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End Of The World Party: What To Serve On December 21

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Whether you believe December 21 signals the coming apocalypse or the ushering in of a new era of consciousness (or hey, just the winter solstice for 2012), it sounds to us like it's a great excuse for a party.

There are plenty of options to be had — your plans might include a blow-out bash (pun completely intended) or a quiet, hiding in your basement kind of evening. But either way, you have to have food, and the gorgeous new Flavors of Belize cookbook is offering up some mighty fine — and thematic — options for your apocalyptic fest.

After all, the country does lie in the heart of what was the Mayan Empire (along with southern Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of Honduras and El Salvador). Today, about 10 million people still hold to that culture, making many of the same dishes their ancestors created for parties and events.

So whatever you're doing, we recommend getting into the spirit of things and celebrating December 21 like a Mayan — without, of course, any mysterious disappearances.

SEE: A Mayan menu for the end of the world. Full recipes follow below:

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Belizean Coleslaw
INGREDIENTS
5 cups white cabbage, shredded
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 cups carrots, shredded
¼ cup onion, diced, rinsed with cold water
1 cup salad cream
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
3 tablespoons cilantro, diced, optional
DIRECTIONS
Combine cabbage, carrots and onions in a large bowl. Whisk salad cream, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and cilantro in a medium bowl. Pour dressing over shredded vegetables and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
Serves 6 to 8

Conch Fritters via Elvi’s Restaurant, Ambergris Caye
INGREDIENTS
1 pound conch, trimmed (or chopped clams, shrimp or crabmeat)
¼ cup onion
⅓ cup tomato, de-seeded
½ celery stalk
1 clove garlic
¼ cup green bell peppers, de-seeded
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
⅓ cup water, as needed
Vegetable oil, for frying
DIRECTIONS
Blend conch, vegetables and seasoning in food processor. Combine flour and baking powder, add eggs and water then fold conch mixture into flour batter. Add additional water if mixture is too dry. Drop one tablespoon at a time of mixture into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.
Makes 10 to 12 fritters

May also be served with a honey mustard sauce.
Honey Mustard Sauce
1 cup mustard
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Horseradish, to taste
Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.

Coconut White Rice
INGREDIENTS
2 cups white rice
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, olive oil or melted butter
DIRECTIONS
Bring rice, coconut milk, water, salt and oil to a boil and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for approximately 8 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed. Reduce to low heat. Sprinkle with ¼ cup water, cover and cook another 10 minutes until rice is tender.

Dukunu
In ancient Maya culture, corn represented much more than a grain used for food. Corn was also considered a gift from the gods and cultivating it was a sacred duty. In fact, according to the sacred book of the Maya, (Popol Vuh), the gods created humans from corn. Today, corn is still a favourite crop and is the base for a variety of indigenous and authentic Maya meals.

INGREDIENTS
10 to 12 green corn on the cob, shucked
¼ cup water
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS
Peel corn, reserving clean husks. Purée corn with water in a blender. Pour into a large mixing bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Place approximately ¼ to ⅓ cup mixture onto the center of each reserved husk. Bring sides together, making sure to overlap and fold pointed end upward. Secure each with string. Place 2 to 3 inches of water in a large saucepot, bring to a boil and arrange dukunu folded side down. Boil for about ½ hour. Remove from husk and serve.
Cooked pork or chicken meat can be added to this dish after placing mixture on corn husk.

