Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Tropical Chill

My red toenails are wiggling in the white powder sand. I take in the ocean breeze and inhale the warm salty air. Not the frigid Ottawa air that makes your nose hairs stick. Javier, the pool boy with his boulder shoulders, is moving toward me with a mango papaya daiquiri. "A dreenk? A massage?"

I've escaped the deep freeze in one of the coldest capital cities on the planet. The mercury plunged to -31degrees celsius this week. Just 10 minutes outdoors was enough to freeze exposed skin.

My skin is comfortably warm and browning. I'm a climate away in the South China Sea, on the island of Boracay, Philippines...

in my dreams.

I'm trying to fool my brain and block out the frigid cold reality. A blast of Cuban music in the kitchen helps conjure up images of palm trees, sun-kissed bodies and a barbeque pit. There'a special smell of the tropics. The lush vegetation, the sweetness of the wild orchids, the sugary scent of ripe pineapple searing on a hot grill. And who says you need to go south for the treat?

A mouthful of soft, caramelised pineapple will take your senses to warmer climes. It certainly puts me in a sunnier disposition. You can grill the fruit a few hours ahead and serve at room temperature. Or serve it chilled with coconut ice cream and dark chocolate. Or spruce up a chicken or tuna sandwich with grilled pineapple. The options are endless.

Grilled pineapple with rum
Grilled Pineapple
1 Ripe Pineapple
1/4 cup Rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel and slice the ripe pineapple into thick rings, about one inch in thickness. 
Combine rum and cinnamon and set aside.
Oil your bbq or grilling pan to prevent the pineapple from sticking.   
Heat the bbq or grilling pan until very hot.
Place pineapple rings. After about a minute, you'll smell the caramelising sugar.  
Flip and grill the other side of the pineapple for about a minute.  
Place on a plate. While warm, brush the pineapple with rum mixture.
If you have any leftover rum, just pour over the pineapples.  

If you can't get to the tropics, cook it up in your kitchen.

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