Pimento Grain

the recipes of a nomadic Jamaican

Stir-Fried Cabbage

Sprinkled with fresh cilantro leaves

Stir fried cabbage sprinkled with fresh cilantro leaves

Stir-fried cabbage, known in Jamaica as steamed cabbage is one of the most popular side dishes of the homeland, primarily because it is enjoyable throughout the day and consists of inexpensive ingredients that are easily found in local open-air markets. Jamaican-style cabbage can be mixed with other vegetables, cooked by itself or with cured meats such as saltfish and corned beef (bully beef). This version is a vegetarian cabbage stir-fry with a small variation on the spices. Enjoy with sweet potato chips for a delicious vegan breakfast.

1. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat

2 Tbsps coconut oil

2. Lightly fry until fragrant

1 tsp scotch bonnet (or another habanero) pepper,  finely minced

2 scallions (white portion), finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tsp dried (or 2 tsps fresh) thyme leaves

3. When oil is fragrant, stir in

20 ozs shredded cabbage (two pre-shredded packets from the store or one small-medium cabbage)

1 carrot, sliced

4. Add

3 Tbsps liquid (water, mirin, soy or Worcestershire sauce, cooking stock)

1/2 tsp salt, if using sodium free liquid

5. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced in volume by half. Please be vigilant and add a dash of liquid if it appears your cabbage is drying out. If your cabbage has too much residual liquid, remove the lid and allow to simmer for another minute until desired amount of liquid has evaporated.

6. Garnish with

chopped fresh cilantro OR green portions of scallion


Smashed roasted fingerlings and stir fried cabbage completed the meal

Roasted fingerlings and stir fried cabbage completed this beef rib meal

Breadfruit Pain de Mie (Pullman Loaf)

breadfruit pain de mie: a perfect sandwich loaf

breadfruit pain de mie: a perfect sandwich loaf

I received a parcel of breadfruit flour in the mail this week. It’s my first time using the product so there’s quite a bit of experimenting for me to do before I’m completely comfortable with this fruit-based meal, but making this pain de mie was a most gratifying experience.  Breadfruit has been described as bland (I don’t think so, I love my breshe) but there is definitely a concentration of flavor in the flour, it does taste and smell a little like the young (green) fruit. I think a version made with the very fit (turned) fruit would be delightful, and if they could find a way to smoke or toast it before pounding, I’d be their biggest customer. My foreign guests to Jamaica had often described the taste of boiled breadfruit as that of boiled potatoes, and potato bread is my favorite sandwich-style loaf to make, so I decided to develop a recipe for a breadfruit sandwich loaf.

This recipe uses white bread flour along with breadfruit flour; it is not gluten free. It only took two attempts before I was comfortable enough to share the results. The flavor was good on both occasions but on the second time I decided to add more breadfruit flour for a nuttier flavor. The loaf was remarkably moist on both occasions. I will try this recipe a third time, sifting the breadfruit flour, in an attempt to achieve a more uniform crumb. There were a few distinguishable bits of breadfruit throughout the loaf, due to the coarse grind of this particular brand of flour, but the flavor and texture are very much top notch.

perfectly thin slices, ready to to be buttered up

perfectly thin slices, ready to to be buttered up

Please be sure to make this recipe by weight, as bread baking requires very exact measurements; you can buy a small kitchen scale here. If you do not have a pullman loaf pan, you can make this bread to fit into two 5×8 loaf pans. Simply cut the dough in half before the final shaping (step 8). Make a note of all ingredients before getting started, and be sure to have your butter out of the fridge 30 minutes before you start baking. Please be sure to add your wet ingredients to the bowl first if you are using a stand mixer, if mixing by hand add the dry first then make a well for the liquids.

1. To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with dough hook, add:

160 grams whole milk (at room temperature)

220 grams warm water (at 80°F)

38 grams sugar

30 grams nonfat milk powder

100 grams breadfruit flour (also sold as breadfruit powder)

500 grams strong bread flour

7 grams instant yeast

2. Mix on low speed for 3-5 minutes or until thoroughly blended, rest in mixing bowl for 15 minutes.

A smooth dough with visible flecks of breadfruit throughout

A smooth dough with visible flecks of breadfruit throughout

3. While dough is resting, in a small bowl, combine

20 grams warm water

13 grams sea salt

4. Add salt water mixture to the dough and mix on medium speed for 6-8 minutes, until dough is voluntarily pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

5. Add, one cube at a time, until incorporated

85 grams butter (at room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)

6. After butter is incorporated into dough, transfer it to a lightly oiled container and mark where the top of the dough is. Cover tightly (with the container’s lid, plastic wrap or a processing cap) and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk. This should take between 1 and 2 hours depending on how warm your proofing area is.

