Yes, my pun is absolutely horrible. And yes, I’ve pretty much exhausted my hip-hop related puns. Let’s see if I cannot work some Tupac Shakur into another food title somewhere, yeah? In case you have not guessed by the title, last night’s meal was a food tribute to Haiti.
(Maps courtesy of the husband!)
Switching pop culture gears a bit, I thought of Cher (Alicia Silverstone) in Clueless while making this meal. Glorious Clueless quote here (must read the word “Haitians” as “hate-ee-ans”):
So like, right now for example. The Haitians need to come to America. But some people are all, “What about the strain on our resources?” Well it’s like when I had this garden party for my father’s birthday, right? I put R.S.V.P. ’cause it was a sit-down dinner. But some people came that like did not R.S.V.P. I was like totally buggin’. I had to haul ass to the kitchen, redistribute the food, and squish in extra place settings. But by the end of the day it was, like, the more the merrier. And so if the government could just get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians. And in conclusion may I please remind you it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty. Thank you very much.”
So maybe our government will not “just get to the kitchen…[and] certainly party with the Haitians,” but I certainly will.
Haitian food combines the food of the French colonists with the African food culture of the slaves brought to the island. Many vegetables and fruits are used in their cuisine, and rice, beans, and corn are staples. Thus, easy for a vegetarian to party in the kitchen!
Enter: Soup Joumou.
Soup Joumou has an awesome story. The French Government had actually forbidden slaves to eat pumpkin (too extravagant), making this a forbidden meal. So now the Haitians eat it to celebrate their independence every New Years Day. (I know, I’m off on my timing quite a bit, but the new year is still beginning, right?)
My version is vegan, and I like my soups with a lot of texture, so it’s not over-blended.
Soup Joumou Recipe Serves 6
- 5 cups water
- 1 package frozen cubes of pumpkin (was so thrilled to find this in the store!)
- 1 turnip
- 1 potato
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 T Earth Balance + 1 more later
- 3/4 cup rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Melt 1 T Earth Balance in large saucepan. Add pumpkin, turnips, celery, onion, potato, parsley, thyme, and garlic.
- Cover with water and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Discard your parsley and thyme if desired. I actually took the stems out, but left the herbs in.
- Drain all but 1/4-1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender (or transfer to traditional), puree vegetables to desired consistency.
- Add almond milk, nutmeg, 1 T E.B., and rice. Cook until rice is tender.
Serve hot with hearty slices of buttered bread. And then prepare yourself for dessert.
I enjoyed the soup, but I really loved the dessert last night. I ended up making another vegan dish out of it.
Plaintain Puree (Bouillie de Banane et Plantain) Serves 6
- 1 plantain
- 1 banana
- 1 cup water
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 star anise
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- extra banana slice for garnish
- Using an immersion blender (favorite tool of the night) or food processor, puree the banana and the plantain with the water.
- In saucepan, add puree, coconut milk, almond milk, brown sugar, and star anise.
- Bring mixture to a low boil, stirring often. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with bananas.
Something about this tastes so delicious and buttery. (But you’d have to like your coconut milk). I had a bowl last night, but also had mixed it with oats and chia seeds this morning for breakfast.
Overall, I’d call Haiti night a success! Jordan is still raving about the nasi goreng, though…
Next up, Croatia!