Yummy Bites from Bonaire

Delightful Departures with Scuba Travel Ventures

Bonaire is known far and wide in the scuba diving community as "Divers Paradise".  It has earned this prestigious name because of its abundant marine life carefully protected by the island's well-maintained marine park, along with a plentiful selection of dive sites, both from shore and boat, which a diver can dive as much or as little as they like, 24/7. But every diver knows there comes that last day of vacation when it is time to dry out before hopping on a plane home and discover what lies above the water. This is always my favorite day to discover a cultural treasure unique to the region I am visiting.

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On my first visit to Bonaire, I had the pleasure of meeting a local gentleman by the name of Norman. He told me that when I took the time to visit the north end of the island, I should make sure to stop by his establishment in Rincon for a bite to eat. Le-Ma-Se is an unassuming place. A covered patio with a couple of tables and walk-up windows to place your order, all adjacent to Norman's home. The menu was not extensive, but the "snacks" were a gold mine. This is where my love for pastechi originated. Since then I have had the pleasure of introducing many of my friends to the hidden gem of Bonaire that is Le-Ma-Se with its golden nuggets of deliciousness.

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If you visit Bonaire and go north to enjoy the sights of Washington-Slagbaai National Park, make sure to return to Kralendijk via Rincon and stop by to visit with Norman. And don't be in a hurry. The food service IS NOT fast, but passing the time listening to Norman's tales is memorable and the food is worth the wait. Especially the home-made milk shakes. They are the old-fashioned hand made style that are absolutely YUMMY!

Upon my return from my latest group trip to Bonaire, everyone wanted to have a party to share pictures and memories, and celebrate the fun adventure we had together. So with that in mind, we decided to throw a "Flamingo Fiesta" where everyone would wear something pink in support of the Bonairean flamingo population and bring a potluck dish. I decided in keeping with the theme I would learn how to make pastechi and bring it to the party for everyone to enjoy again. Now I wouldn't say mine were as good as Norman's, (I think my recipes may still need a little perfecting) but I did come close and everyone at the party seemed to enjoy them. So if you would like to partake of a taste of the Bonairean culture, why not give one (or two) of these recipes a try. Enjoy!

Want to keep your first attempt pretty simple? Then just follow the pastry dough recipe below and stuff them full of some good Gouda cheese. Tastey!!

Otherwise, try my beef, chicken or veggie fillings. They're not too bad, if I say so myself. HAVE FUN!

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PASTRY DOUGH RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

5 cups of flour

5 tblsp. of butter (room temperature)

5 tblsp. of shortening (Crisco) (room temperature)

3 tblsp. of sugar

1 tsp. of salt

1 large egg (beaten)

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup of cold water

vegetable oil (for frying)

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the butter, shortening, and egg, and mix together by hand. (Helpful hint: Cut butter and shortening into slices while still cold, then bring to room temperature. When mixing with dry ingredients, squeeze the slices with your fingers to mix with the flour.) Next add the 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of cold water a little at a time. Knead the dough until it's totally smooth and no longer sticky. (If it's still sticky, you can use small amounts of flour to make it drier - if it's too dry, add small amounts of cold water.) Let your dough rest for half an hour at room temperature, covered with a cold kitchen towel.

2. Make tennis ball sized balls out of the dough. Roll the balls flat to make a thin circle.

3. Fill each flat circle with your chosen filling. Be careful not to overfill because you don't want any leakage when frying. Now fold the circle over and use a fork to pinch the edges together. You can use a bit of water to seal them if needed.

4. Fry the pastechis in hot oil until golden brown. (Helpful hint: Always put one "tester" pastechi in the oil first to check that the temperature is right to bring the pastry to a golden brown quickly. Also, don't over-crowd your fryer or this will cool the oil down quickly and you will get greasy pastechi.) When the pastry crust is fried to the desired golden brown, remove and let drain on a paper towel before serving. Don't let them sit too long. They are best enjoyed while they are hot.

FILLING RECIPES

BEEF (yields about 30 pastechis)

INGREDIENTS

1 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
Your favorite hot sauce (to taste)
1 lb ground beef, seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg & curry (to taste)
1 beef bouillon cube
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1⁄4 cup black olives, chopped
1⁄2 cup raisins, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS

Saute vegetables in oil.
Add beef and cook until well done.
Add bouillon cube, cumin, tomato paste and if necessary, a little water.
Stir to mix ingredients.
Simmer until bouillon cube is dissolved.
Add remaining ingredients.
Place generous helping of filling on round of pastechi pastry and fry.

CHICKEN

Follow the basic beef filling recipe except I roast a small chicken, then shred & chop the meat in place of the beef. Also, use a chicken bouillon cube instead.

VEGETABLE

4-6 red potatoes, chopped into small cubes
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1⁄4 cup black olives, chopped
1⁄2 cup raisins, chopped
Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg, cumin & curry
Your favorite hot sauce (to taste)

DIRECTIONS

Saute potatoes in oil until they begin to brown.
Add in remaining ingredients.
Add a little water or stock, if necessary.
Stir to mix ingredients.
Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Place generous helping of filling on round of pastechi pastry and fry.

 

- Elizabeth Tuttle

www.delightfuldepartures.blogspot.com

  • Posted on   06/17/15 at 01:26:38 PM   by Mario  | 
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