7. Once the dough has doubled in bulk, return it to a lightly floured work surface, punch it down gently then roll it into a ball. Leave the dough on the work surface covered with the bowl or a towel for 10 minutes.

Dough deflated and rolled into a ball

Dough deflated and rolled into a ball

Visible bits of breadfruit on the smooth surface

Visible bits of breadfruit on the smooth surface

8. Gently flatten the ball into a rectangle then roll the dough into a tight 13-inch log. Place the dough firmly into a greased 13-inch pullman loaf pan. You may gently coax the dough into the corners of the pan by pressing the top until the log fits more snugly. Cover with clear plastic wrap or a processing cap and allow to rise until the highest point in the dough is almost in line with the lip of the pan. This will take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how warm your proofing area is. While the loaf is proofing, pre-heat your oven to 400°F.

I was a little rough with my log but bread is very forgiving

I was a little rough with my log, ergo the tears, but bread is very forgiving

these processing caps are an effective and inexpensive way of covering containers in the kitchen

these processing caps are an effective and inexpensive way of covering containers in the kitchen

9. Once the loaf has adequately risen, uncover the pan then re-cover it with its designated metal cover. If you do not desire a pullman shape, you do not have to cover the loaf but I do recommend a light egg wash, in this case. Place loaf in oven then immediately lower the heat to 350°F. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the lid then bake for another 20 minutes.

10. Turn the loaf onto a cooling rack. Slice and serve once your loaf is cool to the touch (after at least 30 minutes).


Reverse Seared Short Rib

Roasted short rib, ready to be carved

Roasted short rib, off the grill and ready to be carved

I made my first and last corned beef brisket last year for St. Patrick’s Day. My husband, the expert on all things meat, and our guests were pleased with it but I was completely unable to get over the strong saltiness. I decided that I need a decade-long break from the dish, so this year I roasted a boneless short rib instead. I served it with the requisite spuds and cabbage for a meal so remarkable that the traditional corned beef was forgotten.

I ‘accidentally’ bought boneless short ribs – I see absolutely no point in the existence of boneless ribs but I didn’t read carefully enough so these ended up in the fridge. I had planned to make a tri-tip from the freezer but since the ribs were bought fresh, they won a spot on the St. Patrick’s Day spread. I used the reverse sear method which is possible using a conventional oven but I decided it would have been more fun to do this on my Big Green Egg barbecue. The recipe calls for green onion or scallion powder; you can use twice the amount of chopped fresh green onions instead. I made my own green onion powder by dehydrating the tops of onions from my summer garden. If you can find some, you must try it – it’s a very potent dimension of one of my absolute favorite seasonings. That being said, any good beef rub will work excellently.

1. In a small bowl, mix together a paste of:

2 tsps grapeseed oil (or other neutral cooking oil)

2 Tbsps green onion powder 

1/2 tsp desiccated onion flakes

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp thyme leaves

1/2 tsp demerara sugar

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp salt

Combine these spices with a little oil for a delicious beef rub

Combine these spices with a little oil for a delicious beef rub

2. Rub paste generously on

2-3 lbs boneless beef short ribs

3. Seal and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

4. Preheat oven or grill to 225 – 250°F. If using a barbecue, be sure to place the short ribs in the ‘cool’ or indirect zone.

The boneless short rib on the raised grid of my Big Green Egg

The boneless short rib on the raised grid of my Big Green Egg

5. Cook beef at low heat until thermometer inserted into the thickest region registers 15°F cooler than your desired temperature. Beef is medium-rare at 135°F and well done at 160°F.

6. Once the rib is 15°F cooler than your desired temperature, turn the heat up to 450-500°F (if using a charcoal barbecue, move the roast directly over the coal and fully open up your vents).

7. Leave the meat on high temperature until desired browning has taken place, about another five or ten minutes. This will crisp your meat, generating a rich caramelized flavor.

