Spice Up the Holidays: Contest Recipes!

Now that my Spicing Up the Holidays Caribbean Dinner is over, here's some recipes to share! As previously mentioned, this competition is being judged by celebrity chef, Chef Spike. A total of 10 bloggers were asked to participate by creating a cocktail, appetizer and dessert utilizing Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. Chef Spike will be reviewing the submissions of the 10 bloggers and will name those who had the best cocktail, best appetizer, best dessert and most creative party along with the overall winner of the Spice Up the Holidays competition! The winner of the competition will have $1000 donated to a charity of their choice on behalf of Captain Morgan. So with that in mind, here's my submission... and good luck to my fellow foodie competitors! The recipes for the other dishes I served for my dinner will be featured all this week so stay tuned for more...

Be sure to check out the #CaptainHolidays hashtag on Twitter or even the Captain Morgan Facebook page to get the scoop on how the competition is going. Chef Spike will be reviewing all our entries this week and he'll be making the big announcement of winners on Wednesday, December 12th!

Holiday Pomegranate Rum Punch
recipe adapted from AllRecipes
recipe makes 12 (8 ounce servings)

1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup mango nectar
1 cup pineapple nectar
1 cup POM pomegranate mango juice
2 cups orange juice
1 cup simple syrup
3 cups Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
4 dashes bitters
freshly grated nutmeg {optional}

Combine the lime juice, mango nectar, pineapple nectar, pomegranate mango juice, orange juice and simple syrup in a large punch bowl. Stir in the rum. Add a few dashes of bitters and some grated nutmeg to taste. Serve chilled over ice.

Stuffed Clams with Mango Rum Salsa
recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

1/4 cup butter, unsalted - softened
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms, sliced
2 cups clams, chopped
2 tablespoons Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1 cup {gluten free}butter crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, unsalted - melted
salt & pepper to taste
8-12 large clam shell halves
Mango Rum Salsa for garnish {recipe follows}

In a skillet over medium high heat, melt 1/4 cup softened butter and add the onions, garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms; sauté until softened and onions are translucent. Add the clams and rum; stir to combine. 
Place the crushed crackers in a large bowl and add the clam and vegetable mixture. Combine thoroughly and add the remaining butter.Add the clam mixture to crushed Ritz crackers and 1/4 cup of melted butter until the mixture holds together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff the clam shells with the stuffing mixture and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Garnish with the Mango Rum Salsa below.
Mango Rum Salsa
recipe adapted from AllRecipes
2 mangoes, peeled, seeded & finely diced
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, finely diced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely diced
1/4 medium red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine all the above ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill for at least an hour for flavors to meld and serve atop the stuffed clams &/or enjoy with tortilla chips.

Caramel Banana Rum Cake
recipe adapted from Food

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
3-4 large very ripe/over ripe bananas
1/4 cup Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
3 cups all purpose flour {or 420 grams gluten free flour blend + 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum}
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping + more for serving
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted {optional for garnish}

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10 cup tube pan or bundt pan; set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Add the mashed bananas and rum.

In another large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add flour mixture into the banana mixture, folding together with a spatula until no streaks of flour are seen. Fold in sour cream and caramel ice cream topping.

Transfer the batter into the prepared tube or bundt pan and spread out with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool slightly enough to handle before inverting cake on a plate or serving platter. 

Slice cake and serve with a drizzle of more caramel ice cream topping and/or with a scoop of ice cream & a sprinkling of chopped pecans.

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