Tag Archives: shrimp

Indonesia…

Wednesday, April 11 –

Did I mention that I am not very good at measuring spices and sauces and stuff? This dinner was a prime example of that, in the best way possible. I took the recipes below and made them me-ified. I will try to photo(9)recreate for you what we did. Thank you to WingWoman and LightsOn for hosting and grilling this amazing dinner!

Chicken – I cut two breasts into thin strips so that they cook evenly and quickly (no one likes raw chicken). The marinade was coconut milk (about a tablespoon), water (about 1/8 of a cup), red curry paste (about two tablespoons), and brown sugar (about 1-1/2 tablespoons).

Shrimp – WingWoman thawed them and put them in the marinade. Fortunately they were already shelled and cleaned. The marinade was tamari, honey, sriracha, garlic, and sweet WingWoman love.

Lamb – I used cubed stewing lamb meat. The marinade was Ketjap Mani (Indonesian sweet soy sauce, about half a cup), garlic (two chopped cloves), ginger (grated root, length of about an inch), brown sugar (about a tablespoon), and lemon juice (half a lemon).

Veggies – I used bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. The marinade was tamari (I just poured and stirred the veggies until it looked right), hot chili paste (about three tablespoons), lemon grass (one fresh stalk, chopped), and garlic (three chopped cloves).

Rice – WingWoman put rice, water, coconut milk, red curry paste, and peas in the rice cooker.

Dessert – Fresh mango!

As you can see, it wasn’t very well measured. But goodness, was it good! LightsOn did all of the barbequing and they turned out fabulously. We ate like blog-kings! I think I need this dinner on the menu once a month. Mmmhmm!

Indonesia
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.indochef.com)photo(10)

Indonesian Sate’s

  • 500 gr. of Beef, Pork or Chicken

Marinade:

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 30 ml Dark Soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Grass
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chilli paste
  • 1 glass red wine (optional)
  • 30 ml water

Preparation:  Dice the meat in to 2 cm square cubes and put onto bamboo skewers (about 4 per stick). Combine all the marinade ingredients into a food processor and make into a smooth paste. Poor this over the prepared sate’s and leave to marinade for at least 2 hours. Cook the sate’s on the barbecue or under the grill for 5 -10 min. until done and serve with hot Peanut Sauce.

Babi Kecap

  • 500 gr Tender Pork
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 3 cm fresh Ginger
  • 30 gr dark sugar
  • ½ cup Ketjap Manis
  • 2 cups Water
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 stock cube
  • Pepper & Salt

Preparation:  Finely dice Onion, Garlic and Ginger. Cut Pork into strips. Add Sugar, Pepper and Salt. Fry in small saucepan until Onion is soft and the pork is dark. Add the Ketjap Manis (sweet Indonesian soya sauce) and water, Lemon juice and stock cube and leave to simmer on a low flame for about 30 min.

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Greenland…

Saturday, January 5 –

Greenland turned out to be a very simple dinner, once I decided to cheat a little and use pre-made pasta. It took three pans to make this dish: one to cook the pasta, the second to cook the shrimp in oil and balsamic vinegar, and the third to saute the bell peppers and the tomatoes. Just as simple as that. Serve with a salad and you are good to go. BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma, and Baby Bear all thought it was a pretty delicious meal. Easy to make, easy to enjoy. Perfect!

Greenlandphoto(11)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.recipes.wikia.com)

Tagliatelle with Prawns

Ingredients:

  • 400 g (14 oz) prawns

Pasta dough:

  • 200 g (7 oz) flour
  • 2 eggs
  • a little water
  • ½ dl (1.5 fl. oz) oil

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 dl (3 fl. oz) olive oil
  • 1 dl (3 fl. oz) balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Vegetables:

  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ green pepper
  • 400 g (14 oz) tomatoes
  • a little rose pepper
  • a little fresh coriander

Pasta dough:

Put the flour into a bowl, make a hollow in the middle and break the eggs into this hollow.

Add water and a little oil.

Knead the pasta dough and run it through a pasta machine.

Put the pasta aside.

