Imagine hot weather, sunny skies and a bit of a breeze, steel drums echoing in the background and lingering songs of Bob Marley playing over speakers as you lay on a beach with the only worry of when to turn over as not to burn. Yes Jamaica the land of smiles and sunshine and also great spices and barbecues, with jerk beef, chicken or lamb and even a fresh lobster at some of the beaches. It was only a couple years ago that my lovely daughter Alexa and her husband Rod were married on the beach of the Iberostar Resort in Montego Bay.
The memory of that day is still so vivid in my mind, the band playing local music, my daughter in a beautiful dress, with her arm in mine, and her husband waiting for her and the first look on his face as he saw her, a very emotional moment for me as I was letting my daughter go on to live her life. So many great memories of that vacation with my wife Nicoletta and I having so much fun there jazzercising at the hotel pool, climbing waterfalls, going to art markets and great beach tours, and of course great food. One particular day we went on a tour of a local art and craft market. The locals there painted and made jewelry, so determined they were to sell us things and you could not help but buy something for the reason of supporting their soul in their creativity. The thing I remember most is after that going to a famous café in Negril called Rick's Cafe. We get off the bus and this smell of barbecue hits you and a hungry immediately smelling that jerk spice caramelizing on meat yummy, and seeing the sunset with a beautiful rum cocktail, that Nicoletta mostly had, her first experience of rum and she liked it, holding each other as the sunset, cliff divers jumping off great heights into water clearer than day, music playing, there ain't nothing better than this. This is the LIFE!
So to pay homage to that memory and my daughter's wedding, inspired by the beautiful people, places, and experiences, I have created for you Jerk Beef Kabobs with Sunshine Slaw.
The slaw a combination of crisp veggies such as carrots, purple and regular cabbage, and I don't have to tell you how good purple cabbage is for you, loaded with all that beta goodness, some Anjou pear, some white sweet onion, and dried raisins, giving you a slaw packed with flavors and textures which were a great compliment to the spiciness of the jerk beef. The dressing for the slaw a complex array of flavors such as mayo, wild mushroom and herb-infused olive oil, peanut sauce, sriracha sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and fish sauce along with many other ingredients giving this slaw a most mature distinct taste sweet and edgy, and keeping your taste buds guessing.
The beef a gorgeous organic Piedmontese rib eye, excess in fat grains securing the thought of how juicy and tender this was going to be. I purchased it at the Italian Center Shop in Little Italy, Edmonton. You gotta love these stores always filled with little gems of food. We always leave there hungry, and sometimes we succumb to our appetite and stop off at the café for a piece of focaccia, or pizza, eaten right away. On Saturday at the Strathcona Farmers Market we decided to get a jerk sauce from Jamaican Chefmom one of the vendors specializing in Jamaican foods, things like the jerk sauce, Jamaican patties, pastries, and the list goes on and on. Knowing me and not being able to leave well enough alone I add a few things to the jerk sauce, an expression of my creativity and intuition. A smidgen of onion powder and some brown sugar, paprika, wasabi, and just a squeeze of sriracha, a sprinkling of green onion and parsley chopped, and some dried oregano and sage ends this repertoire. Beef nicely cubed, and into a bowl for a bit of a dance with the jerk marinade, and into the fridge for a day of mingling.
Barbecue nice and hot and some undivided attention and these jerk beef babies caramelized so beautifully and the aroma is so delicious I just want to eat it right now, slaw in the bowl, a dripping of dressing tosses lovingly and this is a meal you will be licking your fingers to!
This being a cold winter day does not stop me from creating a little sunshine on the barbecue. Some say beating the cold is creating something else in your mind, like the memories of warm sunny beach days. I could have worn my shorts but I think my neighbors would cart me off to the looney bin!
Here's to Jamaica, and happy sunshine beaches. Irie, Irie.
The perfect song for today: "Everything's gonna be alright" by Bob Marley.Print