Pot Luck: Tropical

This week there is soo much to blog about, but I have to take it one at a time. It’s been a busy week in the kitchen and I’m thrilled about that! It’s been awhile since I’ve been backed up with blogs with just not enough time to write about it. I”ll start from the beginning…

Monday was the famous post luck night with the summer theme of Tropical. I must say, with every month the food and creativity just keeps getting better and better. It was as if I was eating at a restaurant – it was that good! There’s no more heating up frozen food or doing things half-assed. We’re getting good and I’m here to share it all with you!

For mine and Anthony’s dishes I put together a Tropical Gazpacho and Jalepeno Shrimp Puffs.

For the Gazpacho I used all fresh fruit and even juiced whatever juice was needed.
This is what you’ll need:

  • 1 whole pineapple (Divided in half)
  • 3 Large TomatoEs
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Mango
  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
  • Hot Sauce


First, I had to take the top and skin off of the pineapple. I also pealed my mango to prep that as well.

The fruit prep.

The fruit prep.

I then cut it in half and chopped it into large chunks. I put half in the juicer and juiced a cup of fresh pineapple juice. Next I juiced all three tomatoes for a cup of tomato juice.

Juicin' action

Juicin’ action

Next, I put the juice into the blender.

Getting ready to blend.

Getting ready to blend.

And the rest was easy! I roughly chopped up the mango, 1/2 pineapple, green pepper, red pepper, about a 1/3 cup cilantro and threw it all into the blender with about 10 dashes of hot sauce. I gave it 5 short pulses and the delicious chilled summer soup was complete! It’s that easy!!

Tropical Gazpacho Complete!

Tropical Gazpacho Complete!

I made this the day before since it needs to chill either for at least 2 hours or overnight. It was really tasty! It was a little sweet for my liking, so I decided to pair it with a spice shrimp pocket to dip in and give it some heat. This one was a TTC original.

These were made just before pot luck began. I picked up that day a pound of raw shrimp. These had to be pealed, de-veined and washed well. It was the first time I was doing this myself, or didn’t buy the Easy Peal Shrimp, so it took me a little bit of time, but wasn’t too bad. In case you’re unfamiliar with this process, you just peal the shell off, tail and legs. Then you take a small knife, like a pairing knife, and cut a slit along the top part, or spine of the shrimp and then you’ll see a black vein – take it out! Then wash well and your all set to cook!

Once that process was completed, I laid the shrimp out on my cutting board and chopped them up and put them in a medium sized bowl. Next I cut up 1 1/2 jalapenos, seeds and stem removed.  I chopped up about a 1/2 cup of cilantro to put in the mix along with a squeeze of 1 fresh lime, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of chili powder. I let this marinate for a little bit while i set up my pastry puff dough. *Before I stirred it together, I added a couple of tablespoons of corn starch so that when you bite into the pastry everything doesn’t fall out and the shrimp mixture holds together.

Shrimp marinating with the good flavors.

Shrimp marinating with the good flavors.

Next I folded out my pastry dough and cut it up into even squares. I suggest lightly flouring the surface first so they done stick.

Dough cut.

Dough cut.

Next, I took a square and put about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the shrimp mix on one side of the square and patted it down.

Filling in!

Filling in!

Next, I folded the far corner to the closer corner and sealed it with a fork around the edges to make a triangular pocket.

Pocket ready for oven!

Pocket ready for oven!

Next, they’re ready for some baking! I put them on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 20 minutes, or until they were golden on the top. I have the smallest oven on earth, so the ones I couldn’t fit, I decided to fry them up. I preferred the baked ones.

Puffs, done!

Puffs, done!

Here’s the complete menu:

I’ve also added a couple of recipes that were given to me. The rest aren’t here for slacking reasons! lol

Marinated Seared Ahi Tuna with a Spicy Mango Salsa and Pickled Ginger – Matt A.

Tuna! Tuna!

Tuna! Tuna!

This dish was so fresh and seasoned well. It was really good quality tuna and had great sides for dipping and topping. Job well done!

Avocado, Pineapple and Corn Spring Rolls – Emily

Spring Rolls, what!!!

Spring Rolls, what!!!

