Year: 2012

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Menu: Saint Vincent & the Grenadines ($400+ Giveaway)

We’ve hit Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on our Adventure to eat the world. Consider this my way to sneak the holidays to you, Caribbean-style. This menu is for those days when you wish you still felt like pumpkin pie, but you’ve eaten three pies too many….and coconut pumpkin soup seems like the only logical answer. It’s for when you are ready to dive into a traditional boozy cake, but without the scary pieces of giant neon fruit that you find in the preboxed variety. In sum, this is the holidays on cruise control, island-style. P.S. Make the cake for friends. This is not your grandma’s fruit cake. Unless you’re grandma is from the islands. In which case, never mind. Caribbean Pumpkin & Coconut Cream Bisque [Recipe] Pumpkin and coconut milk combine forces with ginger, onion, and garlic with this mainstay of Caribbean cooking. Do you have an urge for heat? Add a scotch bonnet pepper.  P.S. You can make this soup in less than 30 minutes, most of which you’re leaning against the counter sipping wine. …

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Ponton de Saline Bay. Photo by Moiom.

About the food of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Let’s meet up in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Really. Wouldn’t it be great to carve out a sweet little spot for ourselves. A place where time can stop for a while? I love that, now that we’ve hit a cold snap here in Tulsa, our minds have been cruising through the “Saint” countries – all of which nestle cozy and warm in the balmy Caribbean seas. We’ve done two already and this week we continue to the 11-mile long, 6.8 miles wide “main island” called Saint Vincent and about a hundred scattered islands of the Grenadines. Those 100 or so other islands? Apparently the whole shebang only adds up to 17 square miles. Quaint. Neighborly. Exactly how you’d like it if you lived in the hurricane belt, which they do. But, then, where there are storms there are rainbows. Even though the weather is warm there, the islands continue with much the same traditions found throughout the Caribbean. The holidays (and every day) can be celebrated with Rum, Black Cake [Recipe] (which is, essentially, rum …

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Monday Meal Review: Saint Lucia

“I don’t like nutmeg,” a willowy, blond girl of about ten whined. Her mother looked reproachfully at her. “Have you ever tried it?” I asked with what I hoped was an encouraging smile. “No,” she quietly replied, eyes downcast. She stood with one hip turned away from me, as if my slightest move would send her scampering away. “Well, here, smell it,” I said as I picked up the whole nutmeg and passed it to her. “Isn’t it amazing?”  The nut was about one inch in diameter and was round except for a flat spot where it had been grated by dozens of kids throughout the afternoon. The girl jerked back her head and furrowed her brow at the prospect, but after a particularly stern look from her mother, she dipped her head close to the nutmeg and gave a tentative whiff. She scrunched up her nose distastefully. The mother seemed bothered, but I simply said “Good for you. Now whaddya think about grating some of that nutmeg on your Cocoa Tea?” and added “This is …

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Cocoa Tea

When I told Ava that the fine people of Saint Lucia like to wake up in the morning and drink Cocoa Tea, she squinted her eyes, titled her head, and said “what mama?” “It’s like hot cocoa,” I smiled, “but richer, and seasoned with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.” Her eyes instantly popped open in recognition and the corners of her lips curled impishly. I showed her my mound of chocolate chips and added that in Saint Lucia they use cocoa sticks and balls to make their Cocoa Tea, but we’d be making it with chips since that’s all we can get in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Don’t worry,” I added, “It’ll still taste amazing and feel completely snuggly.” Truth is, the end result is a rich, thick blanket of goodness… each sip is almost like dreaming underneath a giant bar of ooey-gooey warm chocolate. This is the kind of drink you want after a chilly walk or sledding. After a breakup. Or an engagement. It’s the exact right statement for any sentiment, in fact. A giant mug …

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Caribbean Fry Bakes

This week I’ve completely given up: – shooing the cat off our bed – working so hard, I can’t see straight. – being in a hurry – doing the laundry – eating boxed cereal Instead, I’m now: – snuggling my cat – not-so-accidentally forgetting my phone at home – dancing with my daughter with the curtains wide open – playing board games with family – gobbling up bakes Thanksgiving week is a time for a little closer look at what matters. It’s about family, not work. It’s about noticing each other and taking the time to interact without twitching, finger first, towards our cellphones. It’s about looking each other in the eyes. And it’s about cooking together. While I value a good pancake (and even a good Russian-style pumpkin pancake) most of the time, I’m a new convert to the Caribbean breakfast treat called “Bakes.” I’ve made three batches in as many days. Despite the name, bakes are only occasionally baked. More often than not, Bakes are fried discs of dough. Confused? Don’t worry. The only thing you …

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Menu: Saint Lucia (w/ Giveaway)

When Thanksgiving meal preparations take over the household, I like to do little things to make the rest of the week’s meals feel fun. With that in mind, I put together two festive, but relatively quick treats to make the ordinary extraordinary.  After all, why can’t every day be Thanksgiving? The theme for both is breakfast, Saint Lucia-style. Caribbean Bakes [Recipe] If your family likes doughnuts and biscuits, these fried discs of soft, doughy goodness will certainly be a big hit. Serve them warm with sweet, fruity jam, salt fish, lunchmeat, or even sliced cheese. Cocoa Tea [Recipe] This is the traditional morning drink in Saint Lucia. Think thick, rich hot cocoa with cinnamon, and a dusting of ground nutmeg. THE GIVEAWAY Happy Day Before Thanksgiving, friends!  So here’s something you never knew you wanted… ancient map leggings from Black Milk Clothing. I fell in love with these the moment I saw them. And, p.s., I instantly thought of ten people I’d like to buy them for. They’d look great with a big sweater, under …

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The village of Soufriere lit up as night falls. the Pitons in the background are volcanic plugs rising straight out ogf the sea. Photo by Tri-X Pan.

