Saturday, March 30, 2019

GUAVA DUFF


I have been running yachts throughout the Bahamas for over 35 years. When it comes to food, there is nothing better than cultural cuisine like pigeon-peas and rice, cracked or scorched conch, chicken souse or fresh fish. All of these items may be obtained all year long. But by far my favorite part of Bahamian delights is a dessert item called Guava Duff.

In the early years when I started working in the Bahamas, this delicacy could only be had during the ripening in the late summer months. But with guava’s popularity, a canned paste can be used year around; though the fresh fruit variety is my favorite.

When in Nassau, the Poopdeck and Green Parrot serve duff up; with the latter being my fav. Or, you may follow the instructions below and make your own while out-island.


Preparation:
Filling Ingredients:
4 c. guava flesh thinly sliced or cut (peeled and seeded- pulp removed and saved for sauce)
¾ c. brown sugar (depends on the sweetness of the guavas)
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Preparation of filling:
Cook guava flesh with nutmeg, sugar and salt a day ahead in a medium saucepan on medium to low heat until thick, soft and sugar is dissolved (about 25 to 30 minutes). Let cool and set aside in refrigerator until ready to spread in dough. This can be made a day in advance.

Guava Sauce Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 ½ c. sugar
1 c. powder sugar
½ can sweet condensed milk
Guava pulp from the guavas (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
Brandy to taste (how much is up to you!!)

Preparation of Guava Sauce
Cream the butter and sugar well. Blend in powder sugar and add sweet milk. Stir in the pulp and rum/brandy, vanilla and set aside. This may seem like it will be too sweet but it actually isn't. If you are in doubt, then decrease the amount of sugar and taste. If it needs more sugar, then just add more. Better to be safe than sorry, right!!

Dough Ingredients
2 ½ c. flour
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, softened
¾ c. milk (room temp)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preparation of dough:
Before making the dough, get a large pot/pan with cover (that can fit your duff) that is oven proof and fill half way with hot water. Preheat to 350° and place pot/pan in oven while waiting for the dough to be prepared.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. In larger bowl, blend sugar, eggs and butter. Add milk to combine and mix dry ingredients. At this point I took some of the guava flesh and mix in the dough (you can skip this part and just add it in for the filling only). Knead until stiff. Add more flour if necessary to make a smooth dough. If you want to make 2 small duffs, just cut dough in half and proceed with the instructions for the duff. Take a rolling pin and roll out dough in rectangular shape (about ½ to ¾ inch thickness). Spread the rest of the guava flesh (from the fridge) in the dough to within an inch of each side and roll up duff sealing the edges.

In the old days, the duff would be wrapped tightly in a pillow case or old white t-shirt.  Today, we cut a large piece of parchment paper and double foil. Wrap the duff in the parchment first and then seal with the double foil. (Double foil simply means to cut 2 large pieces of foil and lay on top of another to create a thicker piece of foil). Place duff in pot/pan in oven covered. The water has to be half way up the duff or completely covering the duff. Cook for about 1 hr. and 20 mins turning the duff (if the water is halfway up the duff) halfway through cooking. If the duff is completely immersed then there is no need to turn it. This procedure can also be done on top of the stove by boiling the duff in a double boiler.

When done, take out of pot/pan and open duff (being careful not to burn yourself from the steam) and let cool down until it is nice and warm. To ensure that duff is done, stick a knife in duff and if it comes out clean, then it is done. If it comes out with a sticky doughy consistency, then wrap it back up and cook it for another 20 to 30 minutes. Slice as thin or as thick as you like and pour warm guava sauce over the duff. Enjoy, JW

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

I am pre-positioning a 70 foot motor yacht to Nassau for the owner/operator who will fly in direct from the Northeast (I fly out) and cruise their yacht in the Exumas for a week. At the end of their trip, they tie back up in Nassau, fly back to the Northeast and I fly in to bring the boat back to Ft. Lauderdale. After all, who wants to spend 30% of the vacation time going back and forth to where they want spend their vacation? This way, they get to maximize the fun stuff; which is what yacht ownership is all about.

As I am running the yacht solo, with an anchor out en route, I like to prepare my meals in advance. The inspiration of this recipe comes from my friend Susie in Destin;  a registered nurse and on the “keto diet.” Now, I do not profess to know what a keto diet is, but it sounds exactly like the Atkins Diet©. Maybe someone can comment below. In any case, this is a terrific meal for dinner or cold for next day sandwiches or “mid-rats.”