8. Remove from oven or grill, carve and serve immediately.

Smashed roasted fingerlings a la tostones and stir fried cabbage completed the meal

Smashed roasted fingerlings (a la tostones) and stir fried cabbage completed the meal



Beautiful myoglobin. You can let the meat rest for a while after removing it from the grill to allow the juices to recirculate, minimizing the mess

Beautiful myoglobin. You can let the meat rest for a while after removing it from the grill to allow the juices to recirculate, minimizing the mess

Wild Blackberry-Ricotta Coffee Cake

Good morning!

Good morning!

As it turns out, I am the only person in this hemisphere who was not aware, until recently, that coffee cakes usually contain no coffee. I made this discovery after being offered some coffee cake on an afternoon visit to a neighbor, I was stumped (and quite delighted) by the fact that it tasted like cinnamon and applesauce. On the walk back home, my husband made a quip about working off the ‘coffee cake’, which is when I asked him whether he had actually tasted any coffee. He sniggered, then informed me that coffee cakes are merely sweet morsels served during a coffee break, much like teacakes which contain no tea, and aren’t cakes yet are served at teatime.

I had a tub of ricotta and frozen wild blackberries that needed to be used up, so this recipe was the only natural outcome. It is not very dessert-like but was an excellently dense, indulgent breakfast with a hot cup of spiced coffee. I recommend cooling the cake for at least an hour before serving, and you can make it a day ahead and store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

Wild blackberry-ricotta coffee cake

1. In a large bowl, whisk together

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups demerara or turbinado sugar (use less if using white granulated sugar)

2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp coarse salt

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 tsp ground ginger

2. In a separate bowl, whisk until combined

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups ricotta

zest of medium lemon

1 Tbsp lemon juice

3. Fold wet mixture into dry ingredients until just blended then mix in

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup frozen wild blackberries (or blueberries, or cherries, or raspberries, or, or, or…)

4. Scrape batter into a greased 9-inch springform pan, spread evenly then top with

1/2 cup frozen wild blackberries (or, or, or…)

5. Bake at 350°F for 60-70 minutes, until cake is set and lightly browned on top

6. Remove from oven and cool for at least an hour before serving at room temperature. 

Deliciously dense

Deliciously dense cake, riddled with blueberries

A Rough Guide to Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken is a staple on the menu of every Jamaican restaurant. The most serious chefs will not prepare any jerk dish without using pimento or sweet wood smoke as a definitive mark of authenticity. There are hundreds of recipes out there that only require you to season the chicken and place it in your oven or on your grill, and I’m sure they are delicious but what defines true jerk flavor is the essential-oil laden, cinnamony sweet, clove-like, and slightly camphoraceous smoke of the pimento (allspice) or sweet wood (bay rum NOT bay laurel) plant. Jerk chicken is delicious with a myriad of side dishes including fried ripe plantains, grilled pineapple, Jamaican rice and peas, coleslaw, cucumber relish, and the beloved hard dough bread. 

Jamaican jerk chicken on pimento wood

Jamaican jerk chicken on pimento wood

1. Marinate your chicken for 6 – 24 hours

1 5-lb fryer, cut in half, quartered or spatchcocked

6 Tbsps Walkerswood Jerk Marinade for a shorter time or  Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning (for overnight marinade)

We aren't huge fans of white meat in my household but this breast was irresistibly juicy

We aren’t huge fans of white meat in my household but this breast was irresistibly juicy

2. Soak in separate containers of water for one hour (don’t soak the chips together with the sticks or leaves)

1 1/2 cups pimento smoking chips

4-6 pimento and/or sweet wood logs

1 oz pimento leaves

3. While your leaves and wood are soaking, bring the heat in your grill to 300°F using the two-zone or offset method. I use a Big Green Egg Kamado cooker, so instead of using two zones, I used my ceramic plate setter/ConvEGGtor and a tiered rack to further distance the chicken from the heat. for You can go as low as 250°F but it will take more time and the skin will not crisp up.

Pimento and Sweet Wood sticks on a bed of pimento leaves.

Pimento and Sweet Wood sticks on a bed of pimento leaves.

4. When grill is hot enough lay the leaves on the cooler side of the grill, or in the center if you are using a similar setup to mine. Place the sticks on top of the leaves.

5. Place the chicken skin-side-up directly on the pimento logs

Marinated chicken atop pimento and sweet wood sticks

Marinated chicken halves atop pimento and sweet wood sticks

6. Add the soaked wood chips directly to the coals, or use a smoker box if you have a gas grill

7. Close the grill and maintain a temperature of 300-350°F for 1.5 to 2 hours

8. When chicken has reached 160°F, generously mop with

Walkerswood Jerk Barbecue Sauce

9. Re-cover grill and continue to cook at 375°F until sauce has begun to caramelize and chicken is at least 165°F in the meatiest part of the leg and the breast.

