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Caribbean Cooking: A Taste of the Tropics in the Mellow Yellow Days of September

The beguiling late summer weather is a perfect time to pack up provisions and sail away. Drop anchor at your favorite spot and barbecue on the boat, or dingy over to the beach. Either place it is time to relax and enjoy the exotic flavors of the Caribbean on a mellow day.

RECIPES

  • Islander*
  • Black Bean Dip
  • Red Peas Soup
  • Guava-Tamarind Barbecued Ribs
  • Pasta Salad
  • Creamy Broccoli Bake
  • Raspberry Cloud Pie
  • Sugar Cakes

ISLANDER*

When in the islands, do as the islanders do!

Preparation time:  2 minutes
Serves: 1

2 oz. rum
1/2 oz. triple sec
Cranberry Juice
Club Soda
Squeeze of lemon

In a tall glass over ice, combine rum and triple sec. Fill to 3/4 with cranberry juice and top with club soda. Add a squeeze of lemon

* Note:  Without the liquor, we call it a “Virgin Islander!”

BLACK BEAN DIP

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves:  6

15 oz can      Black beans, drained
1 Tblsp     Chili powder
1 tsp          Cumin
3 Tblsp     Fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup     Onion, chopped

In a food processor, purée beans.  Add remaining ingredients and blend. Serve with sliced garden vegetables or tortilla chips.  Variation: To make Red Bean Dip, substitute red kidney beans for black beans.

RED PEAS SOUP

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Soaking time: overnight
Cooking time: 2-1/2 hours
Serves:  4

1 lb          Red beans
8 cups     Water
1          Ham bone
1  cup     Ham pieces, chopped small    
1           Onion, large
1 tsp          Ground cloves
3 cloves     Garlic, chopped
2           Carrots, diced
3 ribs     Celery, chopped with leaves
1 tsp          Thyme
1 tsp.     Salt
1 Tblsp     Brown sugar
Sweet potato, tannia, pumpkin, optional

Dumplings:
1 cup      Flour
1/4 cup     Cornmeal
1 tsp          Salt
1/2 tsp     Black Pepper
          Water
1 tsp          Sugar
1 Tblsp     Butter

Wash beans and let soak overnight.  Place beans, the water they were soaked in, ham bone and ham in a pot and cook for about 1 hour. Add all other ingredients and cook for another hour.

Make dumplings by combining all ingredients into a stiff dough; knead lightly. Cut into shapes and drop into soup. Cook 10 minutes more.  Stir to keep them from sticking to each other.

GUAVA-TAMARIND BARBECUED RIBS

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:  30 minutes
Serves:  4

1 cup guava nectar
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tblsp. dry Sherry
2 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. chili sauce
2 Tblsp. tamarind concentrate*
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tblsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tblsp. minced garlic

Two 1-1/2 lb racks pork baby back ribs, or one 2-lb rack pork spareribs, cut into four-rib sections.

Combine all ingredients, except ribs in a heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced to two cups, stirring occasionally. This takes about 20 minutes. Strain sauce, discard solids.
Note: Sauce can be made one week ahead. Cover and chill.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook ribs for 15 minutes. Work in batches if necessary. Using tongs transfer to colander to drain. Cut rib sections into one-rib segments. Transfer to large bowl. Add one cup of sauce and toss to coat. Note: This may also be done ahead of time.

At the beach, or on the boat: Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Grill ribs until heated and well glazed, basting with more sauce and turning often. About 10 minutes for baby back ribs and 15 minutes for spareribs. Serve with remaining sauce.

* A seedless paste, available at Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Indian Markets (if you cannot find it leave it out and name the recipe Guava Barbecued Ribs!)

SUGAR CAKE

(Coconut Candy)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes: 10 cookies

1 Coconut
2 cups White sugar
1/2 cup Coconut water
Zest of a lemon
1/2 tsp Almond essence

Poke hole in coconut through one of the eyes, pour coconut water into a cup, save. Break coconut. Remove meat and peel brown skin off coconut and grate one heaped cup. Put in a saucepan, add sugar, water and zest. Stir together and cook over high heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Cook until mixture thickens (watch closely). Add essence and stir well. While mixture is hot, drop heaped tablespoons full on a cookie sheet, flatten and let cool to harden. The air cools the mixture quickly so it might be necessary to add more water while spooning.

Tip: Coconut meat can be put in a food processor and chopped finely using the pulse method; takes about 1 minute.  Note: Use brown sugar for brown sugar cakes.

PASTA SALAD

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Serves:  6

8 cups pasta shells
1 Bottle Italian dressing
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 small can mexi corn, drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 small can black olives

Cook pasta as directed in salted water. Drain and put in large mixing bowl. Add enough Italian dressing to coat the shells and leave to cool. Add cucumber, mexi-corn, tomatoes, onion and olives. Toss, adding more dressing if necessary. Chill and serve.

Note:  This may be made ahead and taken to the boat.

CREAMY BROCCOLI BAKE

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

2 (10 oz.) frozen broccoli (or cauliflower) cooked and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place cooked broccoli in casserole dish. Mix soup, milk and pepper together until smooth. Pour over broccoli. Sprinkle with cheese. Mix Bisquick and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until browned.

RASPBERRY CLOUD PIE

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Serves: 6

1 (3 oz.) pkg. raspberry jello
2/3 cup boiling water
1 (10 oz.) pkg. quick thaw raspberries
1 (8 oz.) tub of Cool Whip
1 (9-inch) Graham Cracker Ready Crust

Dissolve raspberry jello in boiling water. Stir well. Add frozen raspberries and stir well. Blend in Cool Whip and whisk till smooth. Spoon into pie crust and chill 2 hours.

GALLEY HINT:  A peeled potato in the refrigerator will absorb odors.

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