Moving to Haiti, there were foods that we were expecting to forgo. Take dairy and berries, both are mainly imported, elusive, and outrageously expensive; makes sense. On the flip-side, some surprising things have been easy to find. Like hotdogs; they are everywhere. Hotdogs are tucked into pikliz stuffed breakfast pastries, fried on the street, and cooked into Haitian style gratin. Hotdogs were were even served to me at the maternity clinic, a few hours after giving birth to Madeline. In the spirit of hotdog season, we're sharing some of our top 3 Gourmet Hotdogs; where the standard ketchup, mustard, and relish are replaced by toppings inspired by our favorite sandwich combinations: the Reuben, Cubano and Bánh Mì. Check out our other summer grilling ideas here.
Maple Black Pepper Oven Spareribs
It's 80 degrees in northern Indiana today. The sky is blue, the trees are budding, and our daughter is happily smeared from head to toe in the mud she's dug out of the backyard. To kick off spring, I whipped up these Maple Black Pepper Oven Spareribs. These spareribs are easy to make, don't require a smoker or any complicated equipment, and are absolutely delicious! These ribs forgo the traditional tomato-based sauce, and bring to center stage the fresh maple syrup Rebecca was given a few weeks ago from a local Amish farmer. Celebrate the changing of the seasons with Maple Black Pepper Oven Spareribs.
Orange Cilantro Grilled Chicken Skewers
We love the flavor of grilled food. When we moved to Haiti, we missed our decade old baby Weber grill so much that we ended up bringing it with us to Haiti -- impressively packed by Paul's Dad in his suitcase. We debated admitting this embarrassing dependence, recognizing the ridiculousness of bringing our grill to Haiti. But wow, do we love to grill. Local oranges and herbs make a lovely punchy green marinade for these Orange Cilantro Grilled Chicken Skewers. A light zesty marinade to add to your summer repertoire.
Chilmole Slow Roasted Spareribs
Yesterday, both Paul and my sister celebrated their birthdays. Food, as usual, is our vehicle of celebration with an office birthday lunch featuring Paul's favorite Haitian dish, kalalou, stewed okra with slow cooked beef. Unfortunately, an ocean separates us from celebrating with my sister this year, but we in Haiti will spend our weekend in food revelries! Paul has requested his usual quirky birthday-food combinations; buttermilk biscuits, hot fudge pudding cake and watermelon chiffon pie, all fairly doable with minor adaptations. But this year he also requested ribs. Hmm. Since we have some gorgeous chilmole paste in our fridge right now, I am planning to make Paul a grilled version of our recipe for Yucatán Chilmole Slow Roasted Spareribs, a finger-licking rib recipe that we perfected in Pittsburgh before we left. Smoky, spicy, juicy, delicious.
It’s a holiday week, and we’re eating hotdogs. To be honest, hotdogs have long been a favorite of mine, and our freezer is stockpiled, prepper-style, in case of a global shortage. We got sick of the soggy, too large buns and obvious condiments, and for this grilling season we’ve gotten creative and kicked out the bun, brought on the tortilla, and seriously ramped up the flavors for gourmet Loaded Hotdogs. We wanted to share our favorite flavor combination; where ketchup and mustard are supplanted by tart homemade quick pickled red onions, tangy guacamole, creamy queso fresco cheese, and if you are feeling decadent, crispy bacon.
It is a big week for us. Friday marked our first official day as country representatives, and tomorrow we are moving into our new house. The thought of unpacking after 6 months makes me giddy! This week's transition seems more final than the previous ones, it feels like we have finally arrived at our destination, Haiti is home. As we have explored Haitian culture through food, pikliz was our first culinary attempt. Pikliz is a beloved Haitian condiment; a pickled cabbage dish with spices and citrus notes, that often accompanies rich or fried foods. Our usual make-taste-adjust routine was somewhat stymied, when after our 9th batch, we just couldn't seem to get a consensus from our Haitian friends and co-workers, of the flavor profile for the perfect pikliz. More heat, more sweet, less sour, more citrus, less salt, more salt, add color, more crunch. Finally we figured it out, there is no perfect master recipe. This is our favorite version of our many, many batches. Enjoy tinkering with the recipe to make pikliz your own. This tangy condiment is fantastic with all manner of meat, hot dogs, burgers, and stewed dishes.