Home Away in Barbados: Marlin Steaks Bajan-Styled

Traveling pleasures, for me, include exploring food markets and trying my hand at local cuisines.

We’ve just returned from Barbados, the most easterly island in the West Indies; a 3 1/2 hour flight south from Miami, and then another hour flight south to Venezuela.

When traveling, Richard and I often rent a VRBO, a subsidiary of Home Away,  Flip Key (owned by Trip Advisor) or an AirB&B condo, depending on the location we’re traveling. Trolling these sites is a favorite sport and can reap dividends. The best for less condos book first.

Said condo must be in a location ideal for a safe integration into the culture. Excellent reviews are a given, but anything less than a full-service kitchen’s a deal breaker.

Here’s the link to the condo we decided to splurge on; throw in that kiss the Caribbean view and it was worth every penny. A bit pricier than what we usually spend, but think about it, I said to my husband. Think about what we’re saving by not eating out every meal.

In Barbados, fish–moments from the Atlantic–local produce and rum are a fraction of what you’d fork out in the States. I avoid the imports, which can cost two or three times the amount I’m used to spending.

Most certainly we eat out, people watching is half the fun. I select restaurants using Trip Advisor as my Michelin guide.  Local menus, as well as the street food scene, inspired this vacation’s condo cooking.

At most rentals, pantry staples may not be much more than salt and pepper. Therefore, menus are minimalist by necessity. Take these melt-in-your-mouth marlin steaks.

The first evening after arriving we went to the popular Oistin’s Friday Night Fish Fry and had grilled marlin (see featured photograph). It was simply prepared and superb.

The next day, I went to the fish market and purchased blue marlin steaks.

For less than ten American dollars I purchased four juicy steaks from marlin that had just been caught in the Atlantic that morning.

I requested she cut the fillets into 3/4-inch steaks; perfect for a quick fry.

The vendor recommended I  marinate them in lemon juice, herbs, seasoning and oil, dip them in flour, and then fry the steaks in fat.

At an outdoor stall, I purchased lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes to make a simple salad.

Walking back to our condo, a small package of curry and a box of Zatarain’s rice and beans purchased at a thread-bare grocery store satisfied my ingredient list. I opt for pre-seasoned boxed grains when traveling. (Near East is another favorite.)

Why not? I only use half the pack of seasoning to avoid that over-salted, out-of-a box taste. I’ve no intentions of stocking the condo’s spice cabinet larder. Since I only travel with carry-on, I can’t pack leftover food stuffs in my luggage. Some fierce shepherd dogs at customs once sniffed out dried truffles I’d forgotten I’d packed in Lucca, Italy. Busted!  I always  learn the hard way.

Traditional Bajan food is rooted in African cuisine; I’m seeing a lot of rice and beans as sides in the menu boards around town. (As well as Macaroni Pie, which seems to be universally loved by the Bajans. Ugh. A step up from Sponge Bob, but I’ll pass, thanks for the offer.)

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This is a no-recipe recipe that would work for any 3/4-inch sliced fish steak:

Whisk together juice from 1/2 lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil and and 2 teaspoons curry powder. Marinate each side of the steaks 15 minutes or so at room temperature. Dredge both sides in flour, shaking off excess.  Heat fat, such as butter and olive oil, to medium-high heat. Fry each side apx. 4 minutes until golden brown. 

They were superb seasoned with the local, ubiquitous yellow pepper sauce, blessedly another condo staple! There was no need to season them with salt, the briny Atlantic doused them with all the sodium required.

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When I had my fill of fish (I never dreamed that would be possible), I’d choose one of the ubiquitous chicken curries in restaurants. After all, Rhianna, a native Bajan, says she can’t eat enough of this when she returns home.

A plowed sugar cane field. Sugar’s a primary export.

I was delighted to unearth her favorite recipe for curried chicken, which looks heavenly–quite different from the usual Indian curries to which I gravitate.

Maneuvering  the trickeries of  long-distance travel comfortably on a budget is like mastering roulettes; one misstep finds you feeling homeless, curled up in a corner of Chaing Mai International Airport using a newspaper for a pillow. (Been there.)

TSA pre-screen and restricting our luggage to carry-on eases the pains of  airline travel considerably.  Using Frequent Flyer miles, avoiding weekend travel, and advance planning also contributes to seamless travel.

Because of the $200 fee, I’m on the fence regarding Global Entry. I blew it when I didn’t purchase Global Entry before purchasing the TSA pre-screen. (Global Entry automatically enrolls you in the pre-screen). I’ll purchase it after missing my next connection because of a long line through customs.

“A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss.” 

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Lady Gaga Half-Time Fare

This Sunday evening in Houston, Lady Gaga performs on the world’s largest stage. She crushed the national anthem this time last year–I had goosebumps for days–and this year it’s rumored her act will be over-the-top. Literally. The Patriots and Falcons will bookend her show (-:

Don't forget the pickles!

Don’t forget the pickles!

The Falcons are the underdog rookies. After all, this is the ninth Super Bowl for the Patriots. With quarterback Tom Brady and his magic necklace  fending off the Falcon defense, it will be Brady’s fifth Super Bowl win if his team secures the glory.

The game begins at 6:30 ET and over 100 million folks will be watching. Since Super Bowls tend to last 3 1/2 hours, I’m guessing Lady Gaga should be hitting the stage around 8:15.