About the food of Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia pops out of the Caribbean Sea like a coy mountain range. She’s partially submerged in the deep blue, yet her curves peek out randomly in greeting. Her deep green foliage (oftentimes thick and tropical) and her dusty, tan soil gives the island a “land before time” feel. The occasional free-wandering chicken and the featured “drive-in volcano,” where one can drive right up to a bubbling crater, only add to the illusion. (Don’t let the threat of lava scare you; Saint Lucia hasn’t had an eruption since the 1700’s.) Interesting “point” though, are the two peaks you see below. They are called pitons: two volcanic plugs (towering masses of rock formed in the craters of ancient volcanoes). As night falls, people dance, sing, and eat under Saint Lucia’s brilliant street lights. Thanks to a long history with France and Britain, a little French will likely fall upon your ear and French-Creole on your taste buds  This is a draw for locals and tourists alike: a Fish Fry – where anything goes, as long as it can …

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Monday Meal Review: Saint Kitts and Nevis

Do you ever wonder if you need to get out more?  While I keep stumbling into serendipitous connections in Tulsa, like the young book salesman from Bulgaria who knocked on my door the same week I cooked his country and the Finnish mother I ran into the same day I was to cook Finland, I didn’t really expect to find the same thing during our brief 4 night stay in New York City. Who was I kidding? I should have known better. It is New York City, after all. On our first bleary eyed morning in New York I asked Keith’s cousin, Kelly, about where I could go grocery shopping. I told her our meal was from Saint Kitts and Nevis, in the Caribbean.  She glanced out her tall, sunny windows, over the shimmering city below and laughed. She cocked her chin to the side, and added “Every other shop around here is Caribbean.” I searched her eyes, looking for a twinkle of mischief but there was none. That afternoon, as we walked through the blustery …

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Killer Bee Cocktail with Black Pepper & Nutmeg

I can’t even begin to take credit for this drink. My dear friend Marina wanted to contribute something to our potluck-style dinner but even after I gave her the easy out by suggesting our Caribbean Rum Punch, she insisted on creating something new and unique to Saint Kitts and Nevis. Her research and uncovered this gem of a sipper… the Killer Bee Cocktail. With a name like that, it has to be good. According to her research: The Killer Bee cocktail is by far the most popular beverage on the island of Nevis.  Sunshine’s [Beach Bar] is so secretive about the drink that I’ve read he mixes the cocktail under the bar to hide the mix from curious eyes. So while this is not exact, it is the closest thing you will find…after a few you won’t notice anyway, right?   (Caribbean Escape Blog) Any kind of drink that is made under the table to preserve it’s secret? Count me in! Now for a few notes on the nitty gritty. Marina made the cocktail with …

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Peas n’ Rice

There’s a tall, skinny window, in a full-of-love kitchen in Brooklyn, where one can set a giant pot of rice to cool. Under the icy winter sun, steam rolls up and fogs the panes. With a swipe of the hand you can peer out at the city below, but the glass now clings to a dream of sauteed peppers, onion, garlic, celery, and thyme.  This special place is my friend Marina’s kitchen, where I cooked our Global Table this past week while I was in NYC. There’s nothing to this recipe. And yet it is everything. And this is why it’s a staple all over the Caribbean. The version I made is vegan, although a few slices of diced, fried bacon or a ham hock would be grand – and traditional – in this as well (just fry them up before you add the veggies). The key to this dish are the Pigeon Peas, although you can substitute black-eyed peas if you can’t find any. In a delightful twist of fate, I found pigeon peas …

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Rum Glazed Coconut Bread Pudding

It’s a fact of life: when the wind howls, children everywhere refuse to wear their coats. They arch their little backs, squeal-whine and assert “I don’t need a coat, mama.” In this situation, we have two choices. We can hunker down and try (struggle) to put their coat on, until one or both of us are crying. Or. (Or is that beautiful word that keeps life bearable and tantrums at a minimum.) Or… we can stand outside with them, coatless in the wind, just for a moment. We can feel that autumn chill tickle our souls, laugh at how the air nips our noses, and then – only then – rush inside to put on that silly coat after all. Or… we can forget about the coat altogether and cozy up to a piping hot bowl of coconut bread pudding, drizzled all over with a giddy amount of buttered brown sugar & rum glaze, then smile with rosy cheeks by the window. It’s a no brainer, really. We chose the last option, while enjoying ourselves immensely …

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Menu: Saint Kitts and Nevis (with $150 Giveaway)

This week I flew from 80 degrees and sunny in Tulsa, to 35 degrees and windy in New York City. I wandered through a snowstorm in Manhattan, purchased a silk hat made in Tibet for $6,  and slept 50% less than normal.  I spent the week introducing myself to publishers all week: “Hello, I’m Sasha Martin. Let me tell you about a little dream of mine  …” After all that excitement (I can’t wait to tell you more), it was wonderful to end the week at my dear friend, Marina’s apartment in Brooklyn and eat this incredible meal typical in Saint Kitts & Nevis. Everything about it is soothing, comforting and… well, there’s rum glazed coconut bread pudding… need I say more? P.S. That Killer Bees recipe? Marina found that one and she did an aces job. All recipes and meal review will be available by Monday morning. Peas n’ Rice [Recipe]  A hearty combination of rice, pigeon peas, peppers, onion, celery and thyme. (Psst – this would be perfect with the coconut crust fish from our Nauru Global …

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