If there is anything consistent so far about our Peace Corps experience it’s that our life as volunteers are filled with a roller coaster of emotions and events. Both of us have been experiencing our own challenges at work – working with children is difficult and working within new cultural norms. We’ve also recently discovered that a large centipede has been living with us (first spotted last week and has yet to be evicted). Finally we had to say farewell to a good friend who will be greatly missed.
But life is full of contradiction here too and there have been some really great highlights to balance out all the challenges. At Michelle’s school, around 6 students have been regularly attending her summer literacy class and she’s having little victories working with them. At my work, we are on the verge of opening our internet cafe and lots of programs are starting to develop. We’ve also had the pleasure of hosting several volunteers from the island over the last two weeks and the fun and fellowship have been much needed energy boosters and encouraging. This past week we had a semi-surprise visit from a college friend of mine and a chance to take a quick weekend break from things.
Aside from life updates, I promised to share my recipe for Mackerel Rundown – a rich, easy to make coconut stew of goodness and awesomeness. It’s become a staple for Michelle and I and it seems that most people have enjoyed it. I’ve also included a recipe for Calaloo (spinach) rice that I serve my version of Rundown with. Enjoy.
Ingredients – Makes Enough for 4 Adults
4-5 Carrots chopped
2-3 Cho-chos chopped
2-3 Onions chopped
5-6 Stems of Escallion (green onion)
3-4 Springs of Thyme
3 Packets of Coconut milk powder (or 2 cans of coconut milk)
3-4 Cans of Mackerel (in brine)
~3 teaspoons of your favorite seasoning (salt)
2 Tbsp of Vegetable/Olive Oil
Optional or Substitute Ingredients
– Salt Mackerel or Salt Fish (Soaked and Boiled to remove most of the salt)
– Scotch Bonnet (I don’t like spicy food but you might. This recipe normally has heat to it).
– Potatoes (or any other vegetable you might like in your stews)
– 2 cloves of garlic
Step 1: Prep
– Peel and cut veggies into stew size pieces
– Prepare coconut milk (if you use the powder base kind)
– Cut and dice escallion. Peel off thyme leaves (set aside in separate bowl)
*NOTE if you use cho-cho, make sure you wash peel away all of the rind.
Step 3: Stew the Stew
– Add coconut milk
– Add escallion and thyme
– Add the canned/tin Mackerel
– Reduce heat to medium/low and cover to cook for 20-30 mins
NOTE: When checking on the stew, if it seems to watery, uncover and water will boil off. If it seems to thick, cover and allow steam to thin it out.
Calaloo Rice – Enough for 4
3 cups of washed, chopped Calaloo (Jamaican spinach, but American spinach would work fine too)
3 cups of washed rice
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp oil
2 teaspoons of butter
1 teaspoon of salt/seasoning
4 – 4 1/2 cups of water (you can also use a broth if you wanted more flavor. If you make a sauce, gravy, or stew to eat with this, broth is unnecessary).