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Cooking Lessons from the Bahamas

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Every year I travel somewhere unique and on my recent trip my family and I returned to Nassau, Bahamas. In previous trips to the Bahamas I never ventured out to where the locals eat, but lately, I have been reading about local food tours and on this trip we went on a wonderful food tour led by a company called Tru Bahamian Food Tours. It was a three hour walking tour of Old Town in Nassau, Bahamas and our guide not only shared with us restaurants of local flavor but gave us a history of this part of the island. One store we visited was a Tea Shop which sold items from local businesses that specialized in teas, spice rubs, dressings and coffees that are made from fresh, local ingredients. The most famous of the local flavors of the Bahamas, Caribbean Islands, Spain, South America and Mexico is peppers. From Sweet Green Peppers to Red Hot Ghost Peppers, the growing, drying and processing of peppers are taken quite seriously here. Peppers and their heat are ranked based on the Scoville Heat Index, a classification of the amount of capsaicin, the heat producing chemical, in a pepper. The Tea shop owner and I got to talking about recipes and what were our favorite flavors for grilling or roasting beef, chicken or fish. I had just sampled some jerk spices that are standard flavors used in any island cooking one might find in a chicken dish at a local restaurant, and I shared with the Tea Shop owner my secret for BBQ sauce that she says she will now try, so here goes in case you want to give it a try.

Easy BBQ Sauce

Spice mix –your choice-(Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, Allspice, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Dehydrated Onion, Ginger, Cinnamon, Chili Powder and Paprika) –mix it up to about 1-2 Tablespoons of each spice. Or use your favorite store bought spice mix. Use half of the mix for the sauce and reserve the other half as a rub on the meat for grilling.

Chili Sauce-your favorite brand- 1-12 ounce Bottle

Liquid-12 fluid ounces of any sugar soda, favorite beer or red wine

Jelly, Jam or Chutney- for sweet flavor use-1/2 cup of fruit chutney (peach, pineapple, or apricot) or for savory flavor use 1/2 cup of balsamic garlic & herb jam

1/4 cup of Cooking oil such as Canola Oil or Coconut Oil to rub meat

I usually add carrots, potatoes, onions and mushrooms to the pan or add to grill on skewers and can be sauced up too!

Combine spice mix and jam together with the chili sauce and add liquid, mix well and pour into a pot. Stir occasionally as you bring to a boil. Let cool and reserve for later. Prepare meat for grilling or roasting as you would normally. Rub meat, fish or chicken with oil to prevent sticking. Take saved spice mix and rub into food. When grilled items are done brush on BBQ sauce and grill for another minute. Let meat rest five minutes and serve. If roasting a beef brisket in a pan on the grill or in the oven keep cooking temperature low at 325 degrees and mix all the ingredients together, pour in the pan and cook for two hours. Remove pan from heat, take out the meat and slice into thin slices across the grain. Return meat to the pan to cook for another two hours until brisket is fork-tender. The BBQ sauce works great with chicken or fish and by changing the ingredients you can bring out a unique flavor. I have done this for years and it is always a winner.

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