All posts filed under: Haiti


Monday Meal Review: Haiti & Honduras

Keith’s parents would be here in just a few hours. I went to the window. Blue and clear. A good time as any to get cooking. I tore open the gelatin and whisked it together with warm water until dissolved.  Next, I cracked open the thick white coconut milk, and swirled it with the rest of the ingredients, stopping to dab a little vanilla extract on my wrists. Time for the stove top. I clicked on the burner and let things heat up. After a moment, the smell of summer billowed up. I poured the steaming liquid into the mold and stirred in the tropical fruit. The next day we’d have elegant, grown-up jello from Haiti. Blancmange. The whole thing took less than ten minutes. I smiled at the novel simplicity. Ava would love it. I pushed the dessert into the refrigerator gently, trying not to splash the blancmange around too much. I should have made something like this a long time ago, I thought to myself. I hardly ever make food that wobbles. In fact, …

Read More

Haitian Coconut Fruit Jello | Blancmange

Makes a 1 1/2 quart, large molded dessert There’s something about jello that’s so 1897. So Victorian. So old-school. So… over-the-top-retro. You see, 1897 is the magic year gelatin and fruit syrup were first combined to make the wobbly dessert we’re familiar with today.  Fast forward through several decades and continents and you get today’s recipe, blancmange. It’s loaded up with evaporated and coconut milks, making it jello’s creamy counter part. It’s the reason Haiti’s get up in the morning. At least, I like to think so. This wibbly-wobbly dessert is fun for kids to make – you’ll find it at weddings and other celebrations. While it is not very sweet it is creamy, smooth and silky, almost like eating a wet coconut cloud. The tradition hails from France, where these sorts of molded desserts are extremely popular. Haiti was a French colony, so it’s only natural they put their Caribbean twist on the dessert. Ingredients: 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional 1, 13.5 oz can coconut milk 2, 12 oz cans evaporated milk 3 packets …

Read More

Jicama & Chayote Salad

Makes 1 large bowl If you’ve never had jicama or chayote, you’re in for a real treat. Jicama is watery and crunchy, a lot like water chesnuts, but mildly sweet. Chayote is in the squash family, and you can taste it. When dressed with a splash of lime and orange juice, the salad brings together the tropical flavors of Central America. Ingredients: 1 jicama, peeled and sliced into matchsticks 1 chayote, sliced into matchsticks 2-3 large oranges, segmented 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly 1-2 limes, juiced fresh cilantro, to taste olive oil salt & pepper Method: Welcome to a pantry of fresh flavor. Of deliciousness. Of happy salads just waiting to be made. Slice everything up, nice and thin. Segment the orange – meaning cut off the skin and use a sharp knife to cut wedges out from between the segments. Sprinkle with plenty of lime juice. Realize your salad bowl is much too small to do any ingredient tossing. Pile everything into the largest, reddest bowl you can find. Douse with a splash …

Read More

Caribbean Coconut Ice Cream

Makes 5 cups I like to float around in easy, breezy sundresses all summer long. I also like to wear my hair short and laugh really loud at silly jokes. Finally, I like to eat ice cream by the gallon while squeezing my eyes really tight and imagining I’m on a Caribbean island. This is best done while nibbling on a cold spoonful of creamy coconut ice cream, made even sweeter by the fact that I didn’t have to turn on the stove – not even for one second – to make it. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I think this ice cream should be served with warm Baked Brown Sugar Bananas, another wonderful Caribbean treat. Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups half and half 1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk 1 1/4 cups coconut milk Garnish: Toasted, shredded coconut Method: Before we get started, let’s give a nod to how coconut ice cream is traditionally made in the Caribbean. First, a beautiful coconut would be hacked open and shredded for deeply rich coconut ice …

Read More

There’s *what* in my drink?

Welcome to the wonderful world of “I didn’t know that!” Haiti Take a stroll through the Haitian markets. Soak up the sights and smells. See that lady selling jars of brightly colored liquid? She’ll tell you “All the medicine you’ll ever need is in a jar of rum.” She’s not selling just any rum, this is the Klerin pharmacy, a.k.a. the white rum pharmacy. All manner of goodies are added to her jars – from spices to bark, fruit to leaves. A few sips of this trempé and you just might find your tummy woes gone.  Or eyes feeling better. Or that growth on your face suddenly shrinking. Who knew? Honduras Honduras, like many countries in the Americas, enjoys a good smoothie. Pineapples and melons, outrageously heavy with sweet juices, get whirred up into licuados, meaning latin smoothie. The fun thing about licuados  is you can have your breakfast cereal right in your drink. Locals particularly love granola, oatmeal, and cornflakes. Try it with your next drink – toss in a small handful and give it …

Read More

Menu: Haiti & Honduras

Hi friends. I have something to tell you. There were some questions yesterday about why I was combining Haiti and Honduras this week. I told you it was because I was building in sick time and vacation. That’s true. What is also true is that my mom is coming this weekend, all the way from Boston. She’d like to help with our Hungarian menu. I’d like her to help with our Hungarian menu. It’s our heritage. Hungary runs through our veins. We’re also hungry all the time, but that’s a story for another day. The problem?  Mom accidentally booked her flight a week too soon – thus, I had to double up Haiti and Honduras to make her dream come true. Either that or pay hundreds of dollars to rebook her flight. She hasn’t seen Miss Ava since last August (!!), so we’re very excited for her visit. So there you have it. The whole truth. Doesn’t that feel good? Meanwhile, let’s dabble in our happy little menu for Haiti and Honduras. First off, just look …

Read More

About the Food of Haiti & Honduras

This week we’re tackling Haiti and Honduras so as to build in a little vacation time later this summer. First up, Haiti. I have a new neighbor. His name is Jonathan. Five minutes into our first conversation I learn that he has been to Haiti. A pretty great stroke of fortune, if you ask me – right up there with the lady from Belarus working at Dillards, the door-to-door salesman from Bulgaria, and Ava’s playmate who’s daddy has been to Ghana. Most excellent. Well, the first Hatian dish Jonathan suggested was spaghetti with ketchup and mayo on top. Suddenly, I wasn’t so excited. I begged him to dig deeper. The thing is, food in Haiti is really simple. Spaghetti with ketchup and mayo on top is about as typical as it gets. Other than that, street food includes basic, affordable dishes like beans and rice (a.k.a. peas n’ rice) [recipe] or plantains – fried, mashed, boiled. Jonathan states: I remember the fried plantain fondly.  You would buy them from street vendors (well, you bought everything from …

Read More