When the weather turns cold and you are craving some beach time, throw an indoor party with a beach theme. Here are my tips on the e-How™ website on how to create the atmosphere with decorations and food from the tropics. (For the captioned video, see it on YouTube here.
Recipes featured in my video are Shrimp Cocktail, Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa, and Key Lime Tartlets. Here are the recipes. For more party ideas, see my series on Being the Best Host. (Note: Captioned version on YouTube here.)
- Shrimp, cleaned and steamed, tails on
- Wooden skewers
- Cocktail sauce (either purchased or make by using 1 cup Heinz Chili Sauce plus fresh horseradish to taste, about 2-3 tablespoons)
- Scallions, cleaned
- Avocado, peeled and chopped
- Lime juice, about 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix chopped avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper, set side. Thread three shrimp on a wooden skewer.
Assemble shrimp cocktails in glass by layering ingredients in this order:
- Cocktail sauce
- Shrimp on skewers
- One scallion
Any kind of fresh, fleshy fish will work, such as Mahi Mahi, Flounder, Grouper. Really, whatever white fish is on sale is great.
- Fish, about 2 pounds,
- 2 mangos, chopped into small chunks — everything should be tiny bite-sized
- 1/2 cup chopped green scallions
- 1-2 avocados, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Soft taco shells
Make the mango salsa by combining mangos, scallions, avocados, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Season the fish with any type of seasoning you like (this is where you improvise to suit your own taste buds). I’ve used blackened seasoning, Old Bay, salt, pepper, cayenne. Drizzle some olive oil over the fish to get ready to cook on the grill or a stove-top pan.
Cook the fish about four minutes on each side for a total of 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness, this is only a gauge).
Fill taco shells with fish and top with mango salsa.
Yield: 4-6 tacos
Use real key limes for an authentic taste. Because the Florida Keys had no refrigeration until the Overseas Highway opened in 1938, bakers had to use canned milk, so sweetened condensed milk became an essential element of Florida’s state pie. This version of Key Lime Pie has a filling that doesn’t need to be baked so it’s perfect for little tartlets. Serve in tropical-colored cups and top with slices of Key lime.
- Graham cracker crumbs, boxed
- Melted butter
- 1 can (14-oz.) Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/3 cup Key Lime juice (use a citrus reamer to extract the juice) or, use Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice, found in some grocery or specialty stores.
- 2 egg whites, beaten until thick
- Heavy whipped cream, whipped with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla.
Make a graham cracker crust. Follow the directions on the box for a one-crust pie using melted butter and sugar. Mix and set aside.
Combine condensed milk and Key Lime juice with an electric mixer. Fold in the beaten egg whites into the milk mixture.
Assemble tartlets by pressing about one tablespoon of graham cracker crust into the bottom of a cup. Top with about one-fourth cup of Key Lime pie filling. Chill for at least three hours.
When ready to serve, topped with whipped cream and a Key lime slice.
Yield: one dozen