Tag Archives: rum

Ecuador…

Friday, August 10 –

One more for today…

This dinner was a little smaller, but had a whole lot more flavor. Holy wow, one of the recipes from this dinner rocked my world. We were only five for this dinner: Bestie Extraordinaire, BestestEverFiance, Sir VJ, and RubsWithLove. Sir VJ and RubsWithLove brought marinaded shrimp, rice, sauce, and avocado puree. I made slow cooked lamb shanks and mango, avocado, and arugula salad. BestestEverFiance helped to make the magic happen and helped do all of the dishes, like always.

I made the recipes below exactly as they are written. I chose to bake the shanks in the oven in a baking dish covered with foil. It only took about two hours total for them to be fall-off-the-bone done.

The lamb was tender but a little bit oily for my tastes. The sauce that went with it was a perfect level of flavor. The salad was really good, and I will definitely be making it again. The shrimp with the sauce and the rice and the avocado was so good that thinking about it makes me want more for dinner tonight. And then I tasted the shrimp by itself and realized that it was possibly one of the best shrimp flavors I have EVER had. If you like shrimp, steal this recipe and go home and make it. You will not be disappointed!

Ecuador
(Recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.food.com)

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks (Seco De Chivo)

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 24 ounces beer (or 12 ounces beer & 12 ounces water)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves , washed well
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar (I use brown sugar Splenda)
  • 1 large onion , chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 stalk celery
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

Directions:

1    Brown meat and onion in olive oil. Remove meat to slow cooker or heavy dutch oven.

2    Place onion, tomatoes, cilantro, carrot, celery, garlic, brown sugar, ketchup, seasonings & beer in food processor. Process until everything is thick puree consistency.

3    Pour beer mixture over the lamb and cook at low heat for 2-3 hours if stove-top. If you are using the oven, 325 degrees for 2-3 hours. If using a crockpot, cook on low for 4-6 hours, depending on size of the shanks.

Mango, Avocado and Arugula Salad

Spicy orange vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice , about 1/2 orange
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice , about 1/2 lime
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 red chili peppers or 1 hot pepper , sliced
  • salt and pepper

Salad

  • 1/2 red onion , sliced
  • 6 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 mango , peeled and cut into long slices
  • 1 avocado , peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Directions:

1    Combine all the ingredients for the salad dressing in a jar, close it tight and shake until the ingredients are well mixed.

2    Soak the onion slices in warm water with a dash of salt and 1 tbs lime juice for about 10 minutes.

3    Rinse and drain the onions slices.

4    Toss the arugula leaves with half of the vinaigrette.

5    Add the avocado slices, mango slices and onion slices to the arugula mix, drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on top.

6    Serve immediately.

More Ecuador Recipes

Camarones Guayaquil:

  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

Directions: 1 Mix the rum, honey and ginger together and pour over the shrimp. 2 Marinate for two hours. 3 Thread shrimps onto skewers so they remain flat and grill over hot coals turning and brushing with the remaining marinade until just done (about three minutes). 4 You can also saute the shrimps in a saute pan over medium high heat, pouring some of the marinade over the cooking shrimp.

Aji (Ecuadorean Hot Sauce):

  • 4 hot red peppers (aji peppers or similar small hot peppers)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions: 1 Combine the water, peppers and garlic in the blender and blend well. 2 Strain the liquid into a bowl and discard any solids. 3 Add the balance of the ingredients and mix well. {I added a smidgen of habenero too.}

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Cuba…

Monday, June 18 –

This week’s dinner grew into quite the kitchen fiasco in the best sort of way. We had: Wonderful Boyfriend, Bestie Extraordinaire, Mistress Whiskey, Sassy Desserts, and our newest blog participant, BeerTender. Wonderful Boyfriend was in charge of the mountain of dishes like always. Bestie Extraordinaire made a shrimp and scallop dish. Sassy Desserts brought wine and made a bread pudding with rum sauce. And BeerTender brought shots of tequila and mixed drinks called Hemingway Daiquiris aka “Purple Drink”. And I made spicy Cuban mojo chicken with mango-avocado salsa.

This recipe seems like it has a lot of steps, but it doesn’t really. I started with putting all of the ingredients for the marinade into the food processor and made sure it was good and blended. Then I dumped it over the chicken and let it sit while I waited for everyone to show up. I doubled the marinade recipe and put it over six chicken breasts. There was plenty of marinade to soak them in. Then I put all of the liquids into the pan for the sauce, doubling them as well and let it simmer down. Once it had reduced down to a syrupy texture I added the diced butter and stirred until it was smooth and thick. I moved the pan to the back of the stove and just let it sit until I was done.

