Monday, August 22, 2011

Island Paradise (and a giveaway!)


Who doesn’t love the Hawaiian Islands? I mean, what’s not to love? Gorgeous beaches? Check. Beautiful sunsets? Check. Long, lazy days with nothing more to do than lay in the sun and order fruity cocktails with umbrellas in them? Check.

Photo by Tad Craig Photography

It also happens to be a pretty fantastic place to get married, especially if you’re marrying him. (Oh, I know…sappy, but so true.)

Photo by Tad Craig Photography

If there is one thing that always reminds me of Hawaii, it’s the smell of suntan lotion. One sniff and I’m instantly transported. Suddenly, I’m being mesmerized by the waves crashing on the shore. I’m feeling the sun on my face and under my feet on the sand. I’m watching Andy body surf with a look of such pure bliss on his face that I’m able to see in him the little boy that I’ve seen in pictures. I’m sitting in a lounge with a view of the ocean and a breeze in my hair, listening to the relaxed melodies of the ukulele. Not a bad place for the mind to go…

And that’s exactly where it went when I opened the jar of coconut oil that I recently received from Tropical Traditions. I felt like running to the computer and buying two one-way tickets on the next flight to Maui. But reality reared its ugly head, and my plans were dashed by thoughts of mortgages and other responsibilities. If only…


So, I did the next best thing…if we can’t go to Hawaii, I can bring the taste of Hawaii to us. I started brainstorming dishes to make using coconut oil, which would be inspired by all the lovely, tropical flavors of the islands.


When I think Hawaiian food, I think of all the local delights like shave ice, scoops of macaroni salad, spam, and loco mocos. But I also think of macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi, fresh ahi poke, tender kalua pork and Kahuku shrimp dripping in garlic butter from Giovanni’s shrimp truck. I could live on this food…

With these dishes and the smell of coconut oil in mind, I went into the kitchen to create a new version of shrimp cakes for Andy. I haven’t made them for a long time, and he requests them frequently…they are one of his favorite appetizers. I wanted this version to have an unmistakable Hawaiian spin with mango, papaya, coconut, and of course, if I’m making anything for Andy, it has to have spice.


Shrimp & Crab Cakes with Mango-Papaya Salsa and Spicy Coconut Milk Sauce

Makes 10

Shrimp Cakes:
1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces crab meat
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs, divided use
juice of half a lime
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
coconut oil, for frying

Salsa:
1 cup diced mango
1 cup diced papaya
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon chopped serrano pepper (optional for more spice)
pinch of salt, to taste

Coconut Milk Sauce:
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 ounce light rum
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (chili sauce)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

To make the shrimp cakes, roughly chop the shrimp, then transfer to a food processor. Add the crab, egg, cilantro, 1/4 cup panko, lime juice, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is completely combined, but still has texture. (Do not puree.)

In a shallow dish, combine remaining 1 cup of panko with coconut flakes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scoop out scant 1/4 cups of the mixture and form into patties, about 2 1/2 inches across, then dredge in panko-coconut mixture, pressing firmly so it adheres. Place breaded crab cakes on baking sheet and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or up to 4 hours).

Meanwhile, combine all the salsa ingredients and chill until needed.

Just prior to frying the shrimp cakes, make the coconut milk sauce. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Sauté onions and bell peppers until soft. Add coconut milk, rum, Sriracha, ginger and garlic. Whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce until thickened, about 10 minutes. Reserve on stove.

When ready to serve, heat 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the shrimp cakes (do this in several batches, adding more oil as needed). Fry the shrimp cakes about 2 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Serve shrimp cakes with sauce and salsa.


If the speed in which Andy consumed these is any indication, these shrimp cakes are a winner. The fruit salsa mellows out the spicy coconut sauce perfectly, and the cakes are crisp outside but moist inside. You taste coconut throughout, but it doesn’t smack you in the face…it provides the perfect background flavors for this Hawaiian-inspired treat.


Does all this talk of Hawaii and coconut oil have you itching to try some island dishes yourself? You’re in luck…the kind folks at Tropical Traditions want to give you a 32 ounce jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil! (Must have a US or Canada shipping address.) Giveaway will be open until Sunday, August 28 at 10:00pm PST.

To enter (leave a separate comment for each; up to four entries per person):
1. Leave a comment below
4. Tweet this giveaway

Aloha!


Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

51 comments:

  1. Aww your post is making me homesick for Hawaii! THis is a great dish! I love the coconut sauce you have the shrimp and crab cakes sitting on- I want to lick that off the plate!

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  2. I've never actually been to Hawaii. Maybe someday! Don't count me in for the giveaway, as I will be doing one of my own very soon! ;)

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  3. WOW! Those look so fresh and delicious. The photos are amazing. I would LOVE to win the coconut oil as it gives such a great additional layer of flavor to dishes.

