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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Author Archives: Jovina Coughlin

Historians divide Polish American immigration into three “waves”, the largest from 1870 to 1914, a second after World War II, and a third after Poland’s independence in 1989 when Poland was freed from Communist rule. Most Polish Americans are descended from the first wave, when millions of Poles fled Polish districts of Germany, Russia, and Austria. This group is often called the za chlebem (for bread) immigrants because most were peasants in Poland who did not own land and lacked basic needs. Substantial research and sociological works such as The Polish Peasant found that many Polish immigrants shared a common objective of someday owning land. U.S. Legislation cut Polish immigration from 1921 to World War II but opened up after World War II to include many displaced persons from the Holocaust.
Immigrants in all three waves were attracted by the high wages and ample job opportunities for unskilled manual labor in the United States and found jobs in American mining, meatpacking, construction, steelwork, and heavy industry—in many cases dominating these fields until the mid-20th century. Over 90% of Poles arrived and settled in communities with other Polish immigrants and the largest such community historically was in Chicago, Illinois.

Polish Museum in Chicago

The first emigrants from Poland were Silesians from the Prussian partition of Poland. They settled in Texas in 1854, creating an agricultural community that carried their native traditions, customs, and language. The land they chose was bare, unpopulated countryside where they created communities. The first home built by a Pole is the John Gawlik House, constructed in 1858. The building still stands and displays a high-pitched roof common in Eastern European architecture.

Władysław Kloski’s Inn (1890) was located at the southeast corner of Noble and Division streets in Chicago.

Poles also settled a farming community in Parisville, Michigan, in 1857. Historians debate whether the community was established earlier, and claims that the community originated in 1848 still exist. The community was started by five or six Polish families who came from Poland by ship in the 1850s and lived in Detroit, Michigan in 1855 before deciding to initiate a farming community in Parisville, where they created prosperous farms and raised cattle and horses. The lands were originally dark black swamps, and the settlers succeeded in draining the land for use as fruit orchards. As per the Swamplands Act of 1850, the lands were legally conferred to pioneering settlers who could make use of these territories. Individual Polish farmers and their families took advantage of this new law, and other immigrants settled disparate areas in interior Michigan independently. The Parisville community was surrounded by Native American Indians who continued to live in teepees during this time. The Poles and the Indians enjoyed good relations and historical anecdotes of gift-giving and resource sharing are documented. Polish farmers were dispersed throughout Michigan, and by 1903 roughly 50,000 Poles were said to live in Detroit.

Detroit Polish Grocery Store 1922

Polish cuisine is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef, in addition to a wide range of vegetables, spices, and herbs. It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles as well as cereals and grains. In general, Polish cuisine is hearty and heavy in its use of butter, cream, eggs, and extensive seasoning. Among the well-known Polish national dishes are bigos [ˈbiɡɔs]; pierogi [pʲɛˈrɔɡʲi]; kiełbasa; pork loin kotlet schabowy breaded cutlet [ˈkɔtlɛt sxaˈbɔvɨ]; gołąbki cabbage roll [ɡɔˈwɔ̃pkʲi]; zrazy roulade [ˈzrazɨ]; sour cucumber soup (zupa ogórkowa) [ˈzupa ɔɡurˈkɔva]; mushroom soup, (zupa grzybowa) [ˈzupa ɡʐɨˈbɔva]; tomato soup (zupa pomidorowa) [ˈzupa pɔmidɔˈrɔva]; rosół meat broth [ˈrɔsuw]; żurek sour rye soup [ˈʐurɛk]; flaki tripe soup [ˈflakʲi]; and red beetroot barszcz [barʂt͡ʂ].

A traditional Polish dinner is composed of three courses, beginning with a soup like the popular rosół broth or tomato soup. The soups are followed by an appetizer such as herring (prepared in either cream, oil, or in aspic); or other cured meats and vegetable salads. The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast, breaded pork cutlet, or chicken, with a surówka [suˈrufka], shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrots, celeriac, seared beetroot) or sauerkraut. The side dishes are usually boiled potatoes, rice or less commonly kasza. Meals often conclude with a dessert including makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, napoleonka cream pie or sernik cheesecake.

These authentic recipes make very generous servings, so for my family, I cut the recipes in half.

Kotlet Schabowy (Polish Pork Chops)

Ingredients

4-6 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup flour
3 egg whites or 2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/3 vegetable cup oil, more if needed
4-6 pats of butter

Directions

Place pork chops between 2 sheets of heavy plastic on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet, turning occasionally, until ¼-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.


