Callaloo vs Cancer

Today was a GREAT day!

I just wanted to open with that since my last post was all doom and gloom, but enough of that! Let’s focus on living and having good times shall we?

First a brief overview:

I swear I can’t make a decent video to save my life!

(but then again it seems no one can save my life either)

 

So what was so great about today?

It started with going to my oldest daughter’s school to watch her receive an award for athletics!

So proud of her!

Take a look at this video, in it you can see her mouthing “hi daddy!” over and over:

You can attribute the poor, shaky video quality to my sister – She’s not the best with technology 🙂

It was particularly special to be there because last year on this same date she received an award for kindness and respect, but I couldn’t go see her get it because I was undergoing brain surgery! Evelyn was so happy to see daddy AND auntie Michelle there! And I LOVE making my baby big girl happy! She’s such an awesome child, and I LOVE being her dad!

After we were done the ceremony, my sister told me she was hungry and craving some Trini food. I’m down for that! I mean who doesn’t like food?! Especially Trini food! So I suggest this West Indian supermarket I know ASA Meat & West Indian Grocery Inc (https://goo.gl/maps/hAZUxpbRcUz)

While we were there buying food (bake and saltfish,  Guyanese bara, kurma and mauby) we decided to browse the produce section.

This is where reading this post is going to pay off reader! So don’t stop now, read on!

We discovered that they had a fresh delivery of dasheen bush from Trinidad! Dasheen bush is a key ingredient in my all time FAVOURITE food – Callaloo!

You may be wondering what that is. Well there are a lot of different versions. I’m here to talk about my grandma’s version! And when she passed away, the torch was passed to my aunt Pam.

The only time I get to enjoy this majestic treat is when aunt Pam visits. Well that frequency is too low for me, so that Has. To. Change.

This is when Michelle and I decided to buy all the ingredients and make it ourselves, with auntie Pam’s guidance of course!

I now present to you:

Wayne and Michelle’s guide to Callaloo bliss.

Required ingredients

  • Trinidad dasheen bush (or bundle or bunch)
  • Piece of pumpkin
  • Okras
  • Onion
  • Garlic (5 cloves or so, though can you really have too much garlic?!)
  • Green onions
  • Pimento peppers
  • Coconut cream
  • Cheese
  • Salt (I used sea salt)

Optional ingredients

  • Pig tails (This is not optional for me!)
    • They should be salted when you buy them.
    • Ask the butcher to chop them up for you
  • Scotch bonnet peppers

Fun ingredients:

  • Soca music
  • A fun loving attitude
  • Tim Horton’s
    • Hershey’s hot chocolate, with caramel sauce and an espresso shot (or 2 or 3)
    • Iced Cappuccino

You should have a bunch of stuff that looks like this. Now you’re close!

 

Behold the dasheen bush. If it doesn’t look like that, you have the wrong bush.

Notice that I didn’t put measurements or portion sizes on there, this is because this is how my aunt tells me to do it: “just get some of this and that and this and mix it up and cook it, Then add some salt until you like it”

Directions:

  • If using pigtails (and you damn well better be, unless for religious exceptions) put it in a pot with water and start boiling it for about 1.5 hours. The idea is to boil off most of the salt.
  • In a bowl cut up pumpkin, ochro (okra), garlic, onions, and green onions
  • Cut up dasheen bush and wash it
  • Just cut up doesn’t matter leave garlic whole

The above instructions came directly from a conversation with auntie Pam. Take it as it is! This is how I learned, you damn well can too!

What size chops or cuts you ask? Well now you’re asking to much of this guide! Just chop that sh*t up and let’s get moving!

It will look like this. Now that’s good chopping Michelle!

Obligatory Tim Horton’s

Your pigtails might be ready about now. Poke it with a fork and see if it’s tender. It is?! Ok Ok pour out that salty water (Don’t pour out the pigtails too by accident!)

  • It should start to look like the above! With just a little water to keep it from burning. Add some water if you need to.
  • Now when the pot gets pretty much dry and only the pigtails are in, add some oil. No don’t ask how much, just add some goddammit!
  • Throw in all the stuff you chopped up earlier. Yes all of it.
  • Mix it up, add some water and bring it to a simmer.
  • Enjoy some soca. Kind of like this:

This is how everyone should cook!

Everything should be coming together now:

It’s all coming together. Don’t let it burn! Add water if needed!

Add the coconut cream, it should look like this:

Coconut cream added. Time to simmer and listen to soca!

Simmer down! Almost there!

It’s about time to blend everything besides the pigtails.

  • Add some cheese.
  • Remove the pigtails to an external holding bowl.
  • Get your blender ready.
  • Put some of those simmered down greens and veggies into the blender.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer from blender into another container.
    • Repeat with remaining from main pot until it’s all smooth an creamy.
  • Combine pigtails and creamy callaloo into one container or bowl or whatever.
  • Serve with rice, cassava, sweet potato and some Trinidadian stewed chicken. (I will teach you how to make that when I learn some other time!

Finished product. It may not look like the tastiest thing in the world. Oh but it is!

 

Assorted musings

  • Evelyn is awesome
  • I have a lot of fun hanging out with my sister! She’s – contrary to popular belief – awesome! 🙂
    • She’s lactose intolerant, so after having that Iced Cappuccino I now have PTSD from the sounds I heard coming from that bathroom!
  • Cooking with music on, is the only way to cook! And I mean music that makes you want to move!
  • Trini people don’t cook with measurements, but with magic! And lots of heart!

 

I love you big sis! You’re awesome!

 

None of this would have been possible without this woman right here! We love you mama and we miss you everyday!

 

So there you have it. This day was pretty awesome and I will cherish it for however long I have left. Thank you Michelle for all that you do for me! And also being a good sport and let me post videos of you without prior consent. 🙂

I hope for many more days like today!

4 comments on “Callaloo vs Cancer”

  1. Frances says:

    Cheese?

    1. waynehart says:

      My aunt said two small slices. Who am I to disagree?

  2. Simon says:

    Yuh cyan make a callaloo wit nuh coal pot
    https://youtu.be/Qz_OLoXMEF0

  3. RHONDA says:

    I’m a born and bred Trinidadian. Never have I heard about putting cheese in calaloo.

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