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  4. Hawaii totally smells like suntan lotion! Haha I love it. This dish looks so good! I love the pictures and the recipe is making my mouth water

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  5. This looks fantastic! I have a coconut-scented shampoo that always reminds me of vacation!

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  6. Those are so gorgeous and I am such a sucker for a good crab (and in this case, shrimp) cake! I will have 10 please! :)

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  7. I have never been to Hawaii, but I would love to go someday. I would have to bring a vat of sunscreen, I burn so easily! These look so delicious, I would love to try them!!

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  8. Mango-Papaya Salsa and Spicy Coconut Milk Sauce. Awesomeness for ALL of the above. That sounds so yummy! Awesome and generous giveaway too :) Tweeted and Buzzed!

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  9. These seafood cakes look tasty and I like the tropical flair of the salsa and the coconut milk sauce. Delicious post- Buzzed

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  10. These look delicious!! Your photos are amazing, the colors are nice and bright. Yum!!

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  11. Your photographs have my mouth watering! I am saving this recipe, it looks and sounds absolutely wonderful.

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  12. Yum! I have never been to Hawaii, but I am sure this would make me feel like I have! Great pictures!

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  13. Count me in as one who hasn't been to Hawaii either, but I'm willing to let these stand in for a visit (for a while). They're gorgeous and look delicious.

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  14. I am following Tropical Traditions on Twitter @rachelkyle0402

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  15. I've never been to Hawaii... maybe someday. Love the crab cakes.

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  16. These pictures are amazing! I'm a photography blogger and currently in love with food photography and I was so excited to see these images of the yummy crab cakes. Great captures.

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  17. Look delish. The colors are amazing!

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  18. I follow @TropTraditions on Twitter.

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  19. I like Tropical Traditions on Facebook.

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  20. I tweeted
    http://twitter.com/#!/ Cinbat03

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  21. Have never cooked with coconut oil. i would love to try it!
    glendasembree@gmail.com

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  22. Follow Coconut traditions on Twitter.
    @busyathome
    glendasembree@gmail.com

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  23. Like them on Facebook
    Glenda Embree
    glendasembree@gmail.com

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  24. Tweeted the giveaway.
    http://twitter.com/#!/busyathome/status/106040228380282882
    glendasembree@gmail.com

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  25. I absolutely love coconut oil. It is a great addition to gluten free desserts made with coconut flour too.

    mrs.n.zanatta at gmail dot com

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  26. following Tropical traditions on twitter (@hippie_mom)

    mrs.n.zanatta at gmail dot com

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  27. following Tropical Traditions on FB

    mrs.n.zanatta at gmail dot com

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  28. tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/hippie_mom/status/106048104884744194

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  29. Those pictures look SO yummy! I've never tried this recipe...but, looks like I should!
    Kathy
    counting2ten at gmail dot com

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  30. following YOU and tropical traditions
    counting2ten at gmail dot com

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  31. Tweeted out giveaway
    http://twitter.com/#!/TastyTrials/status/106027053383553024

    counting2ten at gmail dot com

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  32. These look terrific... I just love the whole thing, including the salsa!

    I am wondering... does this need to be fresh crab, can I get away with the canned stuff???

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  33. I absolutely LOVE your wedding photos up there... so gorgeous!!

    I also would love to stuff my face with those crab cakes. :)

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  34. I love coconut oil! I use it all the time, especially since my little boy has a dairy allergy and I don't really like olive oil that much. :)

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  35. Those are awesome looking shrimp cakes. Off to the seafood market... Thanks for sharing

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  36. What a pretty shrimp & crab cake with all the beautiful colors!!! Then your gorgeous wedding pictures! I've been to Hawaii once, and I also wish to go back again with kids one day... :-)

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  37. beautiful post...great recipe...would love to try that coconut oil!!!

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  38. tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/RebeccaEParsons/status/106715662348591104

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  39. Beautiful pictures and recipe Karen! Arg! I always feel like I am "behind" on the comments! I can smell the tropics from here!

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  40. We were lucky enough to have Karen make the shrimp & crab cakes for us. They are coco-licious!
    Mom & Dad

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  41. I love coconut oil. Everyday I learn a new way to use it.
    sjam916 at gmail dot com

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  42. I follow troptrad on twitter - txmammy
    sjam916 at gmail dot com

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  43. I like troptraditions on fb - Sam Marshall
    sjam916 at gmail dot com

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  44. Lovely! Thanks for the chance.

    lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

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  45. It looks so great, I'm going to recreate it this week
    galyettina at yahoo dot com

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  46. “Like” Tropical Traditions on Facebook (gala ya)
    galyettina at yahoo dot com

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  47. You were married in Hawaii? Beautiful!!

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  48. Pretty crabcakes! Married in Hawaii?!?! Lucky!

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  49. nice shoud thans for sharing its recipe

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