Month: May 2017

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Amaretto Ganache Filling

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Amaretto Ganache Filling

This recipe can be a little involved, but these cookies are worth it. I’ve seen them at many places – one of which is the France pavilion at EPCOT. Since I’m not going to be there for awhile, I decided I couldn’t wait, and wanted to make them at home. They’re light, delicate, and packed full of flavor – an excellent dessert for a special occasion or any day of the week! As a bonus, they are also gluten free, so if you are GF, then these are a fabulous dessert option.

These cookies are not as hard as you’d think. However, if you did it like I did, you can make it more difficult than it needs to be.

The recipe has no flour – it uses almond flour instead. The best place I’ve found for this has been Trader Joe’s – they sell a bag (I think its a pound or half pound package) for the cheapest price I’ve found. That being said, I apparently used my bag of almond flour, because when I went to retrieve it from the pantry, all I found was the BJ’s bag of almonds.

You can see where this is going, right?

Almond flour, if you didn’t know, is just ground almonds. So, if I have a bag of almonds, I can make my own almond flour. Easy, right? Yeah. Except for the part where I decided to use the food processor to grind them, rather than my spice grinder. Don’t do that. If you have the spice grinder, even if it takes you longer, use it. I used the food processor, and after sifting in what I could, had to put it through the processor twice more before I broke down and used the spice grinder. And I made a ton of difference. I will say that no matter which one you use, pulse it, and don’t process it too long, or you’ll end up with almond butter. While tasty, you’ll have to scrape it out and start over with new almonds. And you don’t want that.

These were the chunks leftover after grinding the first time in the food processor!

Once you have your dry ingredients sifted together, use a whisk to combine them. You don’t have to do that, but because you’re folding this into egg whites later, I like to have it thoroughly mixed before I start folding it in.

You’re going to need to prep your pan now that you’ve got this part going. Use parchment paper and line a cookie sheet. You can free form your macarons, or you can draw 1″ circles on the back of the parchment (that way you don’t get ink or pencil on your cookies) to use as a guide.

Once your pan is ready, you need to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. You’ll want to use room temperature eggs – if you use cold ones they’ll be harder to separate and they’ll be WAY harder to whip. I also always use a metal mixing bowl for eggs, and I usually dampen a paper towel with a little vinegar and wipe out the inside of the bowl before I put the eggs in. It is supposed to wipe away any leftover residue that might be clinging to a bowl (even a clean one). I don’t remember where I heard that tip, but it does seem to help.

I beat the eggs on a lower speed until they get a little frothy, then I crank it up and pour in the granulated sugar, slowly. Then beat the eggs until they form stiff, glossy peaks. The best way to tell if they are done? When you pull out the beater and the peak stands straight up without falling at all, OR you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing moves. I then cut my vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds into the egg whites, and add the vanilla extract. You do not have to use vanilla beans! Just extract will still make a delicious macaron! Give it a couple more quick beats, and then get out a spatula and your dry ingredients.

You’re going to dump all the dry in there, and then fold them in. If it makes you feel better, you can do it in three parts. But I like just getting it over with. For this recipe, it worked. You don’t want to over mix, but you want to make sure its all incorporated. It takes about 20-30 strokes, and I usually end up doing a figure eight motion through the batter. When its all mixed, it will have the consistency of a very thick but still pourable milkshake. Other people often say it has the consistency of lava. I’ve never actually seen lava, so I’ll take their word for it.

macaron batter

Now we’re onto the fun part!

Pour your mixture into a large resealable bag or disposable piping bag. Snip off the corner (or end) and then use your parchment circles as a guide to pipe the macarons onto the pan. If you end up with a little “peak” on top of your cookie, don’t worry – it will even out. If you’re afraid it won’t, just wet your finger in a little water and tap them down. The water will keep the meringue mixture from sticking to you. Once  you’ve got the pan finished, give it a good tap on the counter. It will help get any air bubbles out.

piped macarons

Now, you need to let these sit for 30-60 minutes to dry out a bit. I leave mine for an hour. While they sit, you can get the filling made!

You can use any filling you like – jam would work just fine! For these, I’m making a dark chocolate amaretto ganache. Its harder to say and write than it is to make. Seriously.

You need to get 4 ounces of dark chocolate – whatever you have on hand will work. I used the remains of a Ghiradelli bar. Chop it up and put it in a heat safe bowl.

dark chocolate

Then pour your cream (you can also use half and half) into a sauce pan and heat until its simmering. Take it off the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let it stand for one minute, and then stir it together with a whisk.

making ganache
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The heat from the cream will melt the chocolate. Add in the tablespoon and a half of butter, and your amaretto and mix again. It will still be pretty warm. I poured mine into a disposable piping bag (you can use a resealable baggie) that was propped up in a cup. Then put it in the fridge to firm up.

