This post was created in partnership with Milkadamia. All opinions are my own.
Technically, I’ve been single for two years, five months, and three days. In that time, I have been on Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge, and JSwipe (exceptionally briefly). I have been rejected by Raya (twice), a deeply shaming feat I didn’t even know was possible. In the case that you are reading this as a happily coupled human with no single friends, or as a human who has never heard of online dating before, let me explain: These are all dating apps, virtual enclaves for the lonely, the sexually frustrated, and all too often, the obscene. As of today, I am officially using none of said apps—dating app fatigue (and general disgust) is real. Do I sound jaded? As the kids say these days, lol.
For two years, five months, and three days, I’ve mostly refrained from writing about dating here on K&C. It felt too risky to write about strangers who might one day find themselves exposed, and be hurt or angry.
Riverhead Table: A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS by Marlon James -- WITH Marlon James!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS by Marlon James took the world by storm when it was published in 2014. It’s a New York Times bestseller and won the coveted Man Booker Prize last year–that means it’s the best work of fiction written in the English language. That’s a big deal!
We’ve heard that many book clubs have taken on the challenge of reading Marlon’s 700+ page novel, so we figured there was no better time than the present to give it the #RiverheadTable treatment. But this time we turned the heat way up!
Not only did we ask Marlon to cook a traditional Jamaican feast with us (he said yes), and not only did we partner with the soon to open Brooklyn restaurant Winsome (thanks for letting us use your kitchen and dining space, guys!), but we also ended up making dinner for 20 PEOPLE. That’s right. 2-0. A few members of Marlon’s family, NYC friends and our awesome apron partners Jones of Boerum Hill all came ready to eat.
Here is where this edition of #RiverheadTable gets interesting for our readers: Marlon’s cooking style is as laid back as it gets, meaning his recipes come from memory and are often improvised. He created two of the dishes we ended up serving at dinner on the spot! Which means the menu we’re about to share with you isn’t exact by any measure. We did our best to keep track of everything Marlon did or had us do in the kitchen, but we can’t promise that we got it completely right.
What we can promise is this: after five separate grocery runs and four hours, dinner was delicious. We know you’ll have a great time trying to recreate Marlon’s dishes for your next party. So put on your apron, chill a bunch of beer in the fridge and invite A LOT of friends…otherwise prepare your fridge for a hefty amount of leftovers!
Jamaican Jerk Lamb with Honey & Pistachio Crust with Wilted Watercress
Ripe Plantains in Raisin & Cinnamon Reduction
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties with Tomato & Molasses Sauce
Jamaican Jerk Lamb with
Honey & Pistachio Crust with Wilted Watercress
For the lamb:
4 racks of lamb
(or whatever the butcher thinks can feed 20)
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (Walker’s Wood or Eatons – NO EXCEPTIONS)
For the crust:
Canola oil spray
1 bunch thyme, leaves
separated from stems and minced (stems discarded)
1 bottle honey
1 bunch sage,
1 cup plain
1 pack shelled pistachios,
crushed fine but ideal to have some chunky pieces in it
1 pack cashews, crush
to a fine powder
watercress leaves with stems
10 cups arugula
over to 400 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut the rack of lamb into
individual medallions of fairly uniform thickness. In a large bowl coat
the medallions in honey and Walker’s Wood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (VERY
IMPORTANT: The only other acceptable substitution for Walker’s Wood is Eaton’s—others simply won’t do). Heat a generous amount of canola oil in a heavy
skillet or sauté pan over a medium/high flame. Fry the medallions in batches for about 1 minute per side until browned. Set aside.
honey/pistachio crust while the medallions cool! Mix your finely crushed cashews,
pistachios, bread crumbs, thyme, sage, and chives together. Add salt and
pepper to taste.
When the medallions
have cooled, spray a thin layer of canola oil on each side of the medallions and generously coat in the nut and bread crumb mixture. You want
a thick crust!
Once medallions are coated, spray medallions again on each side with
canola oil and roast on a
large baking sheet in the oven for about
15-20 minutes, depending on medallion thickness. You want the inside
temperature to be about 130 degrees for medium rare, and the crust to be
slightly browned. Take the medallions out of the oven when done and keep warm.
