Kathy Casey’s Tropical Summer Patio Party

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 The Menu:
Passion Fruit Rum Punch
Avacado & Pineapple Salsa with Taro Root Chips or White Corn Tortilla Chips
Bib Lettuce Salad with Toasted Macadamia Nuts, Papaya, and Lychee Vinaigrette
Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Mango Ginger Glaze
Coconut Scallion Rice
Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae

“Tropical” is such a fun theme for a summertime deck or patio party. Bright colors, flowers, tikis, lanterns, tall iced drinks are festive all on their own, but add a delicious warm-weather menu and you’ll be hula-ing on the terrace in no time.

Those that read me often know, my whole entertaining philosophy is, “do as much as you can in advance,” and this is a perfect example of a menu that lets you do just that. (Be sure to read through the recipes to see what you can do a few days in advance)

The nice thing about this menu is that everything can be prepped ahead of time and then just assembled. The cocktail premixed; salsa ingredients chopped and then mixed right before serving. Salad dressing and greens prepared ahead and then just tossed to combine. Rice can be made the day before and reheated; ribs just heated and glazed on the q. And dessert couldn’t be easier – or more delicious.

For libations, we started with a delightful drink, Lilikoi Rum Punch—a blend of passion fruit nectar, fresh lime juice, pineapple juice and spiced rum served over ice. You can stir up a tasty non-alcoholic version as well, omitting the rum and mixing in a splash of soda water. To accompany the punch whip up a quick and easy a pineapple avocado fruit salsa served with Taro Root Chips or with white corn tortilla chip for scooping.

While your guests are nibbling head for the grill to start finishing off the Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Mango Ginger Glaze which are pre-prepped by marinating for a day, slow-roasting till tender, and then chilled. A glaze is made by reducing the flavorful mango marinade; the precooked ribs are reheated on the grill while being basted with the glaze till golden and sticky! Serve the ribs up with Coconut Scallion Rice and a tender lettuce salad dressed with toasted macadamia nuts, fresh papaya, and lychee vinaigrette. Yum!

And for dessert – pick up a couple of pints of tropical-flavor ice cream such as Häagen- Dazs pineapple coconut and mango ice creams, some good caramel and chocolate sauces as well as Trader Joe’s Dark Roasted Pistachio Toffee, some candied ginger and a few edible flowers to let guests create their own ice cream sundae with toppings.

A phrase I learned on a tour bus in Hawaii when I was eight years old has stuck in my head for ever!: wiki wiki. It means quick quick. With all this meal readied in advance, that’s what it will be when you serve your guests. So put on your tackiest and brightest alohawear, grab some friends and neighbors, put on some Don Ho and have a tropical party of your own this summer! ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Passion Fruit Rum Punch
Makes 10 – 12 servings

3 cups Looza passion fruit nectar
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups pineapple juice
1 bottle spiced rum
soda water as needed
Garnish: lime wedges, edible flowers, or drink parasols

In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve: Fill rocks or tall glasses with ice and pour in rum punch. I like to add a little splash of soda water to lighten the drink a bit. Garnish and serve. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

 Avocado & Pineapple Salsa
Note: you can mix in tiny bay shrimp or chopped cooked large prawns to make a shrimp salsa variation- just up the amount of lime juice and sweet thai chili sauce.
Makes about 8 servings

3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 -4 Tbsp. thai sweet chili sauce*
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 cups finely chopped, ripe fresh pineapple
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
2 large ripe but firm avocados
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
For dipping: crostini, corn tortilla chips, taro root chips or other fun dipables

* Available from well-stocked supermarkets and Asian grocers. Have all ingredients except avocados cut up and measured before assembling. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, thai sweet chili sauce and salt till well mixed. Add the onion, pineapple and bell pepper.

Quarter and peel avocados, then cut into small dice and add to the salsa along with the cilantro. Lightly and gently fold all ingredients together till well combined. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes before serving or serve immediately. Serve in a bowl with a spoon on a platter surrounded by chips and/or other dipables. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

 Bibb Lettuce Salad with Toasted Macadamia Nuts, Papaya, and Lychee Vinaigrette
Makes about 8 servings

2 -3 large heads Bibb or other butter lettuce
1 (20-ounce) can lychees in syrup*
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 large ripe papayas, peeled, seeded and cut in cubes
1 cup macadamia nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (be sure to get the salted nuts!)
 * Available from well-stocked supermarkets and Asian grocers.

