Skip to main content

Cooking Around the World: Jamaica

It been a busy couple of weeks. And though I've been cooking, I haven't been blogging as much about the Cooking Around the World adventure as we have been eating. I'll try to catch up this week.


When looking for what to make for our tabletop travel to Jamaica, I kept singing this in my head...
Down the way where the nights are gayAnd the sun shines daily on the mountain topI took a trip on a sailing shipBut when I reached Jamaica I made a stop
But I'm sad to say I'm on my wayWon't be back for many a dayMy heart is down, my head is turning aroundI had to leave a little girl in Kingston town
Sounds of laughter everywhereAnd the dancing girls swinging to and froI must declare my heart is thereThough I've been from Maine to Mexico
But I'm sad to say I'm on my wayI won't be back for many a dayMy heart is down, my head is turning aroundI had to leave a little girl in Kingston town
Down at the market you can hearLadies cry out while on their heads they bearAckee rice, salt fish are niceAnd the rum is fine anytime of year
But I'm sad to say I'm on my wayWon't be back for many a dayMy heart is down, my head is turning aroundHad to leave a little girl in Kingston townLeave a little girl in Kingston town...
ackee fruit photo from wikipedia.org


I've always wondered: What's ackee rice? What's an ackee?!? So, this was the chance for me to research that and think about making it. I mean, it's in the song, right?
Turns out that ackee is a member of the soapberry and related to the lychee and the longan. And, despite all my trips to obscure produce markets, I have never seen one. Scratch that off the list for possible Jamaican dishes.


What was definitely appearing on the table - for the tall Manns - was the Jamaican beer Red Stripe! I hadn't thought about Red Stripe until there was a story on NPR, as I was driving to the grocery store, about the James Bond connection to the Jamaican beer. Talk about serendipity...and inspiration. Apparently author Ian Fleming was a fan of the beer, keeping his fridge stocked at his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye. And the beer appeared in 007's first film in 1962, Dr. No. Bond enters Puss Feller's bar where there are several cases stacked behind the bar. During an altercation, Bond throws Puss into the stack of Red Stripe cases. Sold!
We decided to make Jamaican Rice and Peas, which actually doesn't have any peas in it at all, and Jamaican Jerk Chicken. So, in addition to answering my question of - what is an ackee? - I also answered: Why is it called 'jerk'?
Here's what I found on the etymology (from the kitchenproject.com): 'jerk' derives from the Peruvian word  'charqui', a word for dried strips of meat...like what we call jerky. But another food historian claims that it is called jerk because that's what people might do with errant bits of meat while it's on the spit; they might jerk off pieces to eat before the dish is served. I think I like the former versus the latter.
Jamaican Rice and PeasJamaican Rice and Peas = long-grain rice cooked in a mixture of coconut milk and chicken stock + cooked kidney beans. For added flavor, I cooked the rice with three whole shishido peppers that I removed before serving.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
1/2 cup fig balsamic vinegar (the traditional recipe called for malt vinegar)
10 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons crushed garlic
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
2 shishido peppers, destemmed, deseeded, and chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons ground allspice
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons  ground cinnamon
2 t ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons  organic dark brown sugar
1 cup ketchup (I used some homemade vanilla bean ketchup)
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
chicken pieces

Blend all of the ingredients - except the chicken -  in a blender to form a thick paste. Adjust texture by adding water if it's too thick. Rub the paste on the chicken and let marinate overnight. Then you can cook the chicken however you wish - grill it, roast it, or pan fry it. I roasted mine.

This global table ambassador is signing off for now. I'm excited about our virtual travel to Japan tonight!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an