Welcome to I Love to Cook

Cooking is something I have always enjoyed. I learned to cook at the apron strings of my mother and grandmother. The experience of cooking brings me both pleasure and peace of mind.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Caribbean Rum Dinner

No photo's - we were too busy preparing and eating but hopefully the descriptions will be tempting.  A couple of years ago we went to the Caribbean with our friends, Susie and Bill, for their anniversary.  Tonight we had a dinner honoring our trip together.  The menu consisted of Coconut Shrimp; Asparagus Soup; a Spring Salad with gorgonzola cheese, toasted almonds, tangerines, and Girard's Peach Mimosa dressing; warm sour dough rolls; Basmati Rice with saffron; a Caribbean chicken stew; rum/cranberry compote; and banana flambe'.  I will try to describe each dish but I can provide details if anyone is interested in any of the dishes.  We started with a banana infused rum appertif followed by the Coconut Shrimp.

Caribbean Rum Dinner
Coconut Shrimp
I took a package of frozen shrimp from Trader Joes and soaked them in a combination of papya and pineapple juice (approximately 70/30).  The shrimp were soaked overnight in the refrigerator while they defrosted.  I then made the breading mix from:
  • Bread crumbs
  • Diced shallots
  • Finely chopped garlic
  • Chopped garlic chives
  • Shredded coconut
I melted butter into a bowl and added a tsp of cream of coconut ( COCO Real).  I dipped the shrimp into the breading mixture, into the butter & cream of coconut and then back into the breading mixture.  I arranged the shrimp onto a lightly oiled pan and placed them into the oven.  I first baked them for 15 minutes at 375 F and then broiled them until the breading was brown.  These were really a hit and possibly the best dish of the night.  HINT: save the best for last but C'est La Vie.

Asparagus Soup
The next course was the asparagus soup.  This is just a simple cream soup.  I sauteed shallots and garlic in olive oil while I quickly boiled the asparagus then blanched in ice water.  I chopped the asparagus and added them to the sautee, covered with chicken stock and boiled.  Once everything was softened I added heavy cream, butter, and continued to cook while the soup reduced.  Once everything was done I poured the contents into a blender and ran on puree.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  This course was well received and since it is still a bit cool here in the foothills it was a good tummy warmer. 

Spring Salad with toasted almonds, gorgonzola cheese, and tangerine slices
I then followed the soup with a simple spring mix salad.  I purchased a spring mix from the market then added tangerine slices, chopped toasted almonds, gorgonzola cheese, and dried cranberries.  This was served with apeach mimosa dressing made by Girard's.  The almonds were toasted in a truffle infused oil then finely chopped. 

Caribbean Chicken
The main course was good but lacked a bit of excitement.  I made basmati rice with saffron.  This was the base for my Caribbean chicken.  I browned my chicken in olive oil then added the shallots, garlic, red-yellow-orange peppers, squash (cut into slices), carrots, chopped cilantro, and rum.  I cooked all of this in a Le Creuset pot.  Due to being rushed fro time I probably over cooked the chicken.  Next time I will pull the chicken off to the side and add it back in just before serving.  This course was served with warmed sour dough rolls and a slightly chilled reisling wine.  Along with the main course there was a side cran]berry rum compote.  I have described this recipe before but basically it is butter, brown sugar, bananas,  and rum.  The mixture is sauteed and with the rum - flambe.  This evening since I had the tangerines n the house and my guest made the suggestion we added a few slices for additional flavor.  Once evertyhing was fully cooked I used a potatoe masher to make a more uniform mixture.

Rum Flambe Banannas
Dessert was another hit of the evening.  In fact it was the discussion of this dessert earlier in the week that prompted the theme dinner.  Sliced bananas in a saute pan with melted butter, brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon.  Once the banannas soften I add the rum, flambe and then add a spoonful of Nutella.  Once the mixture is cooked I served with heavy cream whipped with the cream of coconut. 

I think Bill & Susie had a good meal.  I know that once I am finished with this post I am off for the sofa to VEG:)


  1. Loved every bite! When are we coming back??? :-)

  2. It sounds like a wonderful meal from start to finish. Enjoy your snooze. You deserve it. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. What a fantastic meal! I would have loved everyting!

  4. I've never tried anything Caribbean, but everything sounds delicious!

  5. Leah wants me to put OMG how come we do not get meals like this. I hate putting those things like OMG but i am anyway. She also thinks you should open a themed restaurant. One where every recipe has some sort of alcohol in it.

    The meal does sounds wonderful. Looking forward to the next post. Also get your camera ready next time. I would have loved to see the end product.

  6. I do not know if this is possible but i was looking for a spot on your blog to put in suggestions for recipe's or questions? Below is my question.

    I was wondering if you had a good recipe for a steak rub and a sauce? The steak will be cooked on a propane grill.

  7. All sounds delish, but I need to definitely try the coconut shrimp! I love that you made a wine suggestion, because I have trouble pairing. Thanks for stopping by my blog, enjoy your day!