Rasta Pasta

Rasta PastaOK, so Rasta Pasta just sounds cool. This recipe is from “Fins Up! (Jimmy Buffet) Cooking Class with Leigh Ocs.” This is a wonderful addition to the Tequila-Orange Shrimp that I wrote about last week. It has an unexpected Caribbean taste. But what else should I expect, it does have Jimmy Buffet’s name attached to the top.

I would have never imagined using coconut to make a creamy pasta, but it is exquisite! While the coconut flavor does come through, I might consider adding some coconut flakes to the prepared pasta or using real coconut milk to even further enhance the flavor next time.

I heated the coconut to a boiling point and let it simmer for a little while. Then strained it into a bowl and pushed as much flavor out of the coconut that I could get with a fork. Actually it did not seem like it was working, so I picked it up and squeezed the daylights out of the flakes to get as much of the juice out as I could. After setting the Water/Coconut Milk to the side, I boiled the noodles (Penne Pasta) to an Al Dente state.

While I was waiting on the noodles, I added the red pepper flakes, oil, and garlic into a frying pan. Once heated, I added the noodles, coconut water, and  remaining ingredients. Ultimately it is not a really difficult recipe. The sauce wasn’t as thick as I had hoped for, but the flavor was excellent.

Next time, I will make some changes to the recipe. First, I will use less water when preparing the coconut mix and possibly add some fresh coconut milk. Second, I will print the recipes rather than working directly off my cell phone. I accidentally missed a step toggling between two recipes. I don’t know if adding oil to the Al Dente noodles would have made a difference or not, but I hate to do things incorrectly on my first attempt with a new recipe. These minor changes might make a delicious difference in the future.

Either way, my wife, sister-in-law, and friend all enjoyed the taste and experience. This was a worthy experiment, and I will make it again down the road. Maybe next time I could add some broccoli florets as well.

So remember, “The recipe is not always right; take some time to make it your own.” I know I will.

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Tequila Orange Shrimp

Tequila Orange Shrimp“Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.” Well Jimmy Buffet sang this anyway. My Pina Coladas are generally of the virgin kind. I am not much of a drinker anymore, but I have found that alcohol can make some of the best cooked meals. For example, try roasting a pork tenderloin with a beer in a crock pot some time, and you will see what I mean. SOOOOO “Love Me Tender.”

Last Night I made for the first time Tequila Orange Shrimp. Between this and the Rasta Pasta, (coming next week) I had my hands pretty full.

I originally bought some shrimp deveined and with tails on, but didn’t think that they were big enough. If I am going to grill shrimp, then I want them to have some size to them. So I went back and got some fresh large shrimp from the meet counter at the grocery store. Then I had to figure out how to devein these things. The easiest way is to put the knife in the hole at the head of the shrimp and cut backwards. It was however a little time-consuming. I know, it seems like it should be obvious, but hey, I am still learning.

I first mixed the oil, jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper, and lime zest together, and then I placed each shrimp in the marinade as it was ready. That was the easy part. Once they are in the mixture, they are supposed to set for 15 minutes to an hour. Of course it took me that long just to get them all in there, and this gave me the chance to work on the other recipe.

The hard part is the Tequila-Orange sauce. The recipe said to take the rest of the Jalapeno and garlic and mix it with the orange juice, tequila, and shallots. Bring this to a boil and cook until it is a syrupy consistency. The problem is that mine did not turn to syrup. I still don’t know what happened that it didn’t get to the right consistency, but I guess that will come with time and experimentation.

So the next time that you want to have a “Straight Tequila Night,” throw some in with some shrimp and orange juice, and you will find a tasty treat. So remember, “Stop worrying about whether ‘Tequila makes her clothes fall off;’ this dish will put a song in her step.”

You can Find the Recipe Here: Tequila Orange Shrimp.