Craving the Beach? Have an Indoor Beach Party!

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 YouTube on how to create the atmosphere with decorations and food from the tropics.

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 Cocktail
Serve these in champagne flutes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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:

  1. Cocktail sauce
  2. Avocado
  3. Shrimp on skewers
  4. One scallion
    Serve chilled.

Fish Tacos
Any kind of fresh, fleshy fish will work, such as Mahi Mahi, Flounder, Grouper. Really, whatever white fish is on sale is great.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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

Key Lime Tartlets

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.

INGREDIENTS

  • Graham cracker crumbs, boxed
  • Sugar
  • 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

 

e-How Video on Throwing an Indoor Beach Party

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 Cocktail
Serve these in champagne flutes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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:

  1. Cocktail sauce
  2. Avocado
  3. Shrimp on skewers
  4. One scallion
    Serve chilled.

Fish Tacos
Any kind of fresh, fleshy fish will work, such as Mahi Mahi, Flounder, Grouper. Really, whatever white fish is on sale is great.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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

Key Lime Tartlets

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.

INGREDIENTS

  • Graham cracker crumbs, boxed
  • Sugar
  • 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

 

The Ubiquitous Fish Taco on Carolina Beach

Fish tacos seem to be on the menu in many (if not all) the restaurants on Pleasure Island, which is home to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and historic Fort Fischer. I’ve been making my own version for years but I am open to new ideas which means I have to go on a fish-taco-testing spree. My findings:

The Lazy Pirate’s Fish Tacos

catch-of-the-day with “pirate sauce”

They use the fish of the day and the catch is plentiful here this summer — flounder, grouper, mahi-mahi and more. Today’s catch was flounder. The fish was spiced and grilled to perfection and served in a soft tortilla shell with a mystery sauce. The sauce was spicy good but too heavy on the sauce for me so next time I will get it on the side and add as I wish. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was but I knew it had a mayonnaise base. I asked the waitress and she replied: “That is our pirate sauce!” Yarrrhhhh! (See my other post about The Lazy Pirate.)

The Dive’s Fish Tacos

Would you go to a place called The Dive? I mean, really? This Pleasure Island mainstay has pool tables, bar, sports on TV and a few tables. Despite its name, Bill, Patrick, Peggy, Charlie and I decided to give it a try. Talk about some awesome food! The menu is limited but, again, they had the ubiquitous fish taco on the menu.

This time it was made with mahi-mahi, one of my favorites. It was excellent and would please most palates even if you’re not a fish lover. The fresh grilled mahi-mahi was in a soft taco shell with shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, red cabbage, onions. The cheese masks too much of the lovely fish for me, but that is why non-fish lovers would love these tacos. But I would definitely order them again and hold the cheese.

locally-grown Tommy and "Willis"

Locally-grown Tommy and “Willis”

A visit to The Dive is not complete unless Tommy visits your table and makes you his family. The bartender and waitress kept asking, “Is Tommy bothering you?” Of course not! Tommy finally gets kicked out and we add a drink to our tab for Tommy the next time he comes in.

Fish Tacos at The Sea Witch

Sea Witch’s Tiki Bar serves mahi-mahi tacos

The “Grilled Mahi Tacos” were made with cilantro, lime, cabbage, and pico de gallo. Another wonderful taste treat with more mahi-mahi. The catch must be plentiful this month. You can spot the Sea Witch from afar with its blue roof. The tiki bar is a local hot spot and the outdoor atmosphere is tropical with Jimmy Buffet music. The intimate inside seating with hardwood floors and white, bead-board paneling, looks like a coastal cottage.

Now, My Own Recipe for Fish Tacos

Growing up part of my life in south Florida, we had all kinds of tropical fruit trees. My mom would find a way to make lemonade out of lemons. We had a Calamondin orange tree with bright, tangerine-colored petite oranges. Their appealing exterior masked their bitter insides. Wikipedia says the fruit is used for household and medicinal uses like as a hair conditioner, body deodorant, ink stain remover on fabrics, for treating insect bites, for curing skin problems like acne, as a cough remedy, etc. However, mom found a way to turn this bitter fruit into a delicate and sweet preserve for toasted English muffins.

Such was the way of the mango. Our neighbors had a mango tree and shared the bounty with us. But none of us liked the pulpy fruit so mom chopped it up, added some onions, lemon juice, sometimes sweet peppers or chopped Florida oranges from our other orange tree, and some kind of seasoning. She put it on chicken, pork chops, and we dipped shrimp and chips in it. So…you know where this is heading. I adapted that sauce for my fish tacos.

Barbara’s Seafood Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Any kind of fresh, fleshy, fish, mahi-mahi, flounder, grouper, scrod, whatever is on sale at the fishmonger’s. (about 2 pounds for 4-6 servings)
  • 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

Mango salsa: Mix 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 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).

Spoon fish into taco shells and top with mango salsa.

Whew! This ends my fish-taco-eating spree! I’m moving on to other coastal culinary delights!

There’s Been a Sneeze Guard Sighting in Carolina Beach, NC


The front porch of The Lazy Pirate

Dave Pierce owns The Lazy Pirate on Lake Park Boulevard in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. He also owns Slickers Raceway next to it where the kids can race go-karts while their parents sit on colorful Adirondacks on the front porch and enjoy some libation. Or, as  Peggy and Charlie often do, have a beer and watch the traffic go by.

We met Dave two years ago when he was building the restaurant and we toured the construction site. He was going to call his new restaurant the Lazy Parrot. After the place was built and the signs were up, he became aware of a trademark issue with the name. No problem for Dave, he just rearranged some letters here and there and the place became the Lazy Pirate. That’s the way they are here in Carolina Beach—real laid back and real adaptable.

We stopped in for a bite the other night and lo and behold, I spotted a  sneeze guard in the corner. They were rearranging the furniture for karaoke at 9 p.m. What’s the big deal about the sneeze guard? Read I’m a Sneeze Guard Heiress” in my first post. I digress.

Sneeze guard sighting in Carolina Beach

The decor is sports and games and fun. The tabletops are various games and one of their events is Texas Hold’em for Charity. In fact, The Lazy Pirate if often the site for local charity events. This town can thank Dave for his generosity and his good food!

The game tables at The Lazy Pirate

Yarrrhhh!