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Caribbean Cooking: Simple Ingredients for Satisfying Meals

Strolling through a Saturday morning farmers’ market is a great summer treat and a wonderful place to select “just-picked vegetables.” Community-based agricultural programs are growing on many Caribbean islands just as they have in the United States. Make fruits and veggies a staple in your day. They are filled with lots of good nutrition that you need and add flavor, fiber and fun!
And handing your “sous chef” the grilling tongs and enjoying your friends for an evening is something to cherish.

Send your suggestions of foods and preparation you would like to about … and please forward any special easy recipes that you may like to share with other readers by emailing Jan@allatsea.net. Happy cooking!

FRESH VEGGIES WITH PEANUT SAUCE

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: up to 48 hours
Makes: about 1-1/2 cups

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
2 green onions, cut up
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/8 tsp bottled hot pepper sauce
Garnish: Chopped peanuts
Assorted fresh vegetables: red pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, radishes, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, celery and cucumber sticks, or blanched broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, and green beans.

In a food processor or blender, combine first eight ingredients. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Add additional water, if necessary, to thin the sauce to a dipping consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill. Top with chopped peanuts and serve with the vegetables.

ARUGULA, CORN AND TOMATO SALAD

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced shallots
5/8 cup (6 Tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups loosely packed arugula (about 6 ounces)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
1-1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large bowl combine vinegar and shallots. Whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and toss lightly to coat. Arrange the arugula on serving plates. Add corn and tomatoes to the bowl, toss with the dressing remains, then spoon the mixture over the arugula and serve.

FRESH BEAN SALAD WITH SWEET WHITE CORN AND DIJON-TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 4 minutes
Cooling time: varies
Serves: 8

1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh green beans, cut in thirds
1 cup fresh yellow wax beans, cut in thirds
5 cups cooked fresh white corn kernels (about 6 ears)
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add 1/4 tsp salt with the green and yellow beans and cook until crisp-tender, about four minutes. Drain and immediately rinse beans under cold water to cool; pat dry with paper towels. Combine beans, corn, bell pepper, and onion in large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Hint: Vegetables can be prepared up to one day ahead and refrigerated.

Blend vinegar, mustard, tarragon, and garlic in food processor. Slowly blend in both oils. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, toss vegetables with enough vinaigrette to coat.

CORN SALSA

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Cooling time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 large ears corn)
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 large green or red sweet pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup chopped, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cook corn kernels in enough lightly salted boiling water to cover for three minutes or till tender; drain. Let cool. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sweet pepper and jalapeño pepper. Cook until onion is tender but not brown. Stir in corn, tomatoes, lime- juice, salt, cumin, and black pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Let cool. Transfer to a storage container. Hint: Serve or cover and chill up to 1 week. Serve with pork, beef or poultry.

VEGETABLES AND GRILLED CHICKEN PASTA WITH OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Standing time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

12 Roma tomatoes, cored and halved
1 lb baby squash (halve any large squash)
1 red sweet pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
4 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) olive oil
1 Tbsp snipped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 lb cooked chicken, cut in bite size pieces
8 oz dried penne or bow tie pasta (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
3 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place tomatoes in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or shallow roasting pan. Place squash, red pepper and green onions in another shallow baking pan. Drizzle tomatoes and squash mixture with three tablespoons olive oil and season with rosemary, salt and black pepper. Roast, uncovered, in oven about 20 minutes for squash mixture or until just tender, stirring occasionally, and about 30 minutes for tomatoes until very soft and skins are beginning to brown.

In a large saucepan or kettle cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted boiling water. Drain pasta and transfer to a very large bowl. To serve, stir tomatoes, vegetables, chicken, parsley, and basil into pasta. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with or pass Parmesan cheese.

Capt. Jan Robinson holds certificates from the Culinary Institute of America, The Ritz Cooking School, and the Cordon Bleu. Her Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Or visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com, email CapJan@aol.com or call 1-800-338-6072 and mention All at Sea to receive a discount.

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