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I am an “Honorary S:t Lucian.”

My husband and his family are from S:t Lucia, (The Lesser Antilles-West Indies). They have given me the title “honorary S:t Lucian.” Even though my mother in law says I am more West Indian than my husband. He prefers Swedish meatballs while I rather have Jerked chicken and Curried goat.

Labor day is the day for the West Indian parade. A carnival parades down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. It usually attracts millions of people. It is really a vibrant & exciting event. All West Indians in New York come together. People have been making floats and costumes for months. There are “bands/floats” representing countries, companies and events. People follow the floats and dance around them. It is like a “mini Rio” . Well, a very small version but the colors are explosive and people are in a festive mode. Food vendors are lining the parade route. The smell of peppers and spices, BBQ’s and jerks fills the air.

There is a mini version of the parade taking place early (6am) in the morning. It is called “Jouvet”. The parade is the same, except, everybody is throwing colored talc and powders at each other. It is a really crazy tradition. Don’t go if you are protective of your clothes.

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Jerked Pulled Pork.

1 pork shoulder or pork but.

Jerked seasoning. Store bought or home-made.

(Jerked seasoning;

2-3 tbsp. minced/finely chopped onion.

2-3 tbsp. dry thyme.

2-3 tsp. ground all spice. (Typical Jamaican spice)

1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper.

1 tsp. ground cinnamon.

1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic.

1/2-1 tsp. salt.

1/2-1 finely chopped hot pepper (optional).

2-3 tbsp. corn oil or vegetable oil.)

1 orange, sliced.

1-2 tbsp. beef stock.

Rub the pork with the jerk seasoning. Use more if you like it spicy.

It is not typically West Indian, but I like to add slices of orange on top of the pork. Put into a dish tightly covered with foil. Put into a 200-250 degree F (100-125 C) oven. Let slowly cook for about 5-8 hours depending on how big the pork shoulder/but is. (You can tell when it is ready by the meat starting to fall off the bones. The bones starting to be exposed.)

Start to shred the pork. I add some of the “juice” to mix into the shredded meat. I also add a little beef stock and if needed more jerk seasoning.

Save the orange slices for decoration.

Traditionally one makes Jerked Chicken. I just think it is a little boring to always make the jerk of chicken. Since we eat lot’s of pork, I make either jerked pulled pork or jerked pork tenderloin. If I use the tenderloin, I let it marinate over night in the fridge (in a zip-lock plastic bag.)

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West Indian Beans, my way.

Dry beans. This time I used pinto beans. 1 small bag.

1 c. coconut milk.

6-8 sprigs of thyme.

1 tbsp. chopped oregano.

1/2 chopped onion.

4-5 sliced spring onions, finely sliced.

1/2-1 thinly sliced fresh hot pepper.

2-5 finely minced garlic cloves. (I love garlic so I actually use about 5-8 cloves.)

Water.

Directions;

Soak the beans in cold water over night.

Next day, start to fry the onions in a deep pot. Add all the ingredients but the beans & coconut milk. Let fry for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk. Let simmer for a minute. Add the beans. Pour over water so that it just covers the beans. Let simmer/slow cook for an hour or two until the beans are nice and soft. Be sure not to over-cook them. When the beans are done, they look very light in color, not dark as regular baked beans.

Serve with rice.

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Fried plantains.

Make sure to use a very black old-looking plantain. (I used to throw out all the “rotten bananas” my husband, then boy friend, used to keep under the sink. Couldn’t understand why he always had these black rotten bananas in the house. Now I know better.)

Slice on an angle approximately 3/8″ thick. Fry in a skillet in corn or vegetable oil. Make sure the heat is low so that they don’t burn. Fry on both sides. Let rest on a paper towel before serving.

Enjoy.

A tip for plantains. As a snack, fry them as above. Sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon. I can eat a couple ” too many” of this… Yum.

I am really fortunate to be able to learn to cook more Caribbean food from my mother in law. She makes a “mean” Oxtail. People would do anything to get their hands on some of it.

Sorry, It is her secret recipe that she want’s to keep a secret… I can only say it is really fantastic and the key (besides her secret ingredients ) is to boil the Oxtail many times and throw out the old water. “Keep it clean” she says.

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