Spice Up the Holidays Caribbean Dinner

Let's get this party started! After a couple weeks of planning and preparing, the Spice Up the Holidays dinner I've been anticipating finally happened and it was a success! The spread was amazing and worth the time and effort and I'm so glad my guests enjoyed everything... with plenty of leftovers to take home. Here's a round up of the Caribbean inspired meal I prepared....

Holiday Rum Punch
This drink is a combination of mango nectar, pineapple nectar, lime juice, orange juice, pomegranate mango juice, a couple dashes of bitters and a splash of Captain Morgan spiced rum with the optional freshly grated nutmeg. My guest enjoyed this to kick off the party and it was perfect to whip up for a crowd.

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole
While we waited for guests to arrive, folks noshed on this twist on the typical guacamole. Using fresh tomatillos that I roasted in the oven along with some garlic cloves, this added a tasty depth of flavor to avocados, lime juice and cilantro. This went so well with the Holiday Rum Punch!

Stuffed Clams with Mango Rum Salsa
Once all our guests arrived, we sat down to enjoy our meal, starting with this appetizer. Chopped clams, bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, a splash of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and {gluten free} butter crackers were made into a stuffing before filling up empty clam shells. After they baked, I served them topped with a mango rum salsa made with diced mangoes, pineapple, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and of course, more Captain Morgan Spiced Rum...

Jamaican Jerk Crown Roast of Pork
Then, the main course. It was this gorgeous crown roast of pork which I seasoned with a homemade jerk seasoning. This roast cooked for several hours until succulent, tender perfection. It had the perfect hit of spice and paired well with the festive Pigeon Peas & Rice it sat upon. The rice was a nod to Puerto Rican cuisine, where seasoned rice and pigeon peas are cooked until flavorful and fluffy.

Corn & Black Bean Salad
To add more color and vegetables to the table, I also had this salad served. It's one of my favorite salads that's best to make ahead since the fresh lime vinaigrette really makes this so good. I also roasted the corn a bit for some additional smoky flavor, which was tossed with black beans, bell peppers, onions, minced garlic and avocados. Another side that I served {unpictured}was roasted sweet plantains. Plantains are common dish on any Caribbean table and Joel happens to be quite a fan of plantains, so it was a must on the menu!

Caramel Banana Rum Cake
Finally, to end our taste of the tropics, I made this banana cake. It's packed with so many bananas that it came out so moist and flavorful. A touch of caramel was swirled into the batter before baking and if that wasn't enough, more buttery caramel was drizzled over the top. And served with a healthy scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, of course.

It was a certainly fun and delicious holiday dinner event featuring Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and my guests really enjoyed themselves. Stay tuned all this week for the recipes of the dishes I served up and check out what the other fellow food bloggers did for their fun event!