Enjoy with your favorite Jamaican side dishes and a cold Red Stripe.

Marinated chicken atop pimento sticks

Marinated chicken atop pimento and sweet wood sticks


  • Wash the cooled sticks, air dry and save for a future use
  • Walkerswood Jerk BBQ sauce is an amazing banana-based finish for any barbecued meat
Chicken mopped with barbecue sauce

Chicken mopped with barbecue sauce

Cajun-Spiced Smoked Steelhead

The finished product

Hot smoked steelhead

Steelhead are a coastal rainbow trout, popularly fished for an enjoyed in the Pacific Northwest; in fact, it is the official State Fish of Washington. The fish are born in freshwater streams then spend as many as four, I have heard five, years in the Pacific Ocean and return to the rivers to spawn, mostly during the winter months. While part of the salmonid family, steelhead, unlike salmon, do not die upon spawning.

I brined the fish overnight, rubbed with a mixture of creole seasoning and Demerara sugar

I brined the fish overnight, rubbed with a mixture of creole seasoning and Demerara sugar

I have not had the pleasure of catching a steelhead of my own but I have eaten quite a bit of it and enjoy it as much as I do salmon. Last week I ventured out to Taholah, where the Quinault river meets the Pacific Ocean, and came home with 32 pounds of fresh-caught steelhead for a small fraction of what I would pay in a supermarket. I challenged myself to smoking some and I consider the outcome a success so I am sharing the method with you today. You can use this method for smoking salmon and other fish as well. You will need a good nonreactive container for brining the fish. I recommend The Briner Jr.

Vacuum sealed for delayed gratification (and shipping to friends and family)

Vacuum sealed for delayed gratification (and shipping to friends and family)

1. Stir together over medium heat until sugar and salt are completely dissolved

5 quarts water

1 cup sugar (I use brown Demerara)

1 cup molasses

1 cup fine salt (not iodized)

1 cup desiccated onion or 1/3 cup onion powder

1 Tbsp granulated garlic

Six whole allspice berries

2. Allow the brine to cool completely, transfer to a nonreactive container then add

3 lbs steelhead or salmon (filleted)

3. Ensure that the fish is completely submerged. Cover the container and refrigerate for 8-12 hours

4. Remove fillets from brine, pat dry and place skin-side down on a rack.

5. Rub exposed flesh with a mixture of

1 Tbsp Cajun or Creole Seasoning (I use Slap Ya Mama’s white pepper blend)

2 Tbsps sugar

1 tsp granulated garlic

6. Return the rack to the fridge for another 6 hours, allowing the fish to air dry. In the meantime, soak your alder chips.

7. Set  smoker to 150°F and add soaked alder chips.

8. Place fish on oiled grates, skin-side down. Smoke for 2 hours at 150 °F then for another 2-4 hours at 180°F. The longer you smoke it, the firmer the fish will be.

9. Allow fish to cool then refrigerate.

Enjoy as is, or in smoked fish creations such as dip.

Brined, rubbed and ready for the smoker

Brined, rubbed and ready for the smoker


  • I smoked the steelhead on my Big Green Egg ceramic barbecue, not a dedicated smoker. I used the plate setter for indirect heat.
  • Rubbing all over the flesh of the fish will limit secretion of albumin (the white protein that oozes out of the fish as it cooks)

Comparison of US-Based Pimento Wood Suppliers

Sweet wood from both vendors - PW's in bundle and PWP's laid flat

Sweet wood from both vendors – PW’s in bundle and PWP’s laid flat

Jerk is one of the most distinctively Jamaican flavours, and every learned connoisseur will agree that jerk chicken (or pork) is incomplete without the finishing touch of pimento wood. Pimento wood is obtained from the allspice tree – an evergreen shrub brimming with essential oils – that is found in few places outside of my homeland Jamaica. The closest substitute is the bay rum tree (not to be confused with the bay laurel tree). The logs from the bay rum plant have been dubbed ‘sweet wood’. Neither plant will survive outside of tropical or the warmest subtropical climes, and even in places where it does grow, there isn’t enough produced for the purpose of logs, so this is one of the most exotic smoking woods on the market.

