Island Flavor

Celebrate the arrival of summer with a Jamaican-inspired feast.
Island Flavor

Put on some reggae music and get ready to chill out with a menu of Jamaican-inspired foods that’s as warm and inviting as a Caribbean breeze. Nowhere is the laid-back hospitality and rich diversity of Jamaica better expressed than in its cuisine. Abundance is key, whether it’s apparent in a pile of fl aky patties, a big bowl of curried potatoes, a mess of spicy callaloo greens, or a dessert of roasted bananas dripping with caramel sauce.

Jamaican cooks are generous with their seasonings as well, lacing recipes with spicy ginger, curry powder, fi ery Scotch bonnet chiles, and native Jamaican allspice. Offer guests tall glasses of ruby Sorrel Drink to cool their palates and toast the arrival of summer.

SORREL DRINK
Makes 1 quart – Vegan

Red hibiscus flowers are a common ingredient in ruby-hued herbal tea bags, such as Celestial Seasonings’ Red Zinger.
Recipe by Jessica B. Harris

Sorrel Drink
3 cups dried sorrel or red hibiscus flowers, or 5 Red Zinger tea bags
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. crushed allspice
2 3-inch pieces peeled fresh ginger

Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

  1. To make Sorrel Drink: Bring all ingredients and 4 cups water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes. Cool, strain, and chill.
  2. To make Simple Syrup: Bring sugar and water to a boil in small saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar, and simmer 1 minute. Cool.
  3. Pour Sorrel Drink over ice. Serve with pitcher of Simple Syrup for guests to sweeten drinks to taste.

PER 1-CUP SERVING: 33 CAL; 0 G PROT; 0 G TOTAL FAT (0 G SAT. FAT); 8 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 0 MG SOD; 0 G FIBER; 8 G SUGARS

CURRIED POTATOES
Serves 8 – Vegan

Serve this dish on its own or with steamed rice.
Recipe by Jessica B. Harris

1 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, diced (3 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
4 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (1 cup)
3 Tbs. Madras curry powder
1 15-oz. can black beans
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped (1/4 cup)
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until onions are soft and translucent. Stir in potatoes, carrots, and curry powder, and cook 4 minutes.
  2. Add beans and their liquid, tomatoes, broth, jalapeño chiles, vinegar, and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until potatoes are fl aky and carrots are cooked through, stirring occasionally.

PER SERVING: 282 CAL; 9 G PROT; 4 G TOTAL FAT (0.5 G SAT. FAT); 55 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 499 MG SOD; 10 G FIBER; 9 G SUGARS

CALLALOO WITH HOT PEPPER VINEGAR
Serves 8 – Vegan

Callaloo refers to amaranth, a leafy vegetable cooked the same way greens are cooked in the southern United States. For a similar taste and texture, we made the dish using a half-and-half mix of collard greens and spinach.

Callaloo
3 Tbs. canola oil
1 large onion, cut into thin slices (2 cups)
1 lb. collard greens, chopped
1 lb. spinach, stems trimmed
5 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 Tbs.)

Hot Pepper Vinegar
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
1/2 to 1 Scotch bonnet chile, minced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar

  1. To make Callaloo: Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
  2. Add collard greens, spinach, and garlic; cover, and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often with tongs, or until greens wilt. Add 2 cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 45 minutes, or until greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To make Hot Pepper Vinegar: Combine bell peppers and Scotch bonnet chile in 2-cup glass measuring cup. Stir together vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in small saucepan. Bring vinegar mixture to a boil, then pour over peppers. Cool.
  4. To serve: Top each serving of Callaloo with Hot Pepper Vinegar.

PER SERVING: 97 CAL; 3 G PROT; 5.5 G TOTAL FAT (0.5 G SAT. FAT); 10 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 191 MG SOD; 4 G FIBER; 3 G SUGARS

JAMAICAN TEMPEH PATTIES
Makes 12 patties – Vegan

These savory turnovers can also be fi lled with drained Callaloo (p. 81 June ’08 issue).

Crust
3 cups flour
1 Tbs. curry powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 oz. vegan margarine, cut into pieces

Filling
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, crumbled
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground allspice, optional
1/4 cup dark rum, optional
1/2 cup chopped green onions

  1. To make Crust: Combine flour, curry powder, salt, and baking powder in food processor. Add margarine, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3/4 cup cold water; process until dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. To make Filling: Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add tempeh, curry powder, chili powder, oregano, thyme, allspice, if desired, and 1 1/2 cups water. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in rum, if desired, and cook until liquid has evaporated. Cool, then stir in green onions.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F, and coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 6-inch circles. Brush edges of circles with water, and place 1 1/2 Tbs. Filling in centers. Fold circles in half, crimping edges with fork tines to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet, and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.

PER PATTY: 259 CAL; 7 G PROT; 13 G TOTAL FAT (4.5 G SAT. FAT); 28 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 328 MG SOD; 2 G FIBER; 1 G SUGARS

ROASTED BANANAS WITH JAMAICAN ALLSPICE
Serves 8 – 30 minutes or fewer

To make this recipe vegan, simply substitute margarine for the butter and serve over soy ice cream.

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 oz. (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
4 large or 8 baby bananas
1 qt. vanilla ice cream

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine brown sugar, sugar, and allspice on large plate. Place butter in shallow bowl.
  3. Halve large bananas lengthwise, then cut halves in half, or halve baby bananas lengthwise. Coat banana pieces in melted butter, then in sugar mixture, then set cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast 10 minutes, or until sugar melts and turns to bubbly caramel sauce. Cool 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to plate, and scrape sauce into measuring cup with rubber spatula.
  4. Scoop ice cream into bowls. Top each serving with 2 banana pieces, and drizzle with caramel sauce.

PER SERVING: 270 CAL; 3 G PROT; 13 G TOTAL FAT (8 G SAT. FAT); 37 G CARB; 44 MG CHOL; 102 MG SOD; 2 G FIBER; 34 G SUGARS

JAMAICAN ALLSPICE
Allspice berries, or Jamaican peppers, get their name from their fl avor, which is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. Ground allspice is used liberally in savory Jamaican dishes such as jerks and patties as well as desserts.

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