Bahamian Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a Crab Mousse Stuffing

The Bahamas loves macaroni and cheese as much as I do! It was brought over to the Bahamas by the British and of course they have made it their own.  Their variety is baked with bell peppers in it.  They serve it as a side dish and always have it for special occasions. I find a recipe that takes their traditional mac and cheese and adds crab. Okay that does sound odd, but it is a dinner party and so why not add the additional flare!

The first step is to make the crab mousse.  You just combine all the ingredients.  It seems to be much more like a crab slaw than a mousse, but it looks good.


For the mac and cheese you first boil the vegetables with the pasta.  Then the rest is a standard method of creating a cheese sauce pour it into a pan


and then bake. The result is yummy!  It is one of the cheesiest mac and cheese I have ever had.  The bell peppers I think help keep the cheesiness up.  The crab mousse actually pairs perfectly with the mac and cheese and definitely elevates the dish.  This I am making again!

I also made a side dish of okra.  My family is from the south and I love fried okra.  One of the reasons you fry it is to get the sliminess out.  I actually have never cooked with okra so I’m excited to try to make this simple salad.

I cut the okra


I prepare the okra frying and cooking in water, but they are slimy.  I then bake them for 20 minutes thinking it will dry them out a bit, but no help.   I start to panic as I don’t think I can serve this.  So I go to the trusty internet and start to read online.  I find out that the reason that lime is added is the acid of the lime cuts the sliminess.  So, I do this and it works!


It is still a bit slimy as that is okra.  The okra is yummy, simple and full of flavor.  I giggle at myself getting in a panic when I should just follow instructions.


Speaking of laughter, my first night home after surgery I went to bed listening to my brother and my friend Jeff laughing.  It was a great feeling to hear two people I really love and care about enjoying each other.  I did have to remind them to keep it down.  My neighbors are still pretty mad at me from my pre-surgery partying and another school night party will probably make them mad.  So I encouraged them to go to a bar, they are hesitant to leave me.  I explained to them that I’m just going to take my sleeping pill and go to bed and I will be fine for the few hours they’re out.  This did the trick and they went to a bar.

As the house is quiet I lay in my bed and realize it was nice to be home and nice to be in my bed.  I laid flat on my back as I still can’t roll on my side and finally nod off to sleep.  I woke up early in the morning in excruciating pain.! I try not to move to see if the pain will subside and it doesn’t.  I panic and start to cry.  After a few moments I get the courage to try and sit up to get my pain medicine.  Every slight movement sends another shock of pain through my chest.  After what seemed like an hour long struggle I have the pain pill bottle in my hand and tears streaming down my cheeks.  I now have to get my sippy cup. Yes I mean a little kid sippy cup, it is awesome for surgery.  I don’t have to worry about spills and can lay it down anywhere so it is always close.  I took my pills and lie very still waiting for the pain to subside.  After about 2 hours the pain slowly started to come back.  I take another pill.  I’m never really out of pain, but if I lay still it seems manageable.

Jeff’s wife Jan, who is a doctor, came by to check on me.  She looked at my dressing and everything looked fine.  She asked how the pain was and I tell her how I have been rationing my pain meds.  The medication was prescribed two pills for every 4 hours. However the pain comes back in 2 hours and by hour 3 it is not manageable.  So I found taking 1 pill every 2 hours will keep it at a dull pain.  Jan is shocked and explains that I shouldn’t feel anything.  So she calls my doctor and they figure out a stronger prescription that will be accepted by my insurance.  I took the new pills and it is much better!  I slept through the next night and didn’t have a moment where I am in tons of pain.

Well this concludes Bahamas.  I actually like everything I made.  Probably because I stayed away from the flavors I’m not a fan of.  I was surprised by the combinations of things.  I may start trying new adventurous combinations or just move onto the the next country which is Bahrain.


