Well, it is Turkey Season! The winter winds are blowing in cooler on the island, which tells me its time to get ready to “hot up” the kitchen and let the feasting season begin. Turkeys are definitely a part of most Crucian gatherings during this time. But nothing will get you talked about faster than being the person who brought the “dry turkey” to the family party. The year I made my first Thanksgiving Turkey was filled with much anxiety, as in the past I was one of those voices who whispered about how dry the turkey for Cousin So-and-So was. My heart feared the culinary karma I thought might come my way. So, I read every cookbook I could get my hands on, and every article on how to make the PERFECT turkey. And I kept bumping into the word “Brine”. Brining is a way of introducing moisture by using a high ratio of salt and other seasonings to the Turkey. Continue reading
I have come to believe that the reason why everyone raves about Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte is not just because it tastes good (although I must confess I have never tried it), but because it is one of the few times of the year that commercial food producers give our spice-starved palettes something other than salt and sugar as flavor. Mace, Cloves, Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Almond all make an appearance in this seasonal treat. Instead of using the typical pumpkin, I drew flavor from the West Indian Pumpkin that grows easily on the island, and added some other island tastes like coconut and hot ginger to spice things up even more! Try this treat on a cool Fall morning, and then listen for the sound of surf and sand in the background of this tropical feast of flavors! Continue reading
The mind of a foodie is a strange place to be. You literally get EXCITED by food! You naturally get deliriously happy when you make or eat something fabulous! And I had both feelings when I encountered the Dragon Fruit. I have never had such a visceral response to a piece of fruit until I saw the Dragon Fruit for the first time. My heart raced a little bit faster, my eyes probably dilated, my breath caught in my throat, and all I heard on a quiet exhale that I think came from me was, “Oh, my God. What is that?” Yes, it was love at first sight! Continue reading
It seems like all at once all the fruit on the island have erupted into beautiful celestial ripening. Carambolas, Sugar Apples, Limes, and Guavas all competing for your attention, begging you to find something interesting to do with them. This week’s post is a simple recipe for how to make one of my favorite fruits, the Guava, into a juice! The guava is a succulent fruit. Words like juicy, tart, and sweet begin to offer some description, but this is one fruit you have to taste for yourself to fully understand the simple yet oh-so-complex flavor! Continue reading
VERY COOL!!! I LOVE Caribbean Pot’s Chris De La Rosa and I LOVE Roger Mooking! They have such passion and pride in their work. Chris asked his readers for questions he should ask Roger. And I asked him to ask Roger when he’s coming to St Croix AND HE DID! Food is such a unifying and beautiful force. Thanks Chris! Keep doing all the wonderful work you do to share Caribbean food and culture with the world!
Click here to see Caribbean Pot’s interview with Roger Mooking!
Driving in the summertime on the island, you will find pockets of children newly freed from the burdens of their school-year demands waving bunches of emerald green fruits on stems knotted together. From a distance, your summer-trained eyes can already detect what sweet treat is at the end of this call. It’s not uncommon to see cars veer off the road to the sound of feet scurrying across the road to sell a rustic bouquet of Kenep, or Genip, or Spanish Lime or whatever name you call this fruit by … I simply call it delicious! Continue reading
The St. Croix Source is our local online newspaper. They recently asked me to do a sit down interview on “The Crucian Contessa”. Interviewing with someone who makes you feel completely at ease is such a gift. Thank you, St. Croix Source, for the wonderful words! Click here to read the St. Croix Source Article.
This blog is a labor of love. So, to have an opportunity to talk about it is extremely encouraging! Share your passions! It’s a beautiful thing!
If you hear someone on the island exclaim, “Cheese and Bread, Man!” just know there is no random cheese sandwich lurking about. It’s our way of expressing frustration without using an obscenity. I have no idea where we got that phrase from, but it always seemed to be a part of our vocabulary. If someone gets on your nerves, you yell, “Cheese and Bread!” the equivalent of “Enough!” If you are excited about winning the lottery, you burst out, “Cheese and Bread! I’m Rich!” It just fits any situation where intense emotion is warranted. Also growing up on the island, almost every single morning, my dad would go to the bakery before we woke up and buy the hottest Butter Bread, just out of the oven. A rich bread that melted in your mouth. This bread is everywhere on the island. It is the go to sandwich bread. This recipe is an homage and a fusion of these two concepts of Cheese and (of course) Brown Butter Bread. Because everyone knows that brown butter makes everything just taste better! Continue reading
I hate egg fruit. It might sound weird to write a post about a fruit you just don’t like, but it’s true. Everything about the egg fruit is enticing. The sweetheart shape of it is simply darling. The bright yellow outside reflects the sunshine that helped create it. The smooth buttery skin of it says, “You know I look good!” But that’s where the love affair pretty much ends for me and the egg fruit. The inside is chalky and creamy at the same time. A custard sweetness with hints of vanilla, and a slight grassy back flavor. On its own, it is my least favorite of fruits on the island. But let it ripen, to a soft richness, and the flesh of it MUST end up in a pie! Then I stop hating and start loving! Then it becomes worthy of a post and a celebration! Continue reading
I’ve been very impressed with the work being done on the island by not one but two of the local rum factories. Rum has been an important part of our history and the history of many other islands throughout the Caribbean. The entire economic system of the Caribbean was built on the production of sugar and all it’s derivatives. Sugar was king, and its byproduct molasses created a booming trade based on rum. Shamefully, it was also one of the primary reasons for the slave trade throughout the Americas. Rum is an elixir created by the sweetness of the earth and the sadness of history. Yes, a powerful brew indeed.
Here on the island, rum is a part of many celebratory pairings–rum Cake, rum raisin, even the classic rum and coke. There is nothing more flavorful or prevalent than rum! This recipe calls on that quintessential Caribbean flavor and at the same time takes advantage of summer’s favorite fruit flavor–the MANGO!