HAVE A TASTE OF THE USVI

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FOOD BRINGS US TOGETHER

It is one of the deepest expressions of a culture and one of the easiest to share. Our culture shares world-class cuisine with the Real Nice love and passion of a people who put their hearts into their cooking.

Visit one of our local restaurants where recipes are handed down through generations. Here are some of our favorite dishes. We hope you enjoy this taste of our islands. We send it to you with love.

  • Pumpkin Fritters
  • 1 ½ cups mashed pumpkin
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Oil for deep frying

Remove seeds and stringy fibers from center of pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces for quicker boiling. Place in a pot and cover with water. Boil until pumpkin is fork tender. Drain water and scoop out pumpkin from outer shell. Mash with a fork. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, milk and flour and stir until ingredients are combined. An electric mixer is not recommended. Drop by the teaspoonfuls into hot oil and fry 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Makes 12 fritters. Per fritter: 115 calories, 6 grams fat, 3 milligrams cholesterol and 86 milligrams sodium.

KALLALOO

This green soupy stew has its roots in West African cookery. Africans brought to the Caribbean as slaves were experts at foraging for local ingredients and boiling them up into hearty one-pot stews. “Kallaloo is for good luck in the new year, especially for lovers”, said Arona Peterson, local food expert and author of Food and Folklore of the Virgin Islands. “The old folks believed that if you served kallaloo to your loved one on Old Year’s night, there would be a wedding by June.”

  • ½ pound salted meat—pigtail or salt beef
  • Water
  • Ham bone if available; a common substitute is smoked turkey
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen cut okra
  • ½ large onion
  • Seasoning (thyme, celery, parsley—about 1 teaspoon each)
  • 1 cup boned fish (a white fish with skin is preferable), fried
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ hot pepper (scotch bonnet works well)
  • 1 (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach

Soak salted meat in water for a few hours. As with the fritters, your world market may have pig tail. If it isn’t salted, there is no need to soak it. Wash and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook until tender. In the meantime, fry fish and allow to cool. Remove meat from water and set aside. Add water to half full level. Put in the ham bone or smoked turkey and okra. Add onions, seasoning, garlic, hot pepper, boned fish and spinach. Let simmer for an hour until mixture has stew consistency. Return meat to stew and simmer for another ½ hour. This stew is generally served with fungi, a cornmeal dish similar to polenta. A round or two of polenta would work just fine. Serves 8. Per one cup serving, 155 calories, 2 grams fat, 43 milligrams cholesterol and 307 milligrams sodium.

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RED GROUT (RODGROD)

There’s no doubt it was inherited from the Danes. Locally, it was traditionally served on Transfer Day (March 31). We enjoy the dish whenever we have a taste for it.

  • 2 pints guavas with skins and seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Dash of mace
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of cinnamon

Wash fruit. Peel and cut up guava. Place in pan with 1 1/2 cups water. Simmer covered for 20 minutes. Strain. Save shells for later use. Measure liquid, adding enough water to make 2 ½ cups of liquid. Add sugar, salt and bring to a boil. Stir constantly. Mix tapioca in ½ cup of water and add slowly along with spices. Bring to a boil once more, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat when tapioca grains are clear. Add vanilla essence. Pour into a ceramic container or individual ramekins. Serve with heavy cream.

POTATO STUFFING

This is such a favorite it’s served with everything except fish. It makes a great surprise for your Thanksgiving dinner.

  • 6 large white potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper, minced
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped

Peel and cut potatoes and boil in salted water. When tender, drain water and mash. Add cooking oil to a pan and sauté raisins, onion, green pepper and celery until translucent. Add pepper and sugar. Pour this mixture, in batches, into mashed potatoes. Some oil may remain which can be discarded. Spoon stuffing into a greased baking pan and bake in 350-degree oven for about 25 minutes.

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