Month: May 2010


Bajan Pound Cake with Cherries | Christmas Puddin’

Makes about one 10″ bundt cake or several smaller cakes Enjoy this lovely pound cake cold with hot tea or a tall glass of milk. We loved the addition of maraschino cherries and wished we would have added more (we only added about 20 chopped cherries). A yummy cake – my husband has already requested it for his birthday! Ingredients: 3 cups flour 2 Tbsp baking powder 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 sticks (2 cups) butter (room temperature) 6 eggs 1 cup milk 1 Tbsp vanilla extract pinch of salt chopped maraschino cherries to taste (optional) NOTE: This recipe makes a lot of batter, so you may want to divide it into more than one pan, even if you use the 10″ bundt. You’ll see in our pics it threatened to overflow… but luckily didn’t. If you decide to live on the edge, like us, just put a cookie sheet under the cake to save you the trouble of a messy clean up. Method: 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift flour and baking powder together. Set …

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The Concord of Barbados

TGIF everyone! – Barbados is tiny at only 430 square kilometers. The island was uninhabited when the British moved in to make sugar plantations. As a result there is not much that can be grown commercially on the island, aside from sugarcane, some vegetables, and cotton (Source: CIA World Factbook). – Although the supersonic Concorde planes have been permanently grounded, one was retired to Barbados to serve as a museum for tourists and locals. – Flying Fish and cou cou is the national dish of Barbados. Cou cou is a smooth puree of cornmeal peppered with okra. – I’ve asked around. Rumor has it there’s not a whole lot of veggies being eaten in Barbados. The veggie-type foods they do eat include sweet potato, asparagus, plantains, okra, and cucumber. – Bakes, made of flour, water, and sugar, are considered the most basic food in Barbados. According to Totally Barbados: Bakes are affectionately known as “survival food”, and rightfully so because when cupboards are bare, you can almost always find these three ingredients somewhere. – Jimmy Buffett …

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Working with Dried Beans

Take a stroll down the beach. White sands. Crystal waters. Beans. If you’re in the Caribbean, chances are you’re going to have beans on your plate at least once during your stay. Beans show up most famously in ‘Peas n’ Rice.” Don’t be fooled by the absence of the word “bean” in the title, though. In this case “peas” refers to the bean called Pigeon Peas (or Black Eyed Peas). As an alternative Peas n’ Rice is sometimes made with kidney beans. If you don’t end up eating Peas n’ Rice, you’ll probably end up eating a spicy soup or side dish made with black beans. Dried beans are healthy and cheap. I used to be one of those people who popped open a can of beans whenever I needed them. Then I found out that a can of beans contains my daily allotment of sodium. Unable to stand the guilt, I started to use dried beans. Dried beans contain no sodium, so the power is in your hands to make them as healthy (or unhealthy) as you …

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Menu: Barbados

Thank goodness you guys aren’t subjected to the agonizing decision process that goes on in my house each week. It literally takes me two days of sifting through recipes to narrow things down. My husband deserves an award for the moral support he gives so freely. Anyway, from all the great options in Barbados, I finally decided on a solid menu of “comfort food.” Bajan Sweet Potato Fish Cakes [Recipe] Large flakes of Mahi Mahi blended with mashed sweet potato and seasoned with onion, pepper, and parsley. Substitute your favorite white fish if Mahi Mahi is not available. Bajan Peas N’ Rice [Recipe] This common Caribbean side dish comes to life in Barbados with your choice of pigeon peas or kidney beans, rice, and parsley. Spiked Coconut Water [Recipe] This stout, mildy sweet drink mixes coconut water with coconut rum and fresh lime juice. Serve over crushed ice. Bajan Christmas Puddin’ (Pound Cake with Cherries) [Recipe] Although this pretty pound cake is most common at Christmastime, locals enjoy it all year round. Bake in a …

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About the food of Barbados

A couple of years ago my husband spent a week in Chicago for a work training program. Every day his teacher spent 4 hours off-topic, gushing about his trips to the beautiful island. You’d think this would make my husband an expert on Barbados, but unfortunately he didn’t take notes. Also known as “Little England,” the island of Barbados is an ethnic melting pot. Although the majority of the Bajan people originally came from Africa, the people and the cuisine are also peppered with influence from South America, England, India, and China. The result? A unique and diverse food culture. Mainstays include fish, seafood, and more fish. The list includes some funny names like flying fish and wahoo (like a mackerel), and dried cod (salt fish), smoked herring, conch, crayfish, grouper, and snapper. Fish is served a multitude of ways – including fried (in a cornmeal crust), baked, stewed, in fish cakes, and grilled. England is one of the dominant influences because Barbados was a British colony for over 300 years. As a result, popular sweets include …

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Monday Meal Review: Bangladesh

