Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: sweet potatoes

Sea Bass

Ingredients

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 lb sea bass fillets, ½-inch thick, cut into smaller portions

Caper Sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
1 seeded jalapeno pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Season the fish with salt and pepper and brush the fillets with some of the sauce.

Heat a medium skillet and sear the fish on both sides about 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to low and pour the sauce over the fish and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


Serve immediately.

Creamy Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4 firm, medium-sized tomatoes

Filling
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 4 ears)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced scallion
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut off tops of tomatoes; remove seeds and pulp with a spoon. Leave a 1/2-inch wall of flesh around the inside of the tomato. Invert tomatoes on a paper towel to drain while preparing the filling.

Combine the corn with the rest of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Season the inside of the tomatoes with salt and black pepper and fill with a generous amount of corn filling (amount will vary depending on the size of the tomatoes). Arrange stuffed tomatoes in a baking dish.

Bake tomatoes until the filling is hot and the cheese has melted 15–20 minutes.

Sweet Potato Patties

The potato cakes can bake in the oven along with the tomatoes in this dinner menu.

Ingredients

Olive oil cooking spray
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup blanched finely ground almond flour (1 oz)
Cooked and mashed sweet potato (2 sweet potatoes)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, sea salt, black pepper, honey, scallions, and thyme. Mix in the almond flour. Add the mashed sweet potato to the egg mixture. Mix well.

 

Using a ¼ cup scoop or measuring cup, form six mounds of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten with a spatula. Spray with oil.

Bake the sweet potato cakes for 15 minutes. Turn them over, spray with more oil and bake until browned and set, 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.


Grilled Pork Chops

2 servings

Spice Rub
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 thin bone-in pork loin chops (about 4 oz each)

Directions

In a bowl, mix together garlic, oil, sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, and cayenne until a paste forms. Coat pork chops with the paste and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 3).
Heat an outdoor grill or broiler to medium-high. Cook pork, covered if grilling, 5 minutes per side. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potatoe Salad

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes, about 1 1/2 lb, peeled and diced
Salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Dressing:
½ a large jalapeno pepper or 1 small, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Directions

Bring a large bot of salted water to a boil, then add the sweet potatoes. Simmer just until fork-tender, about 10 minutes depending upon the size of the potatoes. Drain, gently, and set aside.

In a serving bowl place the celery, and green onions.
Prepare the dressing in a large measuring cup, whisking together all the dressing ingredients.

Add the sweet potatoes to the bowl with the celery, drizzle with the dressing, then toss gently to combine. Taste and season with additional salt/pepper as desired. Serve chilled. Garnish with extra chopped parsley if desired.

Grilled Japanese Eggplant

What Is the Difference Between Japanese Eggplant and Regular Eggplant?
Their smaller size and thinner shape make them look more like a baby zucchini than a big, globe eggplant! Once you cut into it, you’ll find fewer seeds than most eggplant varieties (which also means they’re less bitter, since the seeds are responsible for creating bitter eggplant). The flesh is sweet and creamy with a spongy texture, meaning they’ll soak up marinades and sauces exceptionally well.

Ingredients

Marinade
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 a jalapeno pepper, minced

Eggplant
3 Japanese eggplants, about 1 lb total, halved lengthwise
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Asian plum sauce

Directions

Combine the marinade ingredients in a long dish.{lace the cut eggplant in the marinade and turn them over several times. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper. Set aside for an hour.

Heat an outdoor grill or preheat a grill pan. Remove the eggplant from the marinade. Grill cut side down over high heat until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Turn the eggplant and cook until lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes. Brush the cut side of the eggplant with the p;u, sauce, and turn them over to grill for another 2 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a serving dish and drizzle the remaining plum sauce over the slices.


