Aruba has longstanding tradition for delicious food

Published 10:48 am Thursday, June 21, 2018

Bless Your Spoon

By Stephanie Williams Dean


The island of Aruba rightfully claims a bushel of culinary talent. Reflecting an ongoing love affair with food, cooks are having their way with creative recipes. With so many great chefs flocking to the Dutch island, it proved difficult to find anything less than a gastronomical adventure – but I preferred a selection of low key and native dishes.

Exploring the island, discovering lesser-known hot spots, and eating where locals chow down was a welcome change of pace. I highly recommend, “When in Aruba, do as the Arubans do.” The new culinary trend you can’t help but notice – every conceivable fusion of sweet and savory flavors.


1 medium head of shredded, green cabbage

4 Tbsp. salted butter

¼ cup water

2 Tbsp. salted butter

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. fresh, ground pepper

2 chopped garlic cloves

2 tsp. fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup heavy whipping cream

8 ounces grated Gouda cheese

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs


Melt butter in a pot, Add water and cook shredded cabbage 5 minutes or until tender. Drain. In a skillet, melt butter and add salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme. Stir in flour until paste forms. Add cream until mixed well. Cook until thickened and bubbly. In a mixer, place cooked cabbage and grated cheese.  Pour cream sauce over cabbage. At slow speed, mix. Pour in a greased casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs, and sprinkle with paprika.


1 large, peeled, cored, sliced Gala apple

¼ cup raisins

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

2 beaten, large eggs

½ cup whole milk

½ cup sifted flour

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

Combine sliced apples and raisins with sugar. In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter. Saute apple rings and raisins 3 minutes or until tender. Remove apple mixture to a bowl and clean skillet. In a mixer, beat eggs. Add milk, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a 450 degree oven, melt butter in iron skillet. Pour egg mixture in skillet while very hot.  Top with apple slices and raisins. Bake at same temperature for 20 minutes or until pancake is golden and puffed. Top with powdered sugar and syrup.


4 lbs. of boneless goat meat, cubed

4 Tbsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp. turmeric

1 ½ tsp. salt

2 chopped large yellow onions

8 chopped garlic cloves

5 fresh thyme sprigs

2 Bay leaves

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

¼ tsp. minced hot chile pepper

2 cups beef broth

1 ½ lbs. peeled white potatoes, cubed

1 cup chopped green onions

Mix curry, turmeric, and salt. Sprinkle over meat and toss. Refrigerate for 1 hours. Transfer to a large, heavy pot. In a bowl, mix onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, ginger, pepper, and broth. Pour over meat and mix well.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer for 1 ½ hours. Add potatoes and cook 15 minutes or until tender, adding more broth if necessary. Stir ½ cup green onions into the stew and sprinkle remaining ½ on top.


½ cup vegetable oil

8 large, peeled, ripe plantains, cut lengthwise then crosswise

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Bundle of fresh chives, chopped

In a heavy skillet, heat oil. When hot, saute plantains for 1 ½ minute per side. Drain on paper towel.

Salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chives. Top with rum cream (See Recipe)


6 slices of cored, peeled, drained fresh pineapple

1/3 cup dark rum

6 Tbsp. melted salted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup pecan halves

½ cup softened, salted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

3 beaten large eggs

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cup buttermilk


2 cups chilled, whipped cream

6 Tbsp. light brown sugar

6 Tbsp. dark rum

In a mixer, mix all until peaks form. Chill.

Combine pineapple and rum and let stand 30 minutes. Melt butter in a 9” cast iron skillet. Whisk in sugar. Mix until sugar dissolves and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Arrange drained pineapple and pecans in skillet. In a mixer, cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add flour, baking powder, soda, salt, ginger, vanilla, and buttermilk, mixing well. Pour over pineapple in skillet. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes or until done. Place a plate over skillet and flip over. Slowly remove skillet allowing the cake to settle onto plate. Serve warm with chilled rum whipped cream.


4 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

1 cup chopped white onion

½ cup chopped red pepper

½ cup chopped green pepper

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 cup fresh or frozen yellow corn

1 15 oz. can creamed corn

¼ cup vegetable broth

½ cup cream

12 oz. cooked medium shrimp

Salt, fresh ground pepper, paprika

Sour cream

Chopped sage

In a deep skillet, saute onions, peppers, and garlic in melted butter. Add corn and stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add broth and cream. Stir until thick. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in shrimp and heat through. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with chopped sage and paprika.


3 ½ cups shredded, sweet coconut

¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

2 ½ Tbsp. cornstarch

½ tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla

Light pink or green cake color

In a mixer, combine coconut, milk, cornstarch, almond and vanilla extract. Add one drop of light cake color at a time until the desired color. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Similar to coconut macaroons.

Note: Fresh eggs courtesy of Elke Albrecht of Mocksville.  Photo credit: Mo Qudah of Maaksone. You can special order goat meat from a butcher or find in Latin markets. Also, can substitute beef chuck roast.