Antiguan Papaya Pie: Focusing on the Sweet Stuff

Papaya Pie Slice

This Antiguan Papaya Pie is made by combining papayas, egg whites, and spices to make a pumpkin-pie style Caribbean dessert. It is best served with cinnamon and cool whip, and is a refreshing end to a great Caribbean style meal!

Work Ethic + Grateful Heart + Positive Attitude = Whatever you Want

This is my Secret Sweet Sauce for getting what you want out of life. In fact, everything I’ve ever accomplished in life can be contributed to this equation!

Positivity is Everything

Numbers one and two are important in their own ways, and we can talk about them some other time. But on this #SweetSunday, I want to talk a little bit about the Sweet Stuff. I’m a big believer that a positive attitude is EVERYTHING in life. I mean, life’s not easy, my friends. In fact, sometimes it’s pretty freaking hard.

Keeping a positive attitude, focusing on the Sweet Stuff, is vital. The positivity is what pushes you through the moments that don’t seem so navigable. In times when life is testing you the most, thinking about the Sweet Stuff is the key to continue trudging forward.

I’ll admit, lately #3 hasn’t been a big strength of mine. So when everything is going wrong and you feel more irritable, more impatient, more stressed than normal (like I’ve been this week), how do you focus on the Sweet Stuff?

Papaya Pie 3 SlicesEnd of the Day Lists 

The best method that I’ve found is End of the Day lists. At the end of every day, write down the three best things that happened to you that day. Even if your day was crap and your car ran out of battery on the side of the road and the big meeting at work didn’t go how you wanted and you got into a fight with your mom, take 5 minutes right before you go to bed to remember three things that happened that day that were better than the rest.

Even if you had the worst day of your damn life, something good happened: your favorite song played in the car; you had your favorite food for breakfast; you got a phone call from someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with. There is something good in EVERY day, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Think about those good things. Relive them. Write them down. If you can, write paragraphs about why that thing made you happy. I promise, focusing on that good before you go to bed makes everything a whole lot better.

I know this post is different from what I usually share, but I was feeling the need for some positivity, so I thought you might be, too. And, hey, speaking of the Sweet Stuff, if you need something spectacular and unique to put on your End of the Day List, you should give this Papaya Pie a try!! (lol didja like the transition there, folks?)

Let’s Talk about Papaya Pie! 

Papaya fruit mixes with sugar, flour, egg whites, and spices to create this unexpectedly delicious dessert. The Papaya Pie resembles pumpkin pie in a lot of ways– best served cold, flavor multiplied with cinnamon, just delicious in general.

It took me about 8 minutes to mix this pie together. I popped it in the oven, forgot about it, and came back 80 minutes later to a gorgeous and delicious dessert. It’s a pie that I can almost guarantee you no one you know has had before.

When you’re feeling overworked and underpaid in your snowy, cold home this winter… when you’re dreaming of sitting on white sands in the Caribbean in front of a great teal ocean, make this pie. Close your eyes, take a bite, and pretend that you can feel the Caribbean breeze blowing your hair in the wind. Seriously, this pie will take you right there.

Be grateful for the little things. Be grateful for good friends, for good music, for good books. Be grateful for good food that can transport you to the Caribbean with one bite. That, my friends, is the Sweet Stuff.

Papaya Pie

This Antiguan Papaya Pie is made by combining papayas, egg whites, and spices to make a pumpkin-pie style Caribbean dessert. It is best served with cinnamon and cool whip, and is a refreshing end to a great Caribbean style meal!

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pie shell
  • 2 very very large papayas or 4 small ones
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon plus more for topping
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract

Instructions

  1. Cut the papaya in half, remove the seeds, and mash.

  2. Add lemon zest and lime juice, cinnamon, and orange extract.

  3. Stir in flour and sugar. 

  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are stiff. Stir and fold into the mixture.

  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 80 minutes, until the middle is set and the top starts to brown. 

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from AtoZ World Travel

Antiguan Black Bean Cakes: My Changed Opinion on Jalapeños

Antiguan Black Bean Cakes

These Antiguan Black Bean Cakes are for everyone out there scared of a jalapeño. I was you, once, but these black bean cakes have changed me. Read on to hear about my change of heart in regards to the once-feared jalapeño pepper!

I have a confession… I hate spicy food. Yes, I know, I know. I’m cooking a meal from every country in the world, so I’m going to have to get used to it. For those of you out there that enjoy the spice, I envy you. I want to be like you! But I just can’t bring myself to eat something that makes my mouth burn. I don’t enjoy being in pain when I eat; it’s as simple as that.

I also know, though, that liking spicy food opens up an entire world of flavors. Eaters that enjoy the heat can savor anything that’s put in front of them; I want to be the same way. It’s proving difficult, though, because whenever I confront with a spicy food, I run away and hide.

What about the Jalapeños in the Antiguan Black Bean Cakes?

