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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Island Sides

The past few days have been feeling more Caribbean-like up here in the northeast. I stepped off the train this morning and was greeted by a hot, humid gust of Long Island wind. Not only is the morning heat very reminiscent of the islands, these afternoon thunderstorms are too!

There is just one big difference between enjoying Caribbean weather while on vacation and suffering through it on a regular day. I try to look presentable when going to work where I don't even bother with mascara on vacation. This humidity is making my hair straightener work overtime! Even after ten minutes with the iron, all of my hard work is undone upon opening the front door!

Luckily I have an appointment at the salon this weekend, where I will cut several inches off my hair. This will make it lighter and easier to curl. The straight-haired days of winter are over. Time to embrace bouncy curls once again! (Which means its also time to confuse my male coworkers with my ever changing hair.)

One Year Ago: Homemade Tortellini & Asparagus Salad
Hot Lulu
Adapted from A Taste of the Caribbean Cookbook

This was a very sweet side dish, almost like a dessert.  It originally asked to use 3/4 cup butter in the mixture, which I chose to omit.  I thought the dish would be rich enough with out it.  I'm thinking this would be good with some vanilla ice cream too.... Next time it's getting topped with an oatmeal crumble crust and I'm calling it a veggie crumble!

1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated apple
1 cup grated sweet potato
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine carrot, apple, sweet potato and onion.  Add olive oil, hot sauce, cinnamon and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar, stir until everything is evenly mixed.  Transfer to prepared pan and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and take off foil.  Sprinkle with remaining 4 tbsp brown sugar.  Return to the oven and allow to bake for another 5-10 minutes, until brown sugar is melty.

Key Lime & Mango Shrimp
Adapted from Don't Stop the Cook

This recipe calls for mango puree.  Some well-stocked grocery stores carry mango puree, mine did not this week and I didn't want to make a special trip!  You can do what I did and make your own mango puree.  Simply cut the flesh from a ripe mango and puree in your blender/food processor.  Strain the resulting mango through a medium-mesh sieve.  Ta-da, mango puree.

1 cup mango puree
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp key lime juice
8 medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

Combine mango puree, yogurt and lime juice.  Keep in the fridge until serving time.

Place shrimp in a small bowl and add milk.  Toss to coat.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

In a pie plate, or shallow dish, combine panko and coconut.

Heat medium skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil.  One at a time, coat shrimp in egg, then transfer to the panko/coconut dish.  Coat shrimp in panko, press in a little.  Transfer shrimp to the hot pan.  Cook for 2 minutes on each side.  Shrimp should be opaque and pink.  Serve with mango-lime yogurt.

Island Salad
A Wilde Simple

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled & sliced
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
1/4 cup goat cheese
Your favorite, simple, olive oil & vinegar dressing

Put lettuce in a large bowl.  Arrange strawberries around the edge of the lettuce.  Pile oranges in the middle of the lettuce.  Crumble goat cheese around the salad.  Simple, delicious.
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