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!
When I started this blog, I wanted it to reflect a journey. Half of that journey is of Daniel and I being first-time homeowners and making a house a home, which is reflected in the category Jersey House. The other half of that journey is the one I’m taking connecting with my Haitian roots and cooking my grandmother’s handwritten recipes. I first wrote about this journey under the category Kreyol Kitchen here. It certainly has been a journey, mostly full of mistakes, some frustration, and lots of tasty tasty tasty meals.
The holiday season and change from one year to another is often a time of reflection. It’s also a time of many a holiday dinner, party or potluck. So, on that note, I’ve reflected upon the recipes I’ve done so far (and there are many more to come!) and have rounded up my Top 5 here that would be great to cook, bake or make for your holiday festivities this year. Enjoy!
Gigot de porc en chemise may be my favorite of my grandmother’s recipes that I’ve made so far. Here’s why: it translates to leg of pork in a shirt. And that shirt is bacon. You read that right. The SHIRT IS BACON!!! In other words, this is a bacon-wrapped pork leg. Covered in a bechamel sauce. OH MY GOODNESS!!
So let’s get to it.
Sardines au parmesan is tasty, easy to make and works well as a party appetizer or snack.
I did something I probably shouldn’t have done when you’re an invited guest: I brought a dessert that I had never tested before. I was looking through my grandmother’s recipes and saw le massepain au beurre, a name I didn’t totally understand but the instructions were simple and I understood that butter was a major ingredient which is always a good idea, so I decided to go with it.
It’s been a while since I made one of my grandmother’s recipes so I thought I’d trot out one of her fancier ones: lobster!
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
I wanted to start off easy so I chose Poulet à la Crème. The recipe calls for cooking the chicken (or duck) in its own juices until tender and has a good yellow color. Put the chicken, piece by piece, in a buttered oven dish. Add a can of evaporated milk and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Mix them well and cover the chicken. Add grated cheese to lightly cover the chicken and then bake until the chicken is fully done.