One of the things I love so much about cooking is that it allows me to “travel the world” from the comfort of my own kitchen. This provides a mini escape since time and money do not allow me to really travel as much as I would like. I have so many cookbooks, and so many cookbooks from around the world, so every time I cook something exotic, I feel as though I have escaped to that far away place, even if only for a short time. We are always trying new things and are very experimental when it comes to food.
Tonight’s dinner was inspired from the books Caribbean Cooking and Caribbean Potluck. I say inspired by because inevitably, I change and customize recipes all the time. I just can’t help myself. I always have to personalize them. You will see all of my cookbooks have notations and changes I have made. This is just how I roll. This is in essence why I have started this page. I want everyone to know that it’s OK to cook the way you want. There are no rules that say you have to follow a recipe exactly. Cooking is not rocket science. It’s supposed to be fun. Cook what you like and be creative.
Our menu tonight was slow-cooked ribs in a spicy molasses glaze with, a Creole spiced slaw, red beans & rice (yes, you’ve seen those before) and festival with honey butter. I cooked the ribs in the slow cooker for about 8 hours and then tossed them is the molasses glaze.
Molasses Glaze for the ribs
3 TBSP molasses, 2 TBSP tamari sauce, 6 TBSP hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce, 1/4 cup rum (although, don’t be shy with the rum), 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp thyme, 5 TBSP honey, 1 cup orange juice, 5 TBSP brown sugar and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Put all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn it down to a simmer and continue cooking for at least 30 minutes. The longer you cook the sauce, the thicker it will become. Make it to your desired outcome.
Creole Spiced Slaw
Red and green cabbage, chiffonade or sliced real thin; red & yellow bell pepper strips, sliced thin; red onion, sliced real thin; green onions, chopped small; shredded carrot; roasted cashews; 1 jalapeno, very small dice; toasted coconut; pineapple chunks, diced small; cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice; red pepper flakes to taste; chopped lemongrass to taste (I used dried lemongrass); 2 TBSP honey; 1 TBSP brown sugar; 2 TBSP oil (I almost always use olive oil, but your choice is fine); 1 tsp soy sauce; 1/4 cup coconut milk
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and toss well with the salad mixture right before serving.
Festival is a Caribbean bread-like donut, similar to a Southern hush puppy.
2 cups yellow corn meal; 1 cup flour; 1/4 cup brown sugar; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp salt; 1 egg; 1 cup orange juice; canola oil or vegetable oil for frying.
Mix all the ingredients together. Dough should be a thick dough. Shape into balls and deep fry. You can also pan fry them too if you do not have a deep fryer. Serve hot with honey butter. Honey butter is just that; honey and butter. Add as much honey as the butter will hold, and make it to your desired sweetness.
Enjoy your Caribbean dining experience along with a refreshing rum punch or mai-tai.