Sunday, September 27, 2009

Antigua and Barbuda




No, we are not cheating and doing two countries at once. Although they are separate isles, Antigua and Barbuda (not to be confused with Barbados) is a single country, much like Trinidad and Tobago. Originally inhabited for the sole purpose of a sugar plantation, the history of this Eastern Caribbean country is a tale of slave trade and European rule. They have only been independent of British rule since 1981.

This just happens to be our first tropical island country, so we naturally centered all the courses around fresh fruit, vegetables and of course, seafood.

Macaroni Pie


1 pound dried macaroni
1 large red onion, chopped
1 habanero pepper, seeded
1 pound of grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs
1 pint of half and half
salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil macaroni until cooked and drain.
2. Combine cheese, onions, habanero, half and half and eggs in a large bowl. Add macaroni and mix thoroughly.
3. Put contents of bowl into a greased 2 quart baking dish.
4. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour.

Coconut Encrusted Tilapia Fillets with a Mango Habanero Chutney

Tilapia:
1 tilapia fillet per guest
Shredded coconut
1 tablespoon of thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs

1.Combine coconut with thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Coat tilapia with beaten eggs and place on baking sheet.
3. Apply coconut mixture on top of the fillets.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Mango Habanero Chutney:
1 mango, fully ripened and chopped
half of a red onion, chopped
1 habanero, seeded and minced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Simply serve on top of the tilapia.

Red Cabbage and Avocado Coleslaw

1/2 large head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
4 carrots grated
2 medium yellow onions sliced
1 habanero, seeded and minced
1/2 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 handful cilantro chopped
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1.5 tablespoons sugar
Flesh of 2 avocados roughly chopped

1. In a large bowl combine the chopped cabbage with the salt. Smash the cabbage with a potato masher. I used the bottle from a beer I just finished.
2. Let the cabbage sit for 15 minutes allowing the salt to draw out the moisture. This makes the cabbage less tough.
3. Add the remaining ingredients except for the avocado, mix, and chill until you are ready to eat.
4. Before eating, chop the avocados and fold them into the coleslaw. Taste for salt and serve.

Papaya Pie

Pie Crust:
*Make this the night before. You can actually make this up to a week in advance, if you so choose.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into about 8 pieces
about 3 tablespoons ice water
1 egg yolk

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse once or twice.
2. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks grainy
3. Combine the yolk and water together.
4. Turn the processor on and add the water and yolk. Process until mixture balls up.
5. Wrap in saran wrap and place in refrigerator.

Baking the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Roll out dough on a floured surface so that it fits nicely into your pie pan.
3. Take a piece of foil and place it into the pie pan and put either dried bean, rice, a pie weight or a tight fitting saucepan on top of the foil. (for this step, you can improvise. For example, I used wax paper and a few small plates that fit snug into my pie pan)
3. Bake this for about 12 minutes and remove from oven.
4. Remove the weight and foil and reduce the heat to 350 degrees
5. Bake another 10-15 minutes until the crust is brown. Remove and cool before filling.


Papaya filling:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups fresh papaya cut into cubes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten

1. Whisk together brown sugar and sugar. Toss the papaya in this mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. In a heavy saucepan, simmer the papaya and it's juices for 10 minutes.
3. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt to the papaya and cook for another 10 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let the mixture stand until it is lukewarm.
5. When it has cooled, mix gently with the beaten egg. Try not to break the fruit.
6. Pour filling into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
7. Let it cool before serving.

We neglected to take a photo of the Red Cabbage salad, but you can see it here on the plates. We also provided our guests with some papaya with some sugar and lime juice. Papayas are quite large and you need less than half of one for the pie.

Conclusions
Antigua turned out to be a fairly simple meal to put together. The preparation time for each dish was swift and then you just sit back and relax while everything bakes up in the oven. This gives a wonderful opportunity to sit with your guests and relax and even nosh on some papaya. The only thing that takes a bit of time was the papaya pie, which turned out more like what we would consider a tart than a pie.


Every dish was wonderful in it's own way and we had plenty of macaroni pie to enjoy the next day. All in all, Antigua turned out to be quite a pleasant treat because of all the different flavors paired together. If you have never tried habanero and coconut together or avocado in cole slaw, you are in for quite an experience. So far, this was my personal favorite.

Argentina is up next!

8 comments:

  1. I'm sorry I missed this, particularly macaroni pie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have every ingredient for the slaw...totally going to make it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. These sound amazing! I kind of want to try the papaya pie. Worth it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is indeed worth it. If you like pumpkin pie, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It would even be fine with a store bought crust if you're looking to save effort.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my God! I think I'm your equivalent in Atlanta... I have been doing the same thing since 2002... except I've been working my way through the countries in alphabetical order. I love your blog, I found it while looking for recipes for St. Vincent and The Grenadines. I also have a blog (http://alphadinners.blogspot.com). I think I'll have to steal your map idea. I love that.
    Rossana, an Italian currently in Atlanta by way of London.

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