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Let's Get Tropical: Caribbean Jerk and Jambalaya

February 01, 1996|LORI BARTH

The most wonderful thing about the cooking of the Caribbean is its freshness. The tropical ingredients have blended with the European and African cultures and with the indigenous heritage of the Arawaks and Caribs.

The result is a cuisine of lush ingredients mixed with the pungent smells and tastes of spices. Nearly everybody likes Caribbean food.

MENU

Jerked Chicken

Vegetable Jambalaya

Yam, Banana, Raisin & Corn Salad

Joyce's Molasses Cookies

STAPLES

Garlic

Onion

Salt

Black and white pepper

Dried red chile flakes

Ground sage

Ground nutmeg

Ground cinnamon

Ground allspice

Milk

Raisins

Bay leaves

Ground thyme

Brown sugar

Rum

Oil

Rice

Molasses

Vinegar

Baking Soda

Flour

SHOPPING LIST

6 chicken breasts

6 yams

6 bananas

2 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth

Sweetened coconut

Red bell pepper

Green bell pepper

Okra

Green onions

Orange juice

Red wine

Celery

14-ounce can diced tomatoes

Hickory salt

Game Plan

Night before: Bake cookies and store in a tin. Marinate chicken and store in refrigerator.

One hour before: Steam yams for salad. While yams are cooking, prepare jambalaya. If rice finishes cooking while you are still preparing the salad and chicken, turn off the heat and let stand, covered.

Half an hour before: Grill chicken breasts. Finish salad.

JERKED CHICKEN

3 tablespoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground coriander

4 green onions, chopped fine

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup red wine, water or orange juice

1/4 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes

6 chicken breast halves

Mix allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, onions, garlic, red wine, oil, salt, black pepper and chile flakes. Coat chicken breasts with marinade and keep overnight in refrigerator.

Grill chicken over medium flame or under broiler until done through, about 10 minutes per side.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

327 calories; 284 mg sodium; 87 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 29 grams protein; 0.07 gram fiber.

VEGETABLE JAMBALAYA

3 tablespoons oil

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 to 8 okra, sliced crosswise

2 cups rice

1 (14-ounce) can can diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried red chile flakes

1 teaspoon thyme

Hickory salt

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

2 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth

Heat oil in 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add red and green bell peppers, celery, onion and garlic and saute until vegetables soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Add okra and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

Add rice, tomatoes, white and black pepper, chile flakes, thyme, hickory salt to taste, bay leaves and sage. Cook, stirring, until grains of rice are coated with seasonings. Add vegetable broth plus enough water to make 1 quart liquid. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Turn off heat and let steam until ready to serve. Dish will remain warm 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

302 calories; 838 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 52 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.84 gram fiber.

YAM, BANANA, RAISIN AND CORN SALAD

3 pounds yams

3/4 cup corn kernels

3/4 cup dark raisins

3 ripe bananas, sliced

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup rum

1/2 cup sweetened coconut

Peel yams and cut in 1-inch slices. Steam about 15 minutes. Cool and cut in large pieces. Cook and cool corn kernels.

In large bowl, combine cooked yams, corn, raisins and half of banana slices.

In small bowl, mix orange juice, brown sugar and rum. Pour over yam mixture and toss. Sprinkle top with remaining banana slices and sprinkle with coconut.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

440 calories; 41 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 99 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 2.45 grams fiber.

MOLASSES COOKIES

Make sour milk by adding 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1/2 cup milk and letting stand for 15 minutes.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sour milk

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger in large mixing bowl.

Beat shortening with sugar until light and creamy; add egg, molasses and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Stir in raisins and nuts.

Drop batter by rounded teaspoon onto greased baking sheets and bake at 375 degrees until just barely golden, about 12 to 16 minutes.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Each cookie contains about:

76 calories; 20 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.06 gram fiber.

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