my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

March 18, 2013

feeling tropical

i'm kind of sick of winter. actually, i don't mind winter, i'm just kind of sick of this time of year. it's still cold and crappy, but then the next day the sun comes out and it's nice and warm. or the sun comes out, but it's so windy it only seems warm, and then when you step outside you realize how bitterly cold it really is. i wish the weather would just make up its mind.

so because the weather has had me down lately, i decided to push past spring and think about summer. warm tropical breezes, the sand and the sea, fruity drinks with paper umbrellas, all of these were my inspiration for a delicious beachy feast.

ok, i'll be real here, a while back i bought a lime flavored cake mix. last year i found pink lemonade flavored cake mix and cookie mix and frosting in a tub, and this year it's back with all its friends in lime flavors. so i broke down and bought the lime cake mix to try. and i decided to use it as a starting point for my tropical meal.

yes, i know, lime isn't overly tropical. but pair it with coconut and pineapple and it is. or at least in my head it is. so when i baked the cake mix, i decided to do a pina colada sort of frosting. or rather it was exactly a pina colada frosting because when i made it, i used pina colada mix in place of the milk and vanilla called for in the recipe, and i mixed in some shredded coconut for good measure. to get some extra pineapple flavor going on, i mixed a bit of crushed pineapple with some of the frosting and used that as a filling inside the cake. with extra coconut sprinkled on the outside of it, it looked very tropical indeed.

after dessert was done, i turned my thoughts to what we were going to eat for the main meal. i decided to try an easy recipe for coconut shrimp that i had found, because i was again stretching the limits of the definition of tropical food. the coconut shrimp was simply peeled and deveined, dipped in egg and then dredged in a mix of coconut and shake'n bake, then baked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. it was super easy, and it was a recipe for breaded shrimp that didn't involve frying, so i figured i'd give it a whirl.

to pair with the shrimp, i looked up a recipe that was a mock up for the red lobsters sauce that they pair with their coconut shrimp. turns out it was the perfect way to use up some of the pina colada mix and pineapple that was left over after making the cake.

the meal itself was a hit. the shrimp was amazing, and definitely something i'll make again. i was actually surprised how crispy it got in the oven, but i guess that's due to the magic of shake'n bake. the dipping sauce i made to go with it was kind of weird honestly. for whatever reason, it called for powdered sugar, which i used, but it made the sauce overly sweet. it also wasn't very thick like i would have preferred, but then i don't think i boiled it for the 20 minutes the recipe called for. if i make it again, i'll definitely be tweaking the recipe so it's more to my liking.

the cake was ok, which was actually rather disappointing to me. i used a different recipe for the frosting, one that called for a higher butter to sugar ratio than i'm used to, so i'm not sure why i was so surprised when the finished product was so buttery, more buttery than i like. also, the pina colada mix didn't flavor it as much as i hoped, so if i try it again i think i'll add some coconut extract also, to help bump up the flavor. still, i thought it was edible, and lumpy and fishie liked it well enough. neither my hubby nor bumble would even try it, because the lime cake part was green. very very green. and both of them said they don't eat green cake.

i can't say the whole evening transported me to the tropics, but it was definitely something different, and different can be good. because sometimes different is all it takes to get me out of my winter blues, which was the point of the meal in the first place.

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