Monthly Archives: August 2012

JAMAICA, MON!

Here’s a posting I’ve been wanting to publish for months.  “Tom” and I went to Jamaica for Christmas 2011, had a wonderful time, then held a Jamaican inspired dinner party in February.  This was the menu (warning – not vegan! in fact, not even vegetarian!):

Pepper Shrimps

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Tofu

Callaloo

Rice ‘n’ Beans

Peanut Cake

Pepper Shrimps

We chose to make this dish because when we were on a bus excursion in Jamaica, our bus driver pulled over to a roadside food stand where we bought jerk chicken and pepper shrimps.  The shrimp were whole – heads, legs, feelers, everything – and had to be peeled before eating.  They were very spicy and very tasty.  I found a recipe for a marinade for pepper shrimps, bought live shrimp (I do not recommend doing this if you’re squeamish!), and threw it all together.  Actually, there was no throwing, but rather lots of squealing over the flopping, moving shrimp, disgust over the preparation of the shrimp, the burning of fingertips over dicing up some hot chili peppers …

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 whole allspice
  • 1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb)

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and let marinate for a bit – maybe half an hour or so.

Then, in a big heavy pot and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for a few minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Cool shrimp in liquid to room temperature, uncovered, about 1 hour. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl and drizzle some of cooking liquid on top.  Provide plenty of napkins for wiping fingers as this is the ultimate in finger food!

Jerk Chicken and Tofu

I bought a jar of jerk sauce at the airport in Montego Bay and that’s what I used for this recipe.

You can buy such jars or even jerk spice mixes in most grocery stores in Canada, or you can make your own.  With the sauce from the jar, I only needed a little bit to lightly coat the chicken and tofu and there was no need to really marinade because the flavour is already so powerful, it doesn’t need to seep and soak into the raw food.

I baked the chicken and tofu, but I suppose it could be barbequed, especially over charcoal.

Callaloo

Callaloo is the Jamaican green.  I ate it almost every morning for breakfast along with fresh fruit.  People liken it to spinach, but it’s not nearly as delicate.  I find it more like a Chinese green and, in fact, “Tom” and I use Gai Lan as our substitute for callaloo while in Canada.  We prepare it by sauteeing up a bit of onion and garlic, then throwing in some chopped Gai Lan and steaming for a bit.  Voila!

Rice ‘n’ Beans

This is a mainstay of the Jamaican diet.  I ate this almost everyday in Jamaica as well.  All it really is is rice, red beans (can use kidney beans), coconut milk, and garlic.  You can add whatever spices and herbs you want – make it spicy with chili peppers, thyme is a common addition, a bay leaf, some chopped up onion, etc.  Actually, I can’t find the exact recipe I used to make this dish for this dinner party, so it’s likely I just threw the ingredients together!

Peanut Cake

This treat is not cake at all!  It’s more like peanut brittle, but with a ginger kick to it.  I made it the day of the dinner party and when we ate the cakes, they were really, really hard!  The next day, however, they had softened to a much more manageable biting and chewing texture.

  • 2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 5 tablespoons minced or shredded ginger
  • 3 cups dark unprocessed sugar
  • 1 cup water

Combine the peanuts and ginger.

Place in a deep pot with the sugar and water.

Put stove on high and boil.

Boil until water is gone and the sugar is like caramel and sticky.

Place a sheet of greased paper on a flat surface (kitchen counter) close by.

Stir the mixture in the pot with a large spoon to be sure it does not stick to the bottom.

Use the spoon to scoop out mixture to create 1-1/4-inch wide mounds on the greased paper.

Each 1-1/4-inch wide mound should be placed in a separate heap on the greased paper.

Let the drops cool and harden. Serve. Makes about 20 pieces.

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Potato Salad and Fruit Sauce

Okay, let’s see how this new blog format works.  I’m finding WordPress not as user-friendly as blogspot, but from what I understand I should be able to do more with wordpress … I just have to figure out how.

Just a reminder, this blog, Mostly Vegan, is a continuation of Food, Farts and Fun and that blog can still be accessed here: Food, Farts and Fun.

This potato salad recipe was inspired by Ross on Vegan Eats.  I’m not a great fan of potato salads – I prefer my potatoes cooked and hot – but “Tom” (remember him from F,F&F?) loves them and I thought this recipe would be worth trying because I could use potatoes and green onions grown by our very ownselves as well as dill and cucumber from the local farm market.  (There are many farm markets in Richmond.  Today I went to Urban Farm Market on the corner of No 5 Rd and Westminster Hwy).

Potato and Cucumber Salad

5 fist-sized (or slightly smaller) new potatoes, cut into whatever size you like for potato salads, cooked until fork-tender but not falling apart

1 whole English cucumber, diced or chunked or however you like (I cut the cucumber lengthwise in quarters, then chopped)

3 large green onions, chopped

1 bunch of dill, chopped finely

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup water

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced finely or pressed

2 tbsps fresh lemon juice (the juice from 1/2 lemon)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar (original recipe calls for cane sugar, I used brown sugar, “Tom” suggests agave nectar)

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

freshly ground black pepper

8+ grape tomatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise (optional)

Mix the drained and cooled potatoes with the cucumbers and green onions.  Toss in the dill.  Whisk together tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt, sugar, oil, paprika until smooth.  Combine the vegetables with the dressing (don’t put all of it in at once, you might not want all of it.  I used about 3/4 of the dressing in our salad).  Spoon the salad into bowls, garnish with 4 grape tomatoes and grind on some black pepper.

Note:  This salad is best eaten fairly soon after preparing.  If left too long, the cucumbers release their water and the salad ends up sitting in a pool of cucumber juice!

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Now for dessert!

I managed to find some late season local strawberries earlier this week.  At the same time I bought some local blueberries and a couple of Okanagan plums, all purchased at G.J. Farm on No. 4 Rd just south of Steveston Hwy.  I decided a fruit parfait was in order so I whipped up a fruit sauce (inspired by Fit For Life by Marilyn Diamond).

Fruit Sauce

4 tbsps raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour (I usually soak them overnight)

2 medjool dates

2 fresh apricots, peeled, pitted, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup water

Put the dates, apricots and water in a blender and leave overnight to soak – do not drain.  In the morning, drain the cashews then throw the cashews in the blender.  Blend for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary.

In a parfait glass (or a beer glass, or what have you) put a layer of peeled, pitted, sliced plums.  Add a layer of fruit sauce, about 3 spoonfuls, then a layer of sliced strawberries, then some more fruit sauce, then some blueberries, then some more fruit sauce.  Eat!

I first made these parfaits for “Tom” and I in the beer glasses.  The 2nd time I made them, I took them to the beach with my friend.  This time I made them in plastic, lidded containers, put them in a cooler with ice packs.  So refreshing!  I really love the strawberries and the fruit sauce combo.  Yum!

Note: I made this fruit sauce again, but used a mango instead of the apricots.  It was still quite delicious, but the colour was a little disturbing.  Here, what do you think?

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New Look, Same Theme

I’ve been having difficulties with my Food, Farts and Fun blog on Blogspot – can view the blog but not access the administrator function.  In other words, I can’t create any new postings.   So I decided to move to wordpress.  You can still view my blog at foodfartsfun.blogspot.ca  Stay tuned for more postings.

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