When I decided to make these Antiguan Black Bean Cakes, I saw the jalapeños in the recipe and knew that this recipe was my “spicy” starting point (SPOILER ALERT: I was wrong and these black bean cakes are NOT spicy whatsoever). As I was grocery shopping, I approached the “pepper” section and reluctantly plucked a jalepeño from the shelf. I gingerly placed it my cart, accompanied by a visible wince, and tried to convince myself that I probably wouldn’t COMPLETELY die.

The recipe that I followed originally called for an entire jalapeño, but I was being a baby. I scraped the seeds out of the pepper, chopped it up, and decided to only put half of the recommended amount in the recipe.

When the Antiguan Black Bean Cakes were finally ready to eat, I grabbed one off of the plate and took a bite. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t GREAT. “Thank God,” I thought to myself, though, “there weren’t any jalapeños in that bite.”

I took another bite, but this time OH GOD, OH MY GOD. IT’S A JALAPENO. SOMEBODY PRAY FOR ME. I’M GOING TO DIE. WAIT. WAIT? Wait… This isn’t spicy. Hey, this isn’t half bad!  WAIT! That bite was infinitely better than the bite before!

A Changed Woman

Well, folks, the proof is in the pudding. The jalapeños are the stars of this dish. If you’re fearing the jalapeño like I was, don’t. The spicy part of the jalapeño is the seeds, so removing the seeds makes these Antiguan Black Bean Cakes as mild as can be. I wish I had put double the jalapeños in. Actually, I wish I had put quadruple the jalapeños in.

I faced a fear this weekend, and my taste buds were rewarded with an expanded flavor profile! At least I’m not scared of jalapeños anymore. Now it’s time to start working on some actual spice…

Antiguan Black Bean Cakes

Antiguan Black Bean Cakes are made by coating a black bean mixture with cornmeal and frying on the stove. They are filled with jalapeños and are the perfect side dish for seafood! 

Course Appetizer
Servings 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned black beans
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Grind beans in a blender to a smooth paste.

  2. Stir in onions, garlic, chile, spices, and egg, mixing until fully combined.

  3. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat. 

  4. Place cornmeal in a bowl. Drop a tablespoon of bean mixture in the bowl, turning carefully to coat in cornmeal. Transfer the bean mixture to the pan and fry in the hot oil.

  5. Repeat as necessary and enjoy. 

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from AtoZ World Travel

Antigua and Barbuda Caribbean Seafood Salad: Making Salad Exciting

This Caribbean Seafood Salad from Antigua and Barbuda combines fresh, island ingredients to create a refreshing, delicious, fast, and healthy dinner! 

If you’re looking for a quick, healthy and delicious dinner this week…. I GOTCHU COVERED. I was a little overwhelmed when Antigua and Barbuda week started, so I was on the lookout for the quickest and easiest main course that the Caribbean could provide. This Caribbean Seafood Salad made that quest a perfect success.

This meal is a splendid on-the-go work lunch or even a cut-up-everything-the-night-before-and-throw-it-together-when-you-get-home-from-work dinner! Also, with lean shellfish, avocado, fruit, and sweet potato, this is one of those meals that’s so good, you don’t even realize how healthy it really is.

Quick, easy, AND healthy (okay, okay, aside from the one teaspoon of brown sugar I threw in there)? This salad has it all!

Vertical Caribbean Seafood SaladI Have a History with Salad 

I used to be one of those people that hated salad. I’ve always been a big advocate for healthy, mindful, and nutritious eating, but I’ve also always found joy in unique and exciting meals. For the majority of my life, I thought that when it came to salad, these two criteria were mutually exclusive. Up until about a year and a half ago, I thought there was absolutely no way that a salad could be exciting and healthy.

Let me promise you something right now…. If you still think this about salads, you’re not doing it right. It took me a while to figure it out, but salads can be some of the most delicious and exciting meals! Listen to me carefully, though: I’m not talking about pizza parlor salads with iceberg lettuce, some shredded carrots, and one lone cucumber. You know exactly what I’m referencing right now.

Full Caribbean Seafood SaladNo, I’m talking about salads with good, quality, hearty ingredients. Sometimes that means being a little creative and throwing some things in the bowl that you never thought could sit atop some spinach. Truthfully though, there’s almost nothing you can’t throw on a salad. Once you start getting creative, you’ll never think about salad as boring again.

Antigua and Barbuda is a Caribbean country, so this Caribbean Seafood Salad is chock full of refreshing island favorites. Papayas and yams grow naturally in the Caribbean, and fresh seafood is in abundance on the Caribbean islands. Throw this salad together, and you have a taste of life in Antigua and Barbuda. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we did! What are some of your favorite ways to make your salad exciting? Share with me in the comments below!

