Sunday, June 17, 2007

Grilled Chipotle Shrimp! And Coconut-Rum Birthday Cake

Again, my apologies. I haven’t been keeping up nearly as much with this blog as I should. But soon it will be too hot to do much of anything else but sit under the ceiling fan and type. Then I can get to some of the archived recipes.

One such recipe comes from last week—

It felt like a Caribbean evening—guacamole with tortilla chips and mango daiquiris for an appetizer, grilled chipotle shrimp over rice with grilled veggies for dinner. Ah, summer!

We love this shrimp recipe. It’s very simple and produces incredibly flavorful, spicy shrimp with a minimum of prep work. I threaded chunks of zucchini and onions, and grape tomatoes on skewers and grilled those as well. Add some steamed rice and—dinner!

Grilled Chipotle Shrimp

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon chopped chipotles chilies canned in adobo (use some of the adobo sauce in that tablespoon, too)

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound medium shrimp, shelled & deveined

Mix the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, add shrimp, toss to coat. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for 1-3 hours.

Thread shrimp on skewers (leave a little bit of space between, no jamming them all together on a couple of skewers!). Grill over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, turning once.

Jack’s birthday was 9 days ago and that meant his favorite dishes for two birthday dinners (one earlier in the week, one on his “official” birthday). And, of course, two desserts! Birthday cake #1 was my favorite, and fairly easy as well—I call it Coconut Rum Cake. Here’s a photo. It looks like a chocolate-chip cake but those are pieces of chocolate frosting that clung to the face of the white cake. I should have brushed them off before photographing, but I was too busy eating…

First, I used a boxed white cake mix (Betty Crocker Super Moist). I used the egg whites and canola oil called for in the directions, but instead of 1¼ cups water, I measured 2/3 cup of coconut rum in a 2-cup measuring cup and filled to the 1¼ cup line with water. And I also added 1 teaspoon of coconut extract. This I baked in two 8” layer pans.

The frosting is by far the best chocolate buttercream I’ve ever made. Was it becauseI spiked the mixture with dark rum? In any case, if I knew that I was going to die tomorrow, I’d mix up a big bowl of this tonight and eat it all! Yes, there’s a lotta butter in there! But it was for a special occasion, so we threw caution to the wind.

Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

(source unknown)

¾ cup butter, softened

1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

3 ¾ cups sifted powdered sugar

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

dash salt

⅓ cup lowfat half & half

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and melted chocolate with a hand mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Sift together powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with whipping cream until well-mixed (about 2 minutes). Stir in corn syrup and dark rum with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Makes about 3 cups; enough to frost a 9” layer cake or 18 cupcakes

(I used it to frost an 8” 2-layer cake and had enough left over to pipe decorations and, well, eat some…)

To assemble the cake, I brushed each layer with additional coconut rum before frosting. Of course I did that for the flavor, but I found that the loose crumbs seemed to be reduced to a minimum and the cake was so easy to frost.

I desperately want to make this cake again soon... ;)