To prepare the greens: Cut off the root ends of the lettuce and remove any bruised outside leaves. Rinse lettuce and spin dry. Tear larger leaves into pieces. Wrap prepared lettuce in paper towels, place in a large zip-style plastic bag and refrigerate. You can do this up to 2 days ahead.

To make the vinaigrette: Drain the lychees and reserve the syrup. Cut or tear the lychees into quarters and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lime juice, cayenne and salt. Stir in 2 Tbsp.s of the reserved lychee syrup and the lychees. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving. (Extra lychee juice is great mixed with soda water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.)

To serve the salad: Whisk the dressing to remix well. Place the greens in a very large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the greens and gently toss, coating leaves well. Lay out half the greens on a large platter, being sure to get some of the lychees evenly distributed. Then scatter with half of the papaya and nuts. Lay out remaining greens, distributing lychees, and scatter with remaining papaya and nuts. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

 Coconut Scallion Rice
Makes about 8 servings

2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
1 Tbsp. oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 cups water
1 can (13 – 14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk*
2 tsp.s kosher salt
small pinch cayenne pepper
Garnish: thinly sliced green onions
* Available from well-stocked supermarkets and Asian grocers.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put the very well-drained rice in a 2-quart baking dish, and set aside.A
Heat the oil in a nonstick or heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the green onion lightly, about 1 minute. Add the water and coconut milk and bring to just barely a simmer; do not boil.

Stir the hot mixture into the rice; stir in the salt and cayenne. Seal tightly with foil and bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately or serve at room temperature. If making the morning or day before serving, refrigerate and then reheat in a microwave in a microwavable bowl covered with plastic wrap. Garnish with green onions. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

 Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Mango Ginger Glaze
Prep the ribs at least one day in advance or up to 3 days ahead. Be sure to read through the recipe before starting
Makes about 8 servings

3 cups mango juice or nectar
3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder*
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
4 racks pork baby back ribs (1 3/4 – 2 pounds each, about 8 pounds total)
1/2 cup spiced rum
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water

* Available from well-stocked supermarkets and Mexican grocers
In a bowl, whisk together the mango juice, ginger, garlic, sherry, oyster sauce, chile powder, soy sauce, brown sugar and salt.
Cut rib slabs in half and divide meat between 3 very large zip-style plastic bags. Re-whisk marinade and divide between bags. Press air out of bags and seal. Move marinade around to get all over ribs. Refrigerate ribs overnight or up to 24 hours, turning whenever you think about it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a large roasting pan or 2 rimmed baking sheets liberally with cooking spray. Remove ribs from marinade (save marinade to make glaze) and lay ribs out in a single layer in pan(s). Sprinkle meat with rum, cover pan(s) tightly with foil, and roast ribs in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until very tender. When ribs are done, drain off fat, cool and refrigerate ribs, covered, overnight or for up to 3 days.

Meanwhile, transfer marinade to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer marinade for about 45 minutes or until reduced to about 2 cups. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, then drizzle into the simmering sauce while whisking continuously. Cook for 1 minute until thickened and remove from heat. Cool and refrigerate until ready to grill ribs.

To grill and serve ribs: Cut each rib section in half—you should now have 16 pieces. Preheat grill to medium and place ribs, bone side down. Brush each rib portion with a little sauce. Cover grill and cook ribs for about 8 to 10 minutes, until that side gets some nice color. Turn ribs over and brush with sauce, cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until browned. (If using a gas grill, adjust heat so as to heat and brown ribs but not burn them; if using a charcoal grill, move ribs around as needed.) Turn ribs over one more time and brush again with sauce, cooking for another 8 to 10 minutes until ribs are hot through and nicely browned and glaze is cooked on and sticky. Serve immediately. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 3rd, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in appetizers, Cocktails, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

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