Friday, January 12, 2018

Key West

It was a "balmy" 64 degrees here today and for some reason I thought of this Key West themed dinner I hosted a few years ago.  I chose several menu items from the cookbook "My Key West Kitchen". In the picture below, that is what our backyard typically looks like in January.
The menu consisted of several dishes from the cookbook I picked up in Key West and others I found on the internet after doing some extensive research and reading reviews. I love reviews and they were spot on.
Key Lime Pie Martinis
Skip and Go Naked Drinks (Susan Branch)
Coconut Shrimp
Tuna Cakes
Candied Bacon Pineapple Wraps
Pork Havana Key West Style*
Oven Roasted Mojo Chicken*
Dinosaur BBQ Honey Corn Bread
Yellow rice*
Black beans*
Sunshine's Key Lime Pie*
Cuban Coffee

* = menu items from "My Key West Kitchen" by Chef Norman Van Aken

I used a recipe from one of the establishments in Key West for the Key Lime Pie martinis and they  taste just like key lime pie in a glass. I'd love to pour one for you.

Key Lime Pie Martini
Graham cracker crumbs, for rimming the glass
2 lime wedges
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) vanilla flavored vodka
1/4 cup (2 ounces) key lime liqueur (recommended: Ke Ke Beach Key Lime Cream Liqueur)
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Ice cubes

Pour the graham cracker crumbs in a shallow dish. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a martini glass and roll the edge in the graham cracker crumbs. Chill the glass for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Combine the vanilla vodka, key lime liqueur, pineapple juice, and cream in a shaker. Fill the shaker half full with ice and shake until well blended. Pour into prepared martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge and serve immediately.
What’s so special about Key West?
The weather, architecture, food, music and flowers blooming in the full moon light, especially in February for me. And for anybody else that wants it ;-) Key West lies 150 miles south of Miami and 90 miles north of Cuba. This little spit of land, four miles long by two miles wide, hosts weather that is consistently beautiful thanks to its subtropical climate, with temperatures of seventy-five to eighty degrees year round.
“Over the years, what used to be a funky little out-of-the-way, stuck-in-time place, has evolved into a sophisticated island resort. The little Conch houses have been bought up, remodeled, and often resold. And although the gentrification of Key West is celebrated by some residents and opposed by others, the fact remains that people who have the means to go anywhere in the world keep coming back to this place, just as my husband and I have returned again and again.”
Leslie Linsley "A Tropical Lifestyle"
A Tommy Bahama tablecloth from the Christmas Tree Shoppe, margarita glasses, tea light candles in blue mason jars with a label I printed from the computer, star fish, sea shells, mini palm trees from Hobby Lobby and bottles of Fiji water. 
Several items on our menu were gluten free including these tasty crispy coconut shrimp. They were a bit hit served with homemade pineapple salsa.
One of our entrees was an eight-bone rack of pork prepared Key West Style. The rub was made with olive oil, black peppercorns (bruised), Old Bay seasoning, garlic and red onion. The glaze was olive oil, butter, garlic, sweet onion, orange, toasted cumin seeds, sherry wine vinegar and orange marmalade.  
Our second entree was Oven-Roasted Mojo Chicken that was marinated overnight in Sour Orange Mojo (a class Latin-American sauce) which consisted of garlic, Scotch bonnet chiles, kosher salt, toasted cumin seeds, EVOO, fresh sour orange juice, sherry wine vinegar and pepper. I couldn't find sour oranges, so the recipe said to use equal portions of lime and orange juice.

Some Key West Table Ideas:
Cuban bread
Fiji Island Water
Shell dishes
Crushed shells from Michaels
Jimmy Buffet music
Beachy cocktail napkins
Mile Marker 0 sign
Key West Motto is "Come As You Are"
Don't we all look like we are in the tropics?  We felt it was still too chilly to wear tank tops and flip flops.
I have been wanting to do another Key West dinner as we truly had a blast. Maybe next year after returning from Key West. This February are will ski instead of going to the Keys, and that I am looking forward to also. 
Happy Friday! 

Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. You pay such close attention to detail!! Table is adorable and the drinks and dinner sound fabulous - I am a fan of Skip and Go Nakeds (they are in my freezer all summer!!) Key West is on my list of "places to go"!

  2. I bet you all have such a ball when you are all together.You look as young asthe Young Women:) It is balmy but ohsougly here..Wuthering Heights..fog and snow and drippy rain everywhere..Back to snow tomorrow!
    A feast you made:)

  3. What a fabulous party!! Everything looks so festive!! Great job Debbie. Hope you have a wonderful balmy weekend.

  4. How much fun, Debbie! This is a cute idea for a January party. I love your decor! :D Fifty degrees would be balmy here in Central's unseasonably cold again!

    BTW I'm addicted to Cuban coffee.

  5. Yes please Debbie, I would love one of your key lime pie martinis! What a fun way to party while having balmy weather. I guess we are gettting your winter weather, It is very cold here for the next week, 15 degrees with a high of 35. I'm sure your dinner was delicious, it sure looks it. Your ski trip sounds fun. We love going to FL but never made it to the Keys. We need to do that.........Have a great weekend. Hugs.

  6. What a fantastic themed tablescape and menu, Debbie! We are trying to plan week in Grand Cayman this year with my girls and their husbands. We may not be able to pull it off given their work schedules, but I sure hope so. This only whets my appetite more, in more ways than one!

  7. I love key lime pie (one of my faves) so I know I'd love the drink. What a fun theme and equally fun decor, Debbie. Skiing will be nice for you and Joe, and a change from sunshine of Key West.
    Happy Saturday! xo

  8. Wonderful dinner party Debbie. Maybe one day, Paul and I will make it to Key West. The table looks great, along with that wonderful menu. Fun cocktails are the bomb! Happy weekend.

    1. Linda, if you decide to come to the barn sale, the Key Lime Pie Martini will be on the menu :-)

  9. Your first photo gave me a chuckle. I can see why a Key West party at your home would warm everyone up until they go back outside...that is. :D Nicely done.

  10. What a fabulous fun idea Debbie! We have been to Key West 3 times, so much fun!! Such a funky colorful little place~ I hope they are bouncing back from this past horrendous hurricane season. Love the mile marker 0!! So cute in your snowy backyard! I want to have a party now! Your menu sounds perfect, and I can't wait to try the Key Lime Pie tini!


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