Chef Eric Adjepong is sharing his bold flavors to make the perfect summer picnic meal.
The co-founder of Pinch & Plate -- a pop-up dinner party and event company he runs with his wife, decorator Janell Adjepong -- appeared on Bravo's "Top Chef" and "Top Chef All-stars." As a first-generation Ghanaian American born and raised in New York City, he's inspired by creative flavors from all over the world.
Here, you can find the recipes for his sobolo tea, chicken kabobs with homemade jerk paste, lettuce wraps and a roasted salad with a sweet berbere glaze below. For more tips and tricks, check out Chef Adjepong's virtual cooking classes.
Yield: 12 cups
12 cups of water
8 ounces of red sorrel buds (dried hibiscus flowers)
5 ounces or 4 whole cloves of fresh ginger, sliced (smashed if you like a heavy ginger kick)
1 cinnamon stick
10 pimento seeds (whole allspice)
5 Grains of Selim
1 chopped pineapple bark
1 orange peel and juice (juice separated)
2 teaspoons of lime juice (to taste)
Lime and orange slices, for garnish
1 to 1 1/2 cups of simple syrup (depending on preference)
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add in clove, cinnamon stick, pimento seeds, Grains of Selim and allspice and toast, moving frequently until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in ginger, orange peel and pineapple bark, and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add in water and bring to a boil.
Add hibiscus leaves to the boiling water and reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and allow to steep for 30-40 minutes.
Add in simple syrup a half cup at a time according to preference. Strain tea and chill.
Yield: 2 cups
1/4 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup of dark soy sauce
1 orange rind
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, roughly chopped
8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 spring onions bulbs
2 tablespoons of thyme
2 to 4 scotch bonnet peppers
1 teaspoon pimento seeds (whole allspice)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon clove powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon olive oil
In a high-speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients except oil. Process on high, slowly drizzle in oil. Season with more lime and salt to taste. Store in a container with a tight lid for up to 2 weeks.
Yield: 4 to 6 skewers
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Quickly cure the chicken by filling a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt.
Stir to combine until most of the salt is absorbed. Add the whole chicken breasts and let them sit in the mixture to brine for 15 minutes or up to 6 hours.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 15 minutes before using. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces.
Add them to a large mixing bowl and add enough jerk paste to coat evenly. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes or overnight. Coat evenly with the olive oil.
Once the grill is hot, place the chicken kabobs evenly on the grill. Cook for 10 to 14 minutes, turning once halfway through, brushing another layer of the jerk sauce on the chicken.
Transfer the kabobs to a clean plate and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes. Then serve warm.
Lettuce Wraps and Pickles
Yield: 12 wraps
1 cucumber, very thinly sliced
½ small head of red cabbage, thinly shredded
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup of water
In a small to medium pot, combine the salt, sugar, cider vinegar and water, and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Add the thinly sliced cucumbers Let the cucumbers soak for 45 minutes to an hour or overnight.
Roasted Fingerlings and Tomato Salad with Sweet Berbere Glaze
Yield: 6 servings
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided
Flaky sea salt
1 1/2 lbs of heirloom tomatoes
3/4 cups honey
2 tablespoons of berbere
1 bunch of shallots, minced
1 bunch chives, chopped
In a small pot over medium low heat, warm the honey until it's loose and less viscous. Wisk in berbere and shallots and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Slice tomatoes in quarters and salt. Place over paper towels.
In a large straight-sided skillet or a Dutch oven, combine potatoes, lemon juice, kosher salt and 3 tablespoons of butter.
Add cold water just to cover, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase heat and boil rapidly until the pan is almost dry, 15 to 20 minutes more.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer about half of the potatoes to a plate and arrange potatoes remaining in a skillet cut-side down in a single layer (you may need to work in a few batches).
Reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes undisturbed until water is evaporated and cut sides of potatoes are deeply browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
Scrape the skillet using a thin metal spatula, to cleanly release potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Return skillet to medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and repeat the browning process with reserved potatoes.
After scraping the skillet to release potatoes, return the first batch, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet and toss until potatoes are well coated.
Drizzle tablespoons of the berbere honey until well coated.
Add salted tomatoes, garnish with chives and sprinkle with sea salt.