Trout Fillets

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small clove garlic, cut into thin slices
1/4 teaspoon dried sage or 4 large fresh leaves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh leaves, minced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 whole rainbow trout deboned and cut into 2 fillet halves, skin on
Chopped parsley

Directions

Light an outdoor grill or heat the broiler. In a small stainless-steel saucepan, combine the oil, butter, garlic, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Cook over moderately low heat until the garlic just starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Brush the fish with some of the lemon sauce on both sides of the fish. Grill or broil the fish skin-side down for 4-5 minutes. Pour the remaining sauce over the cooked fish. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve the fillets with the sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds total), peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

Heat oven to 400° F. Whisk together the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Toss the potatoes, oil, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in an 8-inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until just tender, 25-30 minutes. Add the butter and reserved vinegar mixture. Continue to roast, uncovered, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until the potatoes are golden brown, 15-20 minutes more.

Sauteed Swiss Chard or Spinach

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large bunches Swiss chard or spinach, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2”
pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Wash the chard well in several changes of cold water. Drain in a colander. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and half of the Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing often until wilted. Add the lemon juice and remaining chard and cook, tossing, just until all chard is wilted about 1 minute. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently purchased an air fryer. While I used my air fryer for cooking the salmon cakes and sweet potatoes, I also give directions for stovetop and oven baking methods.

Air-Fryer Salmon Cakes

When I make salmon or tuna fillets for dinner, I always make extra so I can make fish cakes at a later time.

Ingredients

Spicy Tartar Sauce:

1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon capers
1/4 teaspoon hot Cajun seasoning
Pinch of salt

Salmon Cakes:

Cooking spray
10 oz cooked salmon (or you can use canned salmon)
1 to 11/4 cups plain panko breadcrumbs, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large egg

Directions

Mix the Tatar sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Coat the basket of an air fryer with cooking spray.

Place the salmon in a mixing bowl and break up into small pieces. Add ½ cup panko crumbs, dill, mayonnaise, mustard, egg, and pepper; stir gently until combined. Shape the mixture into four cakes. Lightly coat the outside of the cakes in panko crumbs.

Coat the cakes with cooking spray and place them in the prepared air fryer basket. Cook at 375 degrees F until browned and heated through about 15 minutes. Serve with the Tatar Sauce.

Directions for stovetop:
Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place salmon cakes in the skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn cakes and cook until the second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cakes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain 1 minute. Serve with the Tatar Sauce.

Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

16 ounces of sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons avocado oil

Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F.

Slice the sweet potatoes into finger-sized sticks (mine are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch). They don’t have to be perfect but try to keep the size fairly consistent.

Place the potato slices in a ziplock bag or mixing bowl, along with the oil, salt, pepper, and paprika, and toss to coat.

Transfer the sweet potatoes to the air fryer, and cook until tender and crispy (about 20 minutes). Shake the basket a few times to rearrange the fries, and use a metal spatula to turn them. Use your own judgment, cooking longer or shorter, if needed, keeping an eye on the fries to make sure they don’t burn.

Directions for Oven-Baked Sweet Potato wedges
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees K. Spread the coated potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Quick Saute Of Baby Spinach Leaves

Ingredients

1 clamshell package(5oz) of organic baby spinach leaves
1 large clove garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic slices and then the spinach leaves. Cover the pan and let the spinach cook on medium for one minute. Remove the cover, reduce the heat to low and cook the spinach, stirring often until wilted, about another minute or two. Serve immediately.


Pork Roulade

Ingredients

2 pork tenderloin filets about 12 oz each, trimmed of fat and silver skin
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 oz container unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

Slice tenderloins lengthwise, cutting to, but not through the other side. Open halves, laying the tenderloins flat. Place plastic wrap over the tenderloins; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Overlap the two tenderloins by about an inch or so to create one piece of meat. Press together.

Combine onion, applesauce, parsley, sage, lemon zest, and garlic in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the pork. Spread the applesauce mixture over the tenderloins, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the outside edges. Roll up the tenderloin jelly-roll fashion, starting with the long sides. Secure at 2-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the roulade. Place the tenderloin in a large zip-top plastic bag, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roulade; cook 5 minutes, turning until browned on all sides. Add broth, apple cider, and mustard. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Remove the roulade from the pan; keep warm. Cook broth mixture until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Stir in lemon juice. Remove twine from the roulade. Slice crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place a serving of the potato carrot puree on each serving plate. Place a serving of pork over the puree and drizzle with sauce.