Panades
INGREDIENTS
1½ pounds corn masa or 2 cups Quaker Masa Harina de Maiz mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red recado paste (see below)
¼ cup water
1½ cups fish filet, cooked, flaked
Vegetable oil for frying
Tortilla press
FISH FILLING
2 pounds fish filet
6 epazote leaves, minced (can be substituted with coriander)
2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Place fish, epazote and cilantro in a pot with enough water to cover, boil until fish is cooked, approximately 15 minutes. Remove fish from pot and cool. Flake fish, combine with salt, black pepper, onion and garlic.
DIRECTIONS
Mix masa, baking powder and salt. Dissolve recado in water and add to masa until soft and masa holds. If using Masa harina, follow instructions on package. Form into 1½ inch balls. Place ball of masa in-between 2 sheets of parchment paper in the centre of a tortilla press and flatten. Place approximately 1 teaspoon of fish in the middle and fold over to form a patty, press edges to seal. Do not overfill. Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry panades until it floats, turn and cook until slightly crisp. Serve with hot pepper onion sauce (see below).
Serves 4 to 6
May also fill with refried beans. When using refried beans, eliminate red recado paste from the recipe.
Locally, cooks use red recado to differentiate between panades fillings. The red colour from the recado paste, represents the fish, and the plain masa is for the beans.
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RED RECADO PASTE
5 tablespoons annatto seeds (can use turmeric as substitute)
6 to 7 allspice seeds
¼ teaspoon whole cloves
¼ cup sour orange
¼ cup vinegar
DIRECTIONS
Grind annatto seeds, allspice seeds and whole cloves to a powder. Combine annatto powder with sour orange and ¼ cup of vinegar and process to a paste. May add more sour orange and vinegar if necessary to achieve a thick paste. Store in refrigerator.
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HOT PEPPER ONION SAUCE
INGREDIENTS
2 cups onions, minced
2 habanero peppers, de-seeded, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
6 allspice seeds
1½ cups vinegar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and marinate for 2 hours or overnight. Will keep for several weeks in refrigerator.

Escabeche
INGREDIENTS
4 pounds chicken, cut into serving sizes
6 to 8 cups water
6 garlic cloves, crushed
8 dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons salt
2 escabeche peppers or
3 canned jalapeño peppers
1 tablespoon red recado (see below)
2 pounds onion, sliced
½ cup vinegar
¼ cup olive oil, optional
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
DIRECTIONS
Place chicken and place in a stockpot with water, garlic, oregano, salt and escabeche or jalapeno peppers. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook until tender. Remove chicken and drain. Reserve broth and escabeche peppers. Dissolve red recado in a little vinegar, enough to make a paste and rub on chicken. Put chicken on a broiler tray and broil in oven until golden brown, set aside.
Bring reserved broth to a boil, add onions and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add vinegar, stir and drizzle olive oil. Sprinkle with black pepper. Serve with corn tortillas or over yellow rice (see below).
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RED RECADO PASTE
5 tablespoons annatto seeds
6 to 7 allspice seeds
¼ teaspoon whole cloves
¼ cup sour orange
¼ cup vinegar
DIRECTIONS
Grind annatto seeds, allspice seeds and whole cloves to a powder. Combine annatto powder with sour orange and ¼ cup of vinegar and process to a paste. May add more sour orange and vinegar if necessary to achieve a thick paste. Store in refrigerator.
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YELLOW RICE
INGREDIENTS
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cumin
DIRECTIONS
Sauté onions and garlic in oil until golden brown. Add rice, broth, salt, turmeric and cumin. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for approximately 8 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed. Reduce to low heat. Sprinkle with ¼ cup water, cover and cook another 10 minutes until rice is tender.

Grouper in Banana Leaf, via Chef Sean Kuylen
INGREDIENTS
4 grouper filets, 8-ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 large banana leaves, smoked
DIRECTIONS
Season fish with salt, pepper, and garlic. Drizzle with melted butter. Wrap fish in smoked plantain or banana leaves, folding the edges like a gift. Steam the fish in a shallow pan with fish stock or bake in oven until fish flakes easily with a fork, approximately 12 minutes.

Fry Jacks
INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
¾ cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
DIRECTIONS
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut shortening into flour. Add water, a little at a time, to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Divide dough into two rounds. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes or more. Lightly flour counter top or cutting board. Roll dough out to about 10 to 12 inches round. Cut lengthwise into 2 to 3 inch strips and then crosswise to desired size. Heat oil and fry on each side until golden brown. Serve hot with honey, jam, sugar or refried beans and cheese.
Serves 4

Puerco Pibil via Chef Sean Kuylen
Cochinita (small pig) pibil (to bury) literally translates to ‘buried whole suckling pig’. Traditionally, you should marinate the pork in the same manner but cook the whole pig wrapped in banana leaves underground with fire wood and hot stones for hours until tender.

