Diri Djon Djon

Djon Djon is a type of mushroom that grows in the mountains of Haiti. This rice dish is often served as an accompaniment for Poulet Légumes

  • 2 habanero chilis, stem removed but seeds in tact
  • 1 green onion, white and green parts, cut into 1″ segments
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges each
  • 2 cups fresh Pois Congo, shelled
  • 1/2 fresh coconut: meat extracted and finely grated
  • 3 T tiny dried shrimps
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 lbs djon djon (black mushrooms found in Caribbean markets) or 3 condensed djon djon bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely sliced
  • Whole sprig of thyme
  • Small bunch of parsley
  • 3 T rock salt to taste
  • 2 cups rice, picked through and washed

In a large wooden mortar and pestle, pound one habanero, green onion, garlic, chicken bouillon cube and cloves until a rough paste forms. Add tomato paste and mash to combine. Heat oil in large pot. When hot, add paste until fragrant. Add fresh tomatoes and Pois Congo, stir and let simmer partially covered for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make coconut milk by adding 2 cups of water to shredded coconut. Massage the meat through your fingers, extracting the milk from the coconut. Strain the liquid through a fine meshed strainer, squeezing the meat to extract as much liquid as possible. Repeat this process two more times, using one cup of water each of the following extractions. Add coconut milk, tiny shrimps, butter, djon djon, green pepper, one whole habanero, parsley, thyme and salt to the Congo beans. Cover and bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Simmer until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add rice, stir, cover and bring to a boil slowly. After about 15 minutes, stir again. Rice is ready when all the liquid has been absorbed. Serve with Poulet Legumes.


This recipe was performed by Rose Marie Paul at the 3rd Ghetto Biennale in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Charbon - Charcoal vendors at the Marcher Salomon, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
Charbon – Charcoal vendors at the Marcher Salomon, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Poulet Légumes

  • 12 plump chicken legs
  • 5 oranges, peeled with a knife leaving half the pith in tact
  • 6 limes
  • 4 tsp rock salt
  • 1 lb green beans, ends removed and sliced diagonally into 1″ segments
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise at a diagonal in 1/2 ” segments
  • 12 small potatoes, peeled
  • Small bunch of parsley tied together with 5 large sprigs of thyme
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 40 gram packet of ‘sazon ranchero’ (similar to a Mexican taco sauce)
  • 4 habanero chilis
  • 1 green onion, white and green part, chopped into 1″ segments
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

Wash chicken legs and make a diagonal slice to the bone through the thickest part of the meat. Place the chicken in a large pot. Squeeze the juice of one orange and 2 limes over the chicken, rubbing the juice into the meat. Add 2 tsp rock salt, stir to combine and leave to marinate. Reserve juice from 4 remaining oranges and 4 remaining limes in a separate container. The rinds may be added to the chicken marinade.

Boil green beans, carrots and potatoes until cooked through but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside, separating the potatoes from the beans and carrots. In a large wooden mortar and pestle, pound one habanero, green onion, garlic and chicken bouillon cube until a rough paste forms. Reserve.

Remove citrus rinds from the chicken marinade. Add enough water to reach the top of the chicken legs. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Strain chicken, discarding cooking liquid. Return the chicken to the pot. Add reserved citrus juices, parsley and thyme. Cook over medium high heat until all liquid evaporates and starts to brown on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with 2 cups of water, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add enough water to reach half way up the chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, then add a chicken bouillon cube and the sazon ranchero. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, take out the parsley and thyme sprigs, and add the reserved paste from the mortar and 2 tsp rock salt.

Remove from flame. Drain chicken, reserving cooking liquid. Heat oil in the large pot and add chicken pieces in a single layer. This may take a couple of rounds. Fry chicken until it is a deep chestnut color. After chicken has fried, remove to separate bowl. Add tomato paste to the same oil and sautee for about 3 minutes. Add green beans and carrots and sautee for 5 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid and simmer 10 minutes. Add 2 whole habanero chilis, potatoes, green bell pepper, butter and a splash of water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir, mashing the habanero against the side to release flavor. Return chicken to the pot, add sliced onion and simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve with Diri Djon Djon

This recipe was performed by Rose Marie Paul at the 3rd Ghetto Biennale in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Carrot vendor at the Marcher Salomon

Foundations: Chateau de la Napoule

In 2012, La Napoule Art Foundation offered a residency for artists to create work specifically for a young audience in mind. As a new mom, I was moved to create work about environmental issues my son will face in his lifetime. Plastic, the chemicals that make up the material, as well as the chemicals used in industrial agriculture became of primary concern since I started feeding him his first foods. The intentions expressed in the proposal below became the foundation for the Debris Project.

Creating original works for the Debris Project at the Chateau de la Napoule. Photo by Michael Gadlin

Proposal for the Children themed residency at the Chateau de la Napoule:

Through the myriad of perspectives of age and place, I would like to explore a single material which transcends our differences and has a tremendous impact on all of us; Plastic.

Plastic is one of the most important materials in our lives. We simply do not have the natural resources to support our population without it. However, single use plastics are wreaking havoc on both our health and the environment. It is made from a limited resource, it does not cycle back into the environment which creates an inordinate amount of waste and damage to wildlife, and the chemicals which make up plastic are now linked to some of our biggest health concerns today.

Children are often interested in issues that affect their health and the planet they will inherit. It is important to engage them on pertinent issues so that they may take ownership of their future. They also demonstrate a strong interest in having an impact on the world while they are still young. We can be inspired by the idealism of youth in solving pressing problems. Art is a fantastic platform on which to explore creative ideas and solutions to problems which affect us all.

Because Plastic fills our lives, it is a very familiar material which is often taken for granted. I aspire to encourage children to consider this very common material in new ways.

I would like to present work which explores both the environmental importance of plastic which endures in a useful form, and contrast it to the environmental catastrophe of single use plastics. It takes a lot of effort to pay attention to how we use the most common materials in our lives. It is important to encourage youth to start paying attention to our daily actions to encourage their understanding of our places in context of the world in which we live. In doing so, they may feel empowered to incorporate small changes in their own lives which would inspire waves of change in the larger spheres of their communities.

As a compliment to the work that I create which would encourage a reconsideration of this common but untraditional material, I would like to design an interactive element where children could build their own art works from found plastic objects that would otherwise be laid to waste. In the hopes that it would inspire a long term ability to repurpose materials, I hope that it offers a shift in perception as to the value of materials that are often overlooked.

Beyond the scope of this particular residency, I would like to take the interactive element into various schools and communities at home and abroad in order to engage children on the subject of plastic. I plan to build an online presence with the work and reflections created by the kids to form a foundation of a visual dialogue around this material which touches us all.