Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Taste of the Islands

Recently, our friends Jess and Henry went on their honeymoon to St Lucia, and they can back with a gift and a challenge. The gift was the exotic treat of banana ketchup, and the challenge was to use it in my blog. Now I'm sure they would still be friends with me if I just ate the ketchup and left it at that, but I knew I couldn't let them down on blogging out it.

What a treat it was! My initial thought was that it would be just like regular katchup with a little banana flavor, and I assumed it would have tomato as the base. It turned out to be much more banana based than I expected, with the vingear taste that was exactly like regular ketchup. Joe and I each tasted it on its own, to really get the flavor. Joe liked it with fries, while I prefered to use it as a base for a marinade.

Shrimp seemed like the perfect canvas for my marinade; it felt like banana ketchup was meant for seafood. I made a marinade with olive oil, banana ketchup, salt and pepper, and scallions. I put the cleaned shrimp in a baggie with the marinade, threw it in the fridge, and forgot about it for a couple hours. When I was ready, I put the shrimp on skewers and grilled them under the broiler for a few minutes. Shrimp cooks quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on it! The resulting shrimp were tender and flavorful, with just enough banana flavor to keep it interesting. I had planned before hand to only buy enough shrimp for one dinner, and I have a feeling I would have eaten any leftovers that same night if there had been any extra!

I found a great new side dish in this month's Bon Appetit. The recipe for Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini, Garbanzo Beans, and Cumin jumped out at me as soon as I saw it, and I knew it would pair nicely with the shrimp. I loved this side dish! I've only recently discovered quinoa, and I love it as a new alternative to our standby couscous. I made the full recipe for 8, figuring I'd take it for lunch during the work week. It made at least 8 large servings, and by the end of the week I was ready to change up my lunch menu. But it was a great summer side dish full of flavors that I love. I highly recommed this, and hope to make it sometime soon to share with friends.

Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini, Garbanzo Beans, and Cumin

from Bon Appetit August 2008

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric, divided

1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided

2 cups water1 cup quinoa (about 6 ounces), rinsed well, drained

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini (about 5), trimmed, quartered lengthwise

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Combine garbanzo beans and lemon juice in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil; press in garlic and stir to combine. Let marinate at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water, quinoa, and coarse salt; bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare barbecue (mediumhigh heat). Place zucchini on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Toss to coat evenly.

Place zucchini on grill; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Grill until tender and browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to work surface. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Add zucchini, green onions, and parsley, then garbanzo bean mixture to quinoa. Toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.


Phivos Nicolaides said...

It looks amazing!

A World in a PAN said...

Everything looks tasteful .. though I am not sure I'll follow your with the banana flavored ketchup!

Maxine said...

I was on a cruise that stopped in St. Lucia last year and we got the chance to try a bunch of local fruits and banana ketchup. It's amazing how much it tastes like bananas AND ketchup! I wasn't brave enough to buy some... but your attempt looks great!