Bahamian Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a Crab Mousse Stuffing

Original recipe can be found here

  • 5 cups penne pasta
  • 2 lbs grated organic yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3  eggs
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2 stalks of celery (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (Divided)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 4 ounces high-quality shredded crab meat
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • dash of cayenne
  1. For crab mousse, in a medium bowl, combine crab meat,  1/3 of chopped onion, 1/3 red pepper, 1/3 of a celery, lime, mayonnaise, cayenne  and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
  4. Add remaining onion, pepper & celery.  Boil for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add pasta.  Bring heat down to medium. S immer for about 15 minutes (until pasta is cooked).
  6. Drain- off excess water.
  7. Place pasta, onion, sweet pepper & celery back into pot.  Turn off heat.
  8. Add cream, butter, cheese & eggs.  Mix until all the ingredients bind/melt (smooth consistency).
  9.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  10. To serve top with crab mousse.

Okra Salad

Original recipe can be found here

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1lb okra (caps snapped)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tablespoon lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 dashes of crystal hot sauce
  1. In frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
  2. Add okra and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Add water cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Drain if needed.
  6. Mix together the okra, remaining oil, lime, garlic, and hot sauce.

Guava Duff

Guava Duff is a dessert served in the Bahamas.  It is a dish believed to be inspired by UK cuisine.  It resembles figgy pudding in the way the dough is steamed with the tropical fruit of Guava.  It sounds interesting to make.

The first step is to find guava.  It calls for fresh guava or guava puree. I grew up in Hawaii and didn’t think guava would be that hard to find but it turns into a nightmare!  I go to three grocery stores and all I find is pineapple and mangos.  I go to a Japanese market and no luck there either.  I end up at a Hawaiian speciality store where I find guava butter.  I get it as it may not be exact, but this is all I can find and I have been walking for 3 hours from store to store and my dinner party is the next day.


Turns out medical insurance is like finding guava in Northern California.  When I first took my job I thought to myself, “I’m a healthy adult, so I can get the cheapest insurance.” Well that wasn’t a great decision.  My co-pay for the specialist was $80 and even worse my co-pay for my biopsy was $1200.  I ended up almost hitting my out-of-pocket limit before my surgery.  My insurance renewal was happening right around my surgery, so my brother and I sat down and figured that paying more per month would be cheaper than the free insurance.  This is because the amount of out of pocket is reduced by the higher cost I pay per month.  After this change my co-pays go back to $10.  This is the first time I understood the importance of benefits and why people will take a job because of it. Thankfully, I figured this all out ahead of time as the day I was released from the hospital was the day the program switched.  If I stayed one more day in the hospital it may have gotten complicated.  It all ended up fine for me, but I have never felt so dependent on medical care and a job before.  Not a great feeling.

Well hopefully making this cake will be easier than navigating insurance and finding guava.  The first step is to make the dough.  The dough isn’t hard to make, but it feels a lot like cookie dough rather than a bread dough.  I’m worried this isn’t right and about to get more complicated.


Roll out the dough.


My rolling skills are not getting much better.  It’s supposed to be a rectangle.  Don’t worry, I know how to cut!


There, a perfect rectangle!   Now to spread on the guava butter.


The butter is thick and easy top spread.  I try a bit.  It’s sweet and tastes like guava.  I’m sure it will work. T hen I roll the dough.


Then roll it in tin foil.


I double it in tin foil, so as not to let it get wet.  However when I put it in the boiling water, it is way to long for the pan.  So I cut the suff in half.


My two halves come out.


It doesn’t totally look appetizing, but as I proved earlier I handy with a knife!


They come out!  This is my kind of dessert.  The dough is dense like a pudding.  Almost like a pudding cake.  The guava is a little subtle.  I should have added more guava butter.  It is fairly simple to make and totally worth trying again.  Much better than finding the guava and insurance!


