Caribbean: Bacalao Fritters

Half pound of Bacalao (salted cod)
Vegetable oil for frying
Small onion finely diced
½ cup milk
1 egg
Chili pepper minced to desired heat level!
1 tablespoon of butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of baking powder
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon annatto or saffron infused water

Preparation:

Soak cod in fresh cold water in the fridge for at least 10-12 hours. You should change the water several times to try to get as much salt out of the fish as possible.
Poach cod for 20 minutes, drain out the water and remove skin and bones. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, add the annatto and the diced onion and cook until soft – set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Then add all of the wet ingredients, including the cod and the cooked onions and mix vigorously until a batter is formed. Get ½ inch of vegetable oil smoking hot then add large spoonfuls of batter one at a time. Fry for a few minutes on each side.

These Caribbean Bacalao Fritters are one of the great Caribbean appetizer recipes as they can be served hot or cold.

Caribbean: Caribbean Smoked Ribs

4 full racks of pork side ribs
with this Caribbean smoked ribs recipe you can adjust the number of racks of ribs as needed.
1 pound of wood smoking chips
1 tablespoon of salt
Caribbean Spice Rub

2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tablespoon thyme
½ tablespoon oregano
½ tablespoon cumin
½ tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper

Preparation for Caribbean Smoked Ribs Recipe:

Salt the ribs generously using all of the salt and set aside
Mix all of the ingredients together for the rub and rub the mixture into the meat. Dividing the rub into two bowls is a good idea as you can store any leftover Caribbean Rub as long as it hasn’t been near the meat yet. Do be generous with the rub though, we want them covered.
Take your smoking chips and dump about one handful of dry chips and another handful of wet chips onto a sheet of tinfoil (you want to make two of these pouches so double these instructions). Wrap the tinfoil pouch up so it’s sealed and then poke a bunch of holes in the top of it to let the smoke out. Make a good amount of holes – you want that smoke getting out!
Open up your BBQ and place the tinfoil smoking pouch directly on the burner of one side and start the BBQ (only light the side that has the pouch on it). You want the BBQ at as low of a temperature as possible.
Place the ribs on the gill of the “cold side” of the BBQ. They can overlap a little, but don’t smother any of them, you want the smoke to be able to get to them.
Close the lid and don’t open it again. The ribs will stay in there for 3 – 4 hours.
You should see smoke bellowing out of the BBQ after 20 minutes or so. When the smoke stops, open the lid and put in the new pouch.
Leave ‘em for 3 or 4 hours and you’ll have the best Caribbean Smoked Ribs you’ve ever tasted.

Caribbean Sausage Cheese Triangles

1 pound ground pork sausage

1 cup minced sweet onion

3 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced

1/2 pound (8 ounces) mushrooms, chopped into 1/2-inch dice

1 scotch bonnet chile pepper, finely minced (optional)

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces phyllo (fillo) sheets (half of a 1-pound package – see Note)

1 stick (about) butter, melted

In a large, deep skillet, saute pork sausage, sweet onion, garlic,

mushrooms, and chile, if using. Stir often to break up sausage. Cook

until no pink remains in the sausage. Add thyme, allspice, salt, and

pepper to sausage mixture. Turn off heat and stir in cream cheese

until combined. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove phyllo sheets from package and unroll so they are flat. Cut

stack in half lengthwise. Cover with plastic wrap so dough does not

dry out and become brittle.

Remove two strips of phyllo from the stack (remembering to re-cover

remaining strips each time) and place on a flat surface. Brush each

strip with melted butter. Place a heaping tablespoon of sausage-

cheese mixture on one end. Fold strip up to form a triangle. Continue

folding back and forth until you reach the end of the strip, forming

a filled triangle packet. Continue until all of sausage filling is

used up.

Place phyllo sausage triangles on an ungreased cookie sheet or jelly

roll pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until pastry is golden.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Caribbean Sausage Cheese Triangles may be prepared in advance and

frozen for later baking.

Yield: 3 to 4 dozen triangle appetizers

Note: Phyllo (fillo) sheets may be found in the refrigerated or

freezer section of most grocery stores. You may have some phyllo

sheets left over. You can fill them with fruit jam or preserves, fold

into triangles, and bake as above. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar

when cool for a sweet treat.

Caribbean: St. John Crab Dip

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 pkg. frozen crab meat, or 2 cans
1 small onion, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
¼ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. paprika
parsley, for color

Method:
Drain crabmeat. Mix cheeses with mayonnaise until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. May be served cold or kept warm in a chafing dish.

Serve with crackers.

Variation:
Add chopped red or green peppers, or chopped olives.

Caribbean: Cuban-Style Picadillo

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
6 Turkish bay leaves
2 pounds ground beef (15 to 20 percent fat)
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup sliced drained pimiento-stuffed green olives (from 5-ounce jar)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

preparation:

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef; sauté until cooked, breaking up with back of fork, about 7 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer until picadillo thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Serve picadillo warm.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Caribbean: Cuban Black Bean Dip

1 cup Dried black beans, (or 16 oz. can of black beans)
2 tbl Chopped red onion
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
1 tbl Fresh orange juice
1 med clove of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Serve this low-fat pate with toasted pita triangles and sliced veggies. The dip can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Soak the Beans in water overnight; drain, and cook in 4 cups of water for about 1-1/2 hours or until tender. Drain again.
In a blender or food processor, combine Beans, 1 Tbsp. chopped onions, vinegar, O.J., and garlic; blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, mix in remaining onions, and place in serving bowl.

