No Passport Required Take Your Taste Buds on Vacation


Dreary winter weather got you down? We can't fly you to warmer climate but we can help your taste buds escape.

Try one or more of these Caribbean recipes for a tropical treat.

Banana Fritters

1 egg, beaten

4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Salt to taste

4 to 5 ripe bananas, thoroughly mashed with a potato ricer or a fork

Vegetable oil for frying

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Mix together the egg, sugar, flour and salt. Then blend in the mashed banana very thoroughly.

Add one-quarter inch of the oil to a skillet and heat to 370 degrees. Drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture into the oil and fry until well browned and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels in a hot oven. Meanwhile, mix together the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon.

Serve with a generous coating of the confectioners sugar and cinnamon mix.

Makes eight to 12 fritters, enough for four to six dessert servings.

Escabeche of Scallops

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 medium yellow onions, finely sliced

10 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds bay scallops or 1 1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp

10 whole allspice, crushed in a mortar and pestle or 1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional pepper to taste

Chili pepper or chili sauce to taste

1/2 cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar

Salt to taste

In a pan gently simmer the garlic and onion in the oil until the onion is softened.

Meanwhile in a bowl, stir the scallops or shrimp together with the allspice, nutmeg, the one-half teaspoon of pepper and the chili pepper to distribute the spices evenly.

With a slotted spoon remove the garlic cloves from the pan. Pour in the vinegar. Bring the mix to a simmer.

Pour the scallops or shrimp into the pan, raise the heat and bring the mixture quickly to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for three minutes. Add the salt and the additional pepper. If serving hot have your guest seated so that you can serve immediately. If serving cold, the preparation should be done a day ahead and stored in a covered bowl in the fridge overnight.

Serves about six as an appetizer.

Stolen Jamaican Chicken

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup white cooking wine

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup sweet vermouth

1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

4 6- to 8-ounce chicken breasts, trimmed of fat

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except chicken breasts, two tablespoons Dijon mustard and the butter, for the marinade. Mix well, making sure that the mustard blends smoothly with the liquids and spices. Add the chicken breasts, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and set the marinade aside. Rub each chicken breast with the remaining Dijon mustard and butter and place in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Pour the marinade on top and bake for 45 minutes, basting occasionally.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and pour the drippings into a gravy boat and serve as a sauce. Accompany with lots of French bread.

Serves four.

"The Sugar Reef Caribbean Cookbook" by Devra Dedeaux; Dell Publishing - 1989

Baxter Road Fried Fish Barbados

1 bunch green onions

1 green pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

1 large white onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic

6 sprigs fresh parsley or coriander

1/4 cup dried marjoram

2 tablespoons dried thyme

Juice of 2 limes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 6- to 8-ounce fillets, kingfish, swordfish or halibut fillets

Oil for frying

1 egg, beaten

Bread crumbs for coating fish

Lime wedges for garnish

Place the green onions, green pepper, white onion, garlic, parsley, marjoram, thyme and lime juice in a food processor and process to make a paste. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the fish fillets, then rub literally with the paste.

Heat one-half inch of oil in a heavy iron skillet. Dip each fillet into the beaten egg and coat with bread crumbs. Fry the fish until golden brown, about four minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, garnished with fresh lime wedges.

Serves six.

"The Sugar Reef Caribbean Cookbook"

Coconut Shrimp

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 3/4 teaspoons onion powder

1 3/4 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

1 3/4 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 12-ounce bottle of beer

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

2 pounds medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined, leave on tails

3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut, about 6 ounces

Oil for deep frying

Lettuce leaves for garnish

Hot red pepper sauce for garnish

Thoroughly combine the paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the beer, flour and baking soda and mix well with a wire whisk. The batter should have the consistency of pancake batter. Stir in the spice mixture, using a wire whisk.

Spread the coconut out on a plate. Dip each shrimp into the batter, shake off any excess, then roll in the coconut to cover. Press the shrimp in the palm of your hand to make the coconut flakes stick.

In a deep fryer or large saucepan, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Drop the shrimp, six at a time, into the hot oil and dry until golden brown, about one minute. Drain on paper towels and serve on a bed of fresh lettuce. Top with hot red pepper sauce if you like.

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