Original recipe can be found here

Guava Duff

  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup guava butter
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder


  1. Whisk butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
  2. Add eggs & spices.  Whisk well.
  3. Sift in flour and baking powder, mix well and turn stiff dough out onto an extra-large sheet of floured aluminum foil.
  4. Flour a rolling pin and roll out dough to make a sheet that is 1″ smaller on all sides than the aluminum foil sheet.
  5. Smear 1/2 cup guava butter (more if desired) all over dough sheet.
  6. Roll up the dough into a cylinder, making a jelly-roll shape. ( may need to cut in half based on the size of your pan).
  7. Fold up edges of aluminum foil and seal both the top and sides, retaining the cylindrical shape.
  8. Roll out another sheet of aluminum foil, place the cylinder on it and again, roll up and seal all edges.
  9. Place the cylinder in boiling water and boil for 1 1/2 hours, or until very firm.
  10. Remove from water, drain, let cool slightly, then unwrap on a cutting board.
  11. Cut into thick, round slices.



Caribbean Jerked Rack of Lamb with a Coconut Red Wine Reduction

When my friends left the hospital I was a bit bored, so I actually checked work email. Seems sad that right after surgery that’s what I do.  I know work doesn’t need me and everything is covered, but it’s like watching the news for me.  Something I check out of habit.  Luckily, my mailbox is full, so I can only read the emails.  However I notice my eye sight is really blurry.  So I try and nod off to sleep.

I’m given a dilaudid drip to manage my pain.  I have a button I can press to give me more pain meds.  They tell me to stay ahead of the pain.  I am in pain, but if I lay really still it seems manageable.  I want to go to sleep, but I can’t roll on my side.  I finally nod off to sleep.  At some point in the night I wake up because I’m uncomfortable.  I want to roll onto my side, but it hurts like hell when I do. The nurse happens to come in to check on me.  She sees I’m awake and asks how I am doing.  I tell her I want to sleep on my side, but it hurts.  She reminds me to use the button and helps move me on my side.  I’m crying as it really hurts and I’m super uncomfortable.  I roll back to my back as I can’t stay on my side. She gives me an anxiety medication that also will put me to sleep.  I sleep through the night on my back.

The next morning a nurse wakes me up to draw blood.  I could have slept a few more hours.  I like sleep and am not an early riser.  Strikes me as odd that they would wake me up to draw blood.  Oh well, I guess I can nap later.  The nurse suggests that I order breakfast as they need to see me eat.  I order a bagel and cream cheese.  I’m not hungry and the overly dense cold bagel isn’t really enjoyable.  But I eat half like a good patient.

My breast surgeon stopped by to check on me.  She sat down and told me that the lymph nodes that were removed had cancer in them.  I asked how many, she said it was hard to tell and that we would have the the results from the surgery in about a week.  She reminds me that this means I will likely need chemo, but to wait for the results.  Not to worry about it and just concentrate on getting better.  It was a very quick conversation, which suited me as I was in a lot of pain.  I pretty much can only focus on staying still.

They decided that for me to go home I need to be on oral medications.  So the nurse was starting to disconnect the dilaudid drip.  As she was disconnecting she said, “I don’t think this was ever hooked up.”  She showed me that the cap of the medicine was not removed. So I was basically getting no pain medication during the night.  She connected it and gave me a dose and “oh my god what a difference!”  Still in pain, but I can move with out it being excruciating!

My friends and brother come to visit. T hey all went out separately and bought me a can of Pringles.  I have 3 cans on my hospital table.  My friend Andrea suggests that I also have a sippy cup.  It is brilliant as I can have it near me, especially since I can’t move without pain.  My plastic surgeon comes in and is a bit horrified at the amount of Pringles.  He laughs with us and is puzzled by the sippy cup.

Shane had wanted to come visit me in the hospital, but I told him not to.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel or react.  Now that I have pain medication and enjoying my friends I realize that I actually want to see Shane and text him that I’m done and he should come by.  He wanted to visit, but I wasn’t sure what shape I’d be in.  However he had too many clients, so he planned to visit me the next day.

In the afternoon I do a walk around the hospital ward.  I can move and feel alright.  After my walk the plastic surgeon comes by to see me.  He lets me know that I can stay one more night or go home, it’s up to me.   I pick home.  The food will be better.  Milo is there and my bed is comfy.  Although the hospital bed is not bad, I think I just want to be home.  It takes a few hours to release me, but I get to go home!