Pour flour onto a large plate. Whisk eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Place breadcrumbs and marjoram in a separate shallow bowl.
Dredge chops with flour. Dip in the whisked egg. Coat with bread crumbs on both sides. Shake off excess coating. Place chops on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or until ready to cook.


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add breaded chops; cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Place in oven 300 degrees, on a heatproof platter with a pat of butter on top and place a sheet of foil on top while the rest of the dinner is prepared.

Polish Kapusta

Ingredients

16 oz bag sauerkraut
4 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
⅓ cup of water
2 tablespoons flour

Directions

Rinse the sauerkraut under running water. Squeeze out excess water and chop it.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter. Add onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes until they are golden brown. Add the mushrooms. Saute mushrooms and onion for 3 minutes. Add sauerkraut, sugar and bay leaf to the mushrooms; cook and stir for 10 minutes.

Blend the water into the flour. Mix with the sauerkraut mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Garnish with parsley and serve as a side dish.

Pierogies

Pierogies are filled dumplings that are served as a side dish.

Ingredients

1 box Classic Onion or your favorite variety of pierogies ( I used Mrs. T’s® Pierogies)
¼ cup butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh thyme leaves
Sour Cream

Directions

Place frozen pierogies on a plate in the refrigerator early in the day that they will be cooked.


Heat butter in a large skillet and sauté the pierogies on both sides over medium heat, about 8 minutes or until tender and golden brown.


Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Mix thyme and sour cream together and top the pierogies with sour cream before serving.

Polish Walnut Bread

Dough Ingredients
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 large egg
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for a few turns to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the butter cut into cubes and the egg, water, and cream. Mix until combined and the dough begins to stick together. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for about 7 minutes. It should be smooth and soft.

Put the dough in a large buttered bowl and cover it with a towel. Let it rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled.

While the dough is rising, prepare the walnut filling:

10 ounces walnuts
4 ounces (1 stick unsalted butter)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the walnut filling:

Put the walnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground.

By hand or in a mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in one egg, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Add the ground walnuts and mix until incorporated. Set aside.

To make the pastry:

Place the risen dough on a lightly floured board and roll it into a 20- by 15-inch rectangle.

Spread the walnut filling evenly over the dough. From the long end, roll up the dough, pinching the ends to the sides to seal it. Pull the dough to a length of 25 inches and twist the roll into a circle. Place it on a large parchment-lined baking sheet.

Let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush it on the dough. Bake the walnut roll for 40 to 45 minutes, until it is a dark golden brown color and registers 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Let the walnut roll cool for 15 minutes and then slice it yo serve it warm. The pastry can also be reheated in a 350 degree F oven.

 

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Whole Oven Roasted Broccoli With Cheese Sauce

For 2 servings

Ingredients

Roasted Broccoli
2 whole broccoli stalks
Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the broccoli stalks and trim off the bottom of the stalks. Spray a baking dish with olive oil spray. Add the broccoli stalks. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until the stalks are fork-tender, 25-30 minutes. Pour cheese sauce over roasted broccoli and serve.

To make the cheese sauce
Combine the ingredients in a glass dish and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk. Heat again for 30 seconds more until all the cheese melts. Let sit a few minutes to thicken.

Sauteed Cabbage And Franks

For a heartier meal, add a side of mashed potatoes.

For 2 Servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 oz all-beef hot dogs, knockwurst or kielbasa, cut into 3-inch lengths
8 oz or ¼ head of green cabbage, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion is tender.
Add red wine vinegar to the pan and mix.
Add the hot dogs and saute for a minute or two.
Add remaining butter, cabbage, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss to mix all the ingredients together and coat the cabbage with butter and seasonings.
Saute on low heat until cabbage is wilted and very tender.
Top with fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes before serving.


Italian Ribeye Steak

The rub adds delicious flavor to the steak.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Citrus Rosemary Gray Salt Rub, recipe below
2 (10-ounce) ribeye steaks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 thyme sprigs

Directions

Season the rib eye steaks all over with the citrus rosemary sea salt. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the steaks and cook over high heat until crusty on the bottom, about 4minutes. Turn the steaks over and add the butter, thyme, and garlic to the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, basting the steaks with the melted butter, garlic, and herbs, until the steaks are medium-rare, about 4 minutes longer.

Transfer the steaks to a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the meat and serve with the pan juices poured over the steak.

Citrus Rosemary Gray Salt Rub

1 cup of coarse gray sea salt
Grated lemon peel from 1 lemon
Grated orange peel from 1 orange
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

Combine the above ingredients and spread on a baking sheet lined with baking paper
Let it air-dry for 2 days or dry it in the oven at the lowest oven setting your oven has 2 hours
Store in an airtight container.

