As a kid I never had much love for this dish, but as I grew older (and moved away from home / the Caribbean), Corn Cou Cou became a fave of mine. Since mom could never convince us to eat corn Cou Cou it was rarely ever made in our home, except for the odd time she would make it for dad.. usually served with stew fish. While the corn meal and okra are the 'constant' ingredients in Cou Cou, you'll find that the technique and supporting cast of ingredients will differ as you visit kitchens across the Caribbean.
You'll notice that I'm referring to all the 'greens' as spinach in this recipe, so kindly bear with me. I had good crops of Swiss Chard, Jamaican Callaloo (chorai bhagi) and Kale in my garden this past summer, so it was only natural that I did this dish.A dish mom would make for us, however she would use dasheen bush (tender leaves of the dasheen plant) and there were times she would add a bit of cooked yellow split peas to the mix (she had a name for that dish which I can't recall at the moment).
This is one fella you can take out of the Caribbean, but you can never take the "Caribbean" out of him. I've had the opportunity to dine in various countries / restaurants and while many of the dishes I've experienced we're definitely tasty, I will always head back 'home' to the islands when I need something comforting. Such is the case when I eat dishes containing yam, dasheen, green banana, eddoes, cassava and other ingredients we refer to as being 'provision'. I'll always remember weekends when mom would prepare this dish for me, my brother and dad.. my sisters we're somewhat picky eaters.
Every summer I try to plant many of the herbs, vegetables and peppers I use in the recipes I share, in the little garden I have at the back of our home. Nothing gives me pleasure than knowing what went into growing my food and there's always a sense of accomplishment as well for me. Every year I try to plant a variety of HOT peppers, ranging from the insane stuff to mild and flavorful. This homemade pepper-sauce is not about the mild - unfortunately. We're going for raw heat with the peppers I'll be using, However with the addition of the frozen berries things will balance off naturally.
I grew up on classic Caribbean ice creams which were homemade and usually flavored with many of the fruits that grew at the back of our home in Guaracara Trinidad. Coconut, mango, sour soup and barbadine (Giant Granadilla) were the flavors of the day. Unless it was the odd time mom would bring home Flavorite (brand) from the grocery store, where we'd get a taste of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and the odd time .. rum and raisin. After having a superb pina colada in old San Juan (Puerto Rico) a few years ago, I knew I had to give this a spin in my ice cream maker.
This is one of those recipes I associate with my grandmother who would always have dried pigeon peas stored in re-purposed glass ketchup bottles, in a dark corner of her smoky kitchen (she cooked with an open wood fire - called a coal pot). While she would save hers for making stew peas and pelau, the odd time she would make this rice dish, it was a bit different than what I'm about to share. If you have a pressure cooker you can cook the peas in a much faster time, but I quite like this slow method.
After sharing a pic of this Jerk Chicken Stirfry on Instagram, I had someone comment "what is leftover jerk chicken?" I do agree, there are many Caribbean dishes which always seems to be gone by the end of the meal. Keeping in mind that I make additional dishes with leftover jerk chicken (chicken salad, fried rice and stirfry) I purposely make extra every-time I make jerk chicken (same can be said about Stew Chicken as well). This an absolute WINNER in my home and I'm sure it will make a delicious impression on you and your family.
Pumpkin and shrimp are two things mom struggled to get us to eat as kids, but as an adult I can't get enough. Looking back I wish I had started eating pumpkin from a younger age as the pumpkins mom would use came directly from the small garden we had at the back of our home in rural Trinidad. Grown organically and under the brilliant Caribbean sun... I still recall mom commenting "gosh this pumpkin cook real gud" every time she made a pumpkin dish.
As we close off another successful year of July's Month Of Grilling, I'd like to take a traditional recipe for making Geera Pork and tailor it for the grill. Geera (cumin) Pork is one of those food/snacks you normally associate with enjoying big-people beverages and can be classed as a 'cutters'. As you'd find Tapas in Spain, we have 'cutters' in the Southern Caribbean. To help the pork tenderize without having to cook for an hour plus and to add a bit of a fruity balance to the fiery scotch bonnet kick in the kebabs, we'll employ the use of a ripe pineapple.
Last weekend I was asked "what's your specialty?" in reference to what I cook and without hesitation I said it's not so much a dish or category of food, but technique. As we continue July's Month Of Grilling, I'm sure you can tell that I quite enjoy working with the raw heat of the grill. The essence of the fire changes the overall dish in such a manner that's almost impossible to duplicate on a stove or oven. While we're not using pimento wood to give the burgers that unique "Jamaican Jerk" depth, I assure you that you'll be amazed by what a simple jerk marinade can do to basic ground beef.