Multipurpose ingredients are the key to this easy recipe.
Cajun/Creole Sides & Salads
You can find a mix of hearty greens in just about any typical African, Caribbean and southern American meal. Being from the South, I became accustomed to seeing the bottle of vinegar with chile peppers settled at the bottom on the table next to the salt and pepper and a condiment called chow chow pickle. These condiments were used to kick up your greens. You will find these add punch.
Inspired by Louisana’s popular Cajun dish of “dirty” rice, this variation has all the potency and flavor you could expect but omits the pork and the chicken livers, which traditionally give the dish its characteristic color. Perfect accompaniments are hot cornbread and baked pears. Minted iced tea or lemonade balances flavors.
While candied yams are a typical side dish in soul food cooking, combining them with plantains, a Caribbean and African favorite, and seasonal apples, which are plentiful at this time of year, makes for a delicious side dish or dessert. Black-ripe plantains are very soft and sweet and are generally used in desserts.
These cheesy biscuits can be made smaller for hors d’oeuvres.
The key to perfect coleslaw is a creamy base, a hint of sweetness, a touch of tangy vinegar, and, in the case of Cajun versions, a little kick from hot sauce or cayenne pepper.
When buying ripe papayas, look for firm (not hard) fruit with a yellowish rind that has no spots or bruises.