December to Remember…this time the words are not coming to you from your local car dealer. Because I have stolen the phrase for my purpose–to share my preparations for a trip to Helsinki followed by another to Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince. The first is work (the difficult task of viewing four days of contemporary Scandinavian dance) and the second a holiday jaunt with Robert and Marsha (bro & sis). It’s all good! Yes it is.
There is preparation involved in running around the world a little bit purposefully. But not what you think. Clothes are no longer a problem since everyone in the entire world wears jeans and t-shirts and sneakers and hoodies (except elderly women outside of the US and Europe—so in this instance I’m happy to be an American). Food is not a problem either. In Finland or Dominican Republic or Haiti it is possible to live on cokes and potato chips or hamburgers and fries or saltines and yogurt. And the whole wide world has coffee, beer and wine.
However there are strange and wondrous or ordinary and tasty things to eat everywhere and you should try them. Reindeer and cloudberries in Finland. Lots of rice and beans and plantains and flan in Dominican Republic—not so very different from New Mexico. What about Haiti you ask? It might be a little different.
Griots: (Haitian grillots — fried, glazed pork) 6-8 servings
Griots is a rich, flavorful dish and is one of Haiti’s most popular, invariably served at parties and family gatherings. Cubes of pork are soaked in a sour orange marinade and then slow-roasted until tender. The tender morsels are then given a finally fry in oil until delectably caramelized.
This recipe uses a mixture of orange and lime juice in place of the hard-to-find sour orange juice. Also spelled grillots, griyo, griyot or griot.
Add the pork and all the other ingredients except the oil to a large, non-reactive bowl and mixt together well. Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours to let the meat soak up the marinade.
Oven to 375°F. Place the pork and its marinade into a large roasting pan and cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Place in the oven and roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the pork is tender.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Remove any extra liquid in the pan, putting it into a saucepan, and set aside. Add the oil to the pan and stir it into the meat. Return the roasting pan to the oven and let the pork cook for 20 to 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Any liquid will evaporate away and the meat will begin to fry in the oil and brown.
While the meat is frying in the oven, place the saucepan with the reserved liquid on the top of the stove and boil it down until it is well reduced and thickens. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and mix the reduced sauce into the browned pork. Serve hot with sos ti-malice, banan peze and a side of pikliz.
I am going to try to post something about every other day all month because there is so much and many food and weather and dance and music and smells and noises to experience in these places 5,219 miles apart.
Until I leave however the posts will mostly be about books. Several have been ordered, three Finnish novels and five or six (mostly) novels about the two countries of Hispaniola. I must finish a tale of Swedish cops and murder tonight so that I can begin the next two journeys’ literary preparation.
I have been to Finland before but Dominican Republic and Haiti are NEW PASSPORT STAMPS. Did I already say…life is good.