INGREDIENTS
5 pound pork shoulder or pork leg, bone in
1 head garlic
1½ tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1½ teaspoons allspice
1½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red recado, diluted to form paste
½ cup sour orange juice
2 medium onions, quartered
2 medium green bell peppers, quartered
¼ cup cilantro, minced
Smoked banana leaves
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325°F. Pierce pork with knife and insert garlic cloves all around. Mix all dry ingredients; combine with recado, diluted in orange juice and coat pork. Marinate overnight. Place pork in large roasting pan lined with banana leaves. Add onion, sweet pepper and place cilantro on top. Pour remaining marinade liquid and add more water to pan to approximately 1-inch high. Cover with banana leaves and seal tightly with foil. Bake for 5 hours or until meat is very tender and starts to release from the bone. Shred pork and serve on warm corn tortillas topped with habanero salsa.
Can also be cooked in a slow cooker, on low, for 12 hours, or on high for 6 hours.
Serves 8

Tamales
INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING
18 smoked banana leaves, cut in 10-inch squares
4 pounds chicken, cut into serving sizes
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Season All
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup green bell peppers, de-seeded, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1. cup cilantro, minced
1 cup vegetable oil, for browning chicken
1. cup warm water
1/2 cup red recado paste, diluted in water
Potatoes, peeled, par boiled, diced, optional
Green olives, optional
Green peas, optional

DIRECTIONS
Clean both sides of banana leaves with a damp cloth. Set aside. Season chicken pieces with salt, Season All, black pepper and sugar. Heat oil in a deep saucepot. Add chicken and cook until light brown. Add 1. cups water. Dilute recado in approximately ⅓ cup warm water and add to chicken. Let simmer for half an hour, then remove chicken and set aside. Strain chicken broth for col and return to saucepot, reducing to a low heat.

INGREDIENTS FOR COL
¾ pound corn masa
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons salt

DIRECTIONS
Mix masa, water and salt until well blended. Add the masa mixture to broth and stir until thickened. Add water if mixture is too thick. Remove from heat and set aside. Mixture should have the consistency of thick cream.

INGREDIENTS FOR TAMALE DOUGH
2⅓ pounds masa
4 teaspoons salt
1. cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
Mix masa, salt, water and vegetable oil until well blended. Mixture will be like a soft custard.

To Assemble
On a flat surface place a banana leaf on a larger square of foil. Place ⅓ cup masa mixture in middle of leaf and spread into a 5-inch circle. Top with ⅓ cup col, a piece of chicken and a slice of tomato. Potatoes, olives or green peas are optional. Bring opposite sides of the banana leaf and foil together and fold down tightly. Carefully fold each side over tightly to contain the filling. Line the bottom of a large saucepot with banana leaves. Arrange the wrapped tamales on a slant to avoid water getting into it. You may place as many tamales as you can in the saucepot. Add 4 inches of water and steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check periodically to make sure there is always an inch of water in the pot. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 16 to 18 tamales

Belizean Lemon Pie
INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST
2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
½ teaspoon salt
6 to 7 tablespoons cold water, as needed
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until coarse crumbs form. Add water, a little at a time, and stir until mixture forms a ball. May add more water or use less to get the dough to a rolling consistency. Roll dough on floured surface to approximately 10 inches and arrange in a 9" baking dish. Prick dough generously with a fork and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Set aside. Reduce oven to 325°F.
FILLING AND TOPPING
5 eggs, separated
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup white sugar
⅓ to ½ cup lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
DIRECTIONS
Beat egg yolks in a bowl just until mixed. Add condensed milk and combine. Add 1/3 to ½ cup lime juice, slowly to desired taste; should be a little tart. Pour into pie crust. Beat egg whites on high, until foamy and thick. Reduce speed and slowly add 1 cup of sugar while continuing to beat. Increase to high until sugar is incorporated. Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice and cream of tartar and beat until thick peaks form. Spread on top of the egg yolk mixture. Be sure to spread the meringue so that it touches the pie crust, thereby forming a seal. Touch top of meringue with spatula to form peaks all over. Bake at 325°F for approximately 25 minutes or until peaks are golden.

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