The Book Blog and ETC.

My USVI Caribbean Rhythm...Cooking My Favorite Comfort Foods

Posted on October 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM

O.k…. so I review books...including cookbooks… and one of my favorite things to do… is bring the exotic beautiful world around us… to your kitchen. So today I am bringing the islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands…St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas directly to your kitchen today.


So…What’s on the menu? Well some of my favorite comfort foods that always reminds me of home. First as always... we need a little Bob Marley to get the party started… how about “Jammin”...I think this is the perfect "Buddha Beat."


 {Johnny Cakes }

 3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbs baking powder

2-4 tbs sugar

1 tsp salt

2 ½ tbs room temp butter

Approx 1 ½ cups Milk (can substitute with water or water/milk mix)

oil for frying

extra flour

Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Work in the butter with your fingers. Add 1 cup of milk at a time. Continue adding milk at about ¼ cup at a time until you have a soft dough. Sprinkle some of the extra flour on a flat surface and knead the dough. Knead until the dough is well blended. You may need to sprinkle additional flour on the surface as needed. Allow dough to sit in a bowl covered with a towel for at least 30 minutes.


After dough has rested, heat oil in frying pan and sprinkle the rolling surface again. Create small balls and roll out dough into circles with a rolling pin or the palm of your hand. Be sure to not make them too thin. Pierce each piece with a fork several times or cut slices and then drop in hot oil. Fry on each side until golden brown. Allow to cool and drain on paper towel or brown paper bag…of course I prefer paper towels.

 {Sweet Fried Plantains }

 2 ripe plantains

2 Table spoon canola oil

Brown sugar

Freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 small lime

Dark rum

Peel plantains and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the plantain slices in a single layer until lightly browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove plantains from heat. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nutmeg. Squeeze lime over the slices and drizzle with a little rum.


 {Seasoned Rice}

 2 tbs olive oil

1 sm onion

½ sweet pepper

1 celery stalk

1 garlic cloves (crushed)

1 tsp ea: oregano, thyme

1 ½ sazon packet

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 ½ c rice (washed)

4 ½ c hot water

4 oz tomato sauce

Olives (optional)


Dice onion, pepper and celery. Heat a pot with olive oil. Sauté diced vegetables in oil until translucent. Add garlic and olives and sauté about 2 more minutes. Add dry seasonings and combine well. Add rice and mix well with ingredients. Add hot water and tomato sauce. Taste water to make sure that your salt is to your liking. Bring rice to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes.


{Macaroni Pie}

1 lb (16 oz) raw elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 ½ lb sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded** )

2 ½ cups evaporated milk

5 eggs, whisked

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons kosher salt (for boiling pasta)

In a bowl (or large measuring cup), mix eggs, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

Bring a large pot of water (4 to 5 quarts) to a rapid boil. Add 1-2 tablespoons salt and pasta. Stir for the first minute or two to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente and drain(about 8 minutes). While pasta is still hot, place it into the same pot it was boiled in. Add butter and mix until melted. Add about less than half of your cheese and mix until combined. Pour half of your macaroni mixture into a glass greased baking/casserole dish and top with half of grated cheese. Layer the remaining mixture and top with the remaining grated cheese. Pour your egg mixture over your layered macaroni mixture in the glassed greased baking dish.

Place in a preheated oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and cook until golden brown, about 30-45 minutes.



 {Potato stuffing}


 • 5 lb bag of potatoes

• 1 stick of butter

• Vegetable oil

• 1 can milk

• 1 onion (chopped)

• 1 bell pepper (chopped)

• Celery

• 2 cloves minced garlic

• raisins

• ½ cups of brown sugar

• hot pepper

• 1 can Goya tomato sauce

• poultry seasoning


 Peal, slice and boil potatoes. Sauté garlic, onions, bell peppers, celery and raisins until soft. To sautéed mix add sugar, tomato sauce hot pepper and seasoning and simmer. Mash potatoes with butter and milk. Combine mashed potatoes and tomato mixture. Bake until golden brown in a pre-heated oven at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.


{Stew Chicken}


3 lbs Chicken Wing

1 tbs poultry seasoning (plus additional to taste)

2 tbs sofrito

2 Large Onions, Sliced

2 Sweet Peppers, Sliced

3 Tomatoes coarsely chopped

3 Carrots, diced bite size

2 Potatoes, diced bite size

2 Cloves garlic, minced

3 sprigs Fresh thyme

4 Cups Water (more or less)

1 – 2 tbs brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

cooking oil


Clean and rinse Chicken well. Marinate with 1 tbs poultry seasoning and sofrito. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Fry seasoned chicken in oil until brown but not fully cooked and remove from pot. Remove all but approx. 2 tbs of oil from the skillet and sauté, onions , peppers and garlic. Add to the skillet - chicken, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt, pepper, and enough water to cover chicken. Boil for about 10 minutes. Taste and add any additional seasoning, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until fully cooked – about 25 minutes.


{Sorrel Drink (Beverage)}


3 cups sorrel sepals

small piece of dried orange peel

½ cup of fresh grated ginger (optional)

6 cups boiling water

6 cloves

2 cups sugar (feel free to cut this to 1 cup or so, depending on your taste)

Wash the sorrel and place in a half-gallon jar or pot with ginger, orange peel and clove. Pour the boiling water over it all and allow to stand for 24 hours. Strain, sweeten and pour into bottles. Pour over ice as is...or with soda water….or with my favorite …Cruzan Dark Rum

~xoxo Sincerely Yours, Nerisa :)

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Categories: ***Caribbean Rhythm (RECIPES)***, *My (Nichiren) Buddhist World*