Last weekend (not this past one, but the one before) our time was very well spent in Puerto Rico. While there was enough to enjoy, I was oblivious to everything else- the only THING I enjoyed the MOST was the warm weather. It was 80F…compared to Boston still lingering in the 30’s. I was hooked on the warmth. Believe me it was intoxicating. Well the beaches, mango trees (most of them were fruiting-I so badly wanted to steal some mangoes!) and the coconut water definitely added on to the charm. Yeah I had elaneer (coconut water) in PR….yippeeeee
The other thing still fresh in my mind is the warm arepa de coco. They tasted so good especially because these were fresh. I liked them so much, they me of some similar taste back home only I could not remember what (If anyone has any idea what I am talking about, please let me know). Also if anyone has an easy recipe for making these coconut fritters, please do let me know. Being a vegetarian was not very helpful as most of the native dishes were not. But we did manage to have some mexican-PR burritos and quesadillas at Tijuana in Condado (which is where we stayed). We also ate a local chain called Taco Makers, way better than Taco bell I must say.
Caribbean food is as flavorful as the land and the people are. I have my own utopian version about these islands and the people that reside there (I love Naipal’s books, you should try them if you have never read his books). I have had a lot of Caribbean food but I have never been to any of the islands (that will not be true after this Thursday, off to Puerto Rico, yippee!!). So I could not hold back my urge to make something caribbean especially since this month’s MM theme is “Caribbean food” (hurrah!!). So I decided to make a Jamaican rundun and ducuna, a sweet dish from Antigua.
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup spring onions, chopped
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, thinly sliced (I used baby carrots)
1 1/2 cups beans, sliced diagonally
1 cup broccoli florets
6 green chillies, slit
1 tsp dried thyme
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp all spice, ground
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onions (inlcuding green onions), tomatoes until they are tender. Add the coconut milk and let it cook until the mixture thickens. Add the carrots, beans, green chillies, all spice, thyme, salt and pepper. Let it cook until the veggies are tender. Add the broccoli florets. Cook until all the veggies are tender. I also stirred in some cornstarch dissolved in water because my rundun seemed a little runny!
2 large sweet potatoes (I used the white sweet potatoes instead of the regular orange ones)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I eye-balled this amount)
1 tsp all spice, ground
2 tbsp toasted almonds
2 tbsp raisins
Grate the sweet potatoes and combine with the sugar. Let it sit for a while , this mixture starts to give out water (I left mine for about 15 min). Combine rest of the ingredients. I made 5 parts and spooned the mixture 5 parts individually in aluminum foil. Place the foil in boiling water, it takes about 45 min for it to cook. The mixture becomes hard. Enjoy it hot or cold. I love mine with a dollop of whipped cream.
Both these dishes were so easy to make, yet full of flavor. The Ducuna tastes like something very Indian and I cannot figure out what it is! But anyway you should try these, you will be surprised! We were…
I love the flavors that are created when you grill the veggies and the best part- it is super simple. Yoohoo!!!
So while I love to have grilled foods, this is the first time I have made something of my own in the kitchen in my stove top (Well that was another thing I was worried about, indoor grilling on stove top)
All I did was this
Cut some snow peas, red onions, red and green peppers, zucchini- grilled these on my stove-top grill (finally inaugurated the pan) until the veggies were crispy and brown on both sides.
Made a dressing by whisking together some lime, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried basil, fresh parsley, dried oregano, salt and pepper.
Tossed the veggies in this dressing and served warm with some toasted sesame for garnish
How simple is that?