Speaking of good food, when I was looking for Bahamas food, I found this recipe for jerked lamb with a red wine coconut reduction. I t sounds like an odd combination, but it is a recipe from a respected restaurant in the Bahamas.  I think of jerk and Jamaica, but I find that the Carribean food has spread through the different islands and that most Carribean countries like jerk.

The lamb is straightforward to make.  I first make my own jerk seasoning.  I then marinate the lamb in that for a few hours.  Then broil the lamb.



The wine reduction is simple.  Just throw all the ingredients in a pot and let it slowly reduce.

The result is amazing.  The coconut rum creates a sweetness that works with the spice and the fruit of the wine.  This is definitely way better than the hospital food.



Jerked seasoning 

Original recipe can be found here

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Caribbean Jerked Rack of Lamb with a Coconut Red Wine Reduction

Original recipe can be found here

  • 1 frenched rack of lamb
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 Tbsp jerk seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 ounces coconut rum
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine (Malena)
  • 4 Tbsp brown cane sugar
  1.  Season rack of lamb with lemon juice, jerk seasoning, salt & pepper
  2. Let marinate for about 2 hours
  3. In a small sauce pan, bring red wine & coconut rum to a boil.
  4. Add sugar and let sugar dissolve.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes (until thick).
  6. Heat skillet.
  7. Pan sear rack of lamb (cook to preference).
  8. Cut lamb into chops and serve with coconut red wine reduction.


Bahamian Fish Chowder

I am a girl who likes to celebrate, so before my double mastectomy surgery, my brother, my best friend and I went to dinner.  I selected a hot new restaurant and we had a fabulous 6 course meal.  I was good and didn’t have alcohol, but had teas and house soda. It was a night of amazing food, good conversation, and laughter.  I think my doctor would have approved.

I was not to have any food or drink after midnight.  I chugged a bunch of water right before midnight hoping that will hold me over, but it didn’t.  The night of no drinking water is torture!  I had a cold and when I woke up I had a dry mouth and couldn’t do anything about it.  Thankfully my surgery was booked for the morning, so it wasn’t hours of torture.

I actually had two surgeries done all at once.  The bilateral mastectomy, to remove the cancer and my expanders installed for my breast augmentation. The expanders are temporary implants to stretch the skin before they can put in the implants.  I remember being nervous as I never had surgery and didn’t know what to expect, plus I had this cold. At the hospital they took my vitals and cleared me for surgery.

My friends and brother and I hang out in a hospital room while we wait for the surgery.  We joked and laughed and it calms me.  My friend Jeff is a crier and he fights back his tears every once in awhile.  It is actually comforting, so I don’t have to cry.  However it is hard for anyone of us to keep a straight face as I looked ridiculous in a puffy hospital gown.


At this point I have been in the hospital for well over an hour and I am extremely thirsty, tired, and starting to look forward to being under for a few hours.

After saying good-bye to my friends and brother I am off to another waiting room for surgery.  This is a large room with rows of curtains, which are to create a private area.  My plastic surgeon and breast surgeon come in, quickly say hello and then go straight to work. They asked to see my breast and take sharpies and start drawing and discussing where they want to cut me open.  It is an impersonal experience, but comforting that they are discussing things so I won’t look awful when this is all over.  Once I’m all marked up they start to address me as a human again and asked if I had any questions.  I think I was just a bit in shock, nervous, and the only thing I thought to ask was how long would the surgery be.  They said 4-6 hours depending on how the mastectomy would go.

The anesthesiologist stops by to introduce himself and check on my medication.  I don’t have very many questions for him.  I think my nerves are really starting to hit me at this point and I’m thirsty and tired and want to go to sleep.  They wheel me in and the anesthesiologist puts a mask on me and that is all I remember.  I wake up which feels like a bit later, but not 6 hours later.  It was like waking up from a nap.  Someone asks how I am feeling and I try and speak.  Not much comes out.  They ask again and all I get out is “nauseous”.  Then I am a sleep again.  I wake up to someone yelling and the nurses running and yelling back at someone, “Sir,  you can’t get up.”  I sort of see a few people running over and telling a guy to lay down.  I am blinking and wiggling my toes and just getting feeling back in me.  The nurse talks to me a bit and I’m moved upstairs to my hospital room.

