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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: onion

I am fortunate to live near a farm that grows these beautiful, round Italian heirloom eggplants. This variety is a plump, tear-drop- shaped eggplant with rosy lavender skin and alabaster flesh. The meaty and firm yet tender flesh has a delicate mild flavor and a creamy consistency with no bitterness. Rosa Bianca has few seeds, making it the perfect variety for grilling and baking.

Baked Eggplant Stacks

Ingredients

1 Rosa Bianca Eggplant, about 1 ½ lb.
½ cup flour
3 egg whites beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
2 cups Italian seasoned Panko crumbs
1 large beefsteak or heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
6 Fresh Mozzarella slices
6 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ cup Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Pour the ¼ cup olive oil into a large rimmed rectangular sheet pan.
Peel the eggplant and slice into six 1/2-inch-thick circles.
Dip the eggplant slices into the flour, then the egg white mixture and finally the crumbs, tossing around to make sure the crumbs adhere. Place the breaded eggplant on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or two.


Put the sheet pan with the oil in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven (with oven mitts) and arrange the eggplant on the hot pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake another 10 minutes or until they’re golden on the other side.
Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Put a tomato slice on top of each eggplant slice, then a basil leaf on each and top each with a slice of mozzarella. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the cheese melts.

 

Tomatoes with Herbed Ricotta

Use beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are in season now along with lots of fresh herbs.

For two servings:

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced\
1 large heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Fleur de sel

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, parsley, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside for up to 30 minutes.
Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. You should get 4 slices. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the tomato slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Spread ¼ of the ricotta mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle with reserved basil and fleur de sel, and serve at room temperature.

Old Fashioned Vidalia Onion Pie

Vidalia onions are in season now. They are a sweet, mild onion grown in Georgia. Vidalias can be used in place of any yellow onion, but their flavor is so special that you can really let them be the star of the show, such as this Vidalia Onion tart.

One 9-inch pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons water

Directions

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan if you like. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top. Fill and bake.

Filling Ingredients:
2 large Vidalia onions, diced
1/4 cup butter
8 oz cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup whole milk

Directions

Saute the onions in butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until golden brown. This will take 40 to 45 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F Line a baking sheet and place the pastry-lined pie pan on the baking sheet to help with transferring in and out of the oven.

Spread half the cheddar cheese over the bottom crust and top the cheese with the cooked onions.
In a measuring cup, whisk the eggs together with the milk and ½ teaspoon of salt, then pour it over the onion mixture. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese.


Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown and set.

Plum Crostata

Plums are generally in season somewhere in the United States from the end of May all the way into October. Not only are they good for eating out of hand, but they are an excellent fruit for baking, such as this crostata recipe below. Crostata is the Italian term, and Galette is the French term for a rustic dessert that consists of a rolled out piece of pastry dough and the edges of the dough are folded in about an inch or so over the filling.

Ingredients

Pie pastry for one 9-inch pie
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 plums
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon cream
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Directions

Slice the plums into thin wedges.
Roll pie dough out to a 12-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Slide the parchment onto a sheet pan. Spread marmalade on the center of the tart; then fan around the wedges of plums, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the pie crust dough edge over onto the plums.

Drizzle honey over plums, brush pie crust dough edge with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F until fruit is tender and crust is cooked on the underside, about 25 to 30 minutes.

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Pepper Steak

Ingredients

1 pound top sirloin steak or flank steak, cut into very thin strips
1/4 cup soy sauce (divided)
1/3 cup Shaoxing wine (divided)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch squares (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares (about 1 cup)
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, whites only, finely minced
4 tablespoons vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
Kosher salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha

Directions

Combine beef, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine in a bowl and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Combine remaining soy sauce with cornstarch and stir with a fork to form a slurry. Add remaining Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Set aside.

Combine peppers and onions in a bowl and set aside. Combine garlic, ginger, and scallions in a small bowl and set aside.

When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or a large deep skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of the beef and cook without moving until well seared, about 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and remaining beef. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil and half of the peppers and onions. Transfer to the bowl with the beef. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining peppers/onions.

Return pan to high heat and add the peppers/onions/beef and the garlic/ginger/scallion mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring until incorporated about 30 seconds. Add sauce and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until thickened, about 45 seconds longer. If you like your Chinese recipes with spice add several tablespoons of Sriracha.

Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve with rice


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.

 


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.


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.


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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