If you finished that thought with 'hot hot hot' then you too have been over-exposed to the tune "Hot Hot Hot" written by one Buster Poindexter. D. and I heard this song every day multiple times a day for a whole week the first time we went to the Caribbean Beach Resort at Disney. The themed food court didn't exactly feature Caribbean fare, but the music more than made up for it, and definitely lent our trip that island vibe we were going for when we visited in October.
I thought with the chilly weather outside maybe a Caribbean feast for our Sunday dinner this week would put us in a warm mood. As usual, I started the menu planning with dessert. What could be more tropical than...
...a lovely bowl of key limes? 20 key limes, to be exact. Which, when combined with a few other ingredients become:
Key Lime bars. Ohhh. These are so good. A Cook's Illustrated recipe that takes the juice / zest of 20 key limes and combines it with sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese and makes your sad, cold Canadian soul so happy and so warm. I was a bit worried about making these because I feared they may be too cheese cake-y, which D. wouldn't like. But the filling, while super smooth and perfectly tart, was not at all reminiscent of cheese cake. To get the boys interested I advised that the base is a combo of animal crackers and brown sugar (my boys love brown sugar) plus a bit of butter. One out of two decided to taste and that one (D.) was not disappointed. P. had orange sorbet, which is also suitably tropical.
For the main course I found a Canadian Living recipe for Island Chicken and Rice that was quite good. The chicken turned out nice and moist, and the coconut milk infused the rice with great flavour. The jalapeno wasn't too powerful, although I did take care to try and avoid getting any on the boys' plates; the recipe calls for you to mince it, but I cut it large enough so I could pick it out if need be. The chicken is sprinkled with allspice and ginger which is why it presents a bit brown:
I was very proud that I even managed to pull out some fairly tropical looking place mats, since I tend to go for neutral tableware. (Okay. These were a gift.) I think this dinner did a good job of whisking us away to a tropical paradise. We reminisced about our past vacations at Caribbean Beach Resort (the boys have been there twice) and after, while doing the dishes and staring out at the frozen wasteland that is currently our backyard, it didn't feel quite so cold as it might.
I should end there, but one last note. My husband is possibly the sweetest man in the world. No - not possibly, he is the sweetest man in the world. Twice yesterday when I was doing something in the kitchen he brought me my camera, without my asking. I love that he can totally read my mind and doesn't find it strange that I take so many pictures of food. Or if he does find it strange, he keeps it to himself....