Caribbean: Croquetas De Jamon (Ham Croquettes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely minced onions
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups hot milk
Salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces finely chopped Spanish ham (Jamon Serrano)
2 eggs, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons flour
Olive oil for frying (not extra virgin)

Instructions:

Preheat the fryer. In a large saute pan, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add the onions and saute for about 2 minutes, or until translucent and soft. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook for about 1 minute and remove from the heat. Whisk in the milk to form a smooth sauce. Return to medium heat and cook until the sauce is very thick and creamy. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the ham. Mix well and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on low heat. Pour the mixture into a glass  baking pan and cool in the refrigerator so that the mixture will be easy to handle. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or until well chilled.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs with water until frothy and pour into a medium bowl. Combine the bread crumbs and flour in a second bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Using your hands, shape the ham mixture into a log about 3/4-inch thick. Using a knife, cut the logs into 1 1/2-inch thick. Dip the logs in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Roll the logs in the seasoned bread crumbs. Place the logs on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the logs for 2 to 3 hours. Fry the croquettes in the hot oil (about 360 degrees), a few at a time, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the croquettes from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season the croquettes with salt and pepper. Serve the croquettes with fresh lemon juice and garnish with parsley

Yield: 2 dozen

Caribbean: Empanada de Queso receta

1 pound flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound butter, chilled and cut into small cubes,
plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 scant cup ice water
1 medium white onion, small dice
1 bunch spinach, chiffonade
3 cups coarsely grated manchego cheese
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup dark raisins
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and vinegar. Slowly add the water, as needed, mixing to form the dough, until well blended. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and knead gently until the dough becomes smooth, only a few seconds. Wrap well and chill for 30 minutes.

Saute onion in butter and add spinach over medium heat. Cool and then combine with cheese, hazelnuts, and raisins.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half the chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick (keep the other half refrigerated until ready to use). Cut out 3-inch circles. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each circle. Brush egg wash around the edges of the dough. Fold the edges up forming a pouch, and seal.

Refrigerate the empanadas on greased or parchment lined baking sheets at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Brush the empanadas with egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Serves 4

Caribbean: Boniatos Fritos

Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
4 med Boniatos or American sweet potatoes or yams, peeled And cut into ¼-inch rounds
salt to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat ½ inch of oil to 375°F, or until a piece of potato sizzles when it touches the oil.
Add as many potato rounds as will fit in a single layer, reduce the heat to medium, and fry until golden on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes, turning with a slotted spoon.
Drain on a paper-towel-lined platter, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot.
If you are frying large quantities, keep them warm in a 200°F oven until all are done.

Caribbean: Boliche Asado (Cuban Stuffed Pot Roast)

1 eye of round roast excess fat trimmed 4-5 lbs, about 4 x 9″
1 cup sour orange juice **see note
1 tbl chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
4 garlic cloves, peeled finely minced
1/2 lb smoked slab Bacon
3 oz chorizo Sausage
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed manzanilla olives
3 tbl olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped white Onion
1 celery rib finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup Spanish sherry or dry red wine
1 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tbl Spanish paprika
1 pch nutmeg
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 sm new potatoes cooked
5 carrots, peeled, cut diagonally 1″ pieces cooked
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:

If you don’t have sour orange juice, substitute 3/4 cup orange juice mixed with 1/4 cup lime juice.
Cut a small lengthwise cavity in the heart of the roast, almost but not quite to the end of the meat. Mix together the sour orange juice, cilantro, oregano, and garlic, then rub mixture in the cavity and over the entire roast. Marinate, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 hours. Turn several times so that juices saturate all parts of the roast.
In the container of a food processor or blender, process the Bacon, chorizos, and olives to a fine grind. Mix the contents with the marinade in a bowl. Loosely stuff mixture into the cavity of the roast by pressing it with a long-handled spoon as far into the cavity as possible.
Heat a large casserole that can be used on the stove as well as in the oven, then add olive oil. When olive oil is heated and begins to smell fragrant, add the roast and brown on all sides, turning with a large fork several times. Remove the roast to a separate pan and reserve drippings.
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Add Onion, celery, and the green and red peppers to the reserved drippings. Combine well and then saute over medium-high heat until onions become translucent but not browned. Add plum tomatoes, sherry, oregano, paprika, nutmeg, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
Return the browned roast to the casserole. Cover and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, basting constantly, until meat is fork tender. Do not turn off oven.
Remove the meat to a separate dish. Cool for at least 30 minutes. Place sauce in a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.
Skim fat from surface of sauce with a large spoon, then place sauce in the container of a food processor or blender and process until liquefied. Pour into a 10-inch saute pan. Adjust seasoning. Add the cooked potatoes and carrots, then cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Using a very sharp knife so that roast does not crumble, carefully slice the roast into 20 to 24 pieces, each about 1/4 inch thick. Place slices overlapping on a large ovenproof platter so that center filling shows. Cover tightly with foil so that meat does not dry out. Heat until warmed, about 15 minutes, then raise temperature to 350F and heat for another 10 minutes.
Arrange potatoes and carrots around the meat slices, then spoon sauce over meat and vegetables and serve remaining sauce in a covered heated gravy dish. Garnish meat with freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediatel