. This kind of dough has no raising agent and only contains butter, water, sugar, salt, flour and eggs. However, there are some recipes that do use yeast dough. See the recipe below to learn how to make these tasty treats with yeast dough, and check out Olga’s Flavor Factory’s recipe for Zeppole made with pâte à choux dough.

Here’s a challenge to you MCCN readers. Make both of the recipes and let us know which one came out better.

Sub and Sandwich Adventures

Reuben sandwich from Showtime Deli

Guest foodie contributors, Pig & Panda, made their way to Lexington Park, in southern Maryland, to experience Showtime Deli. The cinema-themed delicatessen looks like a lot of fun from its life-sized images of The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars to the cool memorabilia on the wall. A cinephile foodie would probably lose their mind! But honestly, who cares about all of that if the food isn’t right? And fortunately it is more than just right…it’s good eating according to Pig & Panda.

A well-made sub or sandwich is something that’s very personal to a foodie. Seriously, the analyzing can go on and on. What kind of bread are you using? Tomato or no tomatoes? Don’t be skimpy on that meat! You know how it is when you make your own sandwich, let alone when somebody else is doing it. So sit back, relax, and take a food adventure with Pig & Panda. These two will guide you through cold cut subs, cheesesteaks, Ruebens, and a lot more fantastic foot-longs.

Pig and Pandas Food Adventures
Pig & Panda’s social media pages:

YouTube: Pig & Panda’s Food Adventures

Instagram (PigandPandasFoodAdventures)

Facebook (Pig and Pandas Food Adventures)

MCCN would like to thank Pig & Panda!

Cooking Oils Makes It Better!

Chinese Chili Ol (Photo Credit: Branch, Flickr)

Want to go to Flavor town? One of the easiest ways is by using cooking oil. Yes, we know about corn oil and vegetable oil and even the flavorful olive oil, but there are other oils to add to our bag of tricks. I currently have no less than three oils in my cabinet right now, and that’s only because cabinet space is limited.

Oils just make everything better! My personal opinion is because it coats your food more intimately than what you shake on as flakes or granules. So let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the oils that will enhance your tasting experience.

Chili oil

Chili oil is a condiment that can be described as vegetable oil (often soybean, sesame and sometimes olive oil) infused with hot chili peppers. Chili oil is often used in Asian cultures, particularly in Chinese Sichuan and Hunan dishes. Korean culture also uses chili oil in jjampong, which is a Korean noodle soup.

Jjampong is a popular Korean noodle soup loaded with lots of seafood. (Photo Credit: Eunike Gloria, Flickr)

Although, widely used in Asian cultures, Europeans also have their versions of chili oil as well. Take the Italians, for instance! Their version is called olio di peperoncino. and originates from Calabria, which is in the southwest area of Italy. Oilio di peperoncino is used in bruschetta, on pizza and in pasta dishes as well. Oh, the mouth watering of it all! In an article by Heidy Linn McCallum, she also recommends it as a dipping sauce for crunchy bread and for wings.

Sesame Oil

You might have guessed it but let’s reconfirm your instinct. Yes, sesame oil is a vegetable oil that derives from sesame seeds. It’s one of my favorites because of its earthy, nutty taste. It also smells magnificent! Sesame oil has a high smoke point and many times the pale yellow variety is used for frying. There are many different hues for sesame seeds from the pale yellow to golden to amber.

Rayu on udon noodles (Photo Credit: Osamu Ito, Flickr)

You will find sesame oil being used by East Indians, Chinese, and the Japanese make a paste called rayu, which is made from a chili-sesame oil and used for a topping on various foods like rice and ramen. It can also be added to soup or for seasoning shrimp, fish and other kinds of dishes.

You may be surprised to learn that the biggest market for sesame oil is in Tanzania. The African country is the largest producer of sesame oil and is also the largest consumer of the product.

Almond Oil
Soera20, Flickr

Although this might be one of your favorite aromatherapy options, almond oil is also good for low-heat baking. It adds a sweet nutty taste to your cakes, cookies and other confections. Another way you can use almond oil is on your salads. It has a mild taste and can be used in a variety of ways.

Another great benefit of the oil, is the amazing effect it has on your skin, hair and nails. Almond oil is a rich source of Vitamin E and antioxidants.

Other Options

Of course, there are other oils to check out like coconut oil, palm oil, and grapeseed oil and the O. G. Multi Cultural Cooking Network blog has a very extensive article called. “Know Your Cooking Oils,” which is a great resource. Also, check out your local international stores, halal markets or the international aisle in your local grocery store to see what kind of oils you can find to enrich your cooking and eating experience.