Today I’d like to share another Caribbean dinner recipe which is a Jamaican-style oxtail recipe. Oxtail is literally the tail of cattle. The meat is usually prepared by slow cooking as a stew or it can be braised. It’s a traditional stock base for soup with meat in it and is recognized both domestically and internationally from many islands of the Caribbean and the United States. You can even find it in places like the United Kingdom and Ireland. Oxtails were a staple in our house growing up. My mother used to make oxtail dinner when we were kids and it would be accompanied with sides like sweet fried plantains, stewed cabbage and the traditional compliment of “rice and peas”. I hope you enjoy the recipe that follows!OXTAIL RECIPE:
Note: To thicken the sauce add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Also can add butter beans or beans to the mixture and serve over rice.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Many people think of cake baking as a creative process, but I think of it as a science. Just the slightest tweak on a recipe can change the entire dynamic of your cake creation; possibly turning it into a biscuit or even worse, a glob of uncooked dough. One of my favorite things to bake is a pound cake, and little do people know it’s as simply as “4-3-2-1-1″!
POUND CAKE BASICS:
4 – Large Eggs , at room temperature
3 – Cups of flour (preferably self-rising or cake flour, sifted)
2 – Cups of Sugar
1 – Cup of Butter (2 sticks), softened
1 – Cup of Milk
*2 pinches of salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 2 teaspoons almond extract*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together until creamy (the creamier the fluffier you cake will be). In a separate bowl, combine sifted flour and salt and set aside. Beat eggs with an electric mixer then combined to butter/sugar mixture. Add vanilla and almond extracts to wet ingredients, mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Lastly, fold milk into mixture gradually. Once completely combined, pour mixture into a 10-inch pan. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes our clean. Let cool. Garnish with fresh cut strawberries and serve!
What’s your favorite thing to bake?
Care to share a recipe?
For years, I’ve always detested the taste of soup. It felt like I was like drinking “dirty water”; flavorless and a waste of time. As I’ve grown older and more health conscious (i.e. fasting and clean eating), I’ve learned that homemade soup plays such a positive role in our nutrition. Not only is soup good for the common cold and flu, but also the ingredients in homemade soups provide such a variety of benefits. Homemade soup contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, some fat, as well as, the protein and carbohydrates needed to boost the body’s immune system to help fight off bacteria and strengthen white blood cells. It provides much-needed support to the body when it is not getting the necessary nutrients due to sickness, and has been known to help suppress coughing, as well as, chest and nasal congestion. We all know fresh vegetables are best for the body (in sickness and in health) as we should have about 6-8 servings of them a day anyway. Not to mention it’s so easy to make, nutritional, and low in calories, too!
Ackee is a derivative of the word “Akey Fufo”, which was originally a native fruit to tropical West Africa (Cameron, Gabon, Ghana, etc.). The fruit was said to be imported from West Africa to Jamaica during the slave trade in the late 1700’s. Since then, Ackee has been introduced to many of the tropical islands like Haiti, Cuba, Barbados, and then eventually to Florida in the U.S. Ackee is the national fruit of the island of Jamaica, and ackee and saltfish is the national dish. Each Ackee fruit has yellow flesh (aril) inside, and three black seeds attached on top. Because of its potential toxicity, ackee should not be picked until fully ripened, or until the skin has opened. Also, the seeds are removed upon exporting this product (which is sold canned).
As a child, I didn’t like to taste of ackee much. However, it was a staple in my home every Sunday morning, along with other Jamaican breakfast items or what we call “provisions,” such as breadfruit, white and yellow yams, green bananas and my favorite, compliment bammy. Ackee has a bit of an acquired taste, and could be confusing to a child at first sight as it can be easily mistaken for scrambled eggs. Now as an adult, ackee and saltfish is not only one of my most favorite dishes to prepare, but it’s pretty easy to make! Now I bring it to you…
1 – 19oz Canned Ackee
1 – 12oz Bag of Saltfish
2 – Riped Cherry Tomatoes
1 – Small Yellow Onion
4 – Sprigs of Thyme
1 – Scotch Bonnet Pepper (or 1tsp of pepper flakes)
1 – Cup of Vegetable Oil
Salt, Pepper and other seasonings to taste
PREPARATION: Boil saltfish in a medium sized pot (This is to remove the excess salt. They don’t call it “saltfish” for nothing). Boil to desired taste. Drain and set aside. In a large frying, pan combine: oil, diced tomatoes, sliced onions, sprigs of thyme and all seasoning. Heat until simmering. Add saltfish. Do this by picking apart the fish with your hands into large pieces. Once combined and simmering, add drained can of ackee (spoon in sparingly as Ackee is very fragile and will break apart easily). Cook for approximately 20 minutes and serve hot. Serves about 8 people.
My true passion is not just in the science and creativity behind the ingredients of food making but is also in the sense of togetherness and community that food and libations bring to table!