These were soooo good! There were fresh juicy ingredients inside with this crunchy warm exterior and a sweet dipping sauce to go with it. They were perfect and I could have eaten a million of these! Em was nice enough to send over her recipe so all you guys at home can make this wonderful dish too! I love all of the helpful tips Emily adds to her recipes – very thorough!..check it out:

  • Dice the Pineapple and Red Onion place in bowl
  • Drain and rinse can of corn and mix with pineapple and red onion
  • Dice avocado and add to bowl with pineapple et all
    * I added the ingredients in this order so that the pineapple sweetens the onion and corn while I took the time to dice the avocado
  • Taking 1 eggroll wrapper at a time, place it on a clean surface so that 1 corner is facing you and the wrapper is making a diamond shape (place a small cup/bowl of room temp water to the side of your work station with sides shallow enough to place your fingers in)
  • Place about a spoonful of filling about ½”-1” from the corner closest to you
    *This doesn’t seem like a lot of filling but you do not want to overfill your roll
  • Roll the corner up and over the filling and continue to roll the wrapper as tightly as you can trying to keep the filling as tightly compact to the center as possible
  • When you get half-way through rolling the wrapper, fold the sides in (the wrapper should then resemble an opened envelop), then continue to roll while tucking the sides in, again making sure that all is tight
  • When you are about ½” from the ending corner, dip fingers in water bowl and apply to the unrolled edges
  • Finish rolling the wrapper and seal the roll by smoothing out the ending corner with water, place to side and continue until you are out of wrapper or filling
  • Heat 2” of oil in high-edged pan
  • When oil is hot enough, add a few rolls to the oil turning until all sides are brown (about 3 min)
  • Remove rolls from oil and place on a wire rack with a paper towel underneath to catch any dripping oil
  • Add a dash of salt while the rolls are still hot off the oil
  • Continue until all the rolls are cooked

Dipping Sauce

You can prepare this at any time – I prepared it between rolling and frying

  • In small bowl add approx 4 spoonfuls of pineapple preserves and 2 small spoonfuls of the asian chili paste – mix together and adjust to taste**If you have extra filling left over you can use as a dip with tortilla chips

Thanks Em!!!

Kiwi Bread with Vanilla Ice Cream – Shan Shan

Kiwi Bread Goodness with the Vanilla Ice Cream..Nom!!

Kiwi Bread Goodness with the Vanilla Ice Cream..Nom!!

This bread was a great dessert! There was that awesome kiwi tartness that was then balanced out with the sweet vanilla ice cream. The bread was nice and moist too!

Tropical Sangria – Maura
I didn’t get a direct shot of this, but you’ll see the pitcher in the table shoot that will be shown further down. This drink was very refreshing, some may say “island-like”, and went well with all of the food. It was a white sangria filled with chunks of fresh tropical fruit. Please make again, Maura!!

Baked Pineapple – Jamie

Baked Pineapple Deliciousness

Baked Pineapple Deliciousness

This dessert was very good and different! I never experienced anything quite like this. It was sweet and smooth in the center with a caramelized top. I am def interested in making this myself! Jaime sent me the link to this recipe to share with everyone else. Make this!


2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1 can (15 1/4 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ground cinnamon


Combine cornstarch and water, stir until smooth. Add eggs and blend well. Add pineapple, sugar and vanilla, mix well. Pour into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350º for 1 hour.

Source: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/34/Baked_Pineapple42527.shtml

Thanks for sharing Jamie!!

Turkey Meatballs with Mango Sauce – Steph



Steph, I must say, has come a long way! She seasoned and rolled these bad boys all on her own and killed it! I don’t know where the image went of those delicious turkey meatballs, but they are the 3 balls in the front of the plate. Amazingly moist and some bites spicy =)

Coconut Shrimp with a Pineapple Salsa – Andrew

Coco Shrimp for yo' belly

Coco Shrimp for yo’ belly

These were great too. They didn’t have that over fried and too much batter heavy taste. They had just the right amount of coconut and batter. Loved. The sweet pineapple went perf with them. I loved his serving dish as well! Nice presentation, Andrew!
Coconut Ice Pops – Francisco
(didn’t get a shot of these bad boys…sorry, they were in the freezer!) Very cold and refreshing!

The Spread!

The Spread!

So, as you can see this was quite the successful potluck meal. It was crunch, sweet and spicy with fruit, meat and fish. There was even dessert and drinks- everything you’ll ever need! As we say every month, “This was the best pot luck yet!” We just keep on killin’ it! Bravo ladies and Gents and happy cooking!!!

Pot Luck: In Writing

So as you may already know, us girls had our own Pot Luck on this past Monday night. It was dedicated to Food and Wine Pairing (our two favorite things!) The boys were busy, so we decided to taste some wine and eat casually in the living room and “watch” Bridesmaids. What we really did was ate, drank, made fun of the movie and had some laughs – it was great!