Vinaigrette:

Mix the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Vegetables:

Cut the peppers into small cubes and blanch them.

Blanch the tomatoes, remove the skin and seeds and cut the flesh into cubes.

Chop the coriander.

Boil the tagliatelle in lightly salted water for approx. 5 minutes.

Sauté the prawns in olive oil and balsamic vinegar; let it simmer for approx. 2 minutes.

Serving:

Put the tagliatelle on a plate and mix with pepper, tomato and coriander.

Sprinkle the prawns on top.


Ghana…

Wednesday, December 12 –

This dinner, hosted by Hot Momma, was like a family dinner that happened to be a blog post. So much goodness when I can share dinner with the besties in my life. We also had GrandpaBear, BabyBear,  photo(8)SlotMachine, MoneyShot, and of course my BestestFianceEver.

I knew that taking the time to put all the shrimp on skewers to bake them wasn’t going to happen, so I decided to make a curry dish out of it on the stove and serve it over rice. Maybe not true to form for the recipe, but much more appealing on a cold winter night.

So I started with melting butter in a pan, adding onions and cooking until translucent and aromatic. In next went button mushrooms, which I cut in half. Then I liberally sprinkled salt over the veggies and added the curry powder and the white pepper. Once the spices were incorporated I added the lemon juice and the tomato juice. I let the liquid heat up and then I added the shelled, de-veined shrimp. It wasn’t quite right, so I started adding more curry powder, black pepper, and a few drops of hot sauce. It was much better with those added to it. I let that simmer until the shrimp were pink throughout and then I served it over rice that Hot Momma had cooked in a rice cooker.

SlotMachine made a green salad to go with dinner and gari biscuits (more about those later). Dinner was served!

I think that the curry dish left a lot to be desired (more spice, coconut milk, more veggies) but the base of it was pretty decent. Some of the people thought it was too spicy (sorry!) but I thought that it had just the right kick. The gari dish was pretty terrible. It tasted like paste with some sugar on top. Definitely not recommended!

All in all we had lots of wine, a few spicy mouths, and some sass talk. Perfect for a Wednesday night! Next up is Gibraltar – on 12/21/12 – which could be the end of the world! Let me know if you’re interested in joining us.

Ghanaphoto(9)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.ghananation.com)

Shrimp Kebabs

  • 2 pounds fresh large shrimp, cleaned
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • l/2 pound mushrooms (optional)
  • l/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • Rice to serve

Directions: Season Shrimp with lemon juice and salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Clean Mushrooms. Mix remaining ingredients together. Alternate Shrimp and Mushrooms on skewers; coat with mixture of remaining ingredients and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F., turning from time to time until Shrimp are done and sauce dries up. Baste constantly. Serve hot. Serves 4 Cooking time: 1 hour


France…

Saturday, October 20 –

I am not even sure where to start with this dinner. It was a potluck and there was so much food that it still hurts to even think about it. A HUGE thank you to Sassy Desserts and ManlyMan for hosting this French food explosion. This might be my favorite dinner so far, and I feel like it’s going to be hard to top in the future (but I will certainly give it a shot!).

DevouringWorld & BestestFianceEver: saffron mussels bisque, au gratin potatoes, mushroom garlic escargot, french bread, 3 types of french cheeses, crackers, wine
ChinUp & MyBuddy: ratatouille, wine
Sassy Desserts & ManlyMan: artichoke tartlets, shrimp cucumber & curry cream cheese canapes, apple clafouti
Kid Kreole: etouffee
Miss Sweets: nutella crepes
Harvey Danger: drinks, garlic bread
RubsWithLove: stuffed pumpkins with everything
Mr. Hero & Hot Momma & BabyBear: wine, french bread
SlotMachine: wine, eclairs
OurCuz: food photographer for the night

I started with the au gratin potatoes, knowing that they had to bake the longest. I sliced up four russet potatoes, which actually filled two 9×12 casserole dishes and needed twice the amount of sauce. I made it exactly as it is written, and it was simple and straight-forward. Butter, then flour, then salt, then milk, then cheese – stirring often. Presto! Cheese sauce! Covered with foil and into the oven for 1.5 hours it went.

Multi-tasking around the sauce thickening I started the escargot. Again, this recipe was followed exactly as it was written and it was simple and easy to make. I soaked the escargot in water and then cut each of the snails in half. In the pan was the butter and garlic, then the mushrooms and snails. Wine, cream, flour, pepper, and tarragon were whisked together and poured on top. Left to simmer for a few moments the sauce thickened and I took it off the heat. Into the baking dish went the mushrooms first, then the escargot into the caps, then the sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese, then into the oven for about 15 minutes.

As the mushrooms were softening, I was starting the mussels bisque. Lucky number three, this recipe didn’t need much in the way of change either. Mussels cooked in water and wine, drained with liquid reserved. Butter, onion, garlic, leek, and fenugreek cooked until soft. Flour, then saffron mixture, then broth and reserved liquid. Simmer until flavors are all mixed together. Then parsley, salt, pepper, and cream – and finally the shelled mussels.

My thoughts on all of this:

  • saffron mussels bisque and french bread – Flavorful without being heavy. I usually think of bisque as a creamy, heavier base and this was not. With the fresh French bread dipped in it the flavors made a perfect fall-time soup.
  • au gratin potatoes – This dish was all of the best things that I love about cheesy potatoes, especially the crispy cheese on the edges!
  • mushroom garlic escargot – Creamy, garlicy, heavy sauce on top of cheesy, baked mushrooms = heaven. I could have easily left the snails out and been just as happy with the flavor. Yum!
  • 3 types of french cheeses and crackers – There was a creamy white, an herbed, creamy white, and a sharp, nutty orange cheese. This managed to keep the hunger at bay while the oven worked overtime trying to get all of these dishes done.
  • ratatouille – The last time I had ratatouille it was slightly mushy and mostly flavorless. This time, it was heavenly and very, very flavorful. Apparently if you make it like Disney, you get a great dish!
  • artichoke tartlets – Picture it: flaky pastry, gooey cheese, ripe tomatoes, and salty artichoke. Sounds amazing, right? It was. Very, very. Have a party you’re throwing soon? Make these, they won’t disappoint.
  • shrimp cucumber & curry cream cheese canapes – These were indulgent squares of flavorful goodness. It was almost overwhelming how much flavor they had in them, but then you reached for another and realized that you didn’t mind.
  • stuffed pumpkins with everything – Get up. Go to the store. Get the stuff. Go home. Make this recipe RIGHT NOW. Your mouth (and whoever you decide to share it with) will thank you. I could easily see this becoming a base for many recipes in my kitchen.
  • etouffee – This was a homemade recipe, hence no link. It was spicy, slightly creamy, and very flavorful. He even plated it for everyone so that it ended up beautiful when served.
  • nutella crepes – I only managed to eat half of one of these, but it was dangerously good. With banana and nutella inside and whipped cream on top – how could you say no?
  • apple clafouti – Almost like a pie, almost like a tart, and almost like coffee cake – it was amazing. And the very last thing that I could possibly eat.
  • eclairs – I couldn’t even have one of these, I was so full. But they looked amazing and I am sure they were delicious.

Food and wine and people everywhere – holy cow. Thank you to everyone who came to this dinner and made such wonderful food. All of it collectively knocked my socks off and I’m so happy it turned out the way it did. Three cheers to our France potluck!

France
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.allrecipes.com)

Saffron Mussels Bisque

  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, bulb only, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, finely crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 saffron threads
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions:  Place saffron threads in a small bowl, and cover with 1 tablespoon boiling water. Set aside.

Scrub mussels clean in several changes of fresh water and pull off beards. Discard any mussels that are cracked or do not close tightly when tapped. Put mussels into a saucepan with wine and water. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking pan frequently, 6-7 minutes or until shells open. Remove mussels, discarding any which remain closed. Strain liquid through a fine sieve and reserve.

Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Add onion, garlic, leek and fenugreek and cook gently 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add saffron mixture, 2-1/2 cups of reserved cooking liquid and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, keep 8 mussels in shells and remove remaining mussels from shells. Add all mussels to soup and stir in chopped parsley, salt, pepper and cream. Heat through 2-3 minutes. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired, and serve hot.