Spinach, Tomato, Blue Cheese Salad

Ingredients

5 oz baby spinach leaves
1 large or two small scallions, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
1-2 tablespoon Italian vinaigrette

Directions

In a large salad bowl toss together the baby spinach, scallions, blue cheese, black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Toss until salad is completely mixed and coated with dressing. If you need more dressing, add just a little bit more.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Breaded Mushrooms

This recipe can be doubled. I like to prepare this recipe earlier in the day and refrigerate the breaded mushrooms until baking time so that the crumbs are extra crispy.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
10 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
2 ½ tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 egg white
10 large white button mushrooms

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees. Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil and spray the foil with olive oil cooking spray; set aside.
In a plastic ziplock bag combine the Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried parsley. Add the oil and shake.
Place the egg white in another ziplock bag. Add all the mushrooms and shake until all are coated with egg white. Place all the mushrooms in the bag with the crumb mixture and shake.


Place the mushrooms in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle any remaining crumbs over the mushrooms.
Bake the mushrooms for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.


As I mentioned on Friday that this has been a good season for peppers, my CSA share has yielded quite a few different varieties. Here are some of the ways I have used them.

Italian Peppers and Eggs

This recipe is a traditional Italian dish served at lunch with crispy Italian bread.

Ingredients

8 large organic free-range eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced
16 Italian sweet (banana) frying peppers
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Slice peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stem and seeds, Cut each half into 1-inch pieces

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chili, garlic and onion in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes

Add frying peppers and sauté until they begin to soften and wilt, about 5 minutes

Beat eggs, lower heat and add beaten eggs to the pan with onion and peppers

Let set in pan, then cook gently, occasionally folding eggs over, until firm

Add salt and pepper to taste

Pickled Sweet Cherry Peppers

These pickled peppers make a delicious appetizer stuffed with salami and provolone cheese slices.

For each one quart jar, you will need:

10-15 small sweet cherry peppers
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1½ cups white wine vinegar
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons white sugar or sugar substitute

Directions

Wash and dry the peppers and put them in a glass quart jar. Peel the garlic clove, cut it in half and add it to the cherry peppers along with the black peppercorns and the bay leaf.
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil and let it cook for 1 minute. Remove the liquid mixture from the heat and immediately pour over the peppers.
Let the contents of the jar cool completely at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 1 week. The peppers will be ready for eating after 1 week and will store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Pickled Jalapeno Pepper Slices

The number of jalapenos will depend on how large they are and what size jar you use. I love having these on hand for Mexican recipes. I used 3 jelly jars and about 16 peppers.

Ingredients

15-20 large jalapeños
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar)
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons honey or liquid sugar substitute
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Wear gloves to protect your fingers and remove the stem on each pepper. Slice the peppers into thin circles. Combine the prepared peppers and smashed garlic in jelly sized glass jars.
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, honey, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stove, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sweetener into the liquid. Remove from the heat and carefully pour the liquid over the peppers. Use a butter knife to push down the peppers so they all fit and there aren’t any hidden air pockets.
Let the pickles cool to room temperature in the jar, then screw on the lid and refrigerate the pickles for several days before using. They are best when fresh but keep well for several months.


Poblano peppers (pronounced po-BLAH-no) are thick, dark green-skinned chili peppers that are named after their place of origin: Puebla in Central Mexico. These chili peppers tend to be wide at the top, but with a pointy bottom. When poblano peppers are dried, they’re called ancho chilies. These are different from chipotle peppers, or smoked and dried jalapeno peppers. While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano.

It has been a good summer for growing peppers, including poblanos, in my area. Here are two ways I prepare them.

Baked Chiles Rellenos

I prefer to bake these chilies instead of frying them.

ingredients

8 fresh poblano chiles
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs, beaten
8 teaspoons granular flour, such as Wondra or Cassava (gluten-free)

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Lay chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cook about 4 inches. from the broiler until the chiles are blistering and black, about 5 minutes. Turn chiles over and broil until blistering and black all over, about 5 minutes. Put chiles in a large metal bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes. Peel the chiles and discard the skins. Cut a slit in the side of each chili. Remove the seeds. Set chiles aside on layers of paper towels to dry.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Stuff the chiles with 1 ½ cups of the cheddar and place the chilies in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle each chile with one teaspoon of the flour. Pour the beaten eggs over the stuffed chilies. Sprinkle chiles with the remaining cheese. Bake until the top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.