Now go sit and have a drink and surf the internet while you finishing waiting for the macarons to dry out.

When the hour is nearly up, you want to move the oven rack to the bottom third of your oven and preheat it to 350. Be sure to only put one pan at a time in the oven, and rotate the pan halfway through baking so they’re all even. You’re going to bake the macarons for 11-13 minutes, until they have risen and set. They’re going to dry out, but you don’t want them to get any color.  After they’ve baked, take them out and let them cool on the baking sheet.

baked macarons

Once they’ve cooled, you can pull out your filling, snip off the corner of the bag, and pipe your ganache onto the flat side of a macaron. Top it with another cookie and viola – you’ve made a dessert that everyone will be drooling over! Next time, I may save back some cookies and try to fill them with ice cream like the ones I’ve seen people posting about from Les Artisans des Glaces in the France pavilion. 🙂

vanilla bean macarons

Signature rating
This recipe will take some serious time, and does require some more advanced kitchen knowledge. I still think its well worth the effort though! Give it a try – but make sure you leave lots of time for yourself!
Print
Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Amaretto Ganache
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
32 mins
 

These are a little time consuming, but totally worth it!

Course: Dessert
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
Macarons
  • 108 grams almond flour
  • 176 grams confectioner's sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 80 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
Filling
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp amaretto liqueur
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
Instructions
For the Macarons
  1. Move your oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, on the back of which you can draw one inch circles to help guide your piping.

  2. Sift the almond flour and confectioner's sugar together into a bowl through a fine sieve. You can put any large pieces of almond flour left behind through a spice grinder and sift again into the bowl.

  3. In a metal mixer bowl, beat 3 large egg whites with the granulated sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form.

  4. Add the vanilla extract, and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the beaten egg whites. beat for 5 seconds to incorporate.

  5. Dump all the dry ingredients into the bowl. Using a spatula, fold the mixture in, using 20-30 strokes. The mixture will be thick, with a consistency similar to a thick milkshake.

  6. Pour the macaron mixture into a piping bag with a large round tip, or snip off the end of a disposable piping bag. You could also use a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off.

  7. Pipe the meringue mixture onto your baking sheet, filling int he circles. Let these sit for 20-60 minutes until a skin forms on top. How long this takes depends on the heat and humidity of your kitchen.

  8. Put one pan in the oven at a time. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through, until the cookies have risen and set, but not browned. 

  9. Remove from oven and let cool on the pan.

For the Filling
  1. Chop your dark chocolate fine and place in a heat-safe bowl. 

  2. Heat the cream to a simmer on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for one minute.

  3. Stir the chocolate and cream, until it has melted together. Add the butter and amaretto and whisk together until all is incorporated. 

  4. Let the mixture cool until it is thick, but still pourable. Pour into a resealable bag or piping bag and continue to let it cool until it reaches a frosting consistency.

  5. Pipe onto the bottom of a macaron cookie, and then cover with a second cookie to make a sandwich.

  6. Wrap any leftover cookies tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Vanilla Bean Macarons

‘Ohana Grilled Chicken

‘Ohana Grilled Chicken

This is the last of the recipes I’m posting from the Moana dinner and movie party – but don’t think its the “least” of them! This is a great recipe, and is one of the ones given to my mom when we asked on our first trip ever.

We’ve made this MANY times over the years since then, and I must admit that there is one drawback to this recipe – it really has to be grilled. I’ve tried to bake it, saute it and everything in between, and it just doesn’t taste as good unless you grill it. Somehow, it needs that extra boost to be all it can be.

With that being said, don’t skip the recipe! Just save it for a nice day and a hot grill. The chicken (or you could do pork) will need to marinate for two to three days, and I do strongly suggest you actually follow that for this one. It needs to soak in and really do its work. The chicken will be tender and moist if you give it time!

Ohana Grilled Chicken

The recipe itself is super simple. First, you need to use a blender or food processor. A whisk won’t cut it here, because you’d be whisking for days. So pull out the food processor and then gather your ingredients. You’re going to dump the garlic, malt vinegar, lemon juice, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and brown sugar all together. Put the lid on, and measure out your olive oil into a container with a pour spout. Then slowly drizzle it in as you run the food processor. You want the mixture to form an emulsification (hence the reason you need the food processor). Don’t panic when this comes out! It is not a thin marinade – it will come out pretty thick. This is good, because it really sticks to the chicken well.

Now, put your chicken in a bowl or a resealable bag (in a bowl), and pour about half the marinade in with it. Seal the bag, getting as much air as you can out without making a mess. Then leave it in the fridge for 2-3 days. The leftover marinade needs to go into a container and then into the fridge. You’re going to use this to baste the chicken as you grill it later.

