Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka

Ok, so maybe it’s July and even in chilly New England it’s not Christmas-like. But Mele Kalikimaka anyway! A tropical buzz hit me the other night. No, not a mai tai… Thanks to my fabulous brother and sister in law, I had the great pleasure of vacationing to Maui in September 2008. So I channeled my grass skirt and coconuts for a dinner that brought me right back to the joys that I remember from that trip.

Timon & Pumba - CLICK ME!!!!

On our vacation we went deep sea fishing (my favorite excursion of many) where we caught this gargantuan fish native to Maui called Ono. So that particular boat allows you to take home whatever you catch. (Thank you Maui locals, we truly love you). So anyway…we had this amazing, I don’t know, 5 hour old fish for dinner. Haven’t had that fresh of fish since we were catchin’ dem catfish in the pond with our bare hands back in my redneck days! Anyway, in Maui we grilled this fish and I made a pineapple salsa to top it with. Delish. But soooooo overdone!

So last night in an attempt to recreate a more interesting version of this fabulous meal, I marinated my tilapia in a papaya chipotle pineapple pure marinade with fresh chopped cilantro. I bought the marinade, but its not likely difficult. Purée some fresh papaya, pineapple and canned chipotle. Add some lime juice, rice vinegar, S&P. Maybe some sugar, but if you’re going fresh, leave that out the juice from the fruit is so tasty alone! Because it’s a marinade, proportion won’t matter just make it equal or add more of whatever you like the most. There’s not much citrus in it, so it won’t turn into ceviche….marinate it as long as you need to get yourself together….mix a cocktail, go shopping whateva! So I paired this fruit themed fish dinner with banana and green apple skewers since I was grilling anyway. The key here…..the cinnamon honey I drizzled over the fruit before I grilled it! I wanted to add quinoa to add some extra protein and because I’m southern, I don’t eat without three courses and one of them HAS to resemble a carb. Growing up it was very often white bread and butter if you can imagine that! Diets be gone! Thanks Brendaz!
 So here’s the breakdown:

Earth & Vine Provisions Papaya Chipotle Pineapple Grilling Sauce

2 Bananas
2 Green Apples
Lemon Juice
¼ c. Honey
¼ tsp. Cinnamon


Marinate the tilapia in the marinade and fresh chopped cilantro. I just threw it all in a gallon Ziploc. Incidentally, it should be noted that cilantro is a good source of fiber, iron and disease-fighting phytonutrients! And it’s green, so it must be healthy, right?!

Soak your bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes. Put one cup water in a bowl with the juice of half a large lemon. Cut the bananas and apples in chunks. Soak the fruit in the lemon water for at least 20 minutes. Start the quinoa as directed on the box.

Sidenote…a recent conversation with a health conscious friend.: 
Him: “Eat quinoa, its really good for you” 
Me: “I don’t know how to cook it.” 
Him: “Uh, read the directions on the box!

Trust me…you can do it too! Meanwhile, mix the honey and cinnamon. I put the mixture in the microwave for about 20 seconds just to make it easy to stir up. Skewer the fruit and drizzle with the cinnamon honey. Get your grill good and hot, spray the side where you’ll cook the fish with Pam Spray. Grill the fish about 4 or 5 minutes on each side with the lid down. The best way to tell if its time to flip is if the grill lets it go. If its sticking, it ain’t ready! Put the skewers on the grill after you flip the fish. Turn the skewers a couple times.

Enjoy! We sure did!

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