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.
I may have mentioned this in the past, but growing up on the islands I never liked fish and I think the same can be said about my brother and sisters (mom had a tough time with us). While I outgrew this, I still think my sisters are not fans of fish to this day. My brother on the other hand, elevated his taste buds.. so it's not strange to see him at seafood restaurants in New York sitting behind a massive lobster feasting away. While my fav fish dish is my mom's curry Kingfish, during the summer months this grilled fish is something I do quite often.
"Dad, can you make me chow?" No Mango! "How about shrimp?" That was the brief discussion between Tehya and I a few weeks back when she got her routine craving for mango chow. A spicy pickle usually made with green (tart) mangoes, or any of the variety of fruits we have in the Caribbean. Had to admit, it was a brilliant idea. We both enjoy shrimp cocktail and with the sort of spicy base.. could this be the "Caribbean" version of shrimp cocktail?
After moving to Canada I was exposed to many 'new' ingredients, which were not found in the typical Caribbean garden or market. One such ingredient which became an immediate hit with my taste buds was asparagus. Normally I'd grill them, but early in the season when it's still a bit too cold to go outside and spark up the grill, I like doing this sort of stew (stir-fry for many). Based on the method we use for making a saltfish (salted cod) stew in the Caribbean, this is certainly one of the best ways to enjoy asparagus.
Hopefully you've had time to try the Smoked Herring With Cabbage recipe I shared with you last week. A truly classic dish made with subtle differences throughout the Caribbean. This time we'll do one mom would always make for dad whenever she had leftovers from the cabbage and smoked herrings combo. Since we had a variety of banana trees in our kitchen garden at the back of the house, we always made use of the 'cooking fig" (green cooking bananas) supply we always seemed to have.
Coconut Tarragon Chicken! Here's another recipe you won't normally see being made in the Caribbean as it's more of a fusion type dish. However with the lovely flavors of the coconut milk and tarragon, I know you'll quickly fall in love with this ensemble. Not heavily seasoned as we normally treat 'chicken', but I wanted the coconut and tarragon to really stand out. It's probably one of the few recipes using chicken breast (notorious for being dry) that I truly adore.
If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen me (just after the holidays) post the pic of me surrounded by a ton of plastic containers. When you visit mom and dad it's always a time to eat like a KING and have enough food to return home with. Basically I went prepared for the leftover train. This recipe is a byproduct of that visit and the volume of irie food which accompanied us home. By now you should have guessed that I luv fried rice (there are several recipes posted here) and this one certainly delivers.
Any sort of game, including deer (venison) is what we call "wild meat" in the Caribbean and for the most part it's a sort of cherished delicacy, especially around Christmas and Carnival time. I have very fond childhood memories of going hunting with my brother and dad and into my early teens we would venture out with my friends. Though I went to school in San Fernando (city), most of my spare time was spent in the country side of Guaracara, so you'd find that I'm an outdoors person at heart.