Now make the vegetables:
Quickly heat up the arugula and watercress in a lightly oiled sauté pan, about one to two minutes or until just gently wilted. Use this as
bedding for the lamb medallions!
Ripe Plantains in
Raisin & Cinnamon Reduction
6 large ripe
plantains, still slightly firm
2 medium green
apples or 1 large green apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 container of cranberries
1 cup orange
juice, plus extra
cinnamon powder, plus more to taste
2 tbsp stick of unsalted/unsweetened
1 can chunky
1 bottle canola
oil (or similar)
1 bottle of red
oven to 350 degrees. Slice plantains on a diagonal, about a ½ inch thick. Deep fry in 350-degree canola oil until light
golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. The
center of each slice should no longer be tough or raw. Set aside. In a medium sauce
pan throw in the cranberries,
apples, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup red wine, cranberry sauce, and cinnamon
powder. Simmer it over medium heat,
stirring frequently until it reduces and thickens quite a lot, roughly 15 minutes. This is a
reduction sauce so you want it to be the correct consistency – be patient!
Once the sauce is ready, place the plantains
in an oven-proof baking dish and pour the sauce mixture over them. Toss well. Add a 2-second pour of red
wine and of orange juice (just enough to moisten the mixture—we told you this
would be inexact and interesting!), toss and mix. Put the dish into the oven,
uncovered, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes take the dish out, add 2 tablespoons
of butter on top of the plantains, smear all over the top and then put the dish
back in the over for another five minutes. Toss a final time and serve warm.
2 lbs Yukon Gold
Potatoes, peeled and quartered (or 3-4 lbs yellow baby potatoes, not peeled and
cut into halves)
1 can coconut
1 bunch thyme,
leaves separated from stems and minced (stems discarded)
1 bunch tarragon,
1 bottle coconut
Bring a large
pot of water to a boil. Boil your peeled and quartered potatoes (work in
batches if necessary) until you can slightly pierce through a piece with a
fork. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a sauté pan or large skillet. Add
boiled potatoes (again working in batches if necessary) and sauté with thyme
and tarragon. Add coconut milk to the pan little by little to keep the potatoes
moist and continue to simmer until they are nearly mushy but retain their shape.
Stir occasionally so that the potatoes don’t burn, then season with salt/pepper
(That’s Richard, Marlon’s brother!)
Sweet Potato & Black Bean
Patties with Tomato & Molasses Sauce
For the patties:
4 cans black
3 large sweet
½ -1 cup
cooked brown rice
1 small bag of whole
1 large egg,
1 small bundle
of chives, minced
Half of a large
red onion, minced
Small bundle of
For the sauce:
tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 bottle of
Salt and pepper
oven to 375 degrees. Place your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with
some canola oil before placing in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Roast until you
can push a fork through the meat of the potatoes, then remove from oven and let
the piece cool slightly. When cool enough to touch place the piece in a large
bowl and use a potato masher (or your hands) to mash them completely. Set aside.
Empty all four cans of drained black beans into a bowl and mash, again either
with the potato masher or with your hands. Combine the mashed sweet potatoes
and beans, and then add the cooked brown rice and the beaten egg. Mix well. Add
minced chives, tarragon, red onion, salt and pepper. Add a dusting of whole
wheat flour and mix well again. Grab a handful of the mixture and form into a
patty. Repeat until you’ve used all of the mixture. Carefully deep fry for
approximately 3 minutes or until the outside of each patty is slightly crispy.
Top with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Make the sauce
while the patties cool: Place your roughly chopped tomatoes into a blender and
puree until smooth. Pour the tomatoes into a saucepan and simmer over medium
heat. Add a little bit of molasses until you reach the sweetness and flavor you
desire. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on the side so that your
guests can put as much or as little of the sauce on their potato patties as
And there you have it! A home style Jamaican feast for your next book club or dinner party. Thanks again to Winsome, Jones of Boerum Hill and Marlon James for making the latest #RiverheadTable one to remember!