Entertaining tip: If the food is going to be spicy, invite people who can take the heat! Sounds like a no-brainer, but little details like this are important. Not knowing your guests’ preferences can turn a great night into a total buzz-kill. “Oh, I didn’t know you don’t like spicy food!” “Oops, I had no idea you were allergic to shellfish.” “What do you mean, you are vegan!?” “What does kosher mean?” “Oh, you don’t approve of drinking alcohol with lunch?” See what I mean? Awkward, awkward, awkward. Bangladeshi food is intensely spicy both in heat and flavor. That’s why it was important to find a guest who could appreciate this. As a hostess it is so more much fun to watch people enjoy the experience you created for them, rather than “fake” enjoyment. Thankfully my husband and our friend Joe (from Joe’s Burger Search) enjoys sweating over their meals. Joe likes hot food so much that he actually makes his own habanero hot sauce in his kitchen, simultaneously creating a 15 foot wide cloud of homemade …

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Vermicelli in Sweet Custard | Shemai Custard

Serves 8-10 This sweet custard reminds me of rice pudding. The man who taught me all about how to make this dish told me that the mixture should neither pour off the spoon, nor stick too much to the spoon. I love directions like that – they make sense! Anyway, if you want to increase this recipe, or decrease it, use this guideline: for every cup of vermicelli, you need 4 cups milk. Ingredients: 3 oz roasted vermicelli – about 2 cups (about 1/2 the package pictured) 8 cups milk pinch of salt 4 cardamom pods, cracked 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup himalayan raisins (or golden raisins) 1/8 cup thinly slivered almonds Method: NOTE: Roasted vermicelli is made of wheat flour. I found it at our local Indian market (Laxmi Spices of India 5555 East 41st St, Tulsa). 1. Cut vermicelli into 1 inch pieces with scissors, taking care to not fling pieces all over the kitchen. Just go slow and you should be fine. 2. Add vermicelli to a large pot with milk, salt, …

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Fish and leeks in Hot Mustard Sauce | Sorse Bata Diya Maach

Serves 4 We made this flavorful dish with salmon which became incredibly tender after an overnight marinade and gentle steaming. Although not very spicy, the mustard sauce reminds me of wasabi. Ingredients: About 1 1/2 lbs of fish pieces or 4 fish filets (salmon or trout are ideal) 1 large leek, cleaned and sliced thin (only white and medium green, not dark green parts) 4 green onions, sliced thin For the sauce: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 4 cloves garlic, crushed 1 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated (about 1 Tbsp) 2-6 green chilis (4 = Medium Hot) 1 tsp cracked mustard seed (Rai Kuria) 1 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp cumin 1 tsp garam masala 1/2 tsp salt 1 15oz can diced tomatoes 1 Tbsp mustard oil Method: For the sauce: 1. Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Puree. (or use an immersion blender). 2. Add sauce and fish to a casserole. Sink fish into the mixture and cover completely. Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator. 3. Heat a little mustard oil in …

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Spinach Bhaji | Palong Shaak Bhaji

Serves 4 The haunting spice of the panch phoron (fennel seed, mustard seed, black nigella, golden fenugreek and brown cumin seed) really makes this dish unique. Panch phoron is not blended into a powder. Instead the seeds are added whole, creating a subtle crunch. Very tasty variation on spinach. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 3 green chili peppers 1 small onion sliced thinly 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tsp panch phoron 1 lb chopped, frozen spinach 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper Method: 1. Heat the oil in a skill over medium-high. Add chili and toast for 2 minutes. 2. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and panch phoron. Spices will start to pop and crackle when ready. 3. Add spinach, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to meld. Votes: 1 Rating: 5 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe The haunting spice of the panch phoron (fennel seed, mustard seed, black nigella, golden fenugreek and brown cumin seed) really makes this dish unique. Panch phoron is not …

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Potato Curry | Aloor Dom/Aloo Dum

Serves 4 The curry sauce is fire-hot (I was sweating while eating), however the potatoes do not absorb the heat so you can easily control how much chili you get in a bite. To make this dish more mild, adjust the amount of chili powder (or remove this spice completely). NOTE: This recipe makes a LOT of curry sauce, so you could freeze half of it and save for another dish if you wanted to – unless you think you’ll sop it all up. Ingredients: 20 baby red potatoes For the curry: 1 small onion, chopped 1 cup chopped tomatoes 1 tsp grated fresh ginger 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp cumin powder 1/8 tsp ground clove 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp red chili powder (Lanka guro) (this is VERY hot, adjust according to your tolerance) 1/2 tsp Garam Masala 1 tsp salt Aromatics: 2 Tbsp mustard oil 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 2 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 4 cardamom pods 2 cups water Method: 1.  Boil potatoes in salted water until almost cooked. Drain. …

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