Carrot Sweet Potato Puree

4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk
¼ teaspoon garlic salt

Directions

Put the carrots and the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Process until a chunky mixture forms. Add the buttermilk and garlic salt and process until smooth and creamy.

Roasted Asparagus With Creamy Lemon Sauce

Ingredients

Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoon butter, diced
1 bunch asparagus
1 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Trim the bottom 2-inches from the asparagus, and if desired, peel the lower 2 inches of the stalks. Place the asparagus in a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with the butter
Roast the asparagus for 15-20 minutes,

For the sauce:
Grate 1 teaspoon peel from the lemon and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice into a small bowl. Whisk in sour cream, heavy cream, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Spoon sauce over asparagus and garnish with chives.


Roasted Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

1 large head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Pull all the leaves off of the cauliflower and use a paring knife to remove enough of the core to let the cauliflower sit flat. Don’t take out too much though. You don’t want the head to break into florets but you want it to stay in one piece.

Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into a deep baking dish and rub it around. Add the head of cauliflower, cut side down. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub it in a bit. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until a skewer pokes into it very very easily.

Make cheese sauce according to directions below. Pour cheese sauce over the cauliflower and serve.

Cheese Sauce For Vegetables

ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
Stir over medium-low heat until all the cheese is melted. Remove pan from the heat immediately.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Poke about 3-4 holes on each side with a fork. Rub the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake 50 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Allow potatoes to rest for 5 minutes before cutting open.

Combine the melted butter, maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. Drizzle over the cut portions of the sweet potatoes and serve.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

6 servings

Ingredients

4-12 oz packages frozen pureed butternut squash
32 oz container vegetable broth
4 oz container unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Herbs for garnish, such as sage

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a Dutch Oven except the cream. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and serve garnished with fresh herbs.

Apple Rosemary Tart

Ingredients

One 9-inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (do not substitute dried instead use 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar; reserve.

Peel and core the apples. Slice them into ¼ inch-thick slices. (You should have about 3 cups.)

Place the apples in a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the rosemary or cinnamon.

Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the reserved flour/sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered.

Arrange the apples evenly over the flour mixture. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Moisten your fingers lightly with water and gently press the creases so that they hold together.

Dot the apples with the butter.

Bake the tart for about 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, the apples are tender and the juices syrupy.

Cover the tart with foil halfway through the cooking time, if the crust is browning too rapidly.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then slide the tart onto a serving platter. Just before serving, sift the confectioners’ sugar evenly over the crust.


Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

I used a leftover cooked steak. If you do not have any on hand, cook a small steak and slice it to use in this recipe.

Ingredients

1 large green bell pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 large onion, sliced
4 ounces of packaged sliced mushrooms
6 ounces cooked steak, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 slices provolone cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place pepper halves on a rimmed baking sheet or in individual ramekins. Bake until tender but still able to hold their shape, about 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they’re softened and release their juices, about 5 minutes more. Add steak, Italian seasoning, pepper and salt; cook, stirring, until the steak is hot through, 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in Worcestershire.
Preheat broiler to high. Divide the filling between the pepper halves and top each with a folded slice of cheese. Broil 5 inches from the heat until the cheese is melted and lightly browned 2 to 3 minutes.

Oven Sweet Potato Fries

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato (about 12 oz), peeled and cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons of olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss sweet potato wedges with oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a ziplock bag. Spread the wedges out on a rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until browned and tender about 20 minutes total.


Eggplant Lasagna

Sugo di Pomodoro

Soffritto
1 carrot
Half a medium sweet onion
1 celery stalk
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
Two 26 oz containers finely chopped Italian tomatoes (Pomi)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste

Eggplant Layer
4 small eggplants (each about 6-7 oz)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
¾ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
Olive oil

Cheese Layer
3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped fresh herbs )parsley and basil)
16 oz mozzarella, sliced thin

Directions

For the soffritto
With a sharp knife, finely chop or mince the onions, carrots, and celery. Try to cut the vegetables with uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and the soffritto. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté the vegetables, stirring often, until they have absorbed most of the olive oil and are tender. Stir in the garlic and stir.