Antigua and Barbuda Seafood Salad
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Antigua and Barbuda Caribbean Seafood Salad

This Caribbean Seafood Salad from Antigua and Barbuda combines fresh, island ingredients to create a refreshing, delicious, fast, and healthy dinner! 

Course dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head Boston lettuce washed, dried, and ripped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 lb crab claw meat
  • 1/2 lb sea scallops
  • 10 jumbo cocktail shrimp
  • 1 sweet potato boiled and diced
  • 1/2 large ripe papaya peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 green onions minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar optional
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Fill a pot with water and lemon slices. Bring to a boil and add the scallops until cooked through. This should be very quick, only until they lose their translucence and turn opaque, then run them under cold water to cool. 

    Note: For purposes of authenticity, the scallops in this recipe are boiled. However, boiling scallops doesn't normally accentuate their flavor, so you can also pan sear them in olive oil and then chill them before adding to the salad. 

  2. Combine the dressing ingredients together.

  3. Assemble the seafood and produce over a bed of lettuce, and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy! 

Duncana (Antiguan Sweet Potato Dumplings): Ginormous Banana Leaves

Antigua and Barbuda Duncana

Duncana (Antiguan Sweet Potato Dumplings) are an Antiguan side dish made from sweet potatoes, coconut, and cinnamon. The combination is formed into dumplings, wrapped in banana leaves, and boiled in water to cook.

I walk in the door of my house on a Friday evening, arms full to the brim with grocery bags, work bags, lunch bags, the works. I waddle into the kitchen, heave my collection of junk on the kitchen counter, and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s been a long week, and I can’t wait to relax, enjoy my weekend, and get into the kitchen.

Because my day at work ended a little early, I had hopped in my car around 3:00 and driven to Detroit for some last minute grocery shopping. The trip took me about 2.5 hours round-trip, but the journey was well worth it. Not only did I find the most AMAZING Mexican food store, I also was able to save a whole $15 on my banana leaves (as opposed to buying them on Amazon)! Okay, I’m aware that $15 might have been worth 2.5 hours of my time but… ya’ll… I’m cheap.

I’m exhausted, so I pet my dog and run upstairs to change into my jammies (yes, jammies at 5:30 pm on a Friday… this blog isn’t here for you to judge me, so just shhhh). As I’m changing in my room, Mama Foreign Fork walks into the kitchen and sees my bag of banana leaves on the counter. By the time I’m back downstairs, she’s already taken the leaves out of the bag and laid them out to examine them.

Banana leavesHOLY. MOLY.

I descend the stairs into my kitchen and stop dead in my tracks.

I cannot believe my eyes.

I’m not kidding, these banana leaves were Ginormous. Gigantic. Humongous. Gargantuan.  

They took up the entire island countertop in my kitchen.

When I had put the leaves in my shopping cart, I didn’t know what to expect. I do know that I did NOT anticipate 15-foot long leaves in my home. These things were the Real. Freaking. Deal.

Making the Antiguan Sweet Potato Dumplings 

Making the duncana (Antiguan Sweet Potato Dumplings) was such a fun experience because it was unlike anything I had ever done before. To make these dumplings, grate sweet potatoes and then combine them with sugar, coconut, flour and spices. Form the mixture into dumplings, wrap in banana leaves and secure with twine, and then boil for about 45 minutes. The end result is a sweet potato dumpling that is the perfect side to a seafood dish like bacalao or red snapper.

I cooked about half of the duncana (Antiguan Sweet Potato Dumplings) in banana leaves and, as an experiment, wrapped the other half in aluminum foil. Both types emerged from the water a little soggy but delicious nonetheless. Perhaps try securing your aluminum foil a bit more carefully than I secured mine before popping them in the water. The coconut and sweet potato combination creates a flavor dream come true! Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below.

Duncana (Antiguan S

Duncana are an Antiguan side dish made by combining grated sweet potatoes, grated coconut, and spices. The dumplings are wrapped in banana leaves (or aluminum foil) and boiled. 

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 banana leaves or aluminum foil
  • 1 dry coconut grated
  • 3 lb 1.4 kg sweet potatoes, grated
  • 2 cups 480 ml flour
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml sugar
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml water
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp 2 ml cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp 2 ml salt
  • 1/4 tsp 1 ml nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Wash banana leaves and remove central stems.
  2. Cut leaves into 5-inch (13 cm) squares.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add leaves and blanch for about 10 seconds to soften. Remove and run under water to cool. Set aside.
  4. Combine all remaining ingredients, mixing to make a very soft dough. Add a little extra water if dough is too stiff, or add flour if dough is too liquid.
  5. Place about 1/2 cup dough on each leaf. Fold to make a neat parcel. Secure by tying with kitchen twine or leftover strips of banana leaf. Dough can also be wrapped in aluminum foil if banana leaves are unavailable. 

  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ducuna packets and simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

  7. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Recipe Notes

Recipe from AtoZworldtravel.com