At this point people had started to show up – BeerTender was making simple syrup for the drinks (half sugar, half water, simmer down to a thicker texture) and Sassy Desserts was starting on the bread pudding. I got the chicken breasts onto medium-high heat to slightly brown on both sides. Then I put them into the oven like the recipe says. After the time the recipe calls for, the breasts were still raw in the middle. So I covered the pan with foil and put them back into the oven for another ten minutes. After that, voila! They were done. Onto the plate with sauce over the top, then mango, avocado, and cilantro.

During the middle of all of this cooking I wandered down to Bestie Extraordinaire’s kitchen to see how his recipe was going. Apparently he took great liberties with the recipe and added wonderful things like bell peppers of several colors, scallops, lots of garlic, a jalapeno, and a little more onion. It smelled heavenly when I walked in, that’s for sure. He said that he had tried to follow what he knew that we loved to eat and that meant spicing it up a little lot.

Once everything was dished up, the smells were mouth-watering. I’d have to say that I cooked the chicken just a little too long but the sauce more than made up for it. It was sweet/salty/slightly spicy and perfect with the mango and avocado. The rice was the perfect side with the shrimp and scallops perfectly cooked. The tequila went down smooth (like it usually does) and the Hemingway daiquiris were sweet and strong.

As the dishes were being cleared Sassy Desserts and I made the rum sauce and pulled the bread pudding from the oven. Even though we didn’t cook it as long as the recipe called for it was still starting to burn on the bottom. So if you happen to use this recipe, watch your cooking time! The pudding was rich, decadent, and the lemon was just the right brightness to the sauce to keep it from being too sticky sweet.

All in all the dinner was a success. A delicious, plate-clearing success. I feel better about this project again. Thanks to everyone that joined us last night! Only two more C countries left to go!

Cuba
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: bestcubanrecipes.blogspot.com, www.tasteofcuba.com, and www.allrecipes.com)

Spicy Cuban Mojo Chicken with Mango-Avocado Salsa

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 fresh red chile pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons orange juice
  • 5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 (8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced mango
  • 1/2 avocado
  • chopped fresh cilantro to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley to taste

Directions:     Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place the cumin seeds, garlic, chile pepper, salt, olive oil, orange juice, and lemon juice into the bowl of a blender; grind to a coarse paste. Toss the chicken with the marinade, then place into the refrigerator, and allow to marinate for about 2 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned. Place into the oven, and cook until the juices run clear, about 8 minutes. When the chicken is done, remove, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

While the chicken is in the oven, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, lime zest, honey, and soy sauce in a skillet over medium-high heat. Simmer until the orange juice has reduced to 1/3 of original volume and is beginning to get thick and syrupy. Once thick, remove from heat, and whisk in the butter pieces one at a time until melted; set aside.

To serve, place chicken on the plate and sprinkle with mango and avocado. Drizzle with the sauce, and garnish with cilantro and parsley.

Cuban Shrimp Casserole Recipe – Caserola de Camarones Enchilados

  • 2 cups shrimp, cooked and peeled
  • 2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked white rice

Directions:  Saute the onion, garlic and green pepper in the butter. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Stir in the canned tomatoes. Add the cooked rice. Place in casserole dish and bake at 375oF for 30 minutes.

Cuban Bread Pudding (Pudin de Pan)

  • 1 loaf Cuban bread
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 tspn dark rum
  • 2 tspn vino seco (dry white wine)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 grated peel of lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions: Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the milk, sugar, vanilla extract, butter, cinnamon, rum, wine, lemon peel and salt. Cut the bread into one inch small pieces. Place bread pieces into bowl and mix well with an electric mixer. Place raisins into mix and stir with a spoon. You may use a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery if Cuban bread is not available. Make sure the bread is fresh.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter bottom of baking dish and place mix in the dish. Bake for 1 hour or until medium golden brown. Place toothpick inside several places of dish to make sure it is done. Cut into small slices. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve warm.


Antigua and Barbuda…

Wednesday, August 31 –

Let me start this post by saying there was some really good food from these recipes, there was also some tragically terrible food, but because of good friends and company while cooking it all ended in laughter anyway. This dinner I not only had the company of my Wonderful Boyfriend and Roommate Extraordinaire, I also had the company and help of Sassy Country Girl who not only braved fish, which she doesn’t ordinarily enjoy, she also participated by bringing two desserts and two beverages.

