A Tropical Cuban Feast

While at work on Monday, I decided that I wanted to make something a little different for dinner. A creation all my own, that didn’t require exact measurement or concise portions. Because really, a girl has gotta live every once in a while. I wanted something hearty but fresh and fairly healthy. I started thinking about the protein for my dish and decided that shrimp would be the perfect low fat meat for the meal. But how to flavor them?

Then it hit me. A garlic lime marinade for a savory tropical punch. But how to cook them?

On a skewer of course. Chop up and add some pineapple, red bell pepper and red onion and baby, you got one colorful stick of food.

Then I really hit my stride with the side dishes, after confirming with a chef friend of mine that the ingredients I wanted to incorporate would in fact be complimentary. Fried plantains, black beans, and coconut rice sounded extremely mouth watering.

But first, the appetizer.

Navel oranges, with the peel cut off sprinkled with salt, pepper, and crushed red chili flakes. The combination is undeniable.

Start by cutting your oranges in half. Then to make them sit flat on a plate, slice the peel off the other end. Next cut the rest of the peel off in 5 strips, to make the orange a pentagon.

Put a DASH of salt, a sprinkle of pepper, and a few good pinches of red chili flakes.

Voila!

I would say 2 pieces (1 orange) is good for one person. Since it was just Matt and I, 2 full oranges were sufficient. Had to save room for the main course, of course.

The type of shrimp you want to use is up to you. I used fresh, uncooked, unpeeled shrimp. They were however de-veined, because I’m not down to deal with shrimp poop. Because I was going to be staking them my first task was removing the hard shell and tail. (Actually that was Matt’s first task, what a gentleman).

He turned this…

Into this!

This is about 1/2 pound of shrimp so to get a good marinade I used 4 limes and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Put it in a small bowl with a lid, shake it for just a minute and then let it sit.

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Germany, What I Ate

After seeing and experiencing the raw ingredients that many Munich local restaurants use in their food (Viktualienmarkt) it is really no shocker that the food is seriously to die for. I can honestly say there wasn’t one dish that I didn’t adore. The flavors are bold and the ingredients are fresh.

Not going to lie, I was a little apprehensive about my trip because as my favorite customer, Jim, explained you gain about a pound after every meal. Considering my wardrobe for the trip consisted of high waist Maxi skirts, skin tight leotards, and skinny jeans I seriously couldn’t afford to pack on the pounds abroad. I guess I didn’t take into consideration the fact that because the meals are so filling you don’t get hungry as often – thank God.

Not to mention my M.O. for the trip was to not waste carbs on anything but beer. And dessert. Mission accomplished.

I suppose I should backtrack a tad, I was lucky enough to be invited on this trip by my parents. My dad had business in Germany with the car company Audi and was taking my mom. My mom however didn’t want to gallivant around the country on her own so she wanted to take her “city-slicker” daughter along on all the day trips. She called and asked me 2 weeks before our scheduled departure if I could afford to take the time off school and work (and somehow manage to get a passport in time). My response, “uhhh is that even a question – of course I can come!”

The fam and I stayed at the Kempinski Hotel Airport (the hotel was attached to the airport by this gorgeous rainbow hallway)

Now, staying at the hotel had it’s perks, mainly the in house restaurant, Charles Lindbergh which I got to eat at almost every morning for breakfast. The breakfast buffet had every kind of meat and potato you could imagine, among other things.

On the first day I most of it. After a 14 hour flight, I was in desperate need of some fuel, can you really blame me?

Coffee, mango-papaya juice, bacon, sausage link, sausage patties, sauteed mushrooms, swiss cheese, tomato with melted cheese, fried egg, fresh mozzarella, blackberries, raspberries, lychee, and physalis. What a way to start the day.

What the hell is physalis? Cousin to the kumquat, its a bite-sized citrus explosion in your mouth. My waiter, Markus, told me a charming story about his friend who was in the mood for some syphilis because they were so good. Confused, Markus told his friend that syphilis was in fact not good, and that he probably didn’t want it. Turns out the friend actually was craving some physalis – personally I would have loved to see the outcome if this word mix up wasn’t cleared up. Is that bad?

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