One summer break during elementary school, my grandmother, my father’s mother, came from Haiti to stay with us. While she was there, my parents asked her to write down in a notebook all the recipes she could remember. Over the course of the summer, she wrote down in her beautiful script dozens of recipes, from marinades to desserts. All the Haitian recipes that I’ve translated and cooked here in the Kreyol Kitchen category come from that notebook. Here we are in 1986 at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania during one of her visits. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!
Question: What is made mostly of rum and is keeping me happy all holiday season long?
Answer: Liqueur des îles.
Bonus: It’s made partially of fruit, therefore it’s healthy and practically a salad, amirite, people?!
Over the past few months, I’ve made quite a few of my grandmother’s recipes and they’ve all been delicious savory meals or sweet desserts (search category Kreyol Kitchen for more). But I realized I hadn’t made an alcoholic drink since last year so I wanted to see what other boozy beverages she loved. Liqueur des îles caught my eye because of the process. It’s essentially three steps over the course of 30 days and the wait is worth it. So let’s get to it!
I don’t want to say that I hate eggplant, but I would really rather not eat it. So it was to my dismay when I saw how many recipes in my grandmother’s notebook called for eggplant. The vegetable has a beautiful color and a funny shape, so that is two things going for it. But the taste is not something I would call an asset for that vegetable.
But this post shouldn’t be about how much I hate – sorry, strongly dislike – eggplant. This post should be about how much this dish tasted like home. Many Haitian recipes call for some combination of evaporated milk, cheese, mustard, tomato paste, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. I grew up with those flavors. Now when I eat something with only two or three seasonings or herbs, the taste feels empty. With this recipe for aubergine a la creme (eggplant in a cream sauce), each bite was a burst of various flavors that blended so smoothly together. Dare I say, the strong taste of sauce maybe even helped mask the taste of the eggplant?
…or how I basically ripped off an idea from Domino to decorate this bedroom.
Way back when I was envisioning a house I didn’t have and spending an incredible amount of time on Pinterest decorating said house, I didn’t quite have an idea of what I wanted for my imaginary future master bedroom. I figured it would be bright and airy, with a lot of white and natural light. But then I saw a photo on Pinterest of a bedroom with dark blue walls, a brown wooden headboard and white comforter. The design of the room was spare, which I liked, and I was struck by the blue. There was a masculine air to it, but yet I felt like it could be my room. So I pinned that picture and then, over a few months, pinned a couple more photos of bedrooms with dark blue walls, wooden headboards and white comforters. I went from having a vague idea to having a very specific one quite quickly.
Tonight’s recipe is Poisson au Mais, or fish with corn. Here is the very basic recipe as my grandmother wrote it:
- 1 couche de poisson bien epicee
- 1 couche de bechamelle
- 1 couche de mais en boite
- Recommencer l’operation jusqu’a epuissement
- En dernier lieu, 1 couche de mayonnaise
- Passer au four
One summer break during elementary school, my grandmother, my father’s mother, came from Haiti to stay with us. While she was there, my parents asked her to write down all the recipes she had memorized in a notebook. Over the course of the summer, she wrote down in her script handwriting every recipe, from marinades to desserts, she could remember. I’ve thought for a while of making every recipe in the book as a way of connecting with my grandmother and of learning more about my Haitian culinary roots. Now that we have our own house, I thought it time to start the Kreyol Kitchen. In addition to documenting how we, as first time homeowners, are tackling making our house a home, I’ll document on this blog how I tackle these recipes, from the easy to the hard, and share those recipes with you. Stay tuned for deliciousness!