Once your 2-3 days have passed, fire up the grill and get the chicken cooking. As it cooks, baste it liberally with the reserved marinade. Once it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, pull it off the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

In the restaurant, they serve the chicken with dipping sauce. I don’t have the copy of the peanut sauce – somewhere in the last move it was lost! But I’m going back to ‘Ohana in a few months.  While I’m there, I’ll get that recipe and post it! Until then, I’d suggest using the one found at AllEars.net. I’m pretty sure its the same one.

The pictures for this really don’t do it justice, but when the chicken was taken off the grill, I didn’t get to the camera before the guests got to the chicken…. so the photos were taken quickly with what I could rescue briefly!

Ohana Grilled Chicken

I hope you try this, and if you do, please let me know how it goes! Have you had this before? Been to Ohana? What did you think?

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires advance prepping and the grill. Its worth the wait though!
Print
'Ohana Grilled Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Given to me over 10 years ago at Ohana, its as good now as it was then!

Servings: 8 people
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c malt vinegar
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 3 dashes Tabasco
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1 c olive oil
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor.

  2. Slowly pour the olive oil into the processor as it is running, forming a thick emulsification.

  3. Put the chicken into a resealable plastic bag or container. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken. Save the rest in a container.

  4. Let chicken marinate for 2 to 3 days. 

  5. When ready to cook, heat grill and grill chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the saved marinade and baste the chicken frequently while grilling.

  6. Remove chicken from heat when done and let rest for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Ohana Grilled Chicken

Cooking with Character was given The Liebster Award!

Cooking with Character was given The Liebster Award!

I received an email not long ago from Stephanie at Love, Laughter and Luggage, nominating me for the Liebster Award for new bloggers!  I was extremely excited, because this is a virtual award passed from blogger to blogger as a show of support, and a way to promote other blogs we enjoy reading.

 

Be sure to stop by Stephanie’s blog, and show her some love on social media. She has a fabulous website!

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  1. You must acknowledge who has nominated you and also share their links.
  2. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer all 11 questions asked.
  4. Nominate 11 more bloggers whose blog you would recommend.
  5. Ask 11 questions that you would like those bloggers to answer.
  6. Include an image of the Liebster Award either in your post or in the sidebar of your blog.
  7. Let the bloggers you have nominated know that they’ve been nominated.

11 FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I used to be a technology education teacher, and now I’m a high school librarian. I’m also certified to teach high school English.
  2. I’m a published Young adult and middle grade author.
  3. I have a husband and a cat. I’m pretty sure the cat rules the house.
  4. I can wiggle my ears.
  5. My minor in college was Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Reading the original King Arthur stories ruined it for me. To this day, I can’t stand King Arthur, mainly because Guinevere really isn’t much of a catch to be fighting over.
  6. I love to cook – but only in the last several years have I managed to expand some of my tastes. I didn’t eat shrimp until this year! In my defense, I have weird texture issues.
  7. I once accidentally walked into the kitchen in a restaurant in France when I took the wrong door while looking for the bathrooms. Luckily, no one saw me.
  8. My aunt and uncle invite friends and family every year (we try to go every year, but we may have to start doing our own version at home if we don’t make it more often!) and make over 500 pounds of cabbage into homemade sauerkraut. It’s amazing stuff. Your arms ache for days afterward. And no matter what anyone says, those inferno pepper slices are not safe to eat alone. Take it from me.
  9. Even though I’m a librarian, I almost never have time to read at work. It’s sad.
  10. I love writing snail mail letters. I think it’s a lost art, and I want to get high schoolers interested in it again.
  11. I think one of the best sandwiches ever is a bologna and ketchup sandwich. If its garlic bologna, even better!

11 LIEBSTER QUESTIONS

  1. What’s your middle name? My middle name is Ellen.
  2. What is your favorite song right now? Oh, man. Well, I’m going to say that it’s a toss-up between either “Carry Me” by Eurielle, or “Shiny” from Moana.
  3. What gives you inspiration for blog post ideas? Lots of times its watching a movie and thinking about what they might eat in that country, or looking through a Disney cookbook, or a book or blog post about Disney. Sometimes it happens when I’m walking through the grocery store and I’m hungry and thinking about what I want to eat.
  4. Best and worst parts of blogging? I enjoy this, but I have to say that doing it seriously, and trying to do it well, is a lot of work. More than you’d think it is. I’m trying to learn as I go, but keeping up with social media and a day job and my writing and everything else in life is HARD. But it’s worth it.
  5. Your favorite spring trend of this year? I’m about the least likely person to even know what the trends are, but it seems that there’s a lot of tropical prints and pineapples around, and I love a good pineapple/tropical print during the summer.
  6. Sun or snow? Can I qualify this and say sun, but not scorching?
  7. Future goals for blogging? I would love, LOVE, to be able to do this blog and have it open up opportunities that would allow me to make it a full time job. Most of all, I’d love to have a community of readers who want to see what I post next.
  8. Do you have any pets, if so what are they? We have a cat, named Molly, who is a rather lazy fuzzball. I had her before I met my husband, but she’s totally ditched me in favor of him.
  9. What is your favorite social media platform and why? I like different platforms for different reasons, but my top two are Twitter and Instagram. I like twitter because I can interact in real time with people, but I like Instagram because it’s just fun to have the visual there.
  10. Coffee or tea? Tea all the way!
  11. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? This is tough. I should say something like Walt Disney or Julia Child. But I think I’d like to have dinner with my Grandma Caynor. She died six months after I was born, and I would have loved to have met her.

