In the world of food and wine, we often hear the term “farm to table”. This beautiful partnership begins with amazing local growers and producers working to provide delicious goods for all of us to bring home. Most of us know a local farm or garden that we may have bought produce or goods from, or, maybe a nearby brewery or winery (cough, cough,) that we get our favorite adult beverages from. However, today we are going to take a closer look at our tables, the heart of the household, which for many of us is where we enjoy the meals we put so much effort into. This table might be in a grand dining room, or more realistically, it might the kitchen counter where you sit after a long day, decompressing with your closest quarantine companion.
Wherever it may be, and whoever may be seated, this table is for all of us. This is a table that holds the recipes of all cultures and backgrounds. This is a table that fills us with delight as we try new flavors. This is a table where we all can grow and learn. This is Everyone’s Table.
Today we welcome Kareema Fernan to the table. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the recipes.
Hello Kareema, and welcome.
UWC – Kareema, you are nothing short of a modern-day superhero: with a family and a full-time job, you are the chef for the household. All during a global pandemic. As we all tiptoe into this next year, can you share some of your feelings, concerns, hopes?
Kareema – Wow! Those compliments sure feel amazing but they are also ingrained in me as pure survival. I am approaching the new year with a softened heart and extreme caution. A new year often allows us all to start fresh, or perhaps set a goal or two. I plan to accept our current evolving future. I plan to dig myself deep into cooking and nurturing my soul.
UWC – You and your family are based in New York. Can you tell us what it was like as a young girl coming from Jamaica to the US? Especially in the middle of winter?
Kareema – I can still remember how frozen my bones had become. I think the weather shock was far more extreme when compared to the sight of a brand new world. I definitely remember not quite understanding why we left home to start a new life. Picture a very cold island girl that wanted to immediately go home.
UWC – For most of us, our diets have changed over the years. What was your favorite junk food as a kid?
Kareema – Jamaican households are not known to have many varieties of snacks to offer. If you are looking for a 3-course meal that was leftover from Sunday dinner then you would be in luck. My favorite indulgence as a child was a McDonalds Happy Meal. What a world to live in to be rewarded with a new toy just to eat your meal.
UWC – Fast forward to 2021, what recipe did you bring to Everyone’s Table first meal? Can you tell us a little about it?
Kareema – I brought a recipe duo: (1) Good Food Fish Marinade and (2) Whole Roasted Red Snapper
As I came up with recipe ideas for Everyone’s Table I knew that I wanted to focus on proteins that are a true staple to my Jamaican roots. I wanted to highlight the simplicity of layering approachable ingredients that packed a great deal of flavor. My recipes come from my soul. I like to truly share a memory. A memory that is simply brought on by a good food experience. In Jamaica, eating a whole fish is second nature, meanwhile; in America, a filet-of-fish reigns supreme. I was raised with a mindset to eat the entire animal. If you raised the animal and killed it for your nourishment then you should honor it by not being wasteful.
First, the Good Food Fish Marinade features Underwood Pinot Gris wine. I wanted to highlight the delicate fish and also showcase some fresh ingredients. I definitely did not want to “cook off” the wine, but utilize its delicate flavors to marinade the fish all the way to the bone.
Second, the Whole Roasted Red Snapper recipe is simply roasting the fish with the marinade. The marinade first breaks down the fish and then adds a rich flavor.
UWC – You’ve mentioned you try to get your food from as close to the earth as you can. How important do you feel it is to find the right ingredients?
Kareema – For me, it is pivotal when cooking at home. I try to stock my fridge and pantry with ingredients that will enhance any meal. Here is a list of items that I cook with the most: thyme, garlic, lemon, lime, turmeric, scallion (green onion), nutmeg, onion, shallot, greens, and butter.
UWC – It might not be possible, but if you could only have one spice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Kareema – I think it would be cheating if I selected one of my very own spice blends…
Smoked sea salt would have to be my selection. I like to double brine my protein: wet brine to add moisture and dry brine to add flavor. Smoked sea salt would allow me to achieve a cooking preparation that runs far too deep in my veins to get rid of.
UWC – The last year has inevitably led us all to spend more time inside and be closer together. What silver linings, if any, did you and your family find?
Kareema – As a two working parent household, it allowed me to enjoy all the little things I normally miss out on. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from home, and in doing so, I eliminated a 4 hour commute time! The little things such as not waiting for the weekend to have quality family time, cooking a little every day, rather than meal prepping all day long, and, finding more time for myself.
UWC – Kareema, we can’t thank you enough for sharing this beautiful recipe with us. It is an amazing, delicious, and beautiful dish. To close us out, if you could think of three words to describe your idea of “Everyone’s Table” what would they be?
Kareema – Soul. Home. Clean Plate.
Good Food Fish Marinade
Ready in 20 mins
Makes 3/4 cup
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 5 scallion (green onion) stalks cut in half
- 1 small shallot sliced
- 1/2 lemon zested (approximately 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 lemon juiced (approximately 1 tbsp)
- 1/2 lime zested (approximately 1/2 tsp)
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (seeds removed)
- 4 – 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 c Underwood Pinot Gris wine
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Remove leaves from thyme. Place all ingredients into a tall glass jar or bowl. Blend together with an immersion blender.
- As an alternative, place all ingredients into a stand-alone blender or food processor.
- The sauce will become smooth and well incorporated after a couple of minutes.
- Use immediately or refrigerate and place in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 days.
This sauce is best used as a marinade for seafood. The acid and aromatics allow for the most desirable flavor combination with a slow-building heat.
Whole Roasted Red Snapper
Ready in 30 mins (inactive time 60 mins)
Makes 3 servings
- 3 whole red snapper fish (approximately 1/2 to 3/4 lb each) cleaned, scaled, and gutted
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- Parchment paper
- Large bowl
- Place fish in a large bowl. Cut both lemon and lime in half. Squeeze citrus all over fish. Cover with water and soak for 20 mins.
- Pour off water and pat dry.
- Pour half of Good Food Fish Marinade all over fish. Rub the marinade on the inside and outside of each fish. Marinade for 30 mins. Flip fish over halfway through.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Lay out 3 sheets of parchment paper. Place each fish on a separate paper and evenly spoon the remaining marinade over the fish. Wrap parchment paper tightly around each fish.
- Roast fish for 20 mins.
- Remove from the oven, unwrap, and serve immediately.
Whole fish with bones intact is absolutely the best way to eat this dish. The flavor is amplified from the citrus brine and marinade.
Thank you Kareema Fernan!
For more delicious recipes and specialty seasoning blends go to https://www.goodcleankarma.com/