Pimento Grain

the recipes of a nomadic Jamaican

Category: Breakfast

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

Enjoy!

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).

Enjoy!

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

Morning Brioche Bread Pudding with Buttered Rum Reduction

Pudding is set and will be ready to serve when slightly cooled

Pudding is set and will be ready to serve when slightly cooled

I spent all of last weekend baking bread and my household consists of only two, so I have had to employ creative ways of using day-old loaves. So far, I have made french toast, croutons and a few experimental dishes but this bread pudding has been the most well-received. The brioche called for approximately 10 eggs, so the crumb was remarkably airy, making for a light but smooth pudding.

1. On low heat in a heavy-bottomed pan, stir until combined (do not allow to boil)

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons)

1/2 cup Demerara brown sugar

2 tbsp molasses

2 tbsp red rum

3 cups whole milk

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice (pimento)

2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup raisins

2. Pour mixture over

8 cups brioche cut in 1/2 inch cubes (use less if you have a denser loaf)

3. Mix well and cover in a tightly sealed bowl. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.

4. When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 375°F

5. Whisk together

4 medium eggs (or 3 large)

1/2 cup heavy cream (36% or above)

1 tbsp dark rum

6. Gently stir egg mixture into bread mixture and pour into a greased 9-inch square baking dish

7.  Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Continue baking for another 40 minutes, until the pudding is set.

8. In a small saucepan, on medium heat combine

1/4 cup Demerara brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream (36% or above)

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons)

2 tbsp dark rum

1 tsp vanilla

9. Stir while boiling until the mixture has slightly thickened (about 2/3 original volume)

10. Pour over warm bread pudding and enjoy!

Serves 8-10

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The buttered rum reduction is delightful but you can live dangerously and have it a la mode by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream before pouring on the sauce

 

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

This morning a Facebook friend shared what he was having for breakfast and it awakened an intense longing for a couple of the delights of my youth – bits of hard dough(hardo) bread broken into a hot bowl of  cornmeal porridge and the simple pleasure of a tough water cracker, also known as a granny cracker, dipped in hot chocolate tea. I had all the ingredients for porridge on hand so one of my desires was fulfilled; perhaps Amazon can help with the other one as soon as I get over the fear of ordering stale crackers online.

Jamaican cornmeal porridge wit

Garnished with cracked pimento and a strip of sourdough toast to sop it up.

1. Bring to a boil then turn on medium-low heat

4 cups water

2 whole pimento (allspice) grains

1 cinnamon stick (cinnamon bark)

1 cinnamon leaf, crushed but not broken

2. Mix together in a small bowl

1 cup refined cornmeal

2 cups water, at room temperature

 3. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to simmering water, whisking gently.

4. Continue to whisk for 3-5 minutes after all cornmeal has been added, ensuring there are no lumps.

5. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes to ensure no lumps are forming.

6. Add

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup coconut cream

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

7. Mix well. Let porridge remain on lowest heat for an additional 5 minutes.

8. Sweeten with

1/4 cup agave syrup

Serves four.

Jamaican cornmeal porridge with hard dough bread

Good morning!

Tips.

  • Sweeten to your desired taste, 1/4 cup agave will make a less sweet porridge than most Jamaicans are used to. You can use brown turbinado or Demerara sugar, even honey instead of agave. The common Jamaican way is to use sweetened condensed milk so there is usually no need for an added sweetener.
  • Porridge is excellent cold so refrigerate any leftovers for dessert in the evening. As I write this, I am eating a small bowl of cold cornmeal porridge with huckleberry honey drizzled all over it.

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