Saturday, December 15, 2007

A break in Caribbean Week for a great cause: Menu for Hope.

I will post early next week about two of my favorite things, books and food. Since my mom does not write down her traditional Caribbean recipes and I will have to come up with something else.

Speaking of food, it's the season for the 4th annual MENU FOR HOPE. During this time of year it's easy to get caught up in shopping and stressing out about the holidays. Here is something that is fun, quick and will have a positive impact. This year the funds are going to the UN World Food Programme. Through the UN the funds are ear marked for a school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa. Please click on to Sara's blog for more information and links on this amazing event. There some fantastic items and many food bloggers have gone all out (including Sara).

Every little bit helps. Tomorrow morning I will be wrapping presents for a non-profit that works with foster children. I do realize getting a Christmas gift is not going to change the fact that they are in the system. However, for at least one day these children get to have fun and just be kids.


Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Thanks for bringing attention to this - great!! :) This weekend it seems a lot of people did their shopping. Let me know if you want tips or a question answered! :)

Seville said...

Let me be forward and offer a recipe I lifted from a Trinidadian newspaper, to start your Caribbean collection. This one is for pastelles. Don't know if your mother made these, but maybe you'll try them. (If you cannot get fig (banana) leaves in LA, I think you can steam these in parchment paper).

Get your fig leaves before, clean and soften them and keep them in the refrigerator until you need them. Buy your filling ingredients and make your filling a day ahead and refrigerate it. On the big day all you need to do is prepare your cornmeal, fill and wrap.

To prepare fig leaves, steam them in a large pot of boiling water for ten minutes until they become pliable and soft. They may also be softened by waving them over an open flame.

Cornmeal dough and pastelle assembly


2 cups yellow cornmeal
3 cups warm water
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 tsp salt

- In a food processor or by hand, combine cornmeal with butter and salt.
- Add water and process to make a soft, pliable dough.
- Divide the dough into 12 balls. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying.
- Place one piece of dough on a greased fig leaf and press into an eight-inch square. Spoon two tablespoons of filling onto the middle of the dough and fold and seal pastelles.
- Wrap in fig leaf and tie into a neat package.
- Steam pastelles for 45 minutes until cooked.
- Makes 12-15 pastelles.

Chicken and beef pastelles


1 lb chopped beef and chicken, chicken only, or beef only
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
2 pimento peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs chopped celery
1/2 Congo pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup tomato sauce
4 tbs capers
3 tbs stuffed olives, sliced
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbs fresh thyme

- Combine beef with chicken. Add salt and black pepper.
- Add a quarter-cup chopped chives and one tablespoon thyme.
- In a large sauté pan heat olive oil.
- Add onion and garlic. Sauté until fragrant. Add pimento peppers, remaining chive, pepper and thyme. Add meat and cook until brown.
- Add tomato sauce, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add raisins, capers and olives and stir to combine.
- Cook for about five minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add two tablespoons fresh thyme and stir to combine.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- Prepare dough as in recipe above and fill and fold pastelles as indicated.
- Makes 12-15 pastelles.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sara - you're welcome. talk to you soon.

seville - thank you! I will post this later. It's sound very good.