This week was the Greater Antilles...we made food from Cuba and Jamaica. We made black bean soup, avocado and pineapple salad, Jamaican run down, jerk chicken, steamed callaloo pastries with ackee butter sauce.
The black soup turned out awesome...just like how my step family makes it at home. Henry started out with beans that simmered with green pepper. He then added oil, hocks, sliced onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook everything until tender/soft; then added tomato paste, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Wait until the liquid thickens then remove the meat from the bones. Finish off the soup with a small amount of diced onions, olive oil, cilantro and vinegar. Chef said it was the best of the night and the closest to the real thing...
Our avocado and pineapple salad was a little bland but the color was good. The only thing we needed to try and do was refrain from using the black avocados...lol. The dressing consists of mayonnaise, lime juice, dijon mustard, honey, sour cream and salt. The salad includes avocados, red cabbage, green cabbage, carrot and diced pineapple.
The Jamaican Run Down was good, but we could've used a little more seasoning as well. Chef said the color was good, the spice was good but the salt was lacking. I think we are trying to adhere to the new law trying to be based in New York which will fine restaurants that use salt in their food. The rundown is a coconut milk sauce that the fish is cooked in...the sauce consists of coconut milk, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet, ripe tomatoes, cider vinegar, dried thyme, salt and pepper. The fish is marinated in lime juice and then cooked in the sauce until the fish is flaky.
The jerk chicken was GREAT! Chef was more impressed with the color of another student's chicken but mine was the only moist piece of chicken. I know what I was missing now and I will eliminate the turmeric next time. The chicken should have also been marinated for a long period of time and it wasn't. The marinade/adobo consisted of coriander, ginger, red pepper flakes, turmeric, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper, salt, paprika and sugar. You take this mixture add fresh thyme, olive oil and vinegar; then cover and marinate. Place on grill for marks and then finish in the oven. Serve with the pineapple avocado salad...
Loida made the callaloo pastries; even though they took a long time for her to make, I thought they tasted great. Chef like the pastries and the sauce but we could've finished earlier. The pastries had garlic, onion, scotch bonnet, thyme, callaloo and tomato. It was then mixed in with cheese and filled in phyllo dough sheets. These are then baked in the oven at 350 degrees seam side down. The sauce consisted of ackee, bay leaf, white wine, heavy cream, peppercorns, clarified butter, salt and pepper. Overall the sauce tasted like Hollandaise with Ackee...it was actually really good.
The banana fritters were made by Mike; and they were made into binnets. They consisted of flour, baking powder, salt, ripe bananas, lime juice, egg, sugar and oil to fry. Maria made the Coco Quemado and it's listed as pudding; but I realized after chef said it...that they are really Cuban coconut macaroons! These Cuban cookies, pudding etc...consist of sugar and water melted and then added grated coconut, egg yolks, cinnamon and dry sherry.
Overall the night was a success but we definitely need to work a lot faster!!!!