The hospital room has an amazing view of the city.


It is a private room and one of the best on the hospital.  I got lucky.  My friends come in and sit with me.  I am starting to wake up.  I’m in pain and given a dilaudid drip, with a button to get pain meds as I need.  I am told to stay in front of the pain.  I ask my friends how things went.  They say things went fine.  I ask about my lymph nodes.  The best case scenario is that the cancer has not spread to my lymph nodes and surgery and maybe radiation is all I need.  The lymph node infected will likely mean that I will have to do chemo.  My friends and brother are aware of this and as I ask I see them look at one another and stall.  Finally my brother lets me know that “Ya, Kim some were infected.  The doctors are coming to tomorrow to talk to you about it, so just get some rest.”  I want to cry.  It is pretty much the worst case.  I want everyone out of the room as I was ill prepared for such bad news, but I look at my brothers face.  He is fairly upset he has to break my heart, so I did the only thing I could think of.  I tell a bad joke and move on.  There will be plenty of time for me to cry but right now want to enjoy everyone’s company.

Before my friends all take off to let me sleep for the night, I order dinner, the food is not great.  It isn’t the worst meal I have had but it would be better if it was food from the restaurant the night before.  I got desert of an apple pie and we thought it would be fun to celebrate one of my birthdays with a candle.  However of course you can’t have an open flame in the hospital so someone realizes there should be an iphone candle app.


The apple pie was cold, so I am still hungry and want pringles.  My friends try and find me pringles as I am hungry. T here is only some sun chips from the vending machine.  We play a few rounds of cards, and I keep making them play with me more.   I don’t think I wanted them to go.  We discussed if they should stay over with me and that felt silly, but I think I wasn’t ready to face what the infected lymph nodes meant and not sure I was ready to be alone to face it.  It was around 11pm and an extremely long day for them and time for them to go.  They would be back in the morning.

Thankfully Bahamas food is not like hospital food.  There is a Bahamas fish chowder that I would have loved to have eaten over the dinner I picked.

Seafood is of course popular in Bahamian cuisine and they make a fish chowder that is often served with Johnny cakes.  I find a recipe for the fish chowder which also includes lobster instead.

The first step is to make a shrimp stock.  First peel the shrimp and save the shrimp shells. Rinse the shells.


Then add shells, vegetables, seasoning, and water to a stock pot.


Simmer for one hour.

The soup calls for lobster, however as I had to buy shrimp for the stock I am going to add shrimp along with the lobster in the soup.  I marinate the seafood with pepper, limes, and green onions.


Mash the ingredients together in mortar and pestle


Spread over the seafood and marinate for at least an hour.

To create the soup, you start by creating a roux with oil and flour.  Add vegetables and cook till tender.  Add the liquids and cook.  Finally add the marinated seafood and a little marinade and cook through.


To make the Johnny cakes I mix the ingredients in my handy dandy mixer.


Then put it in a pan and bake.  This is what differentiates a Bahamian Johnny cake is that it is a baked bread vs. a fried pancake.

The Johnny cake is dense and sucks up the soup.  The chowder is warm and comforting with the taste of coconut and heat of peppers, don’t make it too overpowering.  Well my soup and my surgery are successful!



Shrimp Stock

Original recipe can be found here

  • 2 pounds shrimp shells
  • 11 cups of cold water
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz mushroom
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  1. Combine seasoning into a cheese cloth and make a sachet
  2. Rinse the shrimp shells under cold running water and place them in a 1-gallon stockpot with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer.
  4. Skim the impurities that rise to the surface with a ladle, spoon or a skimmer.
  5. Simmer the stock for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bahamian Fish chowder

