They came with the promise of publicity to bring awareness to the plight of Haiti's food crisis. The idea was that they could raise awareness of the current conditions by touring facilities like the farmers market, snapping pictures of desperate adults and children and talking with the press in Haiti and abroad about the experience. However, one Haitian mayor wanted none of it, and wasn't afraid to protect what she viewed as the integrity of her town from the intrusive good-doing of two celebrity chefs.
John Besh, a finalist on the Food Network show, The Next Iron Chef, and Aaron Sanchez, who appeared on the shows, Heat Seekers and Chopped on the same network, flew in to Haiti on Sunday, July 28th and promptly toured one of the numerous settlements established by the homeless in the wake of the earthquake three years ago.
An unconventional food-stamp practice has been occurring for months, perhaps years in the U.S. It has been discovered immigrants from the Caribbean region, including Haiti have been using their food-stamp allotments to send food to family back home.
Defrauders use their food-stamp debit cards to purchase food items impossible to find, or afford in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Haiti. They spend months filling 50-gallon barrels with $2,000 worth of food staples. The barrels aren't cheap, costing about $40. An additional $70 is required to ship the barrels to Haiti, a three-week journey. Even immigrants who can't get food stamps save for months on end to fill a barrel with essential food items to send back home.
The Haitian President Michel Martelly is working on his next career. In this picture, he is having the ingredients for making Tomtom mashed in a "pilon."
The regional dish Tomtom is unique to Jérémie and the Grand'Anse Department of Haiti. It is made of steamed breadfruit (lam veritab) mashed. One very important aspect of this dish is that you can't chew it. Tomtom is made into round balls and swallowed with a sauce made of okra (kalalou, Gombo) cooked with meat, fish, crab, and spices.
What you will need to make Tomtom ak Kalalou Gombo :
• 1 breadfruit
• 2 tbsp. pikliz
• 1 tsp. sea salt
• 1 small onion (sliced)
• 1/4 tsp. black pepper (freshly ground)
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 lb okra (frozen or fresh)
• 1/4 lb of in-season seafood (pre-soaked salted fish or cooked fish or crab)
• 1 cup of djon-djon mushrooms
• 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
• Lemon zest
• 1 tsp garlic powder
Haiti has been bracing for an extreme food shortage, and it is arriving as the June and July harvests are set to begin. This year's rainfall is anticipated to be well below average. The Spring-Summer harvest season is important because crop yields comprise two-thirds of the harvest that contributes to the island's yearly food output.
Other factors causing agricultural underproduction include 2012's drought and two major hurricanes that hit that year as well. Of the 10 million people living on the island, 75% of them exist on barely $2.00 a day. Of this figure, 1.5 million are suffering from malnutrition, 82,000 of them pre-schoolers. Unfortunately, the country experiences one of the highest levels of child hunger in the Western Hemisphere, which contributes to its high ranking on the failed states index.
Lalo Legume Fey is a signature dish of Artibonite. Any Artibonitenne, one must know how to prepare this dish properly. It is a staple food of the area made using rice, beans and lalo. The dish is not only filling but is also hearty and tasty and is known for high amounts of protein and iron. The dish is made using different kinds of green vegetables. The greens that are generally used include lalo, spinach, watercress and purslane. Meat is also required for the preparation and is cooked one day ahead of preparing the dish.
How to prepare Lalo Legume Fey?
Haitian Boillion is a hearty Haitian soup that is as tasty as it is wholesome. The cooking time is long, but the steps are so easy and low-maintenance it will prove a wonderful addition to your repertoire.
What you will need:
• 1 chicken (cut into pieces)
• 2 lbs of Beef Cubes
• 2 stalks of celery (sliced)
• 3 sprigs of parsley (fresh)
• 2 russet potatoes (peeled)
• 1 lb sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced)
• 1 lb white potatoes (peeled and sliced)
• 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
• 2 carrots (scraped and sliced)
• 1 large onion (chopped)
• 3 medium tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
• 2 cloves (whole)
• 4 quarts of water
• 2 green plantains (peeled and cut up)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tbsp seasoned salt
• 2 halved limes
• 1 spinach
• 1/4 cup scallions (chopped)
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
What you will need to make Haitian Patties:
• 1 cup of cold water
• 1 egg yolk (beaten)
• 3 cups of all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. of salt
• Hot pepper (to taste)
• 1 tbsp. of vinegar (white)
• 1/4 cup of butter (softened)
• 1 cup of vegetable shortening
• 1 lb of cooked ground beef (or another other meat kind you favor)
• 2 tsp. parsley
• 1 clove of garlic (chopped)
• 2 shallots (chopped)
• 1 tbsp. broth
What you should do.
1. Make paste with the hot pepper, garlic, parsley and shallots.
2. Season cooked meat with seasoning paste and broth.
3. Cook for ten minutes over medium heat in covered pot while stirring constantly.
4. When all the liquid has been cooked off the filling will be ready.
5. In large mixing bowl, add flour and make a hole in its center. Into the hole pour water and add the salt. Using a spoon to mix, combine ingredients without kneading.
6. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
7. Mix shortening and butter in bowl.
8. Roll dough into 1/4 inch thick rectangle then spread with half of the shortening mix.
9. Fold an edge over the middle and spread the remaining shortening on this section. Then fold over the last section and roll dough to thickness of a 1/4 inch. Fold into thirds and roll again, repeat, then refrigerate overnight.
10. Roll dough to a thickness of 1/2 an inch and then cut into rounds of 1 1/2 inches.
11. Place a spoonful of meat mixture on one side and fold over the other side, pressing the ends together.
12. Place on baking sheet, brush with egg yolks and baked in oven with a pan of water on the rack below at 4000 F for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 3000 F and bake for another 20 minutes or until patties are golden brown.
What you will need to make Poul ak Nwa - Chicken with Cashews
• 6 Chicken pieces (Three thighs and three legs preferably)
• 1 tbsp. of Tomato Paste
• 1 Lime
• 1 1/2 cups of water
• 4 tbsp. parsley
• 4 tbsp. garlic
• 4 tbsp. thyme
• 4 tbsp. scallions
• Salt (to taste)
• 4 tbsp. onion powder
• 1 cup of cashews (raw)
• 2 tbsp. of Olive Oil
• 1/2 tsp. of black pepper
• 1 cup diced tomatoes
• 1 large onion (red or white)
• 1 1/2 tbsp. chicken bouillon (optional)
• 1/4 tsp. of chopped hot pepper (optional)
What you should do:
1) Juice the lime and set juice aside.
2) Clean chicken pieces with the squeezed lime then rinse in cold water and use paper towel to pat the pieces dry.
3) Combine chicken and parsley, black pepper, garlic, thyme, onion powder, scallions, reserved lemon juice, salt and pepper, then marinate for two hours (preferably overnight).
4) In a heavy pot, add chicken and let stew on medium flame for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5) Boil cashews in a separate pot in water until cooked halfway. Drain and set water aside as well as cashews.
6) Empty pot of chicken and its juices, then add oil and tomato paste to the pot while stirring. Cook tomato paste for a few minutes and add chicken to be browned all around, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
7) Add tomatoes, bouillon, onions and hot pepper. Cook for five minutes then stir in cashews, adding water from cashews as necessary.
8) Cook for a half hour or until chicken and cashews are cooked. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Enjoy this tasty cornmeal dish hot and with sliced avocados on the side.
What you will need to make Corn Meal or Mais Mouline::
• 1 cup of corn meal
• 1 tbsp. of oil
• 4 cups of water
• 1 tsp. of parsley
• 2 clove of garlic (minced)
• 1 tsp. thyme
• 1/2 of an onion (chopped finely)
• Salt and black pepper (to taste)
• Hot pepper (to taste)
• 2 scallions (chopped)
• 1 cup kidney beans (dried)
• 4 cloves
• 1 400ml can of coconut milk
• 1 ripe avocado (large and slightly soft)
What you should do in making Corn Meal (Mais Mouline):
1) Soak kidney beans overnight in 3 cups of water.
2) Drain the next day and cook in pressure cooker with enough water to cover beans until they are tender. You may use a normal pot to boil the beans if you don't have a pressure cooker. Just add another cup of water and cook on low heat for an hour to an hour and a half. Then, separate beans from the liquid, saving both.
3) In a mortar, grind all spices together with a pestle.
4) Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pot and sauté the booked beans with the ground spices and onion for 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, salt, cloves and the water from the beans and bring to a boil. Stirring vigorously to avoid lumps, add cornmeal to the mixture.
5) Stir regularly while cooking for 40 minutes along the side of the pot with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
6) Add salt and pepper to tast.
An extremely popular Haitian dish, usually served with fried plantains (Bannan Peze) is Griot. This is pork shoulder, cubed, marinated, boiled and then fried to golden brown perfection.
What you will need:
• 3 lbs of pork shoulder (cut into 1-2 inch cubes)
• 1 cup of orange juice (bitter)
• 1/2 cup of shallots (chopped)
• Salt, pepper and hot pepper (to taste)
• 1 tsp. thyme.
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1 large onion (chopped)
• 3 cloves
• 1/4 cup parsley
• 2 limes
• 3-4 cups of water
What you should do to make Fried Pork or Haitian Griot:
1. Mix into a paste the hot pepper, onions, thyme, shallots, cloves, garlic, parsley and paprika with a tbsp. of lime juice. Set aside.
2. Use the remaining lime halves to clean pork and rinse with cold water. Then, in a medium-sized bowl, use hands to mix paste, pork and orange juice together. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 45 minutes to up to a day.
3. Add pork with water to pot and boil until tender (for about half an hour to 45 minutes). Drain.
4. Heat oil and fry boiled pork pieces until crispy (for a healthier option, one may bake the pieces at a high temperature until golden brown.
5. Drain on paper towels and serve with Fried Plantain, rice and pikliz.
Of note: the remaining juice after the boiling of the pork may be used to make a sauce to accompany the dish.
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