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)
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.
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.
SISTER FIRE’S I-TAL STEW
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.
CARIBBEAN RICE AND FIELD PEAS
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.