For this one I made dark chocolate espresso mousse. What girl doesn’t like chocolate?

This is what you’ll need:

9 ounces of dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips)
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3-4 tablespoons strong-brewed espresso (I picked mine up at SBux)
6 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream, chilled

Once you have all of your ingredients, you’re ready to whip this up! (literally)

If you have a double boiler, use it, but I still don’t, so I did my usual medium sized sauce pot with less than an inch of water and a bowl on top, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. In the bowl, melt your chocolate, butter and espresso and cook on moderately low heat, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

Chocolate melted, check!

Let the chocolate mixture cool down. If you have a instant-read thermometer, let it go down to 75 degrees. Once it’s cooled, beat in the egg yolks.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites at med-high speed in your stand-up mixer until they are very soft and peaks form.

I see peaks!

Gradually add the sugar and beat until whites are beginning to get firm and glossy.

Firm and Glossy - GO!

In another bowl, (I hope you have a lot of large mixing bowls) beat the cream until firm. I suggest using the mixer for this too.

Firm Cream

Gently fold in half of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then fold half of the egg white mixture in until there are no more streaks.

smooth, with no streaks.

Now do this one more time with the remaining whites and whipped cream. Next, let the mousse chill for at least 3 hours. I let mine stay overnight in the refrigerator. I decided to garnish my mouse with some shaved dark chocolate with hazelnuts.

garnished mousse!

I paired this with a fruity blend – pinot, merlot and cabernet. It went great together!

Now, it’s time to share what everyone else made!

Shan Shan hit it out of the park with her “Favorite Beet Salad”

Before she started she killed someone and tried to cover it up by making a beet salad.

Beat That Beet Up!

…which came out quite delicious! It was paired with a sparkling Rose..perfect.

Beet Salad Yo!

You can find out how to make this delicious dish here:

Next we have Maura’s dish: Crab Dip with Onion Crackers

This is Maura:

Maura, say cheese!

and here is her dip:


It was so tasty and we all thought it went perfect with the onion crackers. This was paired with a German Reisling. A word from Maura: “Crab it UP! “
Here’s where you can fine this great app recipe:

Next we have Jamie’s Mini Cheese Balls!

Cheesy Balls!

These were a fun and bite size! She used roasted red peppers and walnuts for some great crunch! These were paired with this weeks special – Sweet Red Table Wine – now on sale, 4 for $10, you can’t beat that! It was really good and easy to drink. Here’s the recipe link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/mini-cheese-balls-recipe/index.html

Next up is Emily’s Turkey Meatballs. Wow, were these a crowd pleaser. They were super moist and full of great flavor.

Turkey Balls

And here’s a short blurb from Em:

“Meatball recipe!

Mince 4 cloves of garlic (I am a huge garlic fan so I typically use a lot). Put 1LB ground turkey in bowl. Add about 1C bread crumbs, 1/2C grated cheese (I used a parmesan/romano mix), 1TBS each of basil, oregano and thyme. Add the minced garlic. Use hands to mix all ingredients together. My hands get very cold, so my mom taught me a trick to keep a small bowl of warm water next to my meat bowl. When my hands get too unbarably cold, I dip them in the warm water to relieve them then go back to mixing. If you are able to take the meat out of the fridge a little before you need it, it should help as well. Once you have all the ingredients well combined, start forming into balls. In a large pan heat olive oil (I also add some garlic to the oil in the pan for extra flavoring). Brown all sides. Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (I usually use a “tomato basil” sauce, but really any that you prefer will work). As the meatballs are finished browning, put them in the baking dish. Once all the balls are in the dish, cover with tomato sauce. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 25-30 min. Enjoy.

**These measurements are approximate, I typically cook by sight.”

I loved her recipe description along with a memory with mom thrown in there..awesome! These were pair with DaVinci Chianti. The wine was one of my favorites. An absolute home run if you ask me.

Now here’s one the boys really missed out on. Steph brought bacon wrapped beef.

wrapped up beef!

They were bursting with meaty goodness! She didn’t share the recipe with me, but I know she slaved all afternoon on these bad boys. ;) These were paired with a bold, full bodied Cabernet.

An there you have it – an amazing girls night Pot Luck Dinner!

Wine and food meet.

The fun part.

The tasting station.

We had a ton of fun and can’t wait for next month’s! Do you and your friends have a monthly meal together or a weekly tradition? Share it with us, we’d love to hear what you create and find!


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