Turks & Caicos Islands (N. America) 18 June 2022

The Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the continent of North America. It has the Atlantic Ocean to the north and east, Puerto Rico to the far southeast, Haiti and the Dominican Republic to the south, Jamaica to the southwest, Cuba to the west and the Bahamas to the far northwest.

The capital is Cockburn Town on Grand Turk.

The official language English.

The climate is a tropical savannah climate. With temperatures between 64 F to 91 degrees on a consistent basis.

The staple foods are okra, peas, pigeon peas, peppers, beans, papaya, plantains, maize, apples, conch, lobster, pan-poached grouper, rice and so many other regional influences (https://www.visittci.com/restaurants-and-dining/cuisine_.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_and_Caicos_Islands

HOMINY GRILL’S SHRIMP & GRITS (https://www.foodgal.com/2017/01/hominy-grills-shrimp-grits/):

  For the grits:

  • 1 C stone-ground grits, such as Anson Mills or Logan Turnpike Mill
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 C grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 C finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Tabasco, plus more to taste
  • In a medium saucepan, bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil. Whisk in the grits and salt, reduce the heat to low, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the grits are thickened, 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, butter, pepper, and hot sauce.
  • Season with additional hot sauce, salt, and pepper, if desired.

For the shrimp:

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • Peanut oil, if needed
  • 1 lb. large (16-20 count) shrimp, cleaned and peeled
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • In a medium skillet over low heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Drain on paper towels, reserving bacon fat and adding peanut oil if necessary so you have 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons fat
  1. Toss the shrimp with the flour until lightly coated, shaking off any excess.
  2. In the skillet with the reserved fat, cook the shrimp over medium-high heat until they begin to turn pink, 1 minute or less.
  3. Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook 1 additional minute.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds (do not let the garlic brown).
  5. Stir in the hot sauce, lemon juice, and scallions and remove from the heat.
  6. Divide the grits among 4 shallow bowls and top with the shrimp mixture.
  7. Garnish with additional scallions.
Here is my version of the Shrimp & Grits. I did some substitutions to the original recipe. For the Cheddar cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the butter, I used non-dairy products. For the bacon I used vegan bacon. The taste was still so amazing! Highly recommend this recipe!

CARIBBEAN JOHNNY CAKE RECIPE (https://www.uncommoncaribbean.com/st-croix/caribbean-johnny-cake-recipe/):

  • 3 C All-Purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • Salt
  • 2-1/2 tsp butter, room temperature
  • Water
  • Oil for frying
  • Extra flour
  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl using a large fork.
  2. Work in the butter with your fingers. It’s like making a pie crust.
  3. Add about 1 cup of water to your large bowl by stirring it in with a fork. Add a little more water, about ¼ cup at a time.
  4. Keep stirring until the mixture forms a soft dough.
  5. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes to allow the ingredients to blend and gluten to form. You may have to add a few sprinkles of flour at a time to keep the dough from becoming too tacky or sticky. If you under knead the gluten it will not have a chance to form a good dough. If you over-knead the dough will be rubbery.
  6. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Flour your hands and your countertop. Make about 12-15 round balls of dough and set them aside.
  8. Heat the oil in your frying pan. While the oil is heating, use a rolling pin to flatten out each ball. Do not flatten them too much or they will be like crackers. When a drop of water pops in the pot it is ready for frying.
  9. Fry a few at a time in the hot oil Do not overcrowd the pot – that will make them greasy. When the underside is golden brown, flip it over. Do not flip each over more than once. I use tongs like a preacher uses the Bible. Tongs are great for frying because they don’t poke the food. Fry each until both sides are golden brown.
  10. Drain each on a cooling rack.
  11. Enjoy!
Here are my Johnny Cakes. I used Whole Wheat flour instead of the All-Purpose flour, sugar alternative and non-dairy butter. Still a great taste! I would probably make them a little smaller, but still really good!!!

HEALTHY CHOCOLATE ALMOND BUTTER CUPS (https://happyhealthymama.com/healthy-chocolate-almond-butter-cups.html): 

  • One 10 oz. bag stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ C coconut oil
  • ¼ C almond butter
  • 1-1/2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1 TBSP erythritol
  • Sea salt flakes (optional)
  1. Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate and coconut oil together until the mixture is completely smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the almond butter, coconut flour, and erythritol, stirring until well combined. The mixture will be thick.
  3. Use a teaspoon to spoon the chocolate mixture into a mini muffin pan/mold (lined with paper cups if not silicone) and place the tray into the freezer to firm for 10 minutes.
  4. Add ¼ teaspoon of the almond butter mixture to the top of the first layer of chocolate. Use your finger to flatten it.
  5. Use the rest of the chocolate to cover the almond butter. Place the tray back into the freezer to firm for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add flaked sea salt to the tops, if desired.
  7. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Oh such a good recipe!!! Highly recommend!!!
Here is my overall meal. I even made Orange sliced infused water! A great drink to accompany this meal!!

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