Tag Archives: Caribbean

Jerk seasoned roasted chicken

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Jerk seasoned roasted chicken

Being married to a Bajan (slang for someone from Barbados) I’m usually alternating between cooking Caribbean style food and South Asian food among other flavors we usually try out.  Jerk seasoning originated in Jamaica but it’s used throughout the Caribbean islands. I usually grind up my version of Jerk seasoning and use it for marinating a variety of meats.  I love using Jerk seasoning when baking whole chicken because the flavors are so fantastic.  The left over bones make an incredible stock as well.  This weekend I was incredibly busy.  I was making food for three different events, attending a wedding, working and my baby girl came home from college for the summer (YAY).  I didn’t have a chance to take my usual detailed pictures.  But I do hope you make up some Jerk seasoning to have on hand.  It’s wonderful to have it ready for the BBQing season!!

Ingredients for jerk seasoning: cumin seeds, peppercorn, light brown sugar, whole cloves, allspice (powder or whole), star anise, nutmegs, chili peppers and cinnamon

Mix Jerk seasoning with 3 tablespoon olive oil and garlic and ginger paste and chopped onions

Rub whole chicken with spices and roast for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Carve and serve 

Jerk Seasoning

1 tablespoon all spice powder – if using whole allspice the use 2 1/2 tbsp

1 tsp whole peppercorn

5-6 whole star anise

3 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

8 whole cloves

1/4 of a whole nutmeg

4 dried whole red chilies

1/4 cup light brown sugar (I use raw sugar)

Toast everything  (except the sugar) together in a dry pan until flavors are released, approximately 2-3 minutes.  Grind in a coffee or spice grinder until smooth.  Store in an airtight container.

Jerk Seasoned Roasted Chicken

5 tablespoons Jerk seasoning

2 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste (1:1 ratio)

1/2 onion finely chopped

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tsp kosher salt

Mix everything together and rub chicken inside the cavity and all over the skin.  Roast uncovered at 350°F for 1 1/2 hours or until done.  Let it rest before carving.

Caribbean Fry Bakes

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Caribbean Fry Bakes

When I was first introduced to Fry Bakes while visiting my husband’s side of the family in Barbados, I couldn’t figure out why it was called “Fry” Bakes.  You either fry something or bake it, at least that is what I thought.  But this is the local name in pretty much any English-speaking Caribbean island.  They are also referred to simply as “Bakes”.  It’s an easy way to make bread without using an oven.  Usually it’s enjoyed right on the beach, cooked up fresh and hot and served with fresh fish Ceviche or salt fish stews or in Jamaica it’s served with Salt Fish and Achee (a small green, tart fruit).  It’s delicious, it’s portable and it’s simple to make.  I’ve learned that if I want to make the Caribbean side of my family happy, all I have to do is cook up some Fry Bakes and cut up some good quality aged English Cheddar and watch everyone go crazy eating it.  Enjoy!

Proof the yeast in a glass measuring cup

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add oil and proofed yeast

Knead into a dough, cover and let it rest

Shape into dough balls

Roll out on a lightly floured surface

Fry the bakes in heated oil

Fry bakes and cheese

Caribbean Fry Bakes

Caribbean Fry Bakes

7 cups All-Purpose flour

2 tablespoons of Kosher Salt

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast

1 tsp baking powder

3 cups warm water

Vegetable oil for frying

In a glass measuring cup add sugar to one cup of warm water, stir and add in yeast and let it proof by bubbling and foaming.  In a large bowl, mix together flour salt and baking powder.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add oil and proofed yeast.  Mix in with your hands and slowly add in remaining two cups of water.  Knead until dough is soft and elastic.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 20-30 minutes.  Dough will rise during that time.  Make little dough balls, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter and roll out on a lightly floured surface  into about 3″ circles.  Heat oil in a small frying pan (medium heat) and gently place dough in oil and fry until golden brown.  Serve hot with sharp cheddar cheese slices (we love Dubliner or aged English Cheddar) or with fresh Ceviche. Makes about 35 fry bakes.

Macaroni Pie

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Macaroni Pie

I was first introduced to Macaroni Pie when I met my husband.  It is one of those comfort foods that is part of most Sunday dinners and  holiday dinners in Barbados.  I fell in the love with the spicy undertones and the tangy bites of the cheese sauce and the firm yet tender texture of the pasta.  Its like snuggling into a quilt fresh and hot from the dryer on a cold, snowy day; heavenly!!  Over the last 26 years of our marriage, I’ve developed my own version of the Macaroni Pie.  Adding and tweaking things until it has become a family classic!

A mixture of olive oil and butter is a great combination that adds depth and flavor. It’s a great base for the vegetables to saute in and for the sauce!

After the vegetables are sauteed add flour to make a roux.  A roux is basically a way to thicken a sauce using a starch (in this case flour) Don’t worry if it looks slightly lumpy because as you add the milk and keep stirring it turns into a smooth thickened mixture.

Add the flour into the sauteed mixture and stir it in quickly to avoid lumps.

After the milk mixture begins to thicken add the cheeses and stir in.  It will melt and turn into an amazing and delicious sauce.

Add pasta into the sauce and pour into a 9″ x 13″  in pan and top with Parmesan cheese and Panko breading.  I love Panko because it becomes crunchy and delicious when baked without adding any additional fat.  If you decide to use regular bread crumbs add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the bread crumbs before spreading it over the top of the pasta.

Wish you could smell this.  It’s the perfect crunch on the top with cheesy goodness on the inside.

Nothing like the perfect comfort food!

Here’s the recipe:

Macaroni Pie

1 16 oz box of mini Fusicili or elbow macaroni

½  yellow onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

5 green onions

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic , minced

1 tsp Chili ( like Shiracha)

1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

4 cups whole milk

1 cup grated Sharp cheddar

1 cup grated mozzarella

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Topping

¼ cup Japanese bread crumbs (Panko)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a large 6 quart pan bring water to boil.  Liberally salt the water (2-3 tablespoons) add pasta and cook about 7 minutes until pasta is al dente. Drain.

In a sauce pan heat butter and olive oil together.  Add green onion, yellow onion and red bell pepper and stir fry 2-3 minutes.  When onions are translucent, add the garlic and stir fry an additional minute.  Add salt, fresh cracked pepper, mustard and chili sauce. Stir together another minute or so and add flour to the mixture, quickly stir in all the flour, when its incorporated, slowly begin to pour in the milk and keep stirring.  Mixture should start to thicken.  Add Mozzarella, Sharp cheddar and Parmesan  stir until cheese is melted.  The sauce should be flavorful and smooth.  Add pasta to the mixture and pour into a sprayed 9 x 13 baking pan.  Sprinkle Panko and Parmesan cheese evenly over the pasta and bake for 20 minutes.  Serve warm.