I started with the sauces, knowing that there would be several steps when making these dishes so I wanted to be as prepared as possible. From the top of the list down I made the spice paste, and then the citrus souscaille, and then the mix of ingredients that was to go on the fish. The first thing I noticed was the spice paste made about half of a blender full and the recipe only called for one tablespoon. I can’t handle that much waste, so I prepared myself to find a way to use it later in the cooking process. Then the souscaille came next, and it smelled absolutely heavenly. Last was the mix that went onto the fish, which was also supposed to be “discarded” after sitting for a bit, and I couldn’t handle that kind of waste either. So the creative part of my cooking-brain was kicked into high gear.

My helpers, Wonderful Boyfriend and Roommate Extraordinaire, sat at the table and wrangled the prawns out of their shells and cleaned them and de-boned the fish fillets. I am very, extra thankful that they were there to help or else this dinner would have taken me forever to make. Sassy Country Girl showed up about this time and started blending beverages, which were called Lighthouse Bay Malibu Twister and Barbuda Sands. My thoughts on those? YUM! And more, please. I’ll make sure to put the recipes and links on the recipe page.

So the mix went onto the freshly de-boned fish. The extra spice paste went onto the prawns. The souscaille was set aside for topping the finished product. On to the part that was a whole lot less clear, the stuffed plantains. I have never cooked plantains before, let alone stuffed them, so Sassy Country Girl and I just made it up as we went along. We split them (in their peels), then pulled the flesh away from the sides, and then as she held the split and sides open I put the stuffing in with a spoon. I chose to take the word “blend” in the recipe seriously, so my filling came out as a wonderful smelling sauce. Then we tried to wrap them in plastic wrap, twice each, so that we could heat them in warm water. I made the water hot but not boiling and placed them as gently as I could in the pot so they wouldn’t tip over.

Moving on to the fish and the prawns… I heated two separate pans with olive oil and put the prawns with spice paste in one and the fish with curry sprinkles and the topping still on them into the other. The recipe said it would take about 3 minutes each side but I think it took them a little longer than that. I cooked the prawns until pink and then set aside. I cooked two fish fillets at a time, because that’s what would fit in my pan. After all of the seafood was done and on plates I took the plantains out and unwrapped the messy things as carefully as I could. I quickly heated the tomatoes (I used a mix of red, orange, and yellow cherry tomatoes) and put them on to finish the plates. Dinner was served!

The results of this medley of sauces, spices, and crazy trying-not-to-be-wasteful-improvisation? The prawns were tasty but cold by the time I got to sit and eat. The fish was good, the souscaille was amazing, and the curry was strangely fitting, but I really wish it had been on a better (in my opinion) fish – something like halibut. I think that would have taken the dish from good to great. Cooking it with the mix still on top was a good choice, and the tomatoes on the side were a wonderful addition. The plantains… well… taught me a lesson. That lesson is to NEVER ever use slightly green plantains. Use the yellow ones only. Two of us got slightly green ones and two of us got ripe yellow ones. The green ones were so bad on the first bite that I almost spit it out into my hand to make it stop assaulting my mouth with its horribleness. The ripe ones were so delicious that it knocked my socks off. So we quickly threw the green ones away (NEVER AGAIN!) and split the other two, sharing them around the table. I am definitely taking the leftover sauce for these and making them again this weekend.

The desserts were one part hilariously not-yummy and one part please-give-me-more-delicious. The sugar cakes, as you see in the photo as the blue lumpy cookie-type things, were basically just sugar, coconut, almond flavoring, and blue food coloring. They crunched in your teeth like eating a spoonful of sugar and didn’t taste like much of anything except the coconut and almond. We gave up on them immediately and moved on to the rum-soaked bananas. These bananas were so good I almost went back for seconds. They were banana, rum, brown sugar goodness that we put on top of vanilla ice cream. If we had to do it over again we would have used a little less rum and lime juice (less rum because I misread the recipe and we poured all of the rum in during the beginning instead of splitting it in half for the flambe… oops!).

Things I have learned: Friends make everything better, even terrible things like unripe plantains. I already knew that, but this was just one of those nights where I’m glad to have the people in my life that I do. Never ever use unripe plantains. (Can you tell that this experience scarred me?) Adding lots of different rums together can make delicious drinks – but watch out for making them midweek! Take courage from Sassy Country Girl’s willingness to try fish from an untried recipe. Some of these will be great and some of them not so much, but after 4.5 years of this I will have lots of great memories and new cooking skills.

