Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pirates! Arrrr!

Arrrr! It's Pirate Week in the Cayman Islands!

Being the mom to a 3 year old boy is awesome.  We get to play Star Wars (I'm always Darth Vader), legos, and, of course, Pirates!!  My son discovered pirates recently and we've been having some fun.  He and his sister dig for "treasure" in the dirt section of the yard - to date none has been found.  Mostly we sword fight.  On our trip to Disneyland, while I was waiting in line for corndogs, my husband decided to buy our then 2.5 year old son not one, but two plastic swords.  I must say it kept the crowds at a distance that trip :)  Now he's actually a pretty good little sword fighter.  I'm sure that'll be a handy life skill. (not)  Anyway, I digress, we're supposed to be talking about the Cayman Islands, where it is PIRATE WEEK!!  Right now.  Hurry!  For the past 35 years the Cayman Islands have celebrated the most notorious of their early settlers - the Pirates.  Every year, in November, the 3 islands celebrate with parades, boat races, turtle releases and lots of food, drink and probably some pillaging and plundering too.  So today our post is going to teach you nice civilized folks how to TALK like a pirate, DRESS like a pirate, and EAT like a pirate (a pirate on leave perhaps).  Lets get started....

How to Speak Pirate

Ahoy - Hello           Avast - check that out         Aye - yes
Arrrr- I agree       Parley- a meeting      Bilge Rat - an insult

There now you can speak pirate with the best of them.  Many pirates were from England so maybe an English accent would make you sound a little more authentic - or not.  But one things for sure, if you're gonna talk like a pirate you should look like a pirate!

How to Dress Like A Pirate

To look like a proper pirate you'll need a few things:
  • Poofy or lacy blouse with long sleeves.  Pirates were snazzy dressers.  They might not be clean but they were stylish!
  • Thick belt with large buckle (to hold your sword)
  • For men (boys)- dark colored baggy pants (not ratty) tucked into tall boots.  For the ladies- a full skirt, maybe cinched up a little on one side.
  • 3 pointed captain's hat or colorful scarf tied around the head. Or both!!
  • jewelry - load up on the jewelry.  Not like Mr. T or anything, just very accessorized.
There, you're almost ready.  But boy, all this has made me hungry!  What would a pirate do?  Well, when they were out on the sea pillaging (remember pirates were actually bad guys who stole the cargo from other ships), pirates had to eat a lot of dried meats and fish, hard, dry breads and whatever else they could find.  So when they finally made it back to land to bury their treasure they feasted.  The festivals have many of the traditional foods of the day-

  • Conch stew- a stew made from conch meat (shellfish), dumplings, coconut milk and spices.  Served with rice.
  • Turtle- don't know if I could eat a turtle - they are so cute.  
  • Breadfruit and Cassava - starchy, very nutritious fruits
  • Run-Down - a stew made with seafood or salted beef and potatoes, coconut milk and spices.
Well, conch meat and turtle meat are pretty exotic and, I'd have to assume, expensive so we made a Shrimp Run-down for our hungry pirates.

Shrimp Run-Down

Recipe is blended from a bunch on the internet - can be made with other seafoods or chicken too.  For the recipe you will need:
  • 1 lb shrimp- peeled and deveined
  • 4 or 5 red potatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 diced red or yellow pepper
  • 1/2 large red or sweet onion
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Creole Seasoning
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil or butter
1. Chop potatoes into chunks and partially cook in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes.  Not all the way done but mostly.
2. Cook onions in oil or butter on low so that they caramelize.  When they are browned, add garlic and peppers and cook a few minutes.
3. Add drained potatoes, can of coconut milk, entire can of tomatoes, and seasonings to pan and cook together for 15-20 mins.
4.  Add shrimp and cook just until they are done - normally I'd say until they are pink but it's too hard to tell in the sauce.  They will curl up and looked cooked through when they are done.  Try not to overcook or they get chewy. 

Well, my little pirates didn't eat this for dinner because Mama Pirate got some peppers that I thought were sweet peppers but weren't.  And I might have been a little too heavy-handed with the seasoning(I used the larger amounts on the recipe).  They had rice and some roasted turkey.  No that's a lie.  I served them rice and turkey and green beans but pretty much only the rice was eaten.  However, the adults ate the Run- Down and it was good!!  Really good.  I am going to keep this recipe handy- the sauce was easy to spice up or down to taste and would be good with any type of protein.  We had it on some brown rice but it would be good on pasta too.  Or with some green beans or spaghetti squash in it.  Really, you should try this.

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