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Caribbean Cooking: Cooking as Entertainment for your Guests

Have you ever noticed at a party that the guests love to talk about food? No matter what or where you cook, it usually draws a crowd. Most of our galleys are not large enough to hold all the curious guests, but it just seems that cooking is entertainment and people want to watch.  Here are some easy-to-prepare recipes that will keep everyone easily entertained and happily fed.

ASPARAGUS SPEARS WITH CITRUS-GINGER DIP

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

1 lb. Asparagus
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 sour cream
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 Tblsp. grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp. soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Snap tough ends off asparagus. Peel stalks, if desired. In a large skillet, bring about 1-inch of water to boiling. Add asparagus and simmer, uncovered, until barely tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and dunk in ice water until cold; drain, cover and chill until serving.

Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Transfer dip to an attractive serving bowl, serve with asparagus spears, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

HUMMUS WITH BLACK OLIVES

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Serves: 4-6

14 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp. tahini*
2 Tblsp. olive oil
3 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tblsp. water
4 Tblsp. yogurt, plain
3 oz. black pitted olives, roughly chopped

Blend garbanzo beans in food processor with remaining ingredients except black olives. (Note: If using dried beans, first cook according to package instructions.) Spoon into serving dish, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better, to let flavors develop. This is very easy and looks good.

Hint: Traditionally the hummus is made with 1/2 pint of olive oil; this recipe is much lighter. Hummus is a Middle Eastern dish and goes well with couscous. Also, serve it as a dip with crudités.

*Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. If difficult to find, use peanut butter. Adjust garlic to your taste.

PARMESAN, CHICKEN, AND BROCCOLI PASTA

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 (2-1/2 cups each)

8 oz (1/2 of 16 oz pkg.) whole wheat spaghetti, uncooked
1/2 cup Light Zesty Italian Reduced Fat Dressing
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti as directed on package.

Heat dressing and garlic in large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and broccoli; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in tomatoes and half of the mozzarella cheese; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Drain spaghetti; place on serving plate. Top with chicken mixture, remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.

ORIENTAL SHRIMP SALAD

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 60 minutes
Serves: 8

1 pkg. Ramen noodles
2 heads Napa cabbage or Bok Choy, thinly sliced
5 spring onions, chopped
1 purple cabbage sliced
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 lbs shrimp, cooked

Dressing:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup hot sesame oil
1/4 cup sweet sherry
4 Tblsp. low salt soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp wasabi
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all dressing ingredients and chill for at least 30 minutes. Add noodles, mix well, then add remaining salad ingredients and chill for another 30 minutes.

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