So, the dangers of being a blogger and a lawyer is that there are times when life becomes so busy that you don’t blog for a considerable period of time. Has it really been that long? For those of you who kept checking in to see what new kitchen happenings I created THANK YOU! And for new friends and readers also THANK YOU! If you really enjoy the recipes you can subscribe! That way you can be notified whenever a new post arrives. I decided to share when I have something shareworthy and my schedule permits. This is my passion! Deadlines are the death of passion. So PLEASE sign up! Also, if you “Like” this on Facebook, you will get to see more kitchen happenings that don’t necessarily make it to the blog. Continue reading
It makes sense that Greek food is one of my favorite ethnic foods. Crucians and Greeks have one thing very much in common–the Sun! One of my all time favorite treats is Baklava. The honey, spiced, layered decadence is just sinful! This is just a Rambling, as it was one of my first times trying out the recipe. I usually try to test it a couple times before I find it share worthy. Or maybe I’ll just have to hold up on sharing in anticipation of that cookbook I keep meaning to put together! Continue reading
There are times when impatience holds my hand in the kitchen. Especially, when I am in the mood to make a cake, but I don’t feel like waiting for the ingredients to come to room temperature in order to begin. This is a key step since it helps to increase the volume of the cake. So, my quick shortcut is to put the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm tap water and leave them there for about five minutes. The water should not be so hot that it starts to cook the eggs. And for the butter, I whip out the box grater and shave it. This also helps if I am in a hurry. Waiting to let the eggs warm naturally is always best, but this is a good in a hurry time saver. Time is your best friend in the kitchen, but sometimes a good short cut is even better!
For every recipe I share, I try to weave in a personal story, if only to tie together the idea of food as an experience outside just the act of eating. I usually think about what this food means or how to best approach it emotionally. This recipe was the opposite. I had to think of how not to approach it. It is tied to too many individual experiences. Whether eating it at my Uncle’s house after school with an ice cold malt, or the ten o’clock phone call I got recently for a friend desperate for the recipe for her and her sick husband, or just one more warm recipe between now and when the weather decides to finally settle into Spring. Either way, this is an all around flavorful soup with a hint of all things Caribbean! Continue reading
Wild Crucian Honey is a thing of elemental beauty. Depending on when you are able to source it, you can pick out the notes of all the wild fruits and flowers the bees feasted on to make their sacred food. One of my favorite people on the island is my friend Sam Grey. On a recent trip to my house for brunch with his beautiful family, he gave me a tiny jar of honey he had gathered from his own hive. I must confess, I was downright stingy with my bottle of wild honey. Even my husband got only the tiniest traces of it. It is that good! Then another one of my favorite people Wanda Wright shared with me a bottle of her locally made Honey Vinegar. I had never had honey vinegar, and wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but I knew when I bought it a recipe would come. This recipe is the synthesis of all that food sharing. Sesame, Lime, and Local Honey all bring their complex flavor components to this incredibly simple brew of a dressing! Continue reading
The sea is our most valuable resource here on the island. We are literally haunted by its crashing surf and demanding call. There are few places on the island where the evidence of the sea is not in some way visible. It fuses itself into our every understanding, whether we see it on a long drive home in the distance, or witness the ravage of salt rusted fixtures and appliances because it moves so easily with the trade winds across the island. By definition, all island people are bound to the sea. It gives us a place to celebrate on its shores; offers us ways to rejuvenate our sick or weary bodies—there are few ailments that aren’t cured by a good “sea soak”; and most importantly it nourishes us from its bountiful depths. One of my favorite gifts from the sea is the conch. When prepared correctly, the conch transforms itself from a mere bottom-dwelling , sea snail into tender, flavorful, oceanic ambrosia! (Yes, it warrants all those adjectives because it is just THAT good!) Continue reading
There were seven countries that have laid claim to the Virgin Islands, before it was acquired by the United States in 1917. France and Spain were two of those countries. I suspect it was through them that this treat was brought to the island, and transformed by the addition of local tropical ingredients.
Locally, it is spelled and pronounced “Benye”. However, it is obvious that it is intended to mirror its Southern European cousins. The French have the Beignet, the Portuguese have the Malasada, and the Crucians have the Benye! In belated honor of Fat Tuesday, and the heaven sent New Orleans Beignet and Cafe Au Lait, here is a mouth watering recipe for one of my favorite treats. Continue reading
There was a commercial that said, anything nestled in a fluted paper cup has to be good. It seems to me that nature wanted to so venerate the beautiful pomegranate fruit that it wrapped each of these jeweled speckled seeds in a nest of paper thin membranes– to remind the bearer that this indeed was something very special. Continue reading
Well, after a long Christmas Season inspired hiatus, (and some major technical difficulties) it feels wonderful to be back to blogging and sharing some of the awesome flavors that we produce here on our little rock! The holiday season was a time of family and friends gathering, and I have to say that I am still in the mood for food, friends, and family! My favorite time of day to gather everyone at our home is for that special halfway time between breakfast and lunch–Brunch. And nothing says brunch better than a mimosa! Passion Fruit mimosas anyone? Continue reading
I have been away from my blogging duties, as I have been THOROUGHLY savoring the holiday season with family and friends!! It is my MOST favorite time of the year! It is as if the whole world collectively decides to slow down and celebrate time together!
Growing up on the island, Christmas day was spent opening gifts and preparing for the family feast! But the next day, my Aunt Inez would gather us all together at her house for a Christmas Second Day Brunch. It didn’t matter if you were still recovering from Christmas Day’s food coma. When you went to her house, you wanted to fall in love with all the foods she prepared so we would have an excuse to gather one more time.
For the past couple years, I have tried to recreate that special feeling of welcome and late morning care my Aunt began. This year, I made a feast for friends and family to share. This “Rambling” is simply a way to memorialize that time together. With some island favorites, but mostly just good tasting food! If you “liked” my Facebook page, you may have already seen these and other goodies posted there! If you haven’t “liked” Crucian Contessa on Facebook, what are you waiting for?
I hope your Holiday Season is warm, loving, and full of food memories!
I also included a link to one of our traditional Christmas songs “Ma Ma Bake Your Johnny Cake“ by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights. The image above is of a Johnny Cake. It is a type of fried dough that is made routinely on the island. Divine! Hopefully it helps you to feel like you are home, if you are from the island– or crave to visit St. Croix you aren’t!
Season’s Greetings, Everyone!! Continue reading