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Caribbean Cooking: Let’s Celebrate Father’s Day

Father’s Day is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June, while other countries observe it at different times throughout the year. It is a day to not only honor your father, but all men who have acted as a father figure in your life.

Invite your family and friends and give everyone a chance to honor YOUR DAD.  Instead of buying him neckties, golf balls, fishing equipment, or a new CD, how about cooking him up something delicious and healthy to show just how special he is. The purpose of this gift is to keep him healthy and fit.

June is the season for barbecues, cold soups, crisp salads and succulent chilled vegetables; for white wines and tall pitchers of minted iced tea and sangria. Cucumbers are at their peak. Tomatoes are now plentiful and less expensive. Apricots make their first appearance in the markets, and mangoes are at their peak, as are cherries, strawberries, and other berries.

MENU

  • Chilled Cucumber Soup
  • Plantain Hash
  • Grilled Swordfish
  • Herbed Rice
  • Big green salad
  • West Indian Fondue

CHILLED  CUCUMBER  SOUP

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: about 1 hour
Serves:  4-6

1 large or 2 small cucumbers
1-1/4 cups light cream
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic
2 Tblsp. tarragon vinegar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
pinch of salt, or to taste
2 Tblsp. finely chopped fresh mint
Garnish:
1 Tblsp. finely chopped gherkins
Sprigs of mint
12 shrimp (optional)

Wash and dry the cucumber. Do not peel it unless it is waxed, but grate it coarsely into a bowl. Stir in the cream and the yogurt. Peel and crush the garlic and add it to the cucumber, together with the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped mint. Chill the soup in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Serve the soup (which is pale green) in individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with a thin cucumber slice, chopped parsley, chives, gherkins, or a sprig of fresh mint. On special occasions float a few shelled cooked shrimp on top of the soup instead of the green garnish.

Note: This soup is extremely easy to prepare and the recipe is easy to double or triple, or more.

PLANTAIN HASH

Preparation time:  2 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Serves: 4

1 Tblsp. butter or margarine
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green onions
2 cups sliced plantains
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add bell pepper and green onions; sauté 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; sauté 10 minutes, or until plantains are soft.

Plantains are also called “cooking bananas,” as you must cook them before you eat them. You can substitute green bananas for plantains.

MARINATED  GRILLED  SWORDFISH

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

2 Tblsp. olive soil
5 Tblsp. soy sauce
1 Tblsp. dry white wine
4 Tblsp. fresh orange juice
1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tblsp. tomato puree
2 Tblsp. chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. chopped scallions
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 (3/4 inch thick) pieces of swordfish – about 6 oz. each
Garnish: lemon slices and chopped parsley

Mix together (in a 9×13 inch Pyrex dish) the olive oil, soy sauce, white wine, orange and lemon juice, tomato puree, parsley, garlic, scallions, marjoram, and black pepper until well blended. Add the fish and marinate for at least 2 hours, basting occasionally. Remove swordfish from the marinade and cook on a preheated grill for approximately 5 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

HERBED RICE

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

2 cups lightly salted water
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup fresh parsley
3 Tblsp. freshly chopped basil, or 1 Tblsp. dried
1-1/2 Tblsp. chopped scallion tops
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tblsp. butter

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add rice. Stir once so that rice does not stick to  bottom of pan. Cover and reduce to lowest heat and cook until done, about 20 minutes. Place parsley, basil, and scallion tops in blender or food processor. Slowly add enough oil to make a smooth puree. Just before serving, toss rice with herb puree until well mixed and green in color. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in butter.

Note: For more people, double or triple the ingredients.

WEST INDIAN FONDUE

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves:  4-6

6 oz. unsweetened chocolate or 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup Créme de Cacao or Kahlua
Cake and/or fruit, cut into bite-size pieces

Combine first 4 ingredients in a double boiler over warm water and stir frequently until melted, about 10 minutes. Add Créme de Cacao or Kahlua and blend mixture well. Serve with cake (Angel Food works well) and assorted fruit (bananas, pears, strawberries, mangos etc.). With fondue fork, dip in warm chocolate mixture. Enjoy!

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