Sunday, September 03, 2006

bon appetit, mon

Thanks to suggestions from loyal Three Tart readers (and maybe a little nostalgia for our St. Lucia honeymoon), Mr. Tart and I hosted a very fun Carribean-themed Labor Day party this weekend. We bought tiki torches for the backyard, set up three tables outside and decorated them with pirate flags and cutlasses, and stashed clues in wine bottles around the yard as a buried treasure hunt for the little kids (with chocolate coins as the prizes). Yarrr!

The menu:

Shrimp and crab legs with a salsa-inspired cocktail sauce
Mango-avocado salsa (recipe below) and chips
Chile pepper jelly over cream cheese with crackers
Macadamia nuts

Main dish:
Jamaican turkey burgers (recipe below) with orange-chipotle mayo and avocado

Side dishes:
Black bean salad with lime juice, red onion, cilantro, and red pepper
Spicy cantaloupe balls with pineapple mint
Grilled pineapple with cardamom-lime-rum sauce (recipe below)

Mixed berry pie
Island spice cake with ice cream and cinnamon

And to drink:
Slushy watermelon mojitos (recipe here)

(Thanks to our guests for bringing appetizers and desserts to share!)

Mango-Avocado Salsa

1 sliced avocado
1 sliced mango
handful of chopped cilantro
1 bunch chopped green onions
4 tsp fresh lime juice
salt to taste

Combine and serve with sturdy chips.

Jamaican Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey
half-bunch of scallions, chopped (including some of the green)
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Jerk sauce:
1 bunch green onions
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 medium jalapenos, seeded and chopped (leave seeds in to make spicier)
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
scant 1/2 c. vegetable oil
scant 1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tsp ground allspice

Finely chop first 4 ingredients in food processor, then add the next 4. Process till smooth.

Combine burger ingredients into four patties and marinate them for 30 minutes in 1/2 cup jerk sauce, turning occasionally. Grill over hot coals, 3 inches from heat, for about 5 minutes per side. Baste occasionally with more jerk sauce.

Serve with sliced avocado, sliced tomato, and orange-chipotle mayonnaise (1 c. mayo, 3 Tbsp orange juice, 1 Tbsp minced chipotle chili in adobo sauce, whisked together).

(recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine)

Grilled pineapple

2 fresh pineapples, trimmed and cut into "steaks," juice reserved
rind of half of a lime, peeled as thinly as possible
1 c. boiling water
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 Tbsp rum
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water

Grill pineapple steaks over medium heat until grill marks appear but while pineapple is still firm. Pour 1 c. boiling water over lime rind. Heat sugar and 1/2 c. water to boiling. Add any juice left over from cutting the pineapple, cardamom, and lime rind. Reduce heat and stir till mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add rum. (Or add rum while sauce reduces on the stove if you prefer to avoid the alcohol.) Pour sauce over pineapple and marinate in the fridge until ready to eat.

(recipe adapted from Cooking Light magazine)


Blogger Sarah said...

By the way, I think the jerk sauce would be quite good on grilled chicken or tofu. We have leftover sauce, so I'll probably try that soon!

6:37 PM  
Blogger lis said...

sounds like a terrific party and I love the menu. wish I would have been in Co. this weekend, as my Labor Day weekedn has consisted of a bad head cold and I think a Carribean-themed party with multiple appearances of rum would have done me well.

7:31 AM  
Blogger tara said...

Sounds like a smashing success. (And I bet the kids had a blast with the treasure hunt, too!)

Feel better, Melissa!

9:24 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Lis, fix yourself a hot toddy and feel better soon!

And anytime y'all want to come visit, just let me know and I'll pull out the tiki torches in your honor. We can even do a grown-up treasure hunt. (Ooh, like buried French cheese that you have to find by smell!)

10:46 AM  

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