Saturday, September 18, 2010

Preview photos of Caribbean Brooklyn for Noshnews

I'm putting finishing touches on Noshnews Issue #23 - Caribbean Brooklyn. Here are just a few photos that I hope will tempt you! Let me start with a series of photos to introduce you to delicious Trinidadian doubles! From my reading, doubles are a street food. There aren't lots of street vendors in Brooklyn selling out of carts or trucks; there are plenty of Haitian food stalls, but not Trinidadian ones, from what I saw. Doubles are cheap - $1 or $1.25, for the most part. So you'll definitely buy more than one~

The Doubles is (this is grammatically correct!) an addictive sandwich with a filling of curried chickpeas between two saucer-sized pieces of bread (called barra) sometimes made with either white flour or yellow pea (lentil) flour, with curry and cumin added. haven't tried to make it yet, and rather doubt I will, considering how cheap they are... and I've eaten so many now that I know that the bread needs to have a particular consistency - soft yet solid.

After the two doubles are laid out, a filling of chick peas is added. THe chick peas are curried with onion, ginger and curry powder.

You can choose one of three sauces - tamarind, pepper or kuchela, a hot mango sauce. Some people ask for all three - I usually do! The mixture plays lovely and exotic games with your palate.

You can find the ingredients for doubles in markets all over Brooklyn (and recipes on the Internet). But I'm happier to have someone else make them for me! As you can see, it's a leaky-looking preparation. The sandwich is wrapped in white sandwich paper before you get it. Thank goodness... or it would leak all over you!In any case, the doubles aren't around for long - the flavors now ooze through your veins!

THe colorful baby pants shown below were on sale at the Caton-Flatbush Market at the intersection of these two streets. Until I saw it I had absolutely no awareness of this market. It serves as an incubator for local small businesses. I saw copying companies, hair salons, nail spas, Haitian markets, clothing stalls and more... It was a surprise to me, because I thought I knew NYC's most interesting markets. This one has been around for almost 10 years - and will become a destination on future Noshwalks!

Callaloo seems to be the "national green" of Caribbean Brooklyn. You will see it in all the markets! I also saw some at a beautiful farm on the campus of George Wingate High School, where students, under the tutelage of professional farmers, are growing all sorts of produce to cater to Caribbean palates; they operate a greenmarket during growing season! The student farm is show below; below that is a picture of callalloo (not the farm's!) at Suzie's Farm on Flatbush Avenue.

I've been to many places, but not the Caribbean islands (or Guyana), whose food will be featured in the upcomoing issue of Noshnews. (I was in Cuba more than 30 years ago, however - on a bicycle trip!) The colors and textures are wonderful - as seen in this picture form a market whose proprietor, a friendly but camera-shy woman named Dawn, takes such good care of her merchandise. I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is to see these foods in their natural surroundings!

This last photo won't be in Noshnews, but the store canopy made me laugh. Bagels are the international food of choice, I suppose!

More San Pedro Market photos

Well, I think I've figured out how to add 5 photos at a time. I'll try to add more... but you can see a lot of my photo albums of Peru and other places I've visited at my Noshwalks page on Facebook. In fact, this blog is really just complementary and lets me write endless copy when what you really should do is see the photos of the market.

The first photo shows a girl holding up a "cocona." I didn't know what it was until my last full day in Peru, when I was in Lima and wandered through "Vivenda," a 24-hour produce market in the Miraflores neighborhood, near my hotel, which seemed modeled on Whole Foods. Cocona looked like no fruit (or vegetable) I'd ever seen - lighter in color than any tomatoes iI was familiar with but looking a bit like a tomato; more oblong than round. I bought one, successfully got it through customs, put in my refrigerator and then - alas - got back to it too late. By then it had shriveled up. I'm embarrassed to confess this, because I never got around to tasting it! From what I've read - and there's not much about it on line - it's cultivated in Peru, tastes somewhat like a cross between a tomato and lime (interesting!) and is used by some Peruvian Indians to treat headlice. Maybe that's better than all the gunk I had to use when my daughter had it in 2nd grade!

In the next picture, a woman at a small bakery near the market is holding up a plate containing a slice of causa, a delicious potato pie with an avocado filling. This is not a difficult dish to make - you mash yellow potatoes, flavor with lime and Peruvian pepper paste, and when cool, you prepare one layer (about a 4" square, about1 1/2 " high, add a filling that can be tuna fish, chicken, avocado, shrimp, whatever, and top it off with a second layer of potato. Garnish it with parsley, olives, whatever... This is the ultimate comfort food!

The company I used to arrange my tour, Southern Crossings ( arranged for an amazing guide, Rich Achante, to take me through San Pedro. I'd already wandered through it on my own the day before, but Rich was able to explain certain foods I wouldn't have thought even to ask about. One is lucuma, the fruit that the woman in the picture is holding. She operates a natural juice bar, making juices and shakes of all sorts of local fruits and vegetables - the type of thing you see all over Latin America - and in the Caribbean and Latin American neighborhoods of New York City. Lucuma has a soft, pasty texture, and Rich described as almost like a caramel pumpkin pudding or - and it looks like that when it's cut open. He said he's so addicted to it that he has to have some lucuma every day - and usually buys it in the form of an ice cream pop purchased from a street vendor!

So much of the produce looks just so gorgeous and tasty. This barrel of peppers, limes, tomatoes and ginger just exudes flavor!

More on Cuzco (a bit late...)

Oh, gee, time has flown. And ambitious as I sometimes am, I just didn't get back to talking about my wonderful visit to Peru - now almost two months ago.

As I've worked on this one, I realize why I stopped with the other... Blogspot must have a glitch and I can't upload more than one photo per post! So here's a great close up the wonderful varieties of corn you'll see...a nd I'll do another soon. I'll shortly be switching to a newer, faster computer and hope I'll have more success uploading more photos!