October 2008

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alex's life book

  • In early 2006, I began creating a life book for my daughter, Alex. Click here for links to articles describing my experience.
  • And for those of you who are more digitally inclined, in late 2006, I recreated key pages of Alex's lifebook for an article I wrote for AlphaMom, using Scrapblog.

    You can see the final digital result (and leave comments, if you'd like!) here.

what's been on my nikon lately

  • And you can view my favourites here.

if i'm not here, i'm here

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Hey Karen not to be totally ignorant about this but what exactly is Callaloo and how do you make it? I've heard it before on your site and it seems intereesting..did I miss a post in the past with a recipe?

cheryl b.

That looks magically delicious.


With all due respect to the chef, a few dashes of Angostura Bitters is always nice when you're seasoning the chicken, just for the spirit of the occasion. I think, anyway.


Kaiasmom --

"Callaloo" is like a vegetarian gumbo -- it's a soup made of "dasheen" (similar to spinach), okra, pumpkin, and a bunch of other stuff. I haven't posted a recipe, because I don't know how to make it (yet). It may be a while (because to be honest, I'm not a fan of it), but I'll definitely get a recipe up, because it's something every Trini cook should know how to make.



Loving the recipes, Karen! Thanks!

queen t

YES! Pelau does taste better as a left-over. I am not sure what it is...that needs to be documented somewhere as a fact, if it already isn't.

..and how you nah go like pigeon peas! I'm not going to argue with Granny, but a good-tasting (to me!) pelau has pigeon peas. I need to try a vegan version...hmmmm...tasty


Queen T -- I knew that someone would argue the pigeon peas issue with me, I find myself in the minority on this issue! However, since I know you're a vegan, I shall humbly take your point. If you figure out how do to this the vegan way (i.e., no chicken, lotsa peas), let us know how it turns out!



Looks absolutely yummy Karen!! I will defintely give it a try this week. I like that it's an easy recipe too, that helps when you have a busy 14 month old tugging at you in the kitchen!
So what exactly are pigeon peas? Are they like regular peas?


Simone --

I'm not sure how to describe pigeon peas, exactly -- so if you look at the post above, "pigeon peas" is now linked to a site with a picture of them. They're just .... brown peas. And, frankly, they do nothing for me, but as Queen T implied, pelau purists wouldn't have their pelau without them.

Except my grandmother, of course. And as far as I'm concerned, her opinion is what matters most. ;o)

Good luck giving it a try -- let me know how it turns out!



I usually just lurk, but I had to comment b/c my two year old saw the pictures and said "look mommy, St. Lucia food!" I have never had pelau without pigeon peas, but I may just have to try this recipe. Oh, we (my family) washes rice too. Three times, I don't know if the number is significant, but that's what I was taught.


Looks yum-o-rific! Is the ginger taste really significant? (I had an bad situation with biting down on a heee-yooge piece of raw ginger and have not cared for it since) Would it be blasphemy to omit it, or is it not that big a deal?

PS: re-looking at your Mom's Day pics, and I have to say we're all here gushing over Alex, and rightfully so, but Damn, woman, you are gorgeous and divine! (tm Tertia)


Missbanshee --

Thanks so much! And no, the ginger taste is actually very subtle. I ALWAYS use ginger when I make pelau, but I suspect that you wouldn't miss it much at all if you omitted it. That's the beauty of Trini food: you can make it your own. For example, my sister, above, says she uses Angostura bitters in her seasoning -- I wouldn't think of it. But I've had her pelau, and it's VERY good.

But, Lord, child, don't omit the garlic. Yuh MUS' have de gahlic!

Good luck!



Sweet Jeebus, woman, like I'd EVAH eliminate the gahhhhhlic! Thanks for the tips, as per you, I'd not eliminate the ginger. I trust you, K! Psssst, eliminate the garlic...I'm a Jersey girl, child! It ain't dinner without the garlic!


Tonight, I was chopping up garlic for spaghetti and I thought about you and your special chicken dish. I wish I was more creative in the kitchen, like you! However, it was nice to smell the garlic on my fingers as I read through this recipe again, kind of like...smell-o-vision, 'cept for a computer.


Must. Make. Immediately.


Oooh thank you! I am going to try and make it this weekend! So exotic! And I love sliced tomato with everything, so I'll definitely try that too!

Happy mother's day! Those pics were gorgeous!


OOOH! I know what "choonkaying" (from your chicken and dumplings post) probably means!!! OOOOH!!! Me! I know, I know!

I have an Indian cookbook that I am learning from, and I learned that the spice mixture of garlic, onions, curry etc. is called a "chonk" and varies according to the dish you are ultimately making. See http://www.ethnicfoodsco.com/India/TechniquesIndianCooking.htm.

Thank you for the great recipes. Do you have any advice for how to convince my husband that good food can and may include coconut milk? Or is it possible to make these yummy recipes without coconut milk?


Karen --

That's awesome! Thanks -- I'm sure that's where Celeste's "choonkay" comes from!

As for the coconut milk: you can definitely omit it from the pelau -- I did for years, and have only started adding coconut milk since I've been here in Trinidad. It IS the real way to make it, but it's just as delicious without it.

With regard to the curry, I would add it -- it actually thickens the sauce somewhat, and I think without it, something will be lacking.

I will tell you, however in both dishes, the coconut flavour is VERY subtle -- particularly in the curry, since curry generally overpowers everything. As a matter of fact, I can't STAND coconut -- I hate coconut water (a sin in this part of the world), I hate coconut on cakes, pina coladas -- I really despise it. And you can barely taste it in both. Maybe that'll help your husband to take the risk. :o)



Here in Michigan, we find pigeon peas in groceries where there's a high Latino population and at our local PhilAsian-African-Caribbean Market (I'm pretty sure that's its full name, too). They're called Gandules Verdes and they're brown, so I'm not sure why they use the word Verdes. They're canned; the brands we have here are Goya and La Preferida. I've had success with both.


Now I hav GOT to make some of THAT!!!


this site is great



I have been looking for a pilau recipee for a while now, I had a friend of mine from St. Vincent make it for me and have been looking ever since, glad to have found it, I watched him make it and he didn't use peas either maybe a personal preference? He also made homemade bread that was out of this world it was a very thick loaf but very good any siggestions?


Pelau, It is usually a meal that I cook on Saturdays. Just a tradition, I guess from Mom. Pigeon peas are sometimes expensive in the USA so I have substitute it with Blackeye Peas. Try it!


I know this is a really old post, and just happened to come to it... and happened to read the comments...

>>I can't STAND coconut -- I hate coconut water (a sin in this part of the world), I hate coconut on cakes, pina coladas -- I really despise it.<<

Hilarious! We went to trinidad and my husband HATED coconut water, and we just could not get over it... I think it is a sin! :)


Hi there,
Thanks for the Pelau recipe. I lived in Dominica for a couple of years and Pelau is one of my favorite memories. Your recipe is the closest I've see to what I learned to make there...but they would put in a can of peas and carrots instead of pigeon peas.

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