Original Recipe can be found here

  • 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 habanero chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds raw lobster tails, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 pounds shrimp
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups shrimp stock or low sodium canned chicken broth (or substitute water)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine chiles, green onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a mortar and pestle or in the bowl of a food processor and process to a paste.
  2. Spread the mixture over the shrimp and lobster and drizzle with the lime juice.
  3. Refrigerate while you prepare the stew.
  4. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and, when hot, whisk in the flour.
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, until a light blond roux is formed, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, potato, stock, coconut milk, brown sugar, thyme, remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and pepper and bring to a low boil.
  8. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and flavorful and potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the lobster from the marinade and reserve 2 tablespoons. (Discard the remaining marinade.)
  10. Add the lobster and the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade to the stew and cook, stirring gently as to not break up the fillets, until the fish is just cooked through, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Johnny Cakes

Original recipe can be found here

  • ½ cup butter, room temperature + extra for greasing pan
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • approx. ¾ cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until combined.
  3. Add the flour, water, salt, and baking powder to the bowl.
  4. Add the milk slowly until the batter is sticky.
  5. Dust hands with flour. Transfer dough from bowl to a greased 9×9 pan. Gently flatten the dough in the pan.
  6. Bake for approx. 1hr or until the edges of the johnnycake are browned. The johnnycake will not rise much.
  7. Let cool for several minutes before cutting into the johnnycake.



I finally made it to the B’s!!!  It was 12 countries and only took 25 months to get here.  I’m slow, but excited to be making some progress.  I however am not so happy that I had a cold right before surgery.  I’m booked to get my double mastectomy.  I’ve never had surgery before and am nervous that they might cancel.  My doctors made me workout and quit drinking to prepare for surgery, so wouldn’t a cold be a big deal?  I called and let the doctor know.  The nurse says they likely won’t as long as I don’t have a fever.  So I am  alternating drinking emergen-C water and honey and lemon tea. Hoping that my surgery day will stick, but I would much prefer to be healthy sitting on a beach and drinking a cocktail!  Well at least I can learn about Bahamas food.

Bahamas is an island country in the Atlantic ocean.


Bahamas is made up of 700 islands.  The Bahamas was the site of Columbus’ first landfall in 1492, and it turns out that they celebrate Columbus Day, but it is known as Discovery Day there.  The Bahamas was a British colony and when the United States won its independence they resettled the American loyalists there.  It became an independent commonwealth in 1973.

Bahamian cuisine includes seafood such as fish, lobster, crab, and conch as well as tropical fruits, rice, and pork.  It is heavily influenced by the American south.

I have decided to cook:


Baliq Levengi

Baliq Levengi is a traditional preparation of Azerbaijani stuffed fish.  It is stuffed with walnuts and pomegranates.


Traditionally the fish is sturgeon, however I can’t find any so I go with this Thai Trout.


Cut the fish open and season with salt and pepper.


Stuff the fish with the stuffing.



Seal the fish with skewers and bake.


It comes out and the fish is perfectly flakey.  The stuffing of the pomegranate goes well with the fish.  It is yummy in this tummy!  Good enough for a special occasion like my brother coming to town!

My brother was one of my best friends growing up, so having him come to town is exciting and worthy of a celebration.  I wasn’t planning on having anyone come help me with my surgery.  I’m fiercely independent and figured I could do this on my own.  My friend Amanda keeps telling me that when I have surgery I am going to need to have someone there to take care of me.  She recommends that I have my mom, because for her surgery her mom was a great help.  I don’t see it.  I don’t find my mom relaxing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom, but when I don’t feel well I like quiet and not to interact.  This isn’t so much how my mom sees the world as she likes to be social.  So I imagine if she came I would be spending my time entertaining her rather than healing.  My brother called and offers to come stay with me for the surgery.  He lives on the east coast, so I hadn’t thought of asking him.  I find the offer extremely comforting, so I agree.  Amanda of course is happy with this news, but I’m nervous to tell my mom.  I think she might feel slighted, but oddly she is totally relieved too.  My brother got into town a few days before the surgery, so he can get himself familiar with my apartment.  I am just over the moon to be able to spend time with him and of course we both enjoy yummy food!


