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.
In this the final smoothie in our "Week of Smoothies", I thought I'd round off things with one that's not only very simple to make, but it mimics a popular drink we enjoy in the Caribbean, Carrot Punch! With orange juice and diced apples, it's packed with health benefits and so refreshing. While smoothies are not something we traditionally make in the Caribbean (as I've mentioned before), you'll find that it's becoming very popular the past few years. And while we normally reach for tropical fruits, apples are widely available - to be honest I've had better apples in the Caribbean (imported) than in Canada.
If you've been keeping score you'll realize that we're up to day 4 or simply the 4th smoothie recipe is this the first annual Week Of Smoothies at CaribbeanPot.com. While you won't automatically associate Kale and Cantaloupe with the Caribbean, the last few times I was down on the islands I saw them both readily available. I assume the same way we can get any tropical fruits and vegetables in North America, you're seeing the reverse on the islands. Luv it!
We always looked forward to watermelon season when I was a kid growing up on the islands, but having the patience to not prematurely pick the massive melons dad grew in his garden wasn't the easiest thing for a kid. Pops has his own technique for telling when the watermelons are perfectly red inside and while he never passed that tip on to me, I do get a chuckle when I see people tapping, scrutinizing, holding them up to the light and do other weird things to them at the grocery store. My tip.. go to where they have the cut slices for sale and if they are red and look perfect, chances are the whole ones on sale will be good. After-all, that's where that cut piece came from.
As we continue with this week of smoothies, it's time to use a very common but ignored Caribbean (tropical) fruit, Jackfruit. A sweet (like refined sugar) tasting fruit, with a sort of custard-like texture, but the scent can be a bit overpowering when it's fully ripe. We had just driven through Fern Gully, Jamaica and had stopped for 'refreshments' at a road-side bar, when I gazed on a Jackfruit tree on the side of the building laden with some of the largest fruits I've ever seen. It's funny how whenever I think about Jackfuit, it takes me back to that Jamaican trip and the roadside bar where I enjoyed some of the most refreshing Guinness I've ever had.
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.
My dad is a BOSS at making homemade ice cream from the many local tropical fruits we had growing in our yard and to this day he still relies on his old hand-crank ice cream maker (aka ice cream pail). According to him, the electric machines just can't get the consistency correct. Besides coconut, making soursop was his next favorite flavor to make for us. Ice cream making was a sort of weekend tradition, especially when relatives were visiting.
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.