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Pikliz a Spicy Addition to Haitian Diets

Haitian Pikliz

Pikliz is a popular and traditional side-dish served as a salad, as part of a marinade, or as a flavor-enhancer to prepared Haitian foods. A very hot brew of several types of peppers and a sliced medley of vegetables pickled in vinegar, the heat level can be adjusted by adding more or less of Scotch bonnet peppers.

To make Pikliz, prepare a large enough quantity (50 servings) you can use over a several-month period. For 50 servings you will need:

• 6 Scotch bonnet peppers
• 2 cups of slivered or shredded cabbage
• 1/2 cup of slivered or shredded carrots
• 1/4 cup slivered or shredded onion
• 1/4 cup of frozen peas
• 4 whole cloves
• 1 teaspoon salt (if you want)
• 8-10 peppercorns
• 3 cups of white vinegar

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Kremas, a Haitian-Style Egg Nog Holiday Beverage

Haitian Kremas

Krémas is pungent Haitian-style egg nog--but without the eggs--a festive drink prepared during the Christmas holidays in Haiti. The preparation is simple and shouldn't take more than 15 minutes, if you are an organized cook.

The tools needed to make Krémas are:
• a large punch bowl
• a whisk
• a ring of measuring spoons
• 1-cup measuring cup
• 1 wooden spoon for removing the cream of coconut from the can
• 6 to 8 cordial glasses

To prepare, assemble the following ingredients:
• 2-12 oz. cans of Carnation evaporated milk
• 4-12 oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk
• 1-15 oz. can sweetened cream of coconut
• 1 tsp. Mc Cormicks vanilla extract
• 1 tsp. Mc Cormicks almond extract
• 1 grated anise star
• 1 tsp. Mc Cormicks cinnamon
• 1 tsp. Mc Cormicks grated nutmeg
• 1 lime or lemon zest and juice of one lime or lemon
• 1/2 to 2 cups of 80-proof 5-star Barbancourt Dark Rum, or Bacardi Light Rum

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Pain Patate, Haitian Style

Pain Patate made the Haitian way

Haitian style Pain Patate, or sweet potato bread is a baked pudding. It is traditionally made with boniatas as regular sweet potatoes give a much stronger color to the treat than white potatoes. Either way, you should enjoy this tasty pastry.

What you will need:
• 2 lbs of sweet potatoes (white, washed, peeled and cut)
• 1 banana (large, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices)
• 1 cup sugar (brown)
• 1/2 cup raisins (seedless)
• 1 tsp. ginger (grated)
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 12 oz can of evaporated milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg (grated)
• 1tsp cinnamon (ground)
• 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
• 1 grated lemon rind
• 3 tsp. melted butter

What you should do:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, grate the sweet potatoes.
3. Mash the banana into the grated sweet potatoes.
4. One by one, mix in all the remaining ingredients except for 1 tbsp. of the brown sugar. Continue until all are completely mixed into the batter.
5. Line or grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan then evenly spread mixture in.
6. Top evenly with the reserved brown sugar. This will caramelize the top of the pudding for a wonderful color.
7. Bake for about an hour and a half. You can check for its doneness by inserting a clean toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes away clean, the pudding is done.
8. Let cool and serve.

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Diri Ak Jon Jon or Rice Mushrooms - Diri Ak Djondjon

Diri Ak Jon Jon or Rice Mushrooms - Diri Ak Djondjon

A wildly popular Haitian recipe, Diri Ak Djondjon is most popularly served at weddings, first communions and birthday parties as a side dish. This northern Haitian recipe, mostly commonly served with a main course, is a low maintenance dish that cooks up quickly, but gives off such wonderful, delicious aromas when cooking it is a definite favorite. The mushrooms, (Psathyrella coprinoceps) give off incredible color and flavor to the dish. To optimize efficiency when preparing Diri Ak Djondjon, one may prepare all the ingredients you will need in advance.

What you will need:
• 2 cups of rice (long grain)
• 4 cups of water
• 1 cup of dried, black mushrooms
• 1 small, finely chopped onion
• 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
• 2 tbsp. of oil or butter
• Salt (to taste)
• Pepper (to taste)
• A sprig of thyme

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Squash Soup or Soup Joumou

Pumpkin Soup Became A Haitian Tradition After Independence

Not only is Soup Joumou, or squash soup a tasty Caribbean dish, it's a symbol of Haitian liberation. During the reign of the French, Haitians were forbidden the dish as it was considered too elevated for slaves. As a commemoration of Haitian freedom, since 1804, Haitians, who enjoy the soup at their leisure year-round, have Squash Soup on the 1st of January as a rule.

