Naturally, everyone thinks of the tropical drinks of the Caribbean and Hawaii, but for those of us without the benefit of home cooking meals or schwanky resort fare, Spring Break also means JUNK FOOD and lots of it! This week’s Cooking with Bwog is Matt Powell’s gourmet guide to Spring Break survival, in three indulgent courses.
Appetizer: Chile-Lime Popcorn
Who says that spiced-up popcorn can’t be an appropriate appetizer? This trendy app is “popping” up at many of the city’s swankiest bars. This one has a south of the border twist to it.
¼ C sea salt
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 2 limes
¼ tsp. ancho chile powder
A couple tbsp. neutral oil (peanut oil, corn oil, but not olive oil)
Cotija Cheese, crumbled
Cilantro, finely chopped
Make the chile-lime salt: Combine the salt, lime juice, zest, and chile powder in a food processor, a good blender, or in a mortar and pestle. Pulse the mixture until the flavors meld. Adjust flavorings as desired, adding more lime or chile powder.
Make the popcorn: In a large pot, add enough oil to cover the bottom. Add 2-3 kernels to the pot and cover with the lid. Once the three kernels pop, the oil is hot enough. Add more kernels, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Shake the pot (semi-violently). You may need to use oven mitts to keep your hands from burning. The popcorn should be done popping in 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour into a large bowl.
Toss the popcorn with chile-lime salt to taste. Add in Cotija cheese and cilantro to taste.
Main: Tropical Fruit Burgers
Although it may seem like a strange idea, fruit on top of a burger is AMAZING. Don’t judge until you’ve tried it!
Mango Salsa Ingredients:
2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ C cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. orange juice
1 tbsp. dried coconut
1 ¼ lb. ground pork
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. garlic salt
4 burger buns
Combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
Combine the sauce ingredients and set the sauce into the fridge.
Fire up your George Foreman or other grilling surface (a hot skillet can do the trick). Mix the patty ingredients in a large bowl, mixing until the ingredients are well distributed. Form into 4 patties.
Grill, cooking the burgers on 5-7 minutes on each side.
To assemble: Spread the sauce on the bottom bun. Place a patty on top and mound some salsa on top of the patty. Finish with the top bun and devour!
Dessert: Bananas Foster Spiked Milkshakes
2 tbsp. butter
¼ C brown sugar
2 large bananas, peeled and sliced
¼ C spiced rum
½ C whole milk
12 scoops vanilla ice cream (just less than a ½ gallon)
Whipped Cream (opt.)
Make Bananas Foster: In a large skillet, melt the butter with the brown sugar. Add the bananas and cook for 30-60 seconds. Add in the rum and carefully ignite the alcohol. Carefully shake the pan until the flames die down and the alcohol cooks off. Allow the bananas foster to cool to room temperature.
Add the bananas foster and milk together in a blender. Blend until just combined, 30 seconds. Add in vanilla ice cream and blend until it is at milkshake consistency. Pour into chilled glasses. Top with whipped cream.