Allow me to introduce Sarina, form Trinigourmet.com. Sarina comes to us all the way from Trinidad via the Jewish Jamaican community and her blog all about Caribbean food is fully kosher. When I first found Trini Gourmet I couldn't believe there was a Jewish, kosher person from Trinidad writing about food, it is such a pleasure to get to know our new friend Sarina. Make sure to leave any questions for her in the comments below.
1. Tell us about your blog and how you got started:
Trinigourmet.com is a food blog that is dedicated to helping food lovers around the world add a dash of 'Caribbean Glam' to their tables. I started the site in 2006 after a car accident made me unable to continue my work as a life and business coach. A chance online conversation with an old college friend brought into sharp focus the rich culinary heritage of my country. I now realized I had a new mission. To spread the word of the dishes and approaches we here in Trinidad & Tobago, too often take for granted. Within 24 hours of that conversation I registered the domain and got cooking! I'm thrilled that in seeking to preserve and elevate visual depictions of our region's culinary heritage we've introduced readers around the world to a cuisine that still remains largely under promoted and increasingly vulnerable to dilution and misrepresentation.
2. What is your earliest cooking memory?
I was an extremely late bloomer when it came to moving around a kitchen. Growing up, as an only child, I spent most of my time in the kitchen watching my mother cook. She was a prolific recipe collector with a passion for international cuisine, something that definitely rubbed off on me. However, the kitchen was very much her domain and the message was clear that though I was free to watch, I was also expected to stay out of her way. What attempts I did make as a child and a teen were usually inedible - dry omelets, soggy pizzas, fallen cakes. The list goes on!
3. What is your favorite kitchen implement / utensil / gadget?
It's going to be a battle between my food processor and my Silpat. I have extremely passionate emotions about both. If I had to pick one though the food processor would win. I didn't get one until my mid 30's and had no idea how liberating it would be!
4. What's your favorite kosher dish to cook?
That's a wonderful question. If there's one complaint that friends and family have it's that I don't repeat many dishes. This is because I'm always trying new things, whether it's for the blog, or my own recipe development. Still there will always be those favourites that we turn to for comfort reasons or because they are tied to certain times of year. I love the simplicity of a well-roasted chicken. It can be customized in so many ways, through changes in glazing and stuffing, and is wonderful for a potluck, shabbat, or yom tov spread.
5. Who is your cooking inspiration?
Without a doubt Mario Batali has probably had the greatest influence on my culinary point of view. His seasonal approach to using the freshest ingredients, and his emphasis on allowing the essence of a main ingredient to shine in as unmasked a form as possible has really shaped my improvisational abilities, as well as how I interpret and re-interpret the dishes that I have grown up with. I have also become consumed in recent years with Julia Child. Even though I attended her alma mater (Smith College) her work had never reached Trinidad. In recent years I've been able to see her shows on PBS and the Cooking Channel and got a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. All of which have been positively life changing!
6. Please share a favorite cooking tip or trick with our readers:
I love to add a touch of island flair to dishes by using coconut milk in lieu of dairy. Not only does it add another layer of flavour, it complements both sweet and savory preparations and is pareve as well!
7. Tell us a little more about your being Jewish in Trindad?
My own background is via the Jewish Jamaican community through my mother who is Jamaican. I enjoy finding kosher ways to express
Caribbean dishes, as well as infusing traditional Jewish dishes with Caribbean approaches. You can see an example of that in this video I
did with Daniel Saks of the US Jewish band DeLeon.
There aren't many ways to express Jewish life in my country, so kosher eating is one of the few avenues I have to do so on any regular basis.
Here is an article I wrote on the background of the Trinidad Jewish community. We are a very low-key group.
Main Image - Chicken Stir Fry
Sarina is the founder of TriniGourmet An award-winning blog that helps food lovers around the world add a dash of Caribbean Glam to their tables. Caribbean food that just happens to be kosher.