Carribbean Inspired Weeknight Dinner Party

Tonight we had another couple over for dinner. It’s amazing that despite living within a mile from each other, we all haven’t gotten together in almost a whole year! To celebrate the much needed reunion, I prepared a special dinner that was inspired by Caribbean flavors. Here’s the dinner menu I prepared:

Click the links above on for pics and recipes of the dishes I made!

Roasted Pineapple Pork Tenderloin

Roasted Pineapple Pork Tenderloin
adapted recipe courtesy of Epicurious

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon mild or hot chili powder (or achiote paste)
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 small golden pineapple (about 1 1/2 pound), diced into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup pineapple (or orange) juice
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
Vegetable oil cooking spray

Heat a large pan over high heat to the smoking point, 3 to 4 minutes. Brown pineapple 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pineapple juice and stir 1 minute, scraping up brown bits from pan. Remove pineapple from heat. Combine in a bowl with pepper, onion and basil. Mash together and set aside.
Mix tomato paste with chili powder.
Combine with orange juice, lime juice and oil in a double resealable bag.
Add pineapple mixture to the bag.
Add tenderloin and marinate at least 3 hours.
Heat a grill or grill pan over high. Coat with cooking spray.
Remove pork from marinade; place on baking pan. (Discard excess marinade.)
Bake marinated pork in a preheated 350 oven, until pork is no longer pink and internal temperature is 160°F 18 to 20 minutes. Let pork rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Garnish with cilantro leaves before serving.

Taste of the Tropics Roundup!

Tonight friends came over to get a taste of the tropics for my monthly TGIF Happy Hour. It was a feast of Carribbean inspired food and lots of rum drinks as well as a rum tasting. We had our fill of such wonderful eats and we also did a tasting of 3 kinds of rum – a rum used to mix with other juices, Puerto Rican Bacardi Gold and a 10-year aged Dominican Republic Rum. Here are pictures of the event along with links to the recipes:

Black Bean Soup
shared at the event by Tricia & Barney

Curried Rice, Bacon & Cabbage Pilaf
shared at the event by Yumi

Black Bean & Mandarin Orange Salad
shared at the event by Diane & Allison

Rellenos de Papas
shared at the event by Ruby
Tropical Green Salad
w/pineapple, mango, strawberries, toasted almonds, feta over spring greens and served with a Mango Poppy dressing and Orange Poppy dressing
shared at the event by Joelen

Sweet Tostones (Maduros)

shared at the event by Teresa

Whole wheat tortilla chips w/Tropical Salsa
(the salsa was a gift from my friend Karen!)
shared at the event by Joelen

Spicy Sausage & Rice Casserole
shared at the event by Nick

Bahama Mama Punch Bowl
shared at the event by Joelen

Florida Marinated Mahi Mahi
(the marinade was a gift from my friend Karen!)
shared at the event by Joelen

Mojo Potatoes
(the mojo seasoning was from my friend Jessy!)
shared at the event by Joelen

Key Lime Marinated Pork Filets

shared at the event by Joelen

Black Bean & Mandarin Orange Salsa
shared at the event by Betsy

Pineapple Cheesecake
shared at the event by Susan

Guava Cheesecake
shared at the event by Jen & Wayne

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted recipes inspired by the Carribbean and rum. As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Stephanie of Macaroni & Cheesecake ! Stephanie will be receiving a Carribbean cookbook compliments of Goya Foods. Congratulations Stephanie and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…
Becky of Columbus Foodie
from Columbus, OH
Poached Grouper w/Mango Salsa
& Coconut Cilantro Rice Pilaf

Becky takes us to the islands with this amazing dish. It captures the fresh flavors of the tropics and makes for a colorful presentation on a plate! Check out Becky’s blog for the recipe to recreate this meal for the summer!

Stephanie of Macaroni & Cheesecake
from Tennessee
Carribean Fruit Punch
Inspired by her honeymoon, Stephanie shares with us a drink she had in St. John at the Caneel Bay Resort. The recipe doesn’t have rum in it but it certainly can be added. Check out Stephanie’s blog for the recipe so you can serve this at your next party!

Lauren of Harmless Foma
from New Brunswick, Canada
Hazelnut Rum Truffles
Lauren tempts us with her candy confection of hazelnut rum truffles! Lauren mentions that these sweet treats are what happens if Captain Morgan got it on with a jar of Nutella. These were made in honor of a special occassion so check out her blog for the recipe and to find out what special occassion they were made for!

Jess of New Year New Name New Me
from Wisconsin
Strawberry Daiquiris
Jess shares with us a classic drink of the islands… and from the looks of it, I’m craving a sip right about now! However her recipe isn’t made in a blender. Check out her blog to see how she made it!

Karen of LovesToEat Weblog
from Tampa, FL
Rum & Pineapple Chicken
Karen is lucky to live in Florida where the Carribbean culture is prevalent. Karens shares with us a tasty dish that’s sure to make a great dinner. Check out her blog for the recipe!

Mama Got Her Mojo…

Once again, my fabulous friend, Jessy, has done it again! Today I received a lovely package of amazing Florida food finds. This time it had a caribbean feel with the goodies she sent including:

* Everglades Seasoning*
*Mojo Marinade*
*Havana Garlic & Lime Marinade*
*Caribbean Jerk Marinade*
*Mojo Mama Seasoning*
*Fresh Honey Mango*
*Ripe Plantains*

Thank you Jessy for sending some of that Florida sunshine and Caribbean flavors! It came right in time for my Caribbean dinner party I’m hosting next month 🙂

Florida Sunshine in a Box #2!

I think my friends are really tempting me to move to Florida asap! This afternoon we were surprised with a fabulous delivery of Florida goodies from my friend, Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog. (Please check out her awesome blog full of great eats!) Karen and her husband are kind & genuine folks, extremely fun to hang out with and we’re hoping they will come visit us in Chicago soon! Until then, we have these fabulous Florida goodies to remind us of the sun and sand we left behind a month ago. Karen sent us this great package from Island Grove that included:
Florida Orange Poppy dressing
Hurricane Bay marinade
Old Southern Dixie BBQ sauce
Tropical Salsa
Key Lime Juice
Carribbean Bay hot sauce
Key Lime Margarita mix

Thank you so much Karen & Mike! I plan on having a “Carribbean” inspired dinner next month and these will be great to work into my menu! **hugs**