Category Recipes

American Bastardized Kale Callaloo

Caribbean food may be the most diverse unified culinary culture on the planet, deriving from among its origins African, Middle Eastern, Asian, European and tradition while utilizing locally available fare. Some of the most popular ingredients you can find growing in the West Indies include ackee, coconut, guava, jicama, mango, okra, papaya, plantain, and yucca. Endemic to the region are countless species of fish and shellfish, and you will also find pigs, sheep, cows, and goats. Caribbean food is perhaps best known for its array of spices, including cayenne, allspice, cumin, turmeric, and thyme.

One of the national dishes of Trinidad and Tobago is callaloo. It has a well balanced combination of sweet, savory, and spicy ingredients; its primary ingredient are leaves of the dasheen or Taro; and it is served with either crab or pigtails. From Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland:

“Callaloo is the leaves of the dasheen bush. You can’t get dasheen easy here…But if you can’t get the real thing, you make it with spinach. You put in coconut milk: you grate the flesh of the coconut fine and you squeeze it and the moisture come out. You also put in whole green pepper—it don’t be hot unless you burst it—thyme, chive, garlic, onion.”

So we bastardize, which, writing honestly, is the modus operandi of today’s American cooking. It’s why we have words in our culinary lexicon such as fusion and New American Cuisine. For my version of callaloo I tried to make it as modern as possible, adhering both to the vegan diet and the kale revolution.[1]

Here’s what you’ll need

  • 2-14 Ounce (400 ml) Cans Coconut Milk
  • 1 Quart (1 L) Water
  • 2 Pounds Kale, Washed and Chopped
  • 1 Pound Okra, Sliced
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Medium Spanish Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Large Poblano Pepper, Diced
  • EVOO
  • 3 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Habanero, whole or chopped**
  • 1 Bunch Chives, Chopped
  • Trini Green Seasoning (optional). Grab it here [2] or see recipe below.

Here’s what you’ll do

  • Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven on the stove on medium-high heat.
  • Add Coconut Milk and Water to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Kale in several batches as the leaves wilt in the liquid.
  • Heat a large skillet on high, coating with EVOO. Sauté Onions, Garlic, and Poblano until well-caramelized, roughly 5 minutes.

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  • Add Okra to the Onions and Garlic to the skillet and sauté until browned, roughly 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the Okra, Onions, and Garlic to the Kale pot, and then add Thyme sprigs, Habanero, and Chives.

**Note: If you want some extra heat in this dish (like I do), you can chop the Habanero and add to the pot. Season the callaloo with salt and pepper.

**Note: Handling Habanero peppers while chopping is potentially hazardous. Use vinyl gloves and keep your hands away from your face and genitals.

  • Stir in 1/3 Cup Trini Green Seasoning. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, allowing the callaloo to simmer for 1 hour, whisking occasionally until the consistency is like that of a creamed spinach.

Note: If you want to go traditional, use a swizzle stick. Not the bar swizzle stick, but the Trini swizzle stick. Check it out. [3]

  • You can always add a few tablespoons of Trini Green Seasoning, which you can buy easily, or use this great recipe.[4]

If you must include animal protein in this dish, add steamed blue crabs or pickled pig-tails while the callaloo simmers and serve over a roasted fish high in fatty acids, such as mackerel, herring, tuna, or atlantic salmon. And for the love of all that is holy in the world of eating, please avoid farm raised fish.

 

 


Photo Credit: Natalie LapeView the inspiring post:

Chapter 1
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The Only Way to Roast a Chicken

What makes Hemingway so universally accessible is his simplicity–in language, in aesthetics, in taste. In the scene from which this meal derives, Jake and his expatriate cohort are sitting in a restaurant (“crowded with Americans”) on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris across the Seine in the backdrop of the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. Even here, Jake makes a point to delimit his authentic travels and those of “compatriot” tourists. The meal is simple:

“We had a good meal, a roast chicken, new green beans, mashed potatoes, a salad, and some apple-pie and cheese.”

Afterward, they walk along the Quai d’Orléans and witness “the broken walls of old houses that were being torn down.” This scene subtly echoes many of the themes the novel projects. The meal itself exudes comfort, and if done right, nothing pleases as much a well-crafted roast chicken. For this post I am only going to focus on roasting the bird and will forgo the sides and dessert. It’s chicken. It’s like bluejeans. It works in every season and location and goes with everything. There are five basic but absolutely critical steps for making an exquisite roast chicken: brine it, truss it, dry it, roast it, rest it.[1] Disclaimer: the entire process takes a bit of time and a lot of patience and forethought.

Here’s what you will need

  • 1 Whole Free Range Organic Chicken Breast, roughly 4.5 Pounds (2 kg)
  • 1 Bouquet Garni (4 sprigs each thyme, rosemary, parsley and 1 bay leaf, tied with kitchen twine or any 100% cotton thread)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lemon, Quartered
  • 3 Carrots, Chopped Large
  • 3 Stalks Celery, Chopped Large
  • Black Pepper, to season
  • For the Brine:
    • 1 Gallon Water
    • 1 Cup Sea Salt
    • 1 Cup Local Organic Honey

Here’s what you will do

  • BRINE IT Add the water, sea salt, and honey in a large pot and boil. Allow the water to come to room temperature. Place the chicken into the brine (which should cover the bird), cover, and place in the refrigerator. Allow the chicken to brine for 20-24 hours.
  • TRUSS IT Go to bed, wake up, and read The Sun Also Rises…or get ready for work, or whatever. By now the chicken should be ready. Remove the chicken from the brine and place on a roasting rack. Discard the brine. Truss the bird. If you don’t know how, check out this short video.[2]
  • DRY IT Place the chicken in your refrigerator on the drying rack and allow to sit for 8-12 hours. This process is essential for maximizing the crispiness of the skin and the tenderness of the meat.
  • ROAST IT Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Stuff the bouquet garni, garlic, lemon, carrots, and celery in the bird’s cavity. Season the chicken liberally with black pepper. Roast, breast up, for 15 minutes, or until the skin is brown and crispy. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F (175 C). Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • REST IT Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest 20-30 minutes before carving and serving. Resting the chicken is essential because it ensures even cooking and dispersion of the bird’s juices.

DSCN1332


steve's photo edit 2

View the inspiring post:

  The Son Also Rises, A Prologue

I am not Ernest Hemingway. He stood six feet tall, wore a heroic beard,[1] and–after being struck by a mortar shell while volunteering as an ambulance driver during the First World War