Diametrical comparison

Sweet Wood diametrical comparison


Pimento Wood’s burlap bag of chips

PWP's sack of chips

PWP’s sack of chips


There are two suppliers here in the United States – PimentoWood.com that has been supplying the US market since 2006 and their emerging competitor PimentoWoodProducts.com. They are both relatively expensive options but the only realistic avenue for jerkers in this country. I did find a few vendors who would ship from Jamaica but it is very likely that your wood will be confiscated by US customs if you try to import directly without a special license. Another Jamaican vendor will only sell by the container load and that isn’t an undertaking that I, a mere home cook, find appealing. So to help those of you who are longing for an authentic taste of Jamaica, I have prepared a table (pun intended) with my observations from a year of ordering from both vendors. The measurements are from the most recent (identical) order I placed with both. Neither vendor has a consistent supply so my decision is always up to which of them has wood, chips or leaves, whichever I have a need for, in stock. 

Pimento Wood Diametrical Comparison

Pimento Wood Diametrical Comparison

Pimento Wood Sticks
Price (four sticks)$39.95$32.00
Average Diameter1.75"0.8"
Average Length17.5"12"
Sweet Wood Sticks
Price (four sticks)$29.95$27.00
Average Diameter1.25"0.75"
Average Length18"12"
Pimento Leaves
Price (per oz)$14.95$13.95
Pimento Chips
Price (two lbs)$24.95$21.00
Consistencyshort chunksthin flakes
Pimento Chunks
Price (per lb)$12.95Does not sell
Time5 days3 days
Expedited Shipping Available upon CheckoutYesNo
The wood chips. PW's are larger than PWP's but size doesn't matter, in my opinion.

The wood chips. PW’s are larger than PWP’s but size doesn’t matter that much with chips, in my opinion.

Personal Opinions

PimentoWoodProducts.com – To be fair to pimentowoodproducts.com, I have received slightly larger sticks from them in the past. The sweetwood sticks that I got in this shipment were listed as unavailable on the website so I called to inquire whether they could delay until they had more available, I agreed to buy the sticks they found in storage and was billed a higher price than usual for them. The pimento sticks were shown as in stock and purchased directly from the website. I appreciate the swiftness with which they ship an order. Their customer service, however, is generally poor. When I find fault with a shipment and contact them, their standard response is along the lines of “that’s the way it is” or “that’s the way you really want it”.  One time their agent went out of his way to make me a diagram on how to use the sticks that I complained about having irregular curvature. The size of their sticks means they cannot be reused as many times as the larger sticks of their competitor. Their leaves also seem fresher, which means fewer leaves per oz than their competitor. 

Pimento Wood Comparison

Pimento Wood Comparison

PimentoWood.com – This vendor sells far more products than I have listed in the table, but I have not included information on anything I haven’t personally ordered and used. I had one experience where I placed an order and received no information after two weeks, it turns out they were out of stock and the owner was in Jamaica procuring more wood. They made it right by giving me a refund and a 30% discount on a future purchase. Shipping isn’t usually very swift but the product is consistent in size and quality, nicely packaged and appears to be from more mature plants. I know I am getting value for money, and when the product arrives it is always what I expected.  I feel like, even though I pay more and wait longer, I am getting ‘brawta’.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Happy Jerking!

Update: Pimento Wood Products sent me a free replacement of the pimento wood sticks three weeks after my original order.

How to Make Jamaican Rice and Peas in an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

pressure cooker rice and peas

Rice and Peas with a red Scotch Bonnet pepper from my garden

Yesterday I smoked some drumsticks for dinner and at the last minute I decided we needed something more than a salad to complete the meal; my Instant Pot was staring me in the face and since it was Sunday, a quick rice and peas was the first thing that came to mind. This classic dish of moist, tender rice and kidney beans infused with the flavor of coconut, herbs and spices is the foremost accompaniment in the repertoire of any Jamaican cook; it pairs well with almost any meat or vegetable-based entree and is usually served on Sundays with fried chicken or oxtails. In my earlier years, I made it from scratch by shelling fresh beans (or boiling dried ones) and grating then milking the oily flesh of a mature coconut, but now that I live in a part of the world where no supermarket coconut can be trusted, I have settled for the Chaokoh brand canned Coconut Milk and while I still boil a batch of dried beans every week, for this recipe I will be using the canned stuff, since the focus is on ease. I bought my Instant Pot on Amazon during their Black Friday sale, and I can honestly say that I have used it almost every day since it arrived.  This recipe should work in any electric pressure cooker.