I hope the commercials are amusing. Aside from the Dorito dogs, Subaru retrievers, and the sheep singing “Queen”, from where I was sitting last year, they seemed to be meh

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Tossed salad with a nacho crunch is a refreshing option.

This year’s Budweiser ad is rumored to touch upon a salient, sensitive topic. It could get interesting. (Spoiler Alert: Don’t watch the U-tubes if you want to be surprised.)

Below I’ve compiled a slide show of Super Bowl watching recipes that I’ve enjoyed in season’s past. And while you’re chewing on a wing, here’s a bit of trivia to impress your partying cohorts:

Lady Gaga’s name was inspired by the Queen song, ‘Radio Gaga’. Her real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, and her nicknames are Gagaloo, Loopy, Mother Monster, Little Monster and Rabbit Teeth. She’s been wanting to sing at the Super Bowl since she was four years old.

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Smokey Quinoa Chili

Smokey Quinoa Chili

Chili with the Works

Chili with the Works

Chili-Lime Chicken Wings

Chili-Lime Chicken Wings

Teriyaki Appetizer Meatballs

Teriyaki Appetizer Meatballs

Chipotle Chili Chicken Skins

Chipotle Chili Chicken Skins

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Sliders

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Sliders

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Casserole

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Casserole

Chopped Chicken Taco Salad with Chipotle-Corn Dressing

Chopped Chicken Taco Salad with Chipotle-Corn Dressing

No-Fuss Barbecue Ribs

No-Fuss Barbecue Ribs

Beefy Super Bowl Sliders with Pimento Cheese

Beefy Super Bowl Sliders with Pimento Cheese

White Chicken Chili thumbnailSmokey Quinoa Chili thumbnailChili with the Works thumbnailChili-Lime Chicken Wings thumbnailTeriyaki Appetizer Meatballs thumbnailChipotle Chili Chicken Skins thumbnail
Slow-Cooker Barbecue Sliders thumbnailBuffalo Chicken Pasta Casserole thumbnailChopped Chicken Taco Salad with Chipotle-Corn Dressing thumbnailNo-Fuss Barbecue Ribs thumbnailBeefy Super Bowl Sliders with Pimento Cheese thumbnail

While Chili ChickenSmokey Quinoa ChiliChili with the WorksTeriyaki Meatballs♥Chili Stuffed PotatoesCrock Pot BQ SlidersBuffalo Chicken Pasta CasseroleChopped Chicken Taco SaladNo-fuss BQ Ribs

 

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Buddha, ahem, Bowl

Ahhh, 2016—feels like yesterday. Reflecting back to the good old days, one strong current that kept me off the beach was the Buddha Bowl trend.

I’ve been composing bowls and plates filled with an assortment of nutritional goodness (usually a compilation of leftovers) well before the name was penned.

Quinoa with Spaghetti Squash and Dill-Almond Pesto

Quinoa with Spaghetti Squash and Dill-Almond Pesto (circa 2010)

But I was loathe to be trapped in the Buddha Bowl wave, revisiting old recipes of healthy goodness and rewriting their names so that they could find their way to a Pinterest board.

It’s the name. Buddha Bowl. Did Siddhartha feast with a Buddha Bowl to celebrate his enlightenment? The concept brings to mind the granola and nutrition bar aisles in supermarkets. Such excessive branding as they fight to capture the latest food fad flag, yet most are loaded with fat and sugar.

And yet. Buddha Bowl. It caught the wave. Great alliteration.

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I was delighted to find a lonely beet hidden beneath some potatoes to julienne, stir-fry and add to my Buddha Bowl.

A quick Google of Buddah Bowls yields recipes with a common theme: a layer of grains or seeds (quinoa, farro, couscous, rice) that is attractively garnished with proteins (tofu, nuts, beans) and veggies (roasted, sautéed, raw) all topped with savory dressing, if desired.

Essentially a Mom & Pop diner’s meat and three, hold the beef.

I stirred a stocking stuffer into the composition I made just before eating it—Frank’s Rajila Sweet Ginger Sauce. Goodness, that stuff would make cardboard taste delicious. Oops! Silly me. It’s loaded with sugar.

Ah well. Here’s a toast to sliding off the yoga mat from time to time. Happy New Year!

Recipe: Buddah-ahem-Bowl

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus extra for cooking
  • 2 tablespoons or more soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
  • 1 large red beet, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 large bunch chard, washed and sliced*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Drain tofu. Cut into 3 slices. Place on paper towels and drain until most of the excess moisture has been absorbed (weighting down the tofu with a pan or plate accelerates the process).
  3. Whisk together 1 tablespoon sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and ginger. Marinate drained tofu in mixture, about fifteen minutes per side.
  4. Place marinated tofu on oiled cooking sheet. Bake on center rack of oven until browned, about 25 minutes. Use leftover marinade may be used to season cooked quinoa.
  5. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package instructions
  6. Place 1-2 tablespoons sesame oil in a medium-sized fry pan. Over medium-high heat, fry beets until crispy, stirring, about 12 minutes.
  7. While beets are frying, heat an additional 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil over medium-low heat. Cook mushrooms and chard until tender.*
  8. Reheat quinoa if it has cooled. Fill 3-4 bowls 1/3 the way full with quinoa. Arrange tofu, chard, mushrooms and beets over top. Serve.

*When cooking chard, I remove the greens from the stem and cook the stem about 3 minutes before stirring in the chard.

Time: 75 minutes, mostly unattended to prep tofu

Number of servings (yield): 3-4

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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