So my daughters and I got so sick with cabin fever that we decided to take a trip, but not just any trip. We ventured to the sunny, Caribbean island of Jamaica.
What’s unique about this vacation is that we did not have to pack any clothes, find a house sitter, drive to the airport in treacherous road conditions or experience flight delays. And, most of all, we could make it back for school if the verdict came in that there would be school.
For our last-minute winter escape, we simply went on the internet in search of recipes for one of our favorite Jamaican culinary dishes—spicy, Jamaican patties. We reviewed three recipes, decided on the one we liked the best, pulled out our Quorn mock “chicken” cutlets, and divided up the tasks. Yetunde got excited about making the dough, I took on the joy of making the filling, and Niara, who prefers cleaning, sports, the outdoors, and playing on her DS, took on the challenging task of taste-tester.
We went on vacation via curry, tumeric, cumin, and thyme. We laughed at how hard we had imagined making these patties must be, only to learn by making them, that the pastry was basically a pie crust with curry powder and tumeric combined with the flour. The filling was our mock chicken seasoned with fresh garlic, onion, curry, cumin, thyme, and water. The most unexpected part of the filling was bread crumbs—the ingredient that adds that unique texture to the inside of a Jamaican patty. Boy did those stale hot dog buns in the back of the fridge and the Magic Bullet cooking gadget that my grandmother sent me for Christmas come in handy!
Yetunde rolled her dough and cut it with a large mug. We, then, rolled these cut circles into bigger, thinner circles that we filled with our delicious filling that had cooled off. By the time everything was assembled, the oven had reached the perfect temperature, and twenty-five minutes later we had patties that were so delicious we thought about taking them around the corner to our favorite, neighborhood, Jamaican restaurant to get the owner’s opinion and suggest that he sell them.
After I prepared the filling, I worked on the rice and peas. I boiled rice and took out a can of black beans, usually reserved for quick quesadillas. I poured the liquid off of the beans into a pot, and added liquid aminos, onion powder, garlic powder, a dash of ginger powder, cayenne, and dried thyme that had been pounded in my favorite pestal and mortar. I heated this mixture for several minutes and stirred in the cooked rice. The result was scrumptious and made us feel like we’d seen even more of this beautiful island.
For dessert, I created a pistachio, cardamom, agave ice cream, by pounding shelled pistachios, cardamom and salt, sprinkling this mixture onto Rice Dream Vanilla Ice Cream and drizzling it with agave nectar.
Our trip to Jamaica could not have ended on a more delicious note!!