Saturday, February 25, 2012

Aruba in an RV

Aruba, Jamaica, oooo I wanna take Bermuda, Bahama, c'mon pretty mama...
Yep, tonight was the night for Aruba. It was the perfect day for it, too...rain, hail, wind gusts, hell...I think there was even a bit of snow thrown in the mix!
Tonight's menu was a little different than what I'm used to. I'm used to picking out the recipes, doing the research on the country and then shopping and cooking. I wanted to switch it up a bit, so I did just that. I held a little contest in my private Facebook group, witchywoman's Life in an RV. We are over 200 members and on any given day, that's where you'll find me hanging out. I let my members create a menu and I chose the one that I, #1: liked everything in it and #2: thought I could bring in for under $20. Gretchen Dorsett won the contest and gets some cool kitchen decor. Thanks for this menu, Gretchen...we really dug this one!
On the menu: Keshi Yena Chicken, Pan Bati and Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.
Aruba is an island in the Caribbean Sea, technically in North America but north of Venezuela. The capital is Orenjestad. The total land area is 193 square kilometers. The highest elevation is Mount Jamanota at 188 meters. Aruba is slightly larger than Washington D.C. Aruba's terrain is mainly flat with a few hills and scant vegetation. It has a tropical marine climate with little seasonal temperature variation and it does lie outside the Caribbean hurricane belt.
Aruba's major industries are tourism, transshipment facilities and oil refining. the official language is Dutch. There are only 513 kilometers of highways and Aruba has only one airport. Some of the major ports and harbors are Barcadera, Oranjestad and Sint Nicolaas.
Aruba was discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499 and acquired by the Dutch in 1636. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba halted its movement toward full independence in 1990 by its own accord. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands remains the head of state.
Aruba is a flat, river-less island, known for its white sandy beaches and its tropical climate that is moderated by the constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature is almost constant at about 81 degrees Farenheit. Over 1.5 million tourists per year visit Aruba and about 75% of those are from the USA.
This was the start of the Pan Bati recipe. If you've ever made a pancake, you can totally make this recipe!
One ingredient that I have never worked with before!! I picked this up at a liquidator store and it only cost $1.50!!
See? Just like a pancake...
but they taste different. The corn flour gives these a different texture and I really liked it.
I am saving the rest of the batter and I am making pancakes with it in the morning...LOL!
This is the start of the Keshi Yena Chicken recipe. I blanched this tomato so I could peel it.
The recipe called for 2 cups of cooked chicken...the only problem is that it didn't say HOW to cook the chicken. I posted in my handy-dandy amazing group of cooks on Facebook to tap into their wealth of knowledge as to how I should rectify this problem. Should I poach this chicken breast or should I roast it? What to do? Well, I got mixed answers. Gretchen posted that she would roast it, so I went with her idea. After all, this was her menu! I drizzled it with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked it at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. It was not dried was perfect. Thanks, Gretchen!
There are many steps to this chicken of them was to saute some onions in butter.
Then you mix ketchup (GROSS) with mustard (YUM) and worcestershire sauce. Now that's an odd combo...but, what the hell...when cooking Aruban, do as the Arubans do!
It all gets mixed up with chopped garlic, green bell pepper, dill pickles (weird, huh?), green olives and chopped cashews.
And there is some gouda cheese in the mix...this recipe sounds really bizarre, huh?
Layer cheese on the bottom...
the mixture on top of the cheese, top with more cheese. I was thinking that there was no way in hell this could taste good!!
Then you bake the whole mess in a water bath!!
This is what I got. Bob took a bite and said it was horrible. I believed him! He was kidding, though. It is an interesting dish, not unpleasant, at all. I like the sweet taste, the pickle-y taste, the crunch from the cashews and the creamy cheese. I think it would be really good wrapped in a tortilla!
This was the start of the bread pudding. I made bread pudding one other time and I wasn't all that impressed with it.
I used Italian bread...I opened the plastic wrap and let it get stale for 2 days.
It gets mixed with eggs, vanilla, sugar and honey.
And dried fruit and soaked golden raisins...
It smelled super good as I was mixing it up...
And it smelled even better as I baked it for an hour...HOLY YUM!
This is the start of the rum sauce that goes with the bread pudding. I use white booze...I don't know why...I just don't dig the gold stuff as far as rum or tequila...give me the SILVER, please!
What's not to like about a boozy sauce???
When I tasted this, I wished I hadn't eaten all the other stuff!!! So yummy!
My, or should I say, Gretchen's, Aruba dinner...
Plus dessert!
Groceries for tonight's feast ran me $17.50 which left $2.50 for the Beach Bag. The total after 22 weeks is $126.50. Aruba is the 75th country that I have cooked to date! If you haven't signed up to follow Life in an RV, please take a second to do that so you can get in on the giveaway I'll have coming up in just 4 short weeks. That will be my half-way through year 2 mark. You never can tell what I'll find to cram into one of those "one size ships all" boxes!
You all voted and the majority rules. Next week is Colombia. Take a second to scroll ^^^ up and --->>> over to vote for week 24. I've been getting some record number of votes the last couple of weeks which tells me that you all are digging this project, too!
I apologize that I'm late in posting this blog...I've been dealing with a headache for the last couple of days. All I can say about that is that headaches suck ass!!
So until we meet up in Colombia next week...Peace!


  1. Nice job Gretchen and Laurrie! Looks delish!

  2. Thanks, was really fun to make everything and I enjoyed eating it!

  3. Think I could just ship myself to your place, I think I would really like to eat there :)(:

  4. Cat, you can ship yourself to my pad anytime!

  5. Sue...I don't know if it's true or not, but an old friend of mine who lived in Mexico said to never buy gold tequila because it had coloring added into it. It scarred me for life, I 'spose because it holds over to every booze that has either a gold or a silver option...I go for the silver every time!


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