Carambola Salad

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It’s been a while since my last post–six months to be exact! So many changes have swept into my life since then, including beginning a new job. As with all of life’s changes, I have learned to navigate it by giving it my all and full attention. This has also meant that I don’t have as much time to share my kitchen passions. Food has taken a literal back burner in my longer work days, increased commute time, leaving  less time to cook, much less quantify a recipe.

I have fallen in love with faster prepared foods to accommodate my new demands. But in addition to the changes in my professional life, life has been extremely demanding in my personal life as well. And some days I have to make my own sunshine! This salad is the perfect emblem of all what this time means and feels like to me. It was created with nothing but pure love. I almost want to call it, “Contessa Love Salad”!!!!  Read More

Beef Pate

Beef Pate

Pates (pronounced Pah Tays) were my fast food growing up.  After Hurricane Hugo blew away our high school cafeteria, lunch time was trimmed down and simplified. Some days it was just a Pate either beef or saltfish and an “Island Dairies” juice box either passion fruit, Iced Tea, or guava—Total Cost $2.00!! What I remember about those pates were the crispy crunchy dough with the raised welts and blisters fried into place where the hot oil met and melt the fat in the dough in a puff of steam. Sigh… it was food heaven! I have longed to find the perfect Pate ever since. I usually ran into pates that were too greasy, or too doughy, or too much butter/shortening. None were able to capture the balance of textures for me of those high school pates. Read More

Contessa Shrimp and Avocado Salad

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There are times when the kitchen and I break up. Complete with side-eye and cold shoulders. I don’t feel like spending too much time with it whatsoever. My kitchen creations feel hum-drum, and I answer the call of carry-out more than I should. Lately, I’ve had a serious case of the kitchen-blues! But ever so slowly we’ve been spending more time together. Checking each other out and starting to do the dance of reconnection. Read More

Contessa Guacamole

 

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One of my favorite parts of island living is the food sharing culture that is so very much alive on our little rock! From co-workers, friends, or family, someone is always offering the blessings of their back yard bounty. This late summer’s offering is the alligator pear avocado. A friend of ours gave us two mammoth sized avocados and my first and only thought was Spicy GUACAMOLE!! Guacamole is the easiest thing to make–a perfect testament to the idea that it takes just a few well sourced ingredients to make ahhhmazing food! Read More

Johnny Cakes

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Has it really been that long since my last post? I’ve been having TOO much fun enjoying all the fun and sun that is summer on this rock. To make up for lost times, here is my world famous (OK, only in my house famous) Johnny Cake recipe! Johnny Cakes are fried heaven on a plate, or a napkin, or just balanced hot on your fingertips, because you couldn’t wait to find either a plate or a napkin before you tore into it. It is one of our MOST traditional island favorites.

There are some foods that are strictly breakfast, lunch, or dinner foods. Johnny Cakes are that rare breed of food that defies those rigid boxes. You can enjoy them any time of day! Quick and easy, they fry up fast and are gone just as quickly! Tooooooo good! Read More

Contessa Tomato and Onion Relish

 

Onion Relish

Sometimes its just too easy to make incredible food! Sometimes unfussy food is just the most rewarding. This relish is tropical summer food–cool, uncooked, and perfect on everything from fish to meat dishes. It may look like an uncomplicated tangle of red and purple, but it is so much more in terms of flavor!

The farmers have been showing off with the brightest, reddest, most flavor-packed tomatoes at our local markets–much Tomato Love! How could I not find something amazing to do with this summer season fruit. Yes, tomato is actually a fruit. Top it off with a dash of your favorite hot sauce (anything but Tabasco), or just savor as is. It really is just TOO good. Read More

Contessa Conch Salad

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Sometimes the simplest foods are the BEST foods. One of my oldest and dearest friends Dorald made this salad for me many years ago on his first visit to the island. His Bahamian ancestry taught him the divine combination of these OH, SO SIMPLE flavors. And he passed this love on to me again on his most recent trip over the Christmas holidays. Maybe its the memories of our incessant laughter whenever we make time to see each other, or just the love and care that my friend shared in putting this recipe together, but this dish is an easy mix up of full-on oceanic flavor and bright citrus overtones. Deliciousness! Read More

Contessa Lobster Salad

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There really is nothing more decadent than Caribbean Lobster. Unlike it’s Atlantic cousin, our lobsters have no claws, but they are extremely succulent, naturally garlicky, with a sweet oceanic flavor. I usually make this dish during the warmer months, when I don’t feel like cooking. But I just couldn’t resist when I saw this beauty from one of our local roadside fishermen. Serve this salad over a bed of locally grown baby leaves and savor the flavor of the ocean. Fantastic! Read More

Contessa Brown Butter Cheese and Bread

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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! Read More