Recommendations from our sommelier, Leigh Olson: (Even though we didn’t have wine this time I love having her thoughts and notes about pairing, so if you feel more like wine than rum, here’s some good tips for you!) With its unique fusion of Spanish, French, African, Indian and Native American cultures the cuisine of Antigua and Barbuda is quite complex.  And this meal doesn’t disappoint when it comes to complexity.  This one was a bit of challenge.  Let’s see lemon ~ lemon works with wines that show a bit of acidity like an Albarino.  But wait now throw in some capers.  Also very acidic but these little babies add a little funk to the acidity. Maybe a Rioja Reserva which is aged for 3 years with at least one in oak.  But wait!  How about a Scotch Bonnet pepper ~ with its 2,500 – 8,000 heat rating on the Scoville Scale. This pepper is what gives Caribbean jerk its distinct flavor.  So we have acid, funk and heat.  HMMMM. I am thinking a good ol’ German Gewürztraminer.  This wine has enough fruit to help put out the fire of the jerk seasonings and many Gs also exhibit flavors of nutmeg and cloves ~ yet another element in the recipe.  Yep, I am going to have to go with the Gewürztraminer for this pairing.

My recommendations:

  • Everyday, Easy Drinker |  Martinelli Vineyards Gewürztraminer Russian River Valley
  • Step it up | Trimbach Gewürztraminer
  • Money is No Object | 2005 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Heimbourg Selection de Grains Nobles (half bottle)

If you can’t find one of these, ask your wine steward at your local grocer.  They can be great resources.  Just tell them you are planning on pairing with a spicy complex

Fun Facts: Gewürztraminer literally means Spice Traminer.  Tramin (where the grape got it name) is the village in South Tyrol ~ yep that would be Italy.  And guess what else?  They speak German there!

Serving Temp: Mid 40’s – 50 degrees.  No wine cooler, no problem.  Store your Gewürzt in the refrigerator and pull it out 45 minutes before serving.

Vessel of Choice:  Zwiesel 1872 The First Gewürztraminer Wine Glass.  Ok, truth be told I am not sure that I would spend $70.00 on one wine glass ~ unless of course Uncle Buford left a couple of mil.  But check it out.  This really is a beautiful glass!

Antigua and Barbuda
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://uktv.co.uk and www.dishbase.com)

Grilled Red Snapper with Citrus Souscaille

For the spice paste:

  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet chilli, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 tsp thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tsp marjoram leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • small pinch ground cloves
  • pinch coarsely ground black peppercorns

For the citrus souscaille:

  • 1 tbsp spices, paste (see above)
  • 1-2 lime, juice only
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley, or Caribbean celery leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the fish:

  • 2 limes, grated zest and juice, plus an extra squeeze of juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, or Caribbean celery leaves
  • 4 x 175 g red snapper, sea bream fillets, or 400g king prawns, shelled, deveined
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp butter

Directions:

1. For the seasoning paste: Tip all the ingredients into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. This paste tastes best if left for a few days to mature before using.

2. For the souscaille: combine one rounded tablespoon of the seasoning paste with the lime juice, sugar, celery leaves, coriander, red pepper and olive oil. Taste for seasoning – adding more sugar or lime juice if needed. Aim for a tart, tangy flavour.

3. For the fish or prawns: combine the lime rind and juice with the garlic, red pepper, spring onion and coriander and spoon over the fish or prawns and leave on one side for 5 minutes. Remove from its marinade and sprinkle with curry powder just before frying.

4. Heat the oil in a sturdy frying pan set over a medium heat and fry the fish for 3 minutes, skin side facing downwards. Flip the fillets over and cook for a further minute until it flakes easily. If you are using prawns, fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring all the time, over a moderate heat, until they have turned pink. Remove and set aside.

5. Tip the tomatoes into the same pan while still on the heat. Add the butter and sharpen with a squeeze of lime.

6. Spoon a dollop of souscaille sauce over the fish and serve any extra on the side. Accompany with the warmed tomatoes.

Stuffed Plantains

  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Pineapple
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 8 oz. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 HD. Cilantro
  • 1/2 HD. Parsley
  • 3 Mangoes
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 2 Sprig Garlic
  • 2 TBL. Sugar
  • 1/2 Hd. Fresh Basil
  • 1 LB. Butter
  • 8 Plantains

Directions: Peel and Julienne Carrots, Mangoes, Pineapple, and Green and Red Peppers and Garlic. Heat Pot.  Add 3 Tbs. Olive Oil, Carrots, Mangoes & Pineapple.  Add Peppers, Garlic, Salt & Pepper to taste.  Sautee for 3 Minutes.