For the sauce
Add in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot partially with the lid. Bring the tomato sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring often.

For the eggplant
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the eggplants and slice into very thin slices. Place all the sliced eggplants in a ziplock plastic bag. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and shake the bag. Coat 3 sheet pans with olive oil cooking spray. Arrange eggplant slices on the pan. Sprinkle eggplant on each pan with ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ cup of seasoned panko crumbs. Drizzle a little olive oil over the eggplant on all three pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the eggplant slices are lightly brown. Switch pans around in the oven after 15 minutes.

For the cheese layer
In a large mixing bowl combine the beaten eggs, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and herbs. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to assemble the casserole.
Slice the mozzarella cheese.

To assemble the Eggplant Lasagna
Spray a 13×9 inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Add ⅓ of the eggplant slices. Place ⅓ of the sliced mozzarella on top of the eggplant slices and then spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella/eggplant layer. Add another ⅓ layer of eggplant slices and spread 1 cup of tomato sauce over the eggplant/ Add ⅓ of the mozzarella slices and the remaining ricotta mixture. Add the remaining eggplant slices topped with 1 cup of the tomato sauce and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.


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.


I recently roasted root vegetables for dinner and had extra cooked spinach on hand, so rather than reheat the vegetables, I came up with a new way to serve them. The two new dishes complimented pan seared beef tenderloin steaks very well.

Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

2 large beefsteak tomatoes
1 cup leftover garlic sautéed spinach
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Panko bread crumbs
Olive oil

Directions

Cut off a thin slice from the tops of the tomatoes. Scoop out the seeds and center flesh with a small serrated spoon. Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with a little salt and turn them over on a paper towel to drain for 30 minutes.
Divide the spinach in half and fill the center of the tomatoes. Top the spinach with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a small baking dish and place the filled tomatoes in the dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Roasted Root Vegetable Puree

Ingredients

2 cups leftover roasted root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips)
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions

Place the roasted vegetables in the processor. Pulse until completely pureed. Add the cream to make a smooth mixture. Place the pureed vegetables in a microwave safe bowl, top with the butter and heat on high for several minutes until the vegetables are hot. Sprinkle on the chives and serve.

Filet Mignon with Cabernet Sauce

Ingredients

2- 6 oz. filet mignon steaks, about 1-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme
1 cup Cabernet wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Heat a skillet and add 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle the steaks with salt & pepper. Cook filets until desired doneness,4- 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness) for medium-rare.
Remove the steaks to serving plates
Add shallots, cook 1 min, add wine and herbs. Boil for several minutes until reduced. Stir in butter. Pour the sauce over the steaks and serve.


Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillets

Ingredients

10-12 oz white fish fillets
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon quarters

Directions

Combine the egg, cream and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the fish fillets lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a skillet.
Coat the fish in the batter and add to the hot butter in the skillet. Cook until golden on the bottom side and turn over to cook the second side until golden. Serve with lemon quarters.

Coleslaw

Ingredients

1/4 of a large savoy cabbage, sliced thin
2 scallions, finely minced
1 teaspoon honey or sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the honey, salt, pepper, celery seed, mayonnaise, whipping cream, sour cream and vinegar using a whisk.
Add the shredded cabbage and scallions, stir gently to mix.
Refrigerate, covered, for several hours before serving.

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb./500 g total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in half crosswise. Using a crinkle cutter or a mandoline fitted with the waffle cut blade, thinly slice the potatoes into waffle-cut rounds about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick according to the manufacturer’s instructions, rotating the sweet potato 90 degrees between each cut.

Spread the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss the sweet potatoes to coat evenly, the spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake until the potatoes are crisp and golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with more salt, if desired, and serve hot.



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