Sunday, May 29, 2016

Caribbean Rice and Peas - #TheBookClubCookbookCC

I was provided with a copy of The Book Club Cook Book to use for this year-long endeavor of reading and food fun. All opinions and experiences and individual book purchases are my own.

This month's #TheBookClubCookbookCC selection, Love in the Time of Cholera, took us to the Caribean with an abundance of inspiration for diving off into our own food exploration. This is not a cuisine that I am familiar with, but am now loving. 

Danielle of Mostly Food and Crafts chose our selection for May and The Book Club Cook Book lists two delicious recipe suggestions, a mojito or a mango, jicama and corn salad. You can read Wendy's welcome post as she stepped in to cover this month's selection.

The many food references in this month's book sent me off searching the internet for Caribbean Recipes and I found myself looking through some mouth-watering jerk seasoning recipes. Ultimately I decided my dish would need to include Jerk seasoning.

What is Jerk seasoning?

Caribbean Jerk seasoning gets its kick from a blend of ingredients such as chiles, thyme, cinnamon, garlic, and nutmeg.  It usually includes allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers and can be a wet marinade or dry rub.

I also learned that amazon had some option for mild jerk seasoning - essential if I am going to get my heat-phobic husband to try it.

I think I have mentioned here, a few times, that I walk a thin line with spicy or hot foods. My husband doesn't mind a bit of warmth in food, but he likes his salsa mild and hit jalapenos with no heat. I always try to compensate for this while cooking.

But the heat here in this Caribbean Rice and Peas dish is easy to adjust. Even on the milder end of the spectrum it was full of flavor and very satisfying.

So what of this month's book selection?

Love in the Time of Cholera

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

Despite being a hopeless romance and an ode to the many forms and power of the heart, I just couldn't get into this month's read. 

Ever had a book that you keep picking up and putting down so many times that you eventually give up? That was the way for me on this selection.

Now, one of the things that made me select this recipe to try were the black-eyed peas.

I am an Oregon gal and haven't had the pleasure to eat black-eyed peas... or even see them often in our local stores. So when my daughter's class planted their own black-eyed pea plants in First Grade, I decided it was time to figure out how to use them. Garden willing, by the end of the season, I will have an abundance.

This was a lovely one-pot dish and really stuck to our ribs. With kielbasa, peas and brown rice, it was hearty and left us with amazing left overs. I already plan to make this again.

Like I said, even a rural gal, like myself, was able to find a delicious Jerk Seasoning option on Amazon. This may now be my favorite condiment. I can't wait to try it on chicken.  And don't worry, there were plenty of "melt-your-face" options online, as well. I would say, go as hot as you dare!

Everything was sauteed, then simmered in my largest pan. All that garlic and spice created quite the welcome home at the end of the day.

And one of my favorite parts to this dish were the collard greens.

I only became hooked on collard greens in the past few years. I am always looking for an excuse to buy them... they are so dark and inviting. Though you could substitute another green in this recipe, I wouldn't suggest it. The collards bring an earthy tone to the dish that would be missed with spinach or chard.

Everything simmers together till the rice is tender and the collards have wilted. It is just magic to behold!

Okay, ready to start cooking? Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win your own copy of The Book Club Cookbook. And as always, come join in on our reading/culinary fun next month with Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Be sure to look for the announcement coming soon.

Caribbean Rice and Peas
recipe adapted from The Food Network

You will Need:

  • 10 oz. frozen black-eyed peas
  • salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 oz. turkey kielbasa, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of green onions, sliced and whites & greens separated
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 2 tsp. jerk seasoning (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 c. brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 c. collard greens, stemmed and chopped
Put the black-eyed peas in 3 cups of water in a small saucepan. salt the water lightly. Cover and bring up to a boil, then turn off and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and kielbasa to brown. Add the green onion whites, celery, garlic, jalapeno, jerk seasoning along with a large pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables start to brown, about 5 minutes. 

Add in the thyme and tomato paste, cooking till fragrant and stirring constantly. 

Add the bay leaves, rice and black-eyed peas along with their cooking liquid. Do not stir. Add the chopped collard greens to the top, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook till most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 50 minutes.

Let the dish rest for an additional 10 minutes before discarding the bay leaves, adding in the green onion green and giving it a good stir.


This month Danielle at Mostly Food and Crafts along with Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm, this month's co-hosts, are giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from May 1st till May 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

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*Disclosure: Danielle and Wendy received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

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