Sauce: Blend Cilantro, Parsley, 4 Tbs. Olive Oil, Basil, Sugar, Salt & pepper to taste. Butterfly Plantains.  Add all ingredients to the plantains, roll in a plastic wrap, put in hot water for ten minutes.

Baked Bananas

  • 4 large bananas, peeled
  • ½ cups brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ cups light rum
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • some butter

Instructions: Split the bananas lengthwise, then in half across. Arrange in a well-buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar, lime juice, ¼ cup of the rum and the allspice. Dot with butter. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, basting two or three times during cooking. Just before serving, heat the remaining ¼ cup of rum and pour over the bananas, and set aflame.


Caribbean Potluck Success… (and the map is up!)

Sunday, July 31 –

Our first potluck was a HUGE success. We had 13 people show up to our house and everyone made amazingly delicious food. I made pulled pork, mango and avocado salsa, rice, grilled peaches with honey and honey-nut cream cheese, and lime cheesecake with mango coulis. Other people brought two different kinds of ceviche, one that was shrimp and scallop based with tomatillos and lots of other fun veggies and spices, and the other was tuna based with cucumber and coconut milk. There was also mojito shrimp and grilled veggies, banana bread with zucchini and coconut, pasta salad, a spicy okra dish, and rum – lots and lots of rum. We managed to work around my crohn’s intolerance to food as well as a gluten and soy intolerance, and an amine intolerance. Talk about pretty talented cooks! (The photo below doesn’t really do the table justice, because people showed up in stages so food got devoured and more food got added to it. But it’s a good picture of the ceviches and dips.)

A quick glance at the beginning of the party.

I’m keeping track of the ideas that we came up with for our potlucks, including all the stuff that I wish I had time to make. Potluck Ideas.

Pulled Pork: I used pork shoulder, because the lady at the meat counter thought that it would be better than my usual tenderloin choice. I put the pork into the crockpot with enough rootbeer (yes, rootbeer) to cover it and I put it on high for four hours. At about half way I flipped the meat over and checked to see if the meat was ready to start pulling yet. It wasn’t, and seemed really tough still. So I waited until I had a half hour left and I checked again, and still no pull. So I grabbed a cutting board, cut the pork into bite sized pieces and put them all back into the pot. I finished out the four hours, strained the rootbeer from the meat, and put the meat back into the pot and covered it all with premade BBQ sauce. I love Sweet Baby Ray’s personally, and I use it when I don’t have time to make homemade sauce. I let that simmer on low until people showed up and it was ready to serve. Even though it wasn’t “pulled” as I had hoped it would be, the pork was amazingly tender and flavorful. It wasn’t what I expected it would be, but I’m very pleased with the outcome none-the-less.

Mango Salsa: I used two tomatoes, half an onion, one avocado, one mango, juice from one lime, garlic salt, black pepper, seeded jalapeno, and a handful of cilantro. Delish. It was like the best of salsa and guacamole and mango all smooshed together.

Cheesecake: I took three different recipes and blended them all together to make a lime cheesecake with mango coulis. It was a firm, baked, zested New York style cheesecake with the coulis on top. It almost vanished as soon as I set it down. Definitely a recipe that I will make again.

Things I have learned: Left to their own devices, people will usually bring side dishes to potlucks. I need to focus less on the fun little things for the side and make three times as much protein as a main dish. The pulled pork was gone in less than a half hour! Also, asking specific people to bring drinks was definitely genius. Hoping that enough people bring drinks with the food can be a very hit-or-miss issue. This way, they got to eat lots of yummy food and the cooks got to drink yummy drinks and most everything was well divided. And finally, one of my friends recommend that when serving cheesecake it is easier to cut it into squares than slices, and that way there was less mess and everyone got a chance to try it. Absolutely the way I will serve cake to large groups of people in the future. So easy and so smart!

Also… the map is up! I have the first three pins in it with strings leading to tags that say what I’ve cooked so far. I hope to have all of the pins leading to the tags all the way around the cork board by the time I’m done… 229 countries to go!

Next up for this week is American Samoa: marinated ahi tuna, veggie ceviche, and banana doughnuts.