Monday, July 11, 2011

Luau Weekend

So this weekend a dear friend of mine held a suprise luau birthday party for a mutual friend of ours. Her actual birthday is in October but we can never seem to surprise her so SS decided the only way to do it was to have it so early she would never suspect anything. It worked! LOL! Now, I LOVE a good party so, of course I offered to help with the cooking. I made three items - Sweet and Sour Kielbasa, Sriracha Crab Rangoon Dip and Pineapple Upside Down Carrot Cake. The latter two recipes I found on the Foodie with Family blog and they sounded perfect for such an occasion.

Sweet and Sour Kielbasa
For this recipe I pulled in ingredients from a bunch of recipes I viewed online. I was very pleased with the results although if I make this again I will skim the fat before serving. Even after I thickened the sauce it would separate and looked pretty gross. The taste, however, was quite yummy. I didn't really measure and just tasted as I went so I am approximating everything here.

3 rings kielbasa
1 C brown sugar
1 C ketchup
1 large can pineapple chunks in juice
2 Tbs onion powder
1/4 C molasses
1/4 C cider vinegar

Cut kielbasa and place in crock pot

Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan and heat over stove until sugar is dissolved.

Pour sauce over Kielbasa and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

Skim fat, Thicken with cornstarch and water if desired.

Sriracha Crab Rangoon Dip
I REALLY liked this dip and will definately be making it again! If you don't want to buy sesame oil special you could omit it without really hurting the recipe. Add more sriracha if you want it spicier. For a crowd I thought the kick was perfect. I served the dip with wide chow mein noodles but it was also quite good with tortilla chips!

1 (8 ounce) brick cream cheese, brought to room temperature
1 tablespoon Sriracha
6 ounces drained, flaked crab meat
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
4 green onions, green part only, minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Use a wooden spoon or stand mixer to beat together the softened cream cheese and Sriracha until it is an even color.

Stir the crab meat, soy sauce, garlic, green onions and sesame oil into the cream cheese mixture

Chill, tightly covered, until served.

Pineapple Upside Down Carrot Cake

I am still on the fence as to whether I liked this cake or not. It was good but, I don't know, it wasn't what I expected. I am thinking a good spike of rum might have helped it tremendously or a drizzle of caramel sauce. The texture and was good and it was very moist. I just think maybe a little more sweetness would have helped. The pineapple and sugar on top wasn't as sweet as I was anticipating it to be.

Ingredients for cake batter:
1 pound finely grated then chopped carrots (see notes)
4 extra large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
finely grated zest of one orange
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves

Ingredients for pineapple caramel layer:
4 tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup raw (turbinado) sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained of juice and squeezed lightly to remove more juice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To prepare the Pineapple Caramel Layer:
Spray a bundt pan (or six individual sized bundt pans) with non-stick cooking spray.

Break off pieces of the softened butter and dot the bottom of the pan evenly. (If using mini bundt pans, divide the butter evenly between them.)

Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the butter. (Again, if using the individual bundt pans, divide the sugar evenly between the pans.)

Evenly distribute the pineapple over the sugar.

To prepare the Carrot Cake batter:
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated and brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract and orange zest.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices in a large mixing bowl.

Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon until there are no more pockets of dry ingredients.

Add the carrots all at once and fold into the batter.

Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan(s). The batter should rise no higher than 2/3 of the way up the pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes for mini-bundt pans or 60-70 minutes for a regular bundt pan, or until a straw inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (If using mini pans, test each cake.)

Let the cake rest in the pan(s) for five minutes before turning onto a serving platter.

The party was a HUGE success and SS did an awesome job with he organizing and decorating. Everybody had a wonderful time and we all gained about 20 pounds. LOL!

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