INGREDIENTS

½ c. bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1tsp. sage
1 tbsp. course black pepper
½ tsp. sea salt
3 lbs. lbs. ground sirloin
1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage
14 slices of bacon
6 Babybel© mini cheese wheel

PREPARATION
In a stand-mixer, add the first 12 ingredients and mix well. Take half of the meat mix and press it into the bacon prepped bread pan. Next, unwrap the Babybel© cheese and press it into the meat creating a lengthwise row. With the remaining meat, cover the cheese forming a typical mean loaf. Finally, starting at the ends, pull the overhanging bacon finishing the wrapping of the loaf.


Place the loaf inside a 9” baking pan to catch any drippings. Bake until the interior temperature reaches 160°. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minute before removing from loaf pan. Enjoy.



 

 

Monday, January 28, 2019

IRISH BEER CHEESE

It’s the last weekend of December as I write this and it is bloody cold outside. In fact, it’s 53°, drizzly and blowing. Checking last years’ records, on this same day it was 88°. So much for global warming.

Back in my flying days, we had a Gulfstream trip in which we flew 8 bankers to Dublin, Ireland. This afforded the crew a four day layover at The Conrad on St. Stephen’s Green, before the return flight back to the US. After a night of “discovery” in Dublin, I just had to get out of the city. So the next day, I walked to Houston Station and took a train to the 10th Century city of Kilkenny; two hours away. It boasts a medieval castle, a 1000 year old town of cobble stone streets, secret passageways and narrow Norman alleyways and The Round Tower which dates back to the 6th Century. Truly a mystical experience.

I happened into a 16th Century tavern, The Hole in the Wall, for a bite to eat. On the menu was Irish Beer Cheese which I found delicious. I spoke to the innkeeper and happen to get the recipe for this warm and inviting soup.

Back to the present; I have yacht owners in town. It is kind of a bummer because there is a steel-wind blowing and seas to 15 feet out in “the stream.” It was my memory of KilKenny and the recipe I acquired that brought a little warmth and delight into their weekend. This recipe is super easy to make and I can confirm; Yacht Owner Approved.
 
INGREDIENTS:
4 tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. course black pepper
1/2 c. flour
1 (12 ounce) bottle Irish Ale
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
5 c. chicken stock
2 c. (1 lb. package) mild shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. processed cheese
2/3 c. sour cream
PREPARATION:

In a Dutch oven (I like cast iron) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add garlic, onion, chili and black pepper, Sauté for 6-8 minutes until onion is translucent. Sprinkle flour over onion/garlic and stir for 3 minutes (this is the roux). Stir in a good lager (I use O’Hara’s Irish Red but Harpe will do) and chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from heat.

Next, with a ladle, add mixture to a food processor or blender (may have to do it in batches) and puree until smooth. Pour soup back into the Dutch oven, over low heat add sour cream and the cheeses; stir until the cheeses melts. Serve in sourdough bread bowls (available at Panera). Garnish with chopped scallions and bacon. Enjoy, JW

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

SWEET and SPICY STEAK


This week, my crew and I are delivering a 580 Sea Ray from Grand Cayman back to Florida via the Windward Passage route. Because of en route fuel stops, Cayman Island is about as inconvenient a place as there is for yachts to get to. Heading back to Florida, the route thru the Yucatan Channel is shorter by two hundred miles, but requires 360 miles non-stop from Cancun to Key West and in head seas. Eastward thru the Windward Passage to Great Inagua affords a longest distance between fuel stops of 231 miles and is pretty much beam to following seas thru the Bahamas back to Fort Lauderdale. Just wait for weather in Port Antonio and then dash to Matthew Town.

Port Antonio is without a doubt one of the most beautiful natural harbors. Errol Flynn made this his home and just up the road at “Goldeneye,” Ian Fleming wrote his spy novels. Port Antonio is also where “Jerk” style of cooking originated. Sweet and spicy chicken and pork is the staple here. With that inspiration, here is a “rubbed” steak recipe sure to please.


INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. spoked paprika
1 lb. beef tenderloin of NY strip
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided.


PREPARATION:
Make your rub by mixing well all of the dried ingredients. Brush the steak with 1 tsp. of the olive oil. With washed hands, coat the steak with 1 tsp. of olive oil and then massage the rub into with steak and set aside. Next, bring the remaining olive oil to medium then add steak cooking on each side for 5-6 minutes, or desired temperature. Once cooked, move the steak to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with potatoes and star fruit garnish with cheese cake for dessert.
Enjoy, JW