Poor Poet’s Meals: Marley’s Caribe Cucumber Salad

Ingredient List:

1 Hothouse cucumber quartered and sliced (I like these because they are seedless and the rind is not bitter, which saves peeling time and adds extra vitamins and minerals for healthy poetic skin, hair and bones)

1 small onion thinly sliced
3 plum tomatoes quartered and sliced
3-4 radishes thinly sliced
¼ TSP Celery Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper


3 TBS Olive Oil
1 TBS Rice Wine Vinegar
2 TSP Dark Corn Syrup
Dash or two Allspice
Dash or two Cinnamon
Dash or two Nutmeg

In a large bowl combine cucumber, tomatoes, onion and radishes. Mix well. Add salt, pepper and celery salt and toss together. I don’t give any measurements for salt and pepper, add to your taste.

In a separate bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar and corn syrup slowly add allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Go easy, these can easily overpower the dish. Whisk well to ensure there are no spice lumps or someone will get a big blast of flavor.

Add dressing and toss until salad is well coated with the dressing. I like to let the salad rest in the fridge for an hour or two to let the flavors marry together and for the onions to become limp. Adjust seasoning if necessary before serving.

Options…I would have liked to add some fresh well minced ginger, but I was fresh out. The daring among you might try switching out the corn syrup for molasses, though I would probably cut the amount in half if I used molasses. Oh…and some diced jalapeno pepper couldn’t hurt.


Poor Poet’s Meals:Rimbaud Ragout

1 pound ground beef (turkey works for the calorie conscious and for you vegetarians, leave it out.)
1 large can whole tomatoes (pear shaped works best, but whatever your market has)
1 large can beans (take your pick, kidney beans, frijoles negros, chick peas)
1 large onion coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic (the more the better in my estimation. but not everyone loves garlic.yet.)
2 TBS dried Oregano
Pasta (you choose shape and serving size)
1-2 TBS Fresh herbs (pick one or two for that matter tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil)
Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a skillet, brown ground beef. You can use a couple of TBS of olive oil if need be, but if you are a frugal poet, you will have bought the cheapest ground beef you can find and there will be plenty of fat content to easily brown the meat. Due to the lean nature of turkey, the ground turkey types should use the oil. Drain off any excess oil.

In a separate skillet, sautee off the onions until translucent adding the garlic about halfway through the process. Please don’t burn your garlic. It gets rather mean and bitter about being burned.

In a bowl crush up the can of whole tomatoes with your fingers. So squishy. So much like five year old fun. Add the tomatoes to the ground beef. And let the beef and tomatoes simmer for ten minutes. Add the onion and garlic mixture from the other skillet as well as the oregano and the can of beans. Stir well to combine.

While the condimento (sauce) is simmering, prepare your favorite pasta. I have found I like simple elbow macaroni for this. It cooks fast and has lots of places for the sauce and flavors to go. Cook the pasta until the famed “al dente” texture is achieved. Drain the pasta and return to the pan over very low heat. Add the fresh herbs and stir allowing the herbs to release their flavors. Now is a good time too, if you like things spicy, to add some crushed red pepper. After you have stirred the herbs for a minute or so, start adding your sauce a little at a time. Add enough sauce to coat the pasta, more if you like “saucy” pasta. Plate up, sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Tip: I prefer cooking up only enough pasta for one meal. Reheated pasta often turns to mush or worse. And it’s better to reheat your sauce and add some new ingredients while your pasta boils. Innovate I always say! See the side of the pasta box/bag for serving size guidelines.