Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum.: Caribbean Flavors for Every Season, written by Brigid Washington, features the bright and vibrant seasonal flavors of the Caribbean in 80 beautiful recipes. Highlights include Garlicky Parmesan Shrimp & Fava Bean Ravioli with Spinach Almond Pesto, Grapefruit Ginger Prosecco Popsicles, Rum Laced Pumpkin Pie, Coconut Panzanella Salad, and Creamy Coconut Brussel Sprout Gratin with Red Pepper Relish.
Brigid Washington is a chef and journalist from Trinidad and Tobago. She was the editor-in-chief of the Culinary Institute of America monthly publication La Papillote and focuses on modern American food, especially finding new ways to work with fresh vegetables. She now lives with her family in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Chapters are divided based on season: Spring (Nature’s Opening Act), Summer (Late Nights & Endless Libations), Fall (Only God Could Create Those Colors), and Winter (A Stiff Back; A Harbinger of Hope). They are then further divided into Light Fare, Mains, To Sip, and Sweet Endings.
Brigid begins with a closer look at the ingredients: Coconut, Ginger, Shrimp, and Rum with descriptions, health benefits, and uses. She also gives a few tips to help in preparation of the recipes such as how to peel ginger and saving shrimp shells for future use in stock.
Every dish is followed by a headnote with background information and tips. Ingredients are listed in US Customary. Many of the recipes are accompanied by a quarter to full page photograph of the finished dish taken by Immanuel Keester.
This book is a great pick for those looking for new ideas featuring coconut, ginger, shrimp, or rum as the star. Brigid has developed these recipes with the home cook in mind and many are easy to put together. The separation of recipes based on season is helpful if you are looking for a particular way to use produce such as rhubarb and fava beans in spring, tomatoes and corn in the summer, kale and sweet potato in the fall, or pomegranates and blood oranges in the winter. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. Having a spirits and liquor store nearby will be helpful for the variety of cocktails (intended only for those over the age of 21 in the United States- please drink responsibly).
I have been wanting to experiment more with cheese boards and was excited to come across this one with Champagne and Ginger Chutney as the star.
Brigid’s looked gorgeous with her styling using a window pane (I loved this idea or her other options like a slab of salt or mirror for a different and eye-catching base). She assembled a variety of cheeses with crackers, grapes, raisins, strawberries, pumpkin seeds, apples, and carrots.
Since it was just the four of us, I made a smaller board with Goat Gouda, Manchego, Stilton, Brie, crackers, golden raisins, grapes, strawberry jam, slow cooker cinnamon almonds, and the Champagne and Ginger Chutney.
The chutney is fairly easy to prepare and just involves a bit of stirring on the stove. Keep an eye on the mixture as it cooks and start to stir more often as it begins to thicken. It will go from the perfect texture to burnt very quickly.
I also made the Shrimp, Ginger, and Scallion Lettuce Wraps; Avocado Coconut Cream Soup; English Coconut Scones; and Rum Laced Bundt Cake.
The light and refreshing flavors in the Shrimp, Ginger, and Scallion Lettuce Wraps came together easily. The shrimp is sautéed in sesame oil and ginger, then combined with rice or cellophane noodles, vegetables, and a sauce wrapped in lettuce leaves. The seasoning was spot-on and didn’t need any adjusting.
The Avocado Coconut Cream Soup was another refreshing dish. It is perfect for warmer weather with the pureed avocado and garlic combined with coconut milk and a seasoned vegetable stock. Claire especially loved this one.
The English Coconut Scones are packed with coconut flavor with the addition of coconut flour, coconut milk, and coconut flakes. They were delicious paired with strawberry jam or salted butter. This were Evan’s favorite.
Instead of one single bundt, I divided the Rum Laced Bundt Cake batter into 4 smaller cakes to try out my new bundt pan. The cakes had the perfect amount of sweetness and was incredibly moist. In addition to the 1 cup of rum added to the cake, a rum glaze is also poured over the baked cakes on both sides for good measure.
Cheese Board with Champagne and Ginger Chutney
Adapted from Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum.
Champagne and Ginger Chutney:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup shallots, finely minced
2 cups champagne
1/3 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 up firm green grapes
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon salt
Aged Cheese: Comte, Gouda, Cheddar, or Gruyere
Soft Cheese: Brie, Camembert, Smoked Ricotta, or Fontina
Firm Cheese: Mimolette, Garrotxa, Manchego, or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Blue Cheese: Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Maytag Blue
Fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, spreads, herbs
To make the Champagne and Ginger Chutney: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it starts to turn golden and develop a slightly nutty aroma, add the shallots. Cook, stirring often, until soft. Pour in the champagne, then add the ginger, grapes, brown sugar, golden raisins, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally (more often towards the end) until the mixture thickens, 30-35 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a glass jar with an airtight lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble a cheese board with one or two cheeses from each category, 1 pound of cheese for every 4-5 people and other assorted items.