What you will need:
• 1 lb of fresh Caribbean pumpkin or a 12 oz pack of frozen squash (butternut squash is a suitable substitute)
• 8 cups of water
• 1 lb of cubed soup meat (beef, chicken, etc.)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 1 lb soup bone (optional)
• 1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
• 2 whole cloves
• 1 stalk of celery, chopped
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 potatoes, cubed
• 1 chayote, cubed (optional)
• 1/4 of a small cabbage, chopped coarsely
• 1 diced turnip
• 2 sliced carrots
• 2 leeks cut into 1/2 inch pieces (whites only, optional)
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
• 1 Scotch bonnet pepper
• 1/4 lb spaghetti, broken into pieces
• 1 tbsp. of lime juice or vinegar

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Stewed Conch or Lambi Haitian Style

Making Conch or Lambi, Haitian Style

Made up of 100% muscle, conch, a Caribbean specialty dish can be a succulent change from the normal cuisine, if prepared correctly. While sometimes eaten raw, it can also be cooked in a Creole sauce or grilled and eaten in a salad. Many Caribbean countries have their own recipes, but, below is a traditional Haitian method to preparing conch.

What you will need:
• 1 lb of Conch (shell, clean and skin it)
• A medium sized onion
• A pinch of Maggie
• A pinch of baking soda (to help expedite the cooking time)
• 1/2 a tsp. of Old Bay
• 1 tsp. butter
• Juice of a lime
• 2 tsp. of sour orange
• 3/4 of a cup of water
• 1 chopped tomato
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup of oil
• 1/4 cup of scallions
• 3 tbsp. of tomato paste
• 3 tbsp. of vinegar
• 1 tsp. thyme
• 1 tsp. parsley

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Tassot de Cabrit or Fried Cubed Goat

Tassot de Cabrit or Fried Goat, Haitian Style

One very popular dish found on many Haitian plates is Tassot de Cabrit (Fried Goat Meat Bits). This dish is usually paired with rice, fried plantains and veggies and gets its start with a good selection of goat meat, usually a goat's leg. The leaner and fresher the leg, though pricier, the better your end result. Though, frozen goat meat may also be used and any excess fat may be trimmed off during preparation.

What you will need:
• 2-3 lbs of cubed goat meat
• 1/2 a cup of Orange Juice (Sour)
• 1/4 of a cup of Lime Juice
• 1 tsp. of hot pepper and salt (each)
• 1 tbsp. of chopped parsley and thyme (each)
• 2 finely chopped shallots
• 4 cups of water
• Oil for frying

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Rice Red Beans or Diri Ak Pois Coles

Rice Red Beans or Diri Ak Pwa Cole

Diri Ak Pois Coles, or Rice and Red Beans is a traditional dish of the region, especially in Haiti. It is cooked with red kidney beans. A staple in chili dishes, the beans are popularly used in many parts of the world, including India, Mexico and in the United States. In Haiti, it is combined with rice and other ingredients to make a popular Sunday dinner dish.

What you will need:

• 1 cup red kidney beans
• 6 cups of water
• 2 cups white rice (long grained)
• 1 finely chopped onion
• 2 to 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
• 1/4 cup smoked ham or salted pork, cubed
• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
• Sprig of thyme
• Ground cloves
• 1 green hot pepper
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tbsp. butter

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Sauce Pois or Beans Puree

Making Sauce Pwoa or Beans Puree, Haitian Style

A savory, high protein dish, Beans Puree or Sauce Pois (also Sauce Pois Noir) is a wonderful addition to a balanced diet.

What you will need:
• 2 cups of dried red beans
• 2 quarts of water
• 1 cup of ham, cubed
• 3 scallions
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 tbsp. parsley
• 2 shallots
• Hot pepper, salt and black pepper (to taste)
• 4 whole cloves or 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

What you must do:
1. Search beans for stones and twigs, then rinse the beans in water.
2. Cover with water and soak overnight. Drain.
3. Make paste with parsley, scallions, hot peppers and shallots.
4. Heat oil and add beans, sautéing with paste.
5. Add ham, parsley and water.
6. Boil until beans are tender, about 2 hours.
7. Separate 3/4 of the beans and blend along with some of the juice into a puree. (If you do not have a blender, use spoon to crush beans through a strainer.
8. Return pureed or crushed beans to pan with the remaining 1/4 and cook over low heat.
9. Season to taste and cook until sauce is reduced to thickness.

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Taste of Haiti at North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art

Taste of Haiti, North Miami Museum Of Contemporary Art

There are a few tried and true avenues through which a country can establish its name on the world map. Its people, its culture, its art and music, sports, government, etc. all can be conduits through which a country's popularity rises worldwide. Haiti has had successes in these fields and more before, but, the earthquake of January 2010 usurped the top spot and put the name Haiti into the minds of the world's people in a context of pity and sorrow. Ever since then, the fight to reclaim the country's popularity in a more positive attitude has been waged by the tourism sector.

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