 Baliq Levengi

Original recipe can be found here

  • Whole White fish scaled & cleaned
  • 1 Onion grated
  • 1 1/2 c Walnuts ground
  • 3/4 c Fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tsp salt, split
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, split
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice


  1. Rinse fish under cold water then pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Combine onion, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, 1/2 ts salt, and 1/4 ts pepper.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 deg-F.
  4. Fill fish cavity with walnut stuffing.
  5. Pin body cavity shut with wooden barbecue skewers.
  6. Put fish on a baking sheet then pour lemon juice over it.
  7. Put fish on a baking sheet in an upright position with seam side down
  8. Bake for about 45 mins. until fish is browned & flakes easily with a fork.

Shuyud plov

Plov is extremely popular in Azerbaijan and they have 40 different types.  Shuyud plov is a dill rice pilaf.  With my pre-surgery health kick I’m also going to make a salad called Çoban Salati, which is a tomato cucumber salad.  To add to all this healthiness my surgeon didn’t want me drinking any alcohol before surgery.  So that is 10 days with out any liquor, which should be easy to do.  However I don’t find this out until about two weeks before my surgery.  I was planning on throwing a party before the surgery, but with this new restriction there is no time.  I instead I go out with friends and make the most of the few days I had left.  Most of my social activities have to do with liquor, so I think I am going to be bored out of my mind for 10 days.  However I find that it isn’t all that bad. I still have to work out daily, which ends up being a great social activity going hiking, long walks, and yoga with friends.  Shane works me out about 2 times a week and we go to lunch.  I do a spring cleaning of my house, get a microwave, make keys, prepare my job for my leaving. All great healthy things, but after surgery I plan to go back to my partying ways!

To make shuyud plov you par-steam the rice and create a qamaq for the bottom.


Add the rice, butter saffron water, and dill.




The salad is much like a greek cumber salad.  Finely chop the vegetables.

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The rice has a nice subtle dill flavor.  It is not overly powerful, but with certain foods like fish the dill will pair nicely.  The salad is a refreshing bite.


Shuyud plov

Original recipe can be found here

  • 400 g/1 lb basmati rice
  • 100 g/4 oz melted butter
  • two medium-sized bunches of fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon threads of saffron
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg and 1-2 tbsp yogurt
  • 100 g/4 oz plain flour


  1. Put a few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water.  Cover and leave to infuse.
  2. Wash and chop the dill.
  3. Rinse the rice.
  4. Fill a large, heavy saucepan with water and add salt.  Bring to the boil.
  5. Add the rice to the boiling water. Turn the heat down slightly but cook at a rapid boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Be careful not to cook for too long or the finished rice will be sticky.
  6. Strain the rice through a rice colander.
  7. Add the chopped dill to the rice, mixing it in gently.
  8.  Mix together 1 egg, 4 tablespoons of the parboiled rice and 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt. Add some of the infused saffron water.
  9. Rinse and dry the rice pan.  Return it to the heat and melt a generous knob of butter. Spread the qazmaq mixture or lavash over the bottom of the pan and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add the parboiled rice mixed with dill.  Spoon it gently into the pan to avoid breaking the grains.  When half the rice is in the pan, pour over some of the saffron infusion.
  11. Put the rest of the rice in the pan and pour most of the remaining saffron infusion over it.
  12. Put several knobs of butter on top.  Make holes in the rice with the handle of a wooden spoon to allow the steam to escape.
  13. Place a well-fitting lid on top of the saucepan, covered underneath with a clean tea towel. The towel helps to absorb the steam.
  14. Once the rice is steaming, turn down the heat and leave to continue steaming for 30 to 45 minutes.  The rice can be left to steam for longer without coming to any harm.
  15. Serve on a large dish.

Çoban Salati

Original recipe can be found here

  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/4 medium-sized red onion
  • a few sprigs of coriander, dill and basil
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  • Wash and dice the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
  • Finely chop the onion and herbs.
  • Mix all the ingredients together. Add salt & pepper and leave to stand for up to 1 hour before serving.
  • Dress with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil before serving