Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saint Kitts

Isn't it great that there are so many islands in the Caribbean that claim their own nationality?  I certainly think so, and our house guests don't seem to mind it much either.  Saint Kitts is another of those wonderful cultural mash-ups that make up the many nations of the Caribbean.  I could give you a full history lesson of the place, but I'll just go ahead and recommend looking at the Wikipedia page or suggest you talk to that one relative you have whose cruise scheduled a stop there.  Nice beaches, lots of fruit, sunny skies, bars on the beach blah blah blah...  I'm really just jealous I haven't been to a tropical place in a good while. 

The important thing here is we've gotten lazy and haven't posted meals in a while so I'm going to be streamlining these next several posts to catch the blog up.  This post is dedicated to my good friend Hudson Kingston, one of our most faithful readers whose life has been shattered by the lack of posts on this site.  Enjoy, Hudson, your long dark winter is over. 

Pumpkin Fritters with Chili Cinnamon Mayonnaise 

Some people think we must spend a fortune on frying oil when they see the amount of fried things we serve at every meal.  Well that's just silly!  I've learned to do as the rest of the world does.  After every large batch of deep fried food, allow the oil to settle while you eat dinner and then funnel the cleared oil from your wok (or whatever you fry with) into a large mason jar.  Be sure to leave the burnt crispy stuff in the pan as you do this.  You can continue to do this until the oil looks dark and gross.  Here is one of the many things you can do with  the frying oil.

2 pumpkins deseeded, peeled, and grated
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt or more to taste
Oil for frying

For the Mayonnaise:
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp ground red pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup olive oil

1. First make the mayonnaise by combining everything but the olive oil in a food processor.  Grind it all down to a smooth consistency and slowly add the olive oil in a thin and steady stream until a thick mayonnaise is rendered.  Set aside covered in your refrigerator.
2. Combine the grated pumpkin with all the ingredients and form into small balls in your palms.  Heat the oil in a wok or fryer and fry at high heat until nicely browned on the outside.

Plantain Salad

Think of this dish as a more tropical potato salad without the potatoes. Perfect for bringing to a family picnic.  Unless your family hates plantains.  Then you might want to bring a standard potato salad and avoid ruining what was supposed to be a lovely day.

1 cucumber skinned and diced
3 stalks celery chopped
2 avocados chopped
1 red pepper seeded and sliced
1/2 red onion chopped and rinsed under cold water for 3 minutes then drained
1/3 cup lime juice
1 serrano chili
1 mango skinned and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
3 green plantains peeled and chopped into half inch pieces
Oil for frying
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a wok or fryer, deep fry the plantain pieces in hot oil until they are crisp and lightly browned (about five minutes).  Set aside on paper towels and allow to cool.
2. Once cool combine everything in a huge bowl.  Adjust seasoning and dressing to your taste.  Serve at room temp.

Goat Stew

I did a lot of the shopping for this meal at Amy's least favorite grocery.  It's a little place in uptown called the Old World Market that specializes in West African and Caribbean foods.  I love the place because it has a great selection of foods that I've never heard of, and some of the best deals on meat in the city.  Amy hates it because it's constantly jammed with uptown locals that have no concept of personal space.  But goat meat is something we're both willing to get shoved about for; especially when its as cheap as this place sells it.

3 lbs goat meat (preferably leg) cut into 1 inch chunks.  You should have a butcher do this for you since the meat tends to be in bony chunks
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 lb tomatoes chopped
1 tsp gravy browning solution (optional but can be included for authenticity
2 medium yellow onions chopped
1 habanero de-seeded, run under cold water for 1 minute, then chopped
1 liter water
1.5 lbs green papaya grated
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste

1. Toss goat meat with flour and a bit of salt.  Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and brown the goat pieces.
2. Add the onions and gently cook another five minutes until they soften.  Then add the tomatoes, browning, habanero and water.  Raise to a boil and cook covered at a simmer for 2 hours.
3. Add the grated papaya continue cooking another 30 minutes.
4. While you wait make a thick batter of flour, milk, baking powder and salt.  After the time has elapsed, drop spoonfuls of batter into the boiling stew and cook the stew down until it has reached the proper thickness.


I would call these things dessert Tamales.  They taste almost like a rice pudding, but with many more flavors involved.  They take a very long time to make, but are well worth the effort.  The texture might be a bit too odd for some to enjoy, but the good news is these keep in the fridge for at least a week.                  

2 cups corn meal
1/2 cup flour
2 cups grated pumpkin
1 stick butter softened
3 cups grated unsweetened coconut
1 tsp salt
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup raisins
Banana Leaves thawed if frozen
Condensed milk and chocolate for garnish

1. Combine everything into a thick batter.
2. Steam banana leaves for 40 minutes and allow to cool.
3. Wrap 1/2 cup portions of the mixture into banana leaves.  Tie them as little packages and steam them for 1 hour.  Allow to cool in the refrigerator and serve covered in condensed milk and chocolate.  They can be eaten right off the unwrapped leaves.

Rum Punch

This is exactly what it sounds like.  The standard boozy sugary concoction that gets served at every resort and weird Chinatown cocktail bar.  The sweetness is a bit much for me, but they must be popular for some sort of reason.  It might have tasted better if it had been warm outside, but as you can see by the photo below, we pretty much killed the jug.

1 pint grenadine
1 cup lime juice
3 cups rum
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
Orange and Pineapple Chunks for garnish

In a huge punch bowl combine everything.  Serve with a ladle into cups of ice.  Or if you plan on drinking it quickly, fill the jug of booze with that ice. 

In Conclusion

This was one of our more simple meals that involved very little effort in the kitchen.  The food processor did a great deal of the work for many of the dishes.  Everyone seemed to agree that the pumpkin fritters were most excellent while mixed opinions were held on the goat stew.  Personally I love the strong flavors and smells that come from stewed goat, others don't find it as pleasant.  And everyone agreed the punch was way too sweet, but proceeded to drink too much of it anyway.  As usual a good time was had by all.