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

  • 4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

Easy Garlic Escargots

  • 1 (7 ounce) can escargots, drained
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 20 mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:     Place escargots in a small bowl, and cover with cold water; set aside for 5 minutes. This will help to remove the canned flavor they may have.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.

Drain the water from the escargots and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt butter with the garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the escargots and mushroom caps; cook and stir until the mushroom caps begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together wine, cream, flour, pepper, and tarragon in a small bowl until the flour is no longer lumpy. Pour this into the skillet, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and use a spoon to place the mushrooms upside down into the prepared baking dish. Spoon an escargot into each mushroom cap. Pour the remaining sauce over the mushroom caps and into the baking dish. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in preheated oven until the Parmesan cheese has turned golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.


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.}


Dominica…

Monday, July 23 –

I swear I’m trying to not fall behind on these posts… life keeps sweeping me away! This post was actually cooked last week. Thank you to RubsWithLove (strawberry cream pie), Mistress Whiskey (salad and wine), Bestie Extraordinaire (salad and wine), Wonderful Boyfriend, and NewOrleans (sinful mango dessert) for coming to this dinner and bringing wonderful dishes.

I decided to make this recipe by cooking the rice in a rice-cooker and cooking the seafood separately. This way I didn’t have to worry about over-cooking shrimp, which is gross. So into the pan went double the amounts of herbs and spices, double the amount of tomato paste, and triple the garlic. I let that warm up and then I put three pounds of shrimp in. I topped the mix off with veggie broth until it was sauce-like instead of paste-like. In next went the veggies, at about 1.5 times the amounts called for originally. I let that simmer until the shrimp were just barely done. I put the rice into a dish to serve, the shrimp mix into another dish, the olives into a dish, the avocados into a dish, and then I put lump crab meat into the final dish.

Onto our plates went the salad and dressing and then the rice and shrimp with whatever toppings sounded good to people. (How could you not want crab meat, after all?) The dinner was a perfect blend of spice, flavor, and texture. I likened it to etouffee at the time, and most everyone seemed to agree that was a close relation to this dish. I highly recommend it, and will look forward to making it again soon.

Our newest blog guest decided to take a trip to the store and buy something that inspired him. (Being a chef in real life has creativity perks that most people who love food envy.) He made a “coconut caramel cream mango flambe” and it was OUT OF CONTROL delicious. There is no photo of it, mostly because it disappeared so quickly into our bellies and also because it was one of those dishes that tasted amazing but didn’t look very pretty. I highly recommend finding a friend that likes to make food like this (unless you are trying to diet, in which case, run very, very far away!). Yum for all the dishes we ate this night!

Dominica
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.caribbeanchoice.com)

Asopao de Mariscos (spiced shrimp with rice)

  •     2 lbs of shrimp, crab or lobster
  •     1 lemon (may be omitted)
  •     2 1/2 cups of rice
  •     3/4 gallon of water
  •     5 tablespoons oil
  •     4 tablespoons tomato paste
  •    1/4 cup chopped green peppers
  •     1 pinch oregano
  •     1 teaspoon mashed garlic
  •     1 pinch black pepper
  •     1/8 cup chopped seedless olives
  •     1/4 cup chopped celery
  •     1 spoon finely chopped parsley
  •     1 spoon finely chopped coriander
  •     1/2 spoon of thyme leaves
  •     1 cube of chicken stock
  •     Salt

METHOD / DIRECTIONS:

In an iron pot heat the oil (reserve 2 spoons of oil).  Add the herbs, olives, spices, tomato paste, peppers, garlic and salt. Add the shrimps and stir (be careful with hot oil splattering). Cover and wait two minutes, then stir again. Add the remaining water and bring to a boil. Add all remaining ingredients (including the rice). Stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking. Let 3/4 of the water evaporate, by then a grain of rice should be about 3 times its original size. Adjust salt to taste. Serve while hot.

RECIPE NOTES: Serve with a few slices of avocados or tostones.


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.