Wednesday, January 27, 2010


With snow in this week's forecast again, I decided it was time for my annual winter ritual... Caribbean Day.

What is Caribbean Day?

It's a one day mini-vacation that started when my son was young.

One January, schools were closed because of sleet and ice, and we were both cranky at being stuck inside.

We pulled out the Bob Marley cassettes and Cds, dressed in camp shirts and spent the day cooking a meal that would make us feel as if we were on the beach in Jamaica.

If you, too, are anxious for warm weather to arrive, try this menu and no matter what winter throws your way, you'll be feeling as if it's No Problem Mon.


Pina Coladas (with or without rum)


Jerked fish

Ital Stew (see recipe below)

Rice and field peas (see recipe below)


Fresh pineapple chunks


Any kind of fish fillets or fish steaks

Wet jerk seasoning* (I like Grace brand. It comes in jars)

A bit of olive oil

Preheat oven broiler to 450 degrees. Rub fish with jerk on both sides and let sit for about 15 minutes. Place an empty oiled cookie sheet in oven. When the pan is hot put fish on pan. For fillets, cook for 4 minutes, turn fish and cook another 3-4 minutes. Thicker fish steaks will take about 8-10 minutes per side.

Wet jerk seasoning is a spicy blend of fresh thyme, young onions,, allspice, ginger, Scotch bonnet peppers, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Every cook has her own version.


3 large cans of coconut milk

6 carrots, finely sliced

1-2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 cups cabbage, sliced

2 cups okra, sliced

5 allspice berries (whole)

3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

5 scallions, finely sliced

2 large sprigs of fresh thyme (or about 1 teaspoon dried thyme)

Dash of tumeric

Salt & Pepper

Pour the coconut milk into a Dutch oven and at a low simmer, reduce it by half. This takes about 20-30 minutes. Add everything else. Add just enough water to barely cover the veggies. When veggies are tender, serve. Tastes even better if refrigerated overnight and reheated.

I slightly adapted this recipe from Traveling Jamaica with Knife, Fork & Spoon by Robb Walsh and Jay McCarthy. The book is published by The Crossing Press of Freedom, California.


Goes good with jerked fish or Ital stew.

2 cups of raw rice

1 can of field peas

(Glory brand Southern style seasoned field peas are my favorite but you can use gandules or Goya pidgeon peas which are easier to find)

Cook 2 cups of rice rice in rice cooker. Open can of field peas 3/4 of the way, then hold lid in place to drain peas. When rice cooker goes to “stay warm”, stir in drained field peas. Leave in cooker for at least 5 minutes to heat peas.


Stephanie said...

Looks good! And what a great idea for a snow day! I will definitely have to try Caribbean day with the kid on the next snow day!

Jane said...

Great idea!

When we lived in PA, hubby and I would host a "beach party" in January...set up beach chairs, wear shorts/bathing suits/etc., and serve lots of tropical treats, crank up the BeachBoys music (Bob Marley, too)... It helped us with the homesickness that always hit about then. We missed the bright sunshine, blue skies and sand. Our "yankee" neighbors loved it!!!
Jane (artfully graced)

Loui said...

wonderful idea!!
I have been thinking BEACH all day..
with snow forecast tonite..
guess I'll just post few beachy scenes..
for all of you feeling in a January FUNK!
warm hugs, laughing smiles..

C'est Moi, Julie Marie said...

Hello Barbara... how fun! I am sooo tired of winter! I want Spring too... this sounds like such a wonderful idea and the food looks super yummy! I believe I will put some Jimmy Buffett on and get out the rum... xoxo Julie Marie

Ruth Welter said...

Hi Barbara, that is where I want to be these days, on a beach somewhere warm. This is my least favorite time of year and it is fun to do things/make things that make you feel better in this weather.

For me, I've started knitting and am enjoying making things that are pretty, that I can especially use at this time of year to cheer myself up.

Beautiful meal by the way....I'm on my way over.