1. In a large measuring cup, drain the liquid from

1 can red kidney beans

2. Add

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

enough water or stock to make 3 cups total liquid 

3. Pour liquid mixture into Instant Pot and add

the beans from the can

2 cups Jasmine rice, rinsed

2 sprigs thyme

1 fresh bay or pimento (allspice) leaf (or 1 small dried)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 whole scallion (green onion)

3 pimento  berries

1 sliver of fresh, peeled ginger

1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted stock)

1 whole Scotch Bonnet habanero (or any small chili pepper, or a pinch of pepper flakes)


4. Whisk all ingredients in the pot together then cook on low pressure for 12 minutes. This is the default ‘rice’ setting in the Instant Pot.

5. Allow the pressure to be released naturally (10 minutes). Remove the spices then fluff with a fork and serve.


Jerk Compound Butter for grilled Oysters (or Corn)

Hama Hama oysters grilled to perfection, brushed with jerk butter

Hama Hama oysters grilled to perfection, brushed with jerk butter

I completed allergy tests earlier this year to confirm that while I am allergic to crustaceans, mollusks not contaminated by being stored or cooked with shrimp, crab, lobsters etc. will do me no harm. That was great news, it meant I could partake of some of the best seafood in the country, top-ranked oysters from Hama Hama and Willapa Bay that are harvested right in my backyard. My only prior taste of the mollusk had been deep-fried in a po-boy; I enjoyed it but it wasn’t mind-blowing. I tried Hama Hama oysters for the first time at a cider tasting event at a local resort, it was life-changing. The blue pool oyster was crisp and light but I couldn’t get over the fact that it was raw, so I ordered a few Hama Hamas from the grill, brushed with chipotle butter – heavenly. So yesterday, after a massive storm with 75mph winds, flooding, power outages and fallen trees, I braved the hourlong trip along the Hood Canal to procure some fresh, clean oysters. I have no experience with shucking, so I took the easy route and allowed the heat from the grill to slightly open the cooked oysters,  the jerk butter added a little kick to the naturally salty oyster ‘soup’. The butter is very versatile and can be used with corn, steaks, eggs, fish, or in any operation that could benefit from a bit of spicy fat. I did not add salt here since the oysters are themselves salty but if you’re using the butter in another dish, feel free to add some or use salted butter. Substitute the butter with coconut oil, duck fat or ghee if you’re into that.

So delicious

So delicious

1. Stir together until spices are evenly distributed

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 whole scallions (green onions), finely chopped

1 tsp freshly ground allspice (pimento berries)

1 small scotch bonnet habanero, seeded and finely chopped

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

2. You may shape the butter and refrigerate it, wrapped in parchment or use immediately.


Just throw 'em on a hot grill for easy opening. They won't open as wide as mussels will but shucking will be an easier choreJust throw ’em on a hot grill for easy opening. They won’t open as wide as mussels do but it makes things easier

Jamaican Ginger Beer Cranberry Sauce with Wild Blackberries

Stir in some orange zest for a flavorful kick

Stir in some orange zest for a flavorful kick

The large bag of cranberries held up quite well for almost a month but it was time to clean out the fridge, so I could no longer pretend they weren’t there. I offered to make a turkey for a holiday potluck, so the accompaniment of cranberry sauce was a no-brainer.  This easy-to-make sauce is a delicious spin on an American favorite that everyone will thoroughly enjoy; my potluck group certainly appreciated it and it will be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving repertoire. Wild blackberries are blessed with virtually indistinguishable seeds so I added them whole to this recipe. I do not recommend using the bigger berries which have numerous, bothersome seeds; although, if you choose to do so, the flavor will still be excellent. This may be served with the traditional turkey, ham, cheeses or even dessert  

1. In a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, stir together

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup wild blackberries 

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups Jamaican ginger beer

3 cardamom pods

2. When mixture starts bubbling, reduce heat to a simmer and continue to stir until cranberries have burst.

3. When the sauce has just started to gel, remove from heat. It will continue to thicken while it cools so no, it’s not too thin.

4. Discard cardamom pods, allow sauce to cool and serve with your favorite dish. You may, optionally, mix in orange zest, sliced kumquats, toasted hazelnuts, pecans or even candied ginger.


Sweet-tart goodness

Sweet-tart goodness

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