♥ Jamaica-versary

I resisted the urge to put the word “mon” at the end of this post’s title. You’re welcome.

J and I were married in Jamaica. Just the two of us,  barefoot on a Caribbean beach. And a minister with a really cool accent.

It was perfect.

We returned from Jamaica with 60 SPF sunburns and a love (LOVE) of jerk. Seriously, we would have drunk shots of the stuff and chased it down with Red Stripe if we could have. Or maybe we did; the Jamaican rum was plentiful, too! Which led to our pledge to never drink fruity drinks again. That oath lasted exactly 6 months.

We have experimented with various jerk seasonings and marinades, but our current favorite is adapted from this Jamaican jerk paste recipe. I like to keep a jar of it in the fridge for quick meals.

Jamaican Jerk Paste
Makes about 1 cup


2 Scotch Bonnet peppers, seeds removed and discarded, minced (see note)

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 green onions chopped

1 small onion, diced

1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar or sucanat

4 teaspoons thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Place all ingredients in a food processor (I use a mini chopper) and blend until the desired consistency. Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator.

Note: Traditional jerk contains Scotch Bonnet peppers. I haven’t been able to find Scotch Bonnets in this mountain town, so I have been using Habanero peppers, which have the same heat unit rating on the Scoville scale.

♥     ♥     ♥

Happily, I discovered this wonderful jerk marinade from Vegan In The Sun. I typically use it to marinate vegetables before roasting them in the oven.

This delightful dinner comes together quickly when you already have the jerk paste on hand:

  • In the morning (or the night before), press a block of organic tofu for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • While the tofu is pressing, cut up the vegetables (onion, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant are all good choices) and place them in a covered dish with the prepared marinade. Stir well, and throughout the day, if you happen to be around.
  • When the tofu is pressed, cut it into 8 pieces and brush the jerk paste on both sides of each piece of tofu and place the pieces in another covered dish.
  • At dinner time, pre-heat the oven to 400F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or place parchment paper in the bottom of the baking sheet.
  • Wash the yams/sweet potatoes and prick the tops a few times with a fork. Rub the yams with coarse sea salt (optional) and place the yams on a baking sheet with the tofu pieces. Place the  vegetables and the marinade on another baking sheet or in a small roasting pan.
  • Place both pans in the oven and bake about 45 minutes, or until the yams are tender when pierced with a fork. Flip the tofu pieces  and stir the vegetables halfway through the baking time.
  • To serve, spoon a bit of the vegetable marinade over each piece of tofu. If you are feeling sentimental like J was, wash it all down with a Red Stripe lager!

♥     ♥     ♥

For dessert, Tropical Upside Down Cake adapted from Just Add Rum – A Caribbean Cookbook, purchased on our honeymoon. We enjoyed this cake with Coconut Bliss Naked Coconut ice cream. Oh, yes: bliss!

Tropical Upside Down Cake


12 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, divided

1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed

5 Tablespoons dark rum

9 whole pineapple rings (I used canned pineapple rings, packed in water, drained)

1 generous cup of fresh mango, peeled and cubed

1-1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (plus a splash more) unsweetened coconut milk

Ener-G egg replacer for 1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup dark rum


Pre-heat oven to 400F. Add 4 tablespoons of the non-dairy butter to a glass 8 x 8″ dish and place in the oven until the butter melts. Remove the  dish from the oven and stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Add the rum and stir well again.

Arrange the pineapple rings in the bottom of the dish and scatter the mango pieces over the top of the pineapple rings. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl; set aside.

Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of non-dairy butter and place in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the coconut milk and the egg replacer; add the almond extract. Slowly pour the flour mixture into the bowl and beat for about 2 minutes.

Pour the cake mixture over the fruit in the baking dish. Bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and then turn the cake over on a square serving plate, fruit side up. Drizzle the remaining rum over the top of the cake.

♥     ♥     ♥

Happy Jamaica-versary. Jerk. ♥


8 responses to “♥ Jamaica-versary

  1. Happy Anniversary!

    I love jerk anything…looks great…I will def try that paste…I love pastes for cooking =)

    I love to saute string beans with jerk seasoning served with roasted red pepper dip yum =)

  2. Aw, happy anniversary you guys! Love that last pic. And the “jerk” at the end–lol! Love your sense of humor. You know, I thought I was brilliant adding rum to the sauce in a pineapple upside down cake recently, but I guess I’m not he first to have this idea! It looks soooo wonderful. I’ve never had anything with jerk rub/spice so I’m saving this to try. Oh, and I thought of you the last two days at lunch! We’ve been going to Tanya’s Soup Kitchen for lunch and she always has vegan and vegetarian options. In fact, she usually only has one soup that is not veg or vegan. Yesterday I got sweet potato chili (veg b/c there was sour cream on top) and today I got pesto minestrone (vegan). So good! My sister got the tomato curry soup with rice and it was soo yummy I have to recreate it at home. I guess it’s a little warm to be considering making soups, but I thought I’d share some inspiration for next time you wanted it!

    • Rum makes everything better! Seriously, I returned from Jamaica with 2 cookbooks, and every recipe includes rum. Woot!

      I LOVE soup. I eat it year round, actually. And it isn’t too warm here in Tahoe to still have soup! Pesto minestrone sounds awesome – I think I am inspired! Actually, I usually add a couple of cubes of pesto to “rustic Italian” types of soup. But, I haven’t made a minestrone in a long time. Too funny, because I am making pesto today. Pesto means spring to me!

      Btw, thanks for thinking of me. 🙂

  3. Happy anniversary! What a great way to celebrate it. And a great coincidence, I just bought a bottle of jerk sauce.

  4. Happy Anniversary! It looks as though you had a great time! I know what you mean about having plenty of rum. When my husband and I went to St. Thomas years ago, when we stepped into our hotel room there was 1 can of coke and a bottle of rum! Great time!

    That jerk sauce looks amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe. I love jerk sauce. YUM!

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