Kitchen Liberation Organization's
1999 Valentine's Dinner


James Beard's Cuban Bread

Combine the yeast with sugar and warm water in a large bowl and allow to proof. Mix the salt with the flour and add to the yeast mixture, a cup at a time, until you have a stiff dough. Remove to a lightly floured board and knead until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough. Turn out on a floured board and shape into two long, French bread-style loaves. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal, but NOT buttered. Slash the tops of the loaves diagonally in two or three places with a single edge razor blade or sharp knife, brush the loaves with the egg white wash. Place in a COLD oven, set the temperature at 400 degrees, and bake 35 minutes, or until well browned and hollow sounding when the tops are tapped.

Crabs Caribbean-Style

Melt butter in skillet; add scallions, garlic and chili peppers and cook until scallions are wilted. Add curry powder to this mixture and blend thoroughly. Add crab, coriander and parsley. Add salt, pepper and crab liquid (if more is needed, add melted butter). Blend in bread crumbs. Fill the mixture in 8 clam shells and bake at 400 F about 10 minutes or until browned. Serves 8 as an appetizer or 3 to 4 as a main course.

Pina Colada Punch

In a blender blend together, in batches if necessary, the cream of coconut, the pineapple juice, and the rum and transfer the punch to a large pitcher. Stir in the ice cubes and garnish the punch with the pineapple wedge. Garnish each drink with a pineapple wedge. This recipe makes about 6-1/2 cups.

Sinful Mango Smoothee (virgin)

Pour Half and Half and mango slices in blender. Blend at high speed until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Note: A couple of the ladies were pregnant at the time of our dinner (a frequent hazard of these dinners, or at least in the aftermath), so we turned this into a virgin drink by substituting rum extract for the rum. Gave it pretty much the same taste.

Monte's Conch Fritters with Mustard Sauce

Unfortunately, we couldn't find conch or abalone, which are apparently seasonal items, nor could we think of a proper substitute. So we scrapped this recipe. Per usual, we still had far too much food so we didn't really miss it.

Mustard Sauce: Mix all of the ingredients together and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1/4 cup of sauce.

Fritters: Rinse the conch and remove and discard the orange fin and the foot. For abalone, clean as usual and cut into 1/2" pieces. Chop the meat in the container of a food processor. Chop peppers and onions fine by hand, so that there will be crunchy pieces in the fritters.

Place the chopped meat and veggies in a bowl, add the seasoning, egg, and mix in the flour. Roll into balls around 1-1/4" in diameter. Bring the oil to 350 degrees. Add 1 fritter at a time, waiting a few seconds before adding the next. Fry only 5 at a time, removing and adding as they are cooked. (Cooking so few fritters at a time means that the oil is kept at a constant temperature, rather than dropping a few degrees each time more food is added. This keeps the fritters crunchy rather than oil-logged.) Fry for 5 minutes, or until golden and light. Drain and serve with the mustard sauce. Makes around 30 fritters (10 servings).

Caribbean Guisado

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine all ingredients in a large roasting pan. Place in oven and cook, uncovered, for 4 hours. The pumpkin, chayote and tomatoes will cook down to a thick sauce. Stir every 30 minutes. Add more stock if necessary. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

Cuban Black Beans (Pressure Cooker)

Put cleaned, washed beans in a 4 to 6 quart pressure cooker. Boil beans for 2 minutes; turn heat off, cover beans and let sit for 1 hours.

Add bell peppers, onion, garlic, salt, oregano, bay leaf, and sugar. Cook at 15 lbs pressure for 25 to 30 min. Open cooker when the indicator has dropped down.

Remove about 1/2 to 1 cup of the beans and mash; return to pot and add the vinegar and wine. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve over white rice.

Caribbean Grouper with Mango, Pear & Avocado Salad

Prepare a wood or charcoal grill and let it burn down to embers. Rub on the Caribbean seasoning in long strokes. Let sit for 15 minutes. Grill for 8 minuets on one side and 6 minutes on the reverse side. Remove from grill and keep hot.

Lightly oil the fruit with walnut oil and grill over hickory wood for 3 minutes. Place in a bowl with the fruit juices and toss. Serve on top of baby spinach and avocado.

Papaya Salsa

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together well. Chill. Makes about 2 cups.

Jamaican Jerked Pork Tenderloins

Choose pork tenderloins that are at least 3/4 lb each. Jamaican in origin, this dish can be prepared with chicken breasts or legs, too. If you like your food spicy hot, simply increase the amount of hot pepper. If fresh hot peppers are unavailable, use 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce, or reduce amount to suit your family. You can also use 1/2 tsp dried ground ginger when fresh is not at hand.

Trim pork tenderloins; place in shallow glass dish. Set aside. In food processor, pure onions, garlic, hot pepper, soy sauce, oil, orange and lemon rinds, orange juice, ginger, thyme, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, curry powder, salt and pepper.

Pour onion mixture over pork tenderloins, turning to coat all sides. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning pork occasionally.

Reserving marinade, transfer pork to foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, basting once with marinade, for about 20 minutes or until meat is browned but still has hint of pink inside. Tent with foil; let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Jamaican Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 325 F. Generously grease a 5-cup fluted or plain tube pan and dust lightly with flour. Sift flour, baking powder and Mixed Spice into a bowl. Add margarine, superfine sugar and eggs. Blend cocoa powder with hot water and add to flour mixture. Beat well with a wooden spoon 2 minutes or 1 minute if using an electric mixer. Turn mixture into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven 1-1/4 hours or until well risen and cake begins to shrink from edges of pan. Carefully turn out cake onto a wire rack and cool.

Combine granulated sugar and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan. Add cinnamon and heat gently, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add rum and discard cinnamon. Place cake on a plate. Spoon syrup over cake and let stand 2 hours. Stud top of cake with almonds. Melt chocolate; carefully spoon over cake, spreading to give a smooth even coating. Let stand several hours. Pipe (with a pastry bag) whipped cream around bottom of cake.

Fresh Lime Sorbet

Combine 3/4 cup water and the sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves; cool. Combine the remaining water, lime juice, lemon juice and egg white. Add the sugar syrup; chill. Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream maker. Transfer to freezer containers for storage. Makes about 1 quart.

Mango Sorbet

Puree the peaches with the lemon juice, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Remove to a bowl. Add the peach brandy and freeze the sorbet, using either an ice cream machine or the freezer method. Serve this sorbet in champagne glasses along with a delicate cookie.