Southwest Poblano Peppers

Ingredients

10-12 large poblano chiles
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
4 tablespoons taco seasoning
¾ cup of water
2 cups Mexican blend cheese, shredded

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut the poblanos in half and remove the seeds. Grease a large roasting pan and place the peppers in the pan.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions until tender. Add the beef and saute until brown. Add the taco seasoning and water. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Place a tablespoon or two of seasoned ground beef in each pepper. The amount will depend on each pepper’s size.

Top with the Mexican cheese. Spray aluminum foil with nonstick oil. Cover the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes longer.


My CSA share has been very generous this summer with peppers, eggplant, and corn. Here are a few ways to use these wonderful summer vegetables.

Italian Fried Peppers

These peppers make an excellent antipasto and also go well as a side dish.

Ingredients

6 Italian frying (sweet banana) peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove smashed and cut in half
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning.
Pinch of salt and crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat oil and garlic in a saute pan. Lower the heat and add the whole peppers. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, salt, and crushed red pepper. Saute slowly until lightly brown on all sides. Serve at room temperature but store in the refrigerator.

Eggplant Parmigiana

For each 1 lb eggplant, you will need:

4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, black pepper and dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup panko style breadcrumbs
Large plastic ziplock bag
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover two large baking pans with parchment paper. Spray each with cooking spray.

Peel eggplant and slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (no thicker). You want them to be thin. Put the oil in the ziplock bag and then the eggplant slices. Close the bag and shake to evenly distribute the oil.

Place the eggplant slices on the prepared baking pans. Sprinkle eggplant evenly with salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the panko crumbs over the eggplant slices and spray with cooking spray.

Bake for 20 minutes, then reverse the pans on the oven shelves and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until golden brown. Do not let the eggplant burn or get too dark.

To assemble the casserole, you will need:

Spray an 8 inch or 9 inch or 8-by-11 1/2-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
2 ½ cups Marinara (pasta) sauce
8-ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
Baked eggplant slices

Directions

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon some of the sauce over the eggplant and layer with slices of mozzarella cheese. Continue layering eggplant slices, sauce and cheese until all is used. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest ten minutes before cutting.

Fresh Corn Griddle Cakes

Ingredients

1 ½ cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the griddle
3 cups freshly shucked corn kernels, from about 4 ears
1 small jalapeño chile, finely chopped, or to taste
3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
Salsa or Sour Cream, for serving

Directions

Stir together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and mix briefly with a wooden spoon or whisk to obtain a thick batter. Add corn kernels, jalapeño, and scallions and stir to combine.

Set griddle or large cast-iron pan over medium heat. When the griddle is hot, grease lightly with butter, using a folded paper towel or pastry brush. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle. Adjust heat as necessary to keep griddle cakes from browning too quickly. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then carefully flip with a spatula and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes.
Serve immediately as soon as griddle cakes are ready or keep warm in a low oven until all the batter is used. To serve, put 3 griddle cakes on a plate. Top with a generous spoonful of salsa or sour cream.

 


In 2017, approximately 4.4 million Caribbean immigrants resided in the United States, accounting for 10 percent of the nation’s 44.5 million immigrants. With the notable exception of Jamaica, all major Caribbean nations were under direct U.S. political control at some point, which has created incentives and opportunities for the nationals of these islands to migrate to the United States. The first wave of large-scale voluntary migration from the Caribbean to the United States began in the first half of the 20th century and consisted mostly of laborers, including guest workers from the British West Indies program who worked in U.S. agriculture in the mid-1940s, as well as political exiles from Cuba. The migration accelerated in the 1960s when U.S. companies recruited large numbers of English-speaking workers (from laborers to nurses) from former English colonies (e.g., Jamaica). At the same time, political instability in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic propelled emigration. The subsequent waves consisted mostly of their family members and working-class individuals. In contrast, skilled professionals have consistently constituted a relatively high share of Jamaican immigrants to the United States. Between 1980 and 2000, the Caribbean immigrant population increased by more than 50 percent every ten years (54 percent and 52 percent, respectively) to reach 2.9 million in 2000. The growth rate declined gradually afterward.

Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey (ACS).

Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, Creole, Cajun, Amerindian, European, Latin American, East/North Indian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese. These influences were brought from many different countries when they came to the Caribbean. In addition, the population has created styles that are unique to the region. Ingredients that are common in most islands’ dishes are rice, plantains, beans, cassava, cilantro, bell peppers, chickpeas, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, coconut, and various proteins that are locally available like beef, poultry, pork or fish. A characteristic seasoning for the region is a green herb and oil-based marinade which imparts a flavor profile which is distinctively Caribbean in character. Additional ingredients may include onions, scotch bonnet peppers, celery, green onions, and herbs like cilantro, marjoram, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme. This green seasoning is used for a variety of dishes like curries, stews, and roasted meats.

Traditional dishes are important to island cultures, for example, the local version of Caribbean goat stew has been chosen as the official national dish of Montserrat and is also one of the signature dishes of St. Kitts and Nevis. Another popular dish in the Caribbean is called “Cook-up”, or pelau. Ackee and saltfish is another popular dish that is unique to Jamaica. Callaloo is a dish containing leafy greens and sometimes okra that is known throughout the Caribbean.

The variety of dessert dishes in the area also reflects the mixed origins of the recipes. In some areas, Black Cake, a derivative of English Christmas pudding may be served on special occasions. Black cake is a rich, molasses-spiced cake filled with dried fruits and is a part of Christmas festivities throughout the Caribbean. The cake varies from island to island.

Some Jamaican cuisine dishes are variations on the cuisines and cooking styles brought to the island from elsewhere. These are often modified to incorporate local produce. Others are novel and have developed locally. Popular Jamaican dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, ackee and saltfish (cod). Jamaican patties and various pastries and bread are also popular as well as fruit beverages and Jamaican rum.

Little Caribbean Section Of New York

Across America, a new generation of Caribbean-American chefs is taking Caribbean cuisine to new heights, from unique rum bars to fine dining restaurants. These talented chefs are interpreting traditional dishes and ingredients from their grandmother’s kitchen in ways that are unexpected, but always authentic.

Crown Heights-Caribbean Restaurant

Some Caribbean recipes to try at home:

Jerk Seasoning

ingredients

1 tablespoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or jar.

Roasted Chicken with Jerk Seasoning

Ingredients

Jerk seasoning rub, recipe above
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large bone-in chicken breasts, cut in half, and 3-4 large bone-in thighs
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Mix oil and 3 tablespoons spice rub in a small bowl Reserve remaining rub for later. Rub chicken with jerk spice mixture; season with salt. Place the chicken in a covered container and marinate overnight.


Remove chicken from the refrigerator and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining spice rub. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 50–60 minutes.

Caribbean Sweet Potato Bake

Makes 6 servings

3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (2 pounds)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons dark rum
Grated peel and juice from 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 bananas, peeled and diced
Parsley

Directions

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes with eggs, brown sugar, butter, rum, lime peel, juice and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Beat until well blended.
Spoon into a shallow baking dish, place the sliced bananas around the top of the sweet potato mixture and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Callaloo

Callaloo is a popular Caribbean vegetable dish that is widely known throughout the Caribbean and has a distinctively Caribbean origin.
Recipes vary across the region, depending on the availability of local vegetables. The main ingredient is an indigenous green leaf called amaranth.

Callaloo, in Trinidad & Tobago and other eastern Caribbean countries, is generally made with okra and dasheen or water spinach. Variations may include coconut milk, crab, conch, Caribbean lobster, meats, pumpkin, chili peppers, and other seasonings or spices. The ingredients are added and simmered down to a somewhat stew-like consistency. When cooked, callaloo is dark green in color and is served as a side dish.

In Jamaica, callaloo is often combined with saltfish and is usually seasoned with tomatoes, onions, scallions, scotch bonnet peppers and cooking oil. It is often eaten with roasted breadfruit, boiled green bananas, and dumplings. It is a popular breakfast dish.

In Grenada, callaloo is steamed with onion and coconut milk and is eaten as a side dish. Grenadians also stir or blend the mixture until it has a smooth texture. Callaloo soup comprising callaloo, okra, dumplings, yam, potato, chicken and beef is traditionally eaten on Saturdays. It is also one of the most important ingredients in Oil Down, the island’s National Dish, that is comprised of steamed breadfruit, callaloo, yam, carrot and several varieties of meat or fish. All of this is steamed in coconut milk and saffron powder.

In the Virgin Islands, callaloo is served with a dish of fungee (mushrooms) on the side. In Guadeloupe, “calalou au crabe” (crab callaloo) is a traditional Easter dish.

Ingredients

4 cups callaloo, chopped and tightly packed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 sprigs thyme
1 medium tomato, chopped
Salt to taste
1 Scotch Bonnet (hot) pepper, whole or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons water

Directions

Remove the small branches with leaves from the main stem and submerge the callaloo into a bowl of cold water. Let soak for a minute and remove, discarding the water. Repeat 2 more times. Finely chop the leaves and branches and set aside. Place oil in a large pot, add onions, thyme, tomato, and scotch bonnet pepper on medium heat, saute; until onion is translucent. Add callaloo and water, allow to simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes or until tender.



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