This delicate sorbet shows off tropical papaya to its full advantage.
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.
Gumbo may be made with a number of main ingredients, so why not tofu? Marinated tofu is a modern addition to this old Cajun favorite—along with the distinctive texture of okra. It’s served over a White Corn Grits Soufflé, which is fluffed with eggs and served golden brown and piping hot right out of the oven. Leftover grits may be sliced and fried like polenta for breakfast the next morning or eaten as a snack later in the day.
In the Caribbean, green, semi-ripe mangoes add an incomparable depth of flavor to many dishes. Here, they are combined with bell peppers, mushrooms and tofu for a flavorful stir-fry that is served over noodles.
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.
This tropical medley is a fresh alternative to a vegetable side dish. To stretch it into a main dish for four, top with 1 cup of roasted cashews and serve it over steamed rice.