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A Taste Of Jamaica
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Copyright 2012: The Celebrity Front Page. Entertainment Information in Chicago. All rights reserved. 
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The fresh, delicious island dishes and appetizers that won't challenge your budget are a big hit with those who want to experience a little bit of the Jamaican culture. Whether you’re preparing a special meal for two or whether you’re hosting an event for friends, you can create the perfect touch of Jamaica with these easy-to-prepare recipes from food specialist Charlotte Lyons, author and former food editor at Ebony magazine. 

1  or 2 whole red snapper, cleaned and prepared, about 3   pounds
   Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
   Juice of lime
   Thyme sprigs to taste

Pineapple Mango Salsa 

1/2 of a medium pineapple, peeled and diced
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
   Juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons grated ginger
   Salt to taste

1. Cut a few slits in each fish. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the olive oil and lime juice. Place thyme sprigs inside fish. And in the slits.
2. Heat grill to medium-high. Place the fish on the grill and grill until it flakes easily, turning occasionally, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl. Cover and let stand for about 30 minutes to let the flavors marinate. Serve with grilled fish.

Yields about 6 servings

Black Beans And Rice

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 14-ounce can black beans, drained

1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, thyme and rice.
2. Cook and stir until rice is golden and onions are tender.
3. Stir in the coconut milk, broth and beans. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is done and all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. (Try not to stir while cooking.)
4. Remove from heat; let stand for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with thinly sliced green onion.

Yields 6 servings

Sautéed Cabbage

1 medium head green cabbage, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
   Crushed red pepper to taste
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
   Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in Dutch oven or large skillet. Add the cabbage, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. Cook and stir until cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in carrot, red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until vegetables are the desired doneness. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover and let stand a few minutes.

Yields 6 servings



2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Jamaican curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons butter
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

1. To prepare pastry, sift together flour, curry powder and salt in medium bowl. Place in food processor bowl. Add the shortening and butter. Process the flour mixture until crumbly.
2. Add the water and process until it almost cleans the side of the food processor bowl. Remove and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 12 hours.

Ground Turkey Filling

1 pound ground turkey (chopped vegetables or lean ground beef)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 Scotch bonnet peppers or jalapeno seeds, removed and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
2 to 3 teaspoons Jamaican curry powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
   Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water

1. To prepare filling, cook and stir ground turkey, onion, garlic, Scotch bonnet, thyme in skillet until done. Stir in the curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, flour, salt and pepper. Slowly stir in the broth (or water).
2. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely.
3. Take dough out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before using. Roll out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut pastry into 4-inch circles.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place about 1/12 turkey mixture onto half of the pastry circle. Fold other half over and seal edge by pressing down with fork. Repeat with remaining pastry.
5. Arrange the patties on two baking sheets and bake about 30 minutes.

Yields about 10 to 12 patties


1 chicken, cut-up or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts
   Juice of fresh 1 to 2 limes
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons prepared Jerk Seasoning (or more if desired)

1. Wash and pat chicken dry with paper towels.
2. Pour lemon juice on chicken. Toss to coat the chicken with lemon juice. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and olive oil. Toss to coat the chicken pieces. Add the jerk marinade and toss to coat the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate overnight or longer (no longer than 2 days).
4. Grill over medium-high coals until chicken is done, turning occasionally, about 45 to 60 minutes. (Test for doneness: When you cut into the chicken, the juice should be clear.)
5. If desired, garnish with fresh thyme or thinly sliced green onions.

Yields 6 servings
Charlotte Lyons is recognized as one of the top authorities in the culinary arena. The former food editor for Ebony magazine is also author of The New Ebony Cookbook. She receives numerous requests to appear on entertainment news programs, cooking segments and at community events. A sought-after speaker, her knowledge of cuisines, culinary trends, traditions and techniques is diverse. Prior to joining Ebony, Charlotte mastered her skills in recipe development, food styling and new product development at several companies, including the Betty Crocker Test Kitchen at General Mills and the Campbell Soup Company. She received her bachelor’s degree in home economics from Morris Brown College in Atlanta. Contact Charlotte at for information to attend her regular cooking classes.