Pimento Grain

the recipes of a nomadic Jamaican

Category: Vegetarian

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!

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.

Enjoy!

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.

Enjoy!

Sweet-tart goodness

Sweet-tart goodness

Perfectly Pink Guava Sorbet

Serving up pink guava sorbet swirled into toasted coconut ice cream

Serving up pink guava sorbet swirled into toasted coconut ice cream

In defiance of the rule, in these United States, that one shouldn’t have ice cream after Labor Day, I am eating toasted coconut ice cream. There might be room for redemption, however, as I also whipped up a halfway-healthy pink guava sorbet which was swirled into the delicious coconutty goodness. I do not have fresh guavas at my disposal so I used a puree that I ordered online. The puree was reminiscent of a freshly picked, ripe pink guava from Jamaica, except my Jamaican guavas were always free and this 30-ounce jar of frozen puree was $25 plus the cost of overnight shipping. I could shed a tear, but when I think of how much a pound of inferior Atlantic salmon costs in Jamaica, while here I can easily walk down to the river and catch (or bargain for) a gigantic, delicious, Pacific chinook, I realize it’s worth it. 

Three scoops, please

Three scoops, please

Because I used David Lebovitz’s recipe from The Perfect Scoop to make the toasted coconut ice cream, I won’t share it here but feel free to buy the book or google the method that other bloggers have reproduced with permission. Below is the recipe for my pink guava sorbet that is lovely on its own but benefits from pairing with ice cream.

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

the juice of a large lime (about 2 Tbsps)

5 fresh kaffir lime leaves

2. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

3. Reduce heat and  add

1 1/2 cups Guava Puree

4. Stir until guava puree is well blended

5. Remove from heat and chill over an ice bath (place pan in a large bowl of ice, stirring occasionally)

6. When mixture has cooled, discard lime leaves and churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. IF you do not have an ice-cream maker spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet, freeze, then churn the mixture in a blender until smooth.

7. Keep frozen until ready to serve

Enjoy!

 

Mini Callaloo Patties

Flaky pastry stuffed to capacity with delicious callaloo

Flaky pastry stuffed to capacity with delicious callaloo. The ubiquitous Red Stripe in the background

Callaloo is one of the crops I wasn’t convinced  would do well here in the Pacific Northwest, but I was wrong. Until a couple weeks ago when the deer returned to ravage our garden, I was reaping callaloo on a daily basis; I always had enough of the prolific vegetable amaranth to serve at least two meals a week and even more to share with neighbors. The plant bounced back, somewhat, but now we are only reaping a small amount each week. I have been using it in all sorts of dishes: creamed like spinach, steamed with saltfish, baked in galettes, stuffed inside fish and most recently in patties! If you are not lucky enough to be growing callaloo in your backyard, you can find it fresh in most Asian markets, labelled as Yin Tsai, it might be purple instead of green but it tastes the same. Canned is another option that I do not recommend.

One of my favorite callaloo dishes from home is a loaf from Juici Patties that is basically a callaloo pastie but with a coco bread crust instead of the traditional flaky pastry. In homage to Juici’s delicious fillings and the unbeatably light crust of my favorite hometown patty-erie, Green Shop, I have made these mini callaloo patties with my favorite puff pastry recipe. Warning: This is not a low calorie food. 

Get the crust ready:

1. Whisk together

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

2. With a pastry blender, cut in

2 sticks very cold butter, cubed

3. In a separate bowl, stir together

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup ice water

1 Tbsp lemon juice

4. Pour cream mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overwork or your pastry will not be flaky. It should be shaggy with butter solids still distinctly visible.

5. Divide into two equal halves, Wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours, until you are ready to make the patties.

Prepare the filling:

6. In skillet over medium heat, melt

1 tbsp ghee (or cooking oil of your choice)

7. Stir in

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup finely diced carrots

8. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally until Onions are translucent.

9. Stir in

2 finely minced cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

2 tsps finely chopped Scotch Bonnet / Habanero (or 1 tsp Scotch Bonnet sauce) 

10. Return heat to medium and add

3 cups callaloo, washed, drained, chopped and firmly packed

11. Cover and let steam, remove lid and stir after about 5 minutes.

12. Lower heat and cook for another 10 minutes or until callaloo is at your desired tenderness. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now it’s time to make your patties!

13. Roll half your crust out into a 12-inch square, cut 9 four inch squares from your dough

14. Drop a spoonful of prepared filling onto half of each square,  ensuring a 1/4 inch border

15. Fold empty half of square over the other half and seal the edges together using your fingers.

16. Repeat with other half of crust.

17. Place patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with a combination of

1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water

18. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

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.

Spiced Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler

Served warm with a small scoop of coconut gelato… yum!

I bought a five pound bag of frozen blueberries at Costco a few weeks ago and yesterday I realized that I probably won’t prepare enough yogurt smoothies to use them all up, so I decided to make a cobbler.

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To give my recipe a little character, I added two of my favorite spices, cardamom and ginger, to the crust and filling, respectively. If I may say so myself, the crust turned out excellently and I will be using cardamom in pastries more often.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Grease deep pie dish using

1 tsp coconut oil

3. Mix together

2  cups frozen blueberries

1/2 cup sugar (Demerara/turbinado)

1 tsp shredded ginger

Set aside in refrigerator.

4. Combine

1 cup sugar (Demerara/turbinado)

1 cup self-rising flour

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Set aside.

5. In a large bowl, combine

3/4 cup milk

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

6. Slowly add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth

7. Pour batter into greased pie dish

8. Remove blueberries from refrigerator and evenly sprinkle over batter; wait for them to sink

9. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes

10. Serve hot with a scoop of your favorite ice-cream.

Serves six

Blueberry Cobbler

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