Oh, Nerdylicious Brigade, I can’t tell you how tough the last few days have been.
Friday, I cooked my Pirates of the Caribbean feast with the Caribbean Pirate Rice, black bean salsa, SeaPak coconut shrimp, and piña colada cupcakes. Yes, it was all delicious. The plan was to post the recipe for the rice on Saturday. Well, Mother Nature had a different itinerary.
I started on the post Saturday afternoon, and then went out to have dinner with a guy military friend who also happens to be the sibling of one of my best military friends (BMF). Good times were had. When I returned home, I called my BMF to tell her about dinner and catch up. While we were busy chatting, a storm came out of nowhere with heavy winds, hard rain, roaring thunder, and Zeus-like lightening. We lost power during the phone conversation. Over 100,000+ residents were left without electricity. I spent the remainder of the night checking on the status of the outage by phone, and finishing the latest novel by one of my favorite authors, Sophie Kinsella. It was difficult for me to sleep with the house looking so creepy, and the storm raging outdoors. There were lots of things going bump in the night. I needed to be ready to bump back.
News about the power outage wasn’t good. The utility company said that it could take up to a week before power was restored. Which meant that we would likely lose all our food in the refrigerator and freezer. And any food we prepared (we have a gas stove) would have to be eaten immediately. So, it was important to have some non-perishable items for quick meals that didn’t require refrigeration. I went shopping and got emergency food that my grandmother would like, as well as some hassle-free items for my teenage son to snack on. This all made me realize that I need to pay more attention to what’s in the cupboards, and to set aside items that would be good in an emergency kit. Additionally, I needed to acknowledge that with so much dependence on devices it was important to have back up chargers for our phones and tablets. Duly noted.
Well, I’m happy to report that the power is back on. So, I can finally post my recipe for Caribbean Pirate Rice.
With this recipe, I really wanted to highlight some of the food that was stumbled upon by explorers, scientists, merchants, and—most importantly—pirates during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. There’s lots of flavor and color, and it’s perfect for a pirate-themed party, or a week day dinner. Bell peppers and chili peppers were all new to the Euro-crowd, along with tomatoes. Spices—which had been affordable to just the richie rich—were becoming more and more common in regular households due to changes in trade routes, prices, and availability. I definitely feel like this recipe embodies these concepts and more with a bazaar of ingredients sure to please palettes everywhere.
Caribbean Pirate Rice
- 3 cups black rice, cooked
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 cup mini sweet peppers
- 1/2 cup Vidalia onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika
- 1 habanero pepper, seeds and membranes removed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 14-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the black rice according to the directions. Transfer to a heat-resistant container and cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
- Heat sesame oil in a non-stick skillet or wok on medium high. Add the onions and sweet peppers. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook that for about 30 seconds.
- Combine the turmeric, thyme, cumin, and paprika in a very small bowl. Add the combined spices to the skillet mixture, stirring until fragrant or for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the tamari and the tomatoes, cooking for 2 minutes.
- Add the black rice. Stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook 2 minutes. Turn off heat and serve immediately.
Notes: *If you’re in a pinch, you can cool the rice in the freezer. Just monitor it so that it doesn’t start to freeze.
**That habanero pepper adds quite the kick. If you aren’t into medium spicy foods, omit it. If you want a milder pepper, go with about a small jalapeno pepper diced.
***Soy sauce can be substituted for the tamari sauce.