Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tiki Tapas!

Tonight is my big brother's birthday party and it is Tiki-themed! Coincidentally, it was also Texas Tiki Week at some local bars as well as Hawaiian shirt day at work yesterday (no I don't work at Initech! ;)) so it's been a very Hawaii week :)

It's also 107 degrees outside today, so an imaginary escape to the beach sounds lovely...! 

For the big bash, I thought I'd contribute by making jerk seasoned shrimp skewers (using the same seasoning as last time!) and pineapple upside down cupcakes! 

 

Jerk Seasoned Shrimp Skewers

These are pretty easy to make (a wee bit messy, though!) and relatively healthy!

 

Ingredients

  • wooden skewers
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks
  • 1 large container of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 bag of frozen shrimp (no tails is easier!)
  • jerk seasoning (see link above)
  • optional: I mixed some garlic infused olive oil (1/2 tbsp) and some coconut balsamic vinegar (1 tbsp) to give a little extra flavor and cut down the spice of the jerk seasoning since last time it was so spicy!
Mix the vinegar, oil, and seasoning together in a big bowl or pan and stir the thawed shrimp around in the mixture to cover it fully. While it's marinating, chop up the poblano and the onion into bite sized chunks. Set it all aside to make a handy little assembly line!
Layer the pieces as you like, and be sure to wash your hands after! Throw them on the grill, and since the shrimp is pre-cooked, just eat it when it's warm and the veggies are to your liking! YUM!

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

As usual, I searched for a recipe online and altered it to my taste... with alcohol. Here is the original recipe - anything with an asterisk is what I added:

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes
  • cooking spray 
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 24 maraschino cherries
  • 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 package pineapple cake mix (i.e Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp spiced rum or coconut rum (or mixture of both!)*

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spray 24 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  3. Melt the butter and add 1 tbsp rum to it.*
  4. Spoon 1 teaspoon melted rum butter into the bottom of each sprayed muffin cup.
  5. Spoon 1 tablespoon brown sugar in each muffin cup.
  6. Press a maraschino cherry into the center of the brown sugar in each muffin cup.
  7. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of crushed pineapple over the cherry and compact it with the back of a spoon into an even layer.
  8. Mix pineapple cake mix, eggs, pineapple juice, 1/3 cup rum*, and vegetable oil in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Turn mixer speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes.
  9. Pour pineapple cake batter into the muffin cups, filling them to the top; do not overfill.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25+* minutes.
  11. Allow cupcakes to cool at least 10* minutes before inverting muffin cups onto the waxed paper to release. Serve with pineapple and cherry sides up. 
I only have one 12-muffin pan, so I made 2 batches, and thankfully, I learned some lessons with the first batch!! First of all, all of the liquid (the butter/sugar mix) will make the cupcakes seem not quite baked. I added on 5 minutes to my 2nd batch and they looked much better! You're also adding additional liquid to the mix so it's extra moist to begin with! Secondly, those suckers do NOT want to keep their fancy topping on when you take them out of the pan!! The original recipe says wait at least 5 minutes, but I increased it to 10.  I actually let them cool right side up for 5 minutes, and then turned over (but leaving the pan still on) for another 5 minutes. With the first batch, I spooned out some of the topping to put on top of them, but I think they were TOO sugary, so if it doesn't all come out, THAT'S OK!! The 2nd batch turned out fabulous and I'm excited to bring them to the Tiki Party!!

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