Tag Archives: pineapple

Rum Tasting Party

This party was starting to become my white whale – back in 2012 the Washington Post wrote an article about hosting your own rum tasting party.  Everyone is supposed to bring a different bottle of rum so you can taste varying styles and ages.  I immediately latched on to the idea and tried to make it happen…4 years later, success!  No this is not a difficult party to throw but you do need friends to sign up in advance so you can ensure a proper amount of bottles are represented.  You also need to get over the stigma of too many bad Captain and Cokes consumed during college.  Most of my friends said they would happily come to a tequila, scotch, whiskey…pretty much anything but rum tasting party.  Luckily I came up with a couple brave enough friends and it was a blast.  My buddy Devin, who has probably been to 99% off all parties I have hosted, declared it the. best. ever.

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So as I said, have everyone you invite plan on bringing a bottle for the party to consume.  We ran the gamut from black rum, 12 year old Dominican rum (hands down the crowd favorite), to Mt. Defiance rum made right here in Virginia.  I made sure to have plenty of small tasting cups for everyone to sip out of.  People really got into the spirit, helped along by a good tropical Spotify playlist.  Unfortunately, lots of pineapples had to die for this party to work, not only for the food but also as decoration.  The produce manager at Harris Teeter  must have thought I was a loon carting off over a dozen pineapples!!!

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When throwing a liquor tasting party, you really need to think carefully about your menu.  No one wants all of their guests in a drunken stupor before the 1st course is even served!  I decided to go with heavy with the appetizers as they would be served while we worked our way through the tastings.  Basically I fried everything I could get my hands on.  I also made a really light rum punch from the Post to drink alongside the tasting (as recommended by the original article).

Food and Wine Spicy Coconut Shrimp

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Oh baby are these good – if deep drying intimidates you try shrimp.  You need way less oil, they cook quickly and with the crunchy coconut crust you are going to get that nice crisp texture no matter what.

Cayobo’s Pina Colada Fritters

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I randomly found this recipe during some internet searching for Caribbean appetizers.  They were so light and crispy and great dipped into some bottled spicy mango sauce.  Since you are already heating up the oil for the shrimp might as well fry some more!

Following the tasting and appetizers most people switched to beer or wine and we served a full dinner.

Bon Appetit Grilled Jerk Chicken

This marinade is SO powerful and delicious.  I went with just boneless chicken breasts for the party to make life easier on myself, as opposed to bone in chicken but if you have the time go for it.  Best of all it’s delicious room temperature so you can grill the chicken before your guests even arrive.

Feasting at Home’s Caribbean Mango Cabbage Slaw

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After all the fried and spicy foods I wanted a nice crisp slaw to balance everything out.  This one is nice and colorful and has a sweet hit from the mango.

Pineapple Fried Rice

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So delicious along with the spicy jerk chicken you definitely should take the time to serve this fried rice out of the pineapple shells for the party.

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This was definitely worth the wait but I suggest you not and throw a rum tasting party this weekend to celebrate the end of summer.  I am already thinking of another next tasting party – any suggestions for what to do next???

Pineapple Fried Rice

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I first had the idea to make this fried rice ages ago – I was at Doi Moi on 14th Street with my friend Amy and we had two unbelievably delicious dishes.  One was stir-fried pineapple that was spicy and sweet and savory all at once.  The other is their famous crab fried rice that not only includes terrific local lump crab meat, but also lets all the other ingredients sing.  I think years of crappy fried rice in college had led me astray because I always thought it was slightly greasy and not very flavorful.  Well that night at Doi Moi was a revelation and I spent a lot of time figuring out how to marry that dreamy fried rice with balanced flavor with the intriguing pineapple side dish.  Turns out the key to both elements is a very hot pan and just a little bit of oil.  The heat helps the pineapple really caramelize so it has a more complex sweetness.  It also means the other ingredients like the rice and peppers won’t take on as much oil.  It’s also a good idea to use leftover as opposed to fresh rice, the dryness helps with the oil as well (I used brown rice I had tucked in my freezer).  The result is absolutely delicious and the perfect vegetarian main meal or side to grilled meat or fish.  I had been drooling over images of pineapple bowls on Pinterest so just had to try my hand at it.  I won’t say it was immediately easy to do (or explain as you can see by my tortured explanation below) but just dive in.  By the time I was doing the second half I had figured out the best way for me and it was a breeze.  The good news is since you are chopping up the pineapple anyway it doesn’t really matter what it looks like once you have scooped it out.  What a fun way to spice up the middle of the week !

Pineapple Fried Rice 

  • 1 pineapple (or 2 cups of diced pineapple if you don’t want to use the pineapple as a serving dish)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 fresno or jalapeno chilis, thinly sliced (seeded if you want less heat)
  • 4 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 scallions, sliced

If you want to use the pineapple as your serving dish use a large knife and cut through the center of the pineapple lengthwise, through the leaves and everything.

Then use a small paring knife and follow the edge of the pineapple with the knife at a slight angle.   Use the paring knife to cut out the harder core (throw that away) that runs down the middle and then with the help of a spoon and the knife, cut out pieces.  It gets easier as you do it, just make sure to not cut through the skin of the pineapple.  Once you have most of the fruit out you can use a spoon to scrape the edges and create a wide bowl for the rice.  Dice the pineapple you scooped out into a small dice until you have 2 cups (save any remainder for a snack later).  In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over high heat.  Add the pineapple and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the pineapple caramelizes a bit.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilis and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil and the rice and stir to combine.  Add in the soy sauce and cook the rice, stirring frequently for another 3 minutes.  Stir in the scallions and serve in the pineapple “bowls” or a large serving bowl.

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