Monday, January 17, 2011

A Milestone Birthday

Offspring #1 turned 21 today.  Oy.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the entire concept and the idea that she'd rather have top shelf vodka than Barbie dolls (although, to be truthful, she was never really a huge fan of those).


Over the weekend we had a family get-together for her.  And I was so wrapped up in getting everything together that I managed to only snap a few pictures.

At her request, I made Shrimp Wraps with Mango Salsa.  And in addition to her birthday 'cake', which was actually a key lime pie, I made her White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fudge.  There were many other things there as well, but alas, no photos.

The wraps had a number of components, including a revisit to the Toasted Parmesan Flatbread from the previous weekend.  Just thought they'd make a nice substitute for tortillas.

I had eleven people to feed, so I made double batches of everything.  The amounts can be cut down for smaller numbers of servings.  Once the flatbread was ready to go, the next component was a coconut rice flavored with a bit of cumin.

Gingered Coconut Rice

2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 cups long-grained rice
1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 14 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth (or substitute water)
1 tsp salt

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  As soon as oil gets hot, add cumin and ginger and sauté just until fragrant.  Add rice and stir to coat with oil.  Continue to stir and cook for a minute or two and allow the rice to toast slightly.

Add coconut milk and chicken broth, plus enough water to bring the total amount of liquid to 4 cups.  Add salt.  Turn heat up to medium-high and stir a couple of times to completely incorporate the liquid.  Allow to come to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 16 - 18 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir to incorporate the coconut milk solids, which will settle on the top.

Garlic Shrimp

2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp (I used small 55 - 60 count to better fit in the wraps)
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
3 - 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste (I like to use a course salt here)

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke.  Add chili flakes and garlic.  Sauté just long enough for the garlic to start toasting.  Immediately add shrimp (if your pan is small, do this in a couple of batches so the shrimp flash fries and doesn't steam).  Cook and stir until shrimp is just cooked through.  This will only take a couple of minutes.

Mango Salsa

1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 ripe mangos, cut into small cubes
1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced to the same size as the onions
1 lime
Salt to taste
(you can also add some finely chopped cilantro to this)

Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl.  Zest the lime and add to the mixture, then add the juice from the lime as well.  Season.

** We set up a buffet and allowed everyone to assemble their wraps according to their own specifications.  Also had avocado and olives on hand to add to the mix.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
1- 12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz.) Marshmallow Creme
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 tsp. vanilla
Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil until a candy thermometer reaches 234° (about 4 minutes), stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate chips and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted. Add nuts and vanilla; mix well.

Pour immediately into the prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature

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