Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beach Party! Pina Colada Shrimp, Mango Salsa, Asparagus with Crab Salad and Veggie Pasta Salad

Last weekend wasn't beach weather, but that didn't stop Kevin and me from hosting a beach themed dinner party with our friends Zach and Natalie. Kevin stirred up Hawaiian Mai Tai's while I made mango salsa with pita chips and pina colada shrimp with jasmine rice. The mango salsa was SO easy and delicious. And it's super healthy! The pita chips are flavorful and special, and really make the salsa's flavors pop. The pina colada shrimp was insanely delicious. I loved the combination of shrimp with pineapple, and the coconut-rum sauce screamed "take me to the beach!" as it soaked into a flavorful bed of jasmine rice. Zach and Natalie brought the salad and side dish- a lovely crab salad with capers and lemon atop asparagus and a veggie pasta salad with zucchini and sundried tomatoes. After a night of catchphrase and mai tai's we knew this was a dinner party to remember!

Pina Colada Shrimp with Jasmine Rice
A tropical treat made for the beach! 
Serves 4

1 pound raw shrimp
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup Captain Morgan rum
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1 can diced pineapple in juice, drained, 1/2 cup juice reserved
1 T. cilantro, chopped
1 T. parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cup Jasmine rice, prepared according to package directions
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

In a large skillet preheat 1 T. olive oil. Cook onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add rum and cook 1 minute while stirring, then add coconut milk, chicken stock, pineapple and pineapple juice. Bring mixture up to a bubble and simmer until reduced in half and slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T. olive oil in another sauce pan. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Saute 2-3 minutes until pink. Add shrimp to thickened coconut-rum sauce and stir to combine. Stir in parsley and cilantro and serve on top of Jasmine rice with a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

Mango Salsa with Pita Chips
Fruity salsa and flavorful pita bring out the flavor of the Islands!
Serves 4-6

2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
1 T. finely chopped jalapeno
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 T. lime juice
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper

Combine the mango, cucumber, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice and cilantro leaves and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

3 pitas
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oil with seasonings and brush on pitas. Bake 12-15 minutes. Cut into chips and serve with salsa.

Asparagus with Crab Salad
Fresh stalks topped with creamy crab salad. 
Serves 4-6

2 small bunches of fresh green asparagus
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup minced onions
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup pressed capers
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartledge

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Trim off about 2 inches from the bottom of the asparagus. When the water comes to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, (depending on the size of the asparagus) Remove the asparagus and place in a large mixing bowl of ice water. Leave the asparagus in the water for 2 minutes. Remove from the water and pat dry. In a mixing bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, onions, shallots, garlic, capers, parsley, chervil and tarragon. Mix well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Add the crab meat and mix well. Reseason if needed. Arrange the asparagus on a platter and spoon the crab mixture over the center of the asparagus. 

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Zucchini
Fresh veggies in a flavorful dressing with pasta. 
Serves 8

1 lb. bowtie pasta
Fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch thick discs
1 zucchini squash, sliced into 1/4-inch thick discs
1 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh packed parsley leaves

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed with the side of a knife blade, and quartered
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente and drain well. Toss with ground black pepper and olive oil.
For the dressing, add the vinegar to a blender and replace the lid. Turn on the blender add, 1 at a time through the feed opening, garlic, mustard, oregano, basil, salt, and black pepper. Leaving the blender running, add the olive oil in a slow thin stream.

Toss together the pasta, yellow squash, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and parsley with enough of the dressing to coat. Serve any additional dressing on the side. 

Recipe courtesy of Robert Irvine

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