With the warmer weather finally beginning to come about, it is putting us in the summer food mood too. When I think of summer foods, I think of grilled foods, a lot of different salsas, fruits, salads and things that are easy to make and don’t heat up the kitchen to much. Like most of us, when the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, I too would rather be outside enjoying all that the world outdoors has to offer, rather than being inside over a hot stove.
I had some leftover jalapeno dressing from when we had our latest steak salad, which was a perfect marinade for my pork chops. Finally, It’s Time for Salad I also had some leftover pineapple from my carrot pineapple bread Carrot Pineapple Bread that was just the right amount to make a pineapple salsa. So I combined these ideas and made a Caribbean meal with the jalapeno grilled pork chops and pineapple salsa that I served with sweet potato latkes and green beans. Even though we were land-locked here at home, it felt like we were back in the Caribbean, even if for only a short little bit. It was a nice little mini vacation right out on our back deck.
I actually marinated the pork chops for a couple of days since on Saturday, at the last minute, we changed our plans. Once we did grill it up, the pork was very flavorful and tender.
We also threw some rolls on the grill to heat up as well.
The pineapple salsa was very easy to make. I let that set for a couple of days as well, which allowed all the flavors to stand out and really pop.
Quick and Easy Pineapple Salsa
1 cups pineapple, cut into small chunks – canned pineapple, with its juice is fine too
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small,
1/2 red onion, diced small
1 TBSP garlic
1 large jalapeno, diced fine
dash of salt
3 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped fine
Mix everything together and let chill for at least 30 minutes before using. You can eat with anything you would use a regular tomato salsa for. It is particularly good with pork or chicken.
Sweet potatoes are a staple food item found all throughout the Caribbean. We eat them a lot too. This is a Caribbean twist to an old classic, its cousin the potato latke.
Sweet Potato Latkes
This is yet another very simple recipe, with just a few basic ingredients.
1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded – I use my food processor to shred mine
2-3 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin
1 tsp salt
cayenne pepper to taste
3/4 cup flour, more if needed
2 TBSP honey
A dash of cooking oil
Mix everything together well. I find the best way to really mix all these ingredients is to do it by hand.
Once everything is all mixed, take about 2 TBSP or so and form into a patty and slightly flatten them out. Continue until all the mixture has been used. Let set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking, then pan fry in a hot skillet with just a little bit of cooking oil so the patties won’t stick. Cook on a medium-high heat. Cook until the patties are golden brown on both sides and crispy.
These quick and easy recipes show you don’t have to go to the Caribbean Islands to enjoy a little of the fresh Caribbean flavors at home.