 

My Liebster Nominations are:

  

My Questions To You.

  1. What is the one place in the world you want to visit, if money was no option?
  2. Who is your favorite Disney character?
  3. Do you prefer phone calls or texting?
  4. What is your favorite part of being a blogger?
  5. What is your ultimate goal for your blog?
  6. What is your favorite book (or author)?
  7. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  8. Almond or vanilla?
  9. If you could interview one person, dead or alive, for your blog, who would it be and why?
  10. What is your favorite thing to do on a warm summer evening?
  11. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could have one meal delivered from anywhere in the world, what would it be and why?

 

Bananas Foster Cookies

Bananas Foster Cookies

Remember how I told you we had a Moana dinner and movie party, and the food was themed around Polynesia? These cookies were our dessert. I came up with the recipe from the ground up, and I’ve been tweaking them for awhile. This recipe is easy, delicious, and you’ll never make enough! They are also great if you have someone who has an egg allergy, because there are no eggs in the cookies! I prefer these without nuts, because I’m weird and I have texture issues with food. I mean, I like nuts, and I like cookies, but they aren’t friends as far as I’m concerned. I feel the same way about chocolate and nuts, mostly, which makes some of my friends think I’m weird. If you don’t have such qualms, feel free to add nuts to these!

They taste like a sweeter version of banana bread, really. I made about three dozen, and when I came back after the party for clean up, there was only about 10 cookies left! I think they tasted okay!

They’re super simple to make. You don’t need to refrigerate them (though you could make the dough in advance and put it in the fridge overnight), and they make a ton. The biggest suggestion I can make is to make sure you set your butter out about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to make them. You want it a little soft, or it will take forever to beat smooth. In the summer, it only takes about 30 minutes to accomplish that in my kitchen. You know how warm yours will get (or doesn’t.) so you can judge accordingly.

The cookies come together pretty quickly. First thing, heat the oven to 350 degrees, and then lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, or use parchment paper to line it. I’m all about not having to wash any more dishes than is necessary, so I opt for the parchment paper. Plus, you can use it multiple times. I use mine through a whole batch of cookies – sometimes more if I’m making several batches at a time (like at holidays).

Dump your butter and sugar into the mixer and beat it until light and fluffy. You can use all butter or all margarine if you like, but I prefer a stick of each. A bonus tip – if you have the ability, it is totally worth it to get a special container and fill it with sugar, and then drop in a whole vanilla bean or two. It doesn’t take long for the sugar to pick up the vanilla flavor, and it really adds something to baked goods. Honest! Try it! Plus, you can cut the beans open, scrape out the seeds and use them in a recipe, and put the scraped pods back in the sugar. It will taste just as good.

Anyway, once your sugar and butter are beaten, add the bananas, which you can puree or mash. I only bananas when they are super ripe (like they’re pretty much on their way to overripe. They’re good. Don’t judge.), so mashing them pretty much turns them mushy enough. If you use greener bananas, I recommend blending them. Mix themin with the rum and spices. Once that is all incorporated, add the salt, flour, and baking powder. Mix this until everything is combined and well blended. Don’t overbeat it. If you want to add nuts, just mix them in here with a wooden spoon.

Then scoop out the dough with a small cookie scoop, or a teaspoon. I can’t tell you how handy the cookie scoop is, especially if you make cookies often. Its so much easier. Of course, I am also REALLY messy when trying to use a couple teaspoons to scoop the dough.

You’re going to bake them for 10 – 12 minutes until they are set and the bottoms are golden brown. Transfer them to a linen towel and let them cool. If you can wait that long.

They are very tender, moist cookies, so if you store them together, I’d recommend a tin with a layer of wax paper or parchment between each layer. Otherwise, they’ll stick to each other. Of course, if you want a good reason why you HAVE to eat three or four cookies at a time, sticking together is a bonus.

Either way, this will make about two or three dozen cookies, and they’ll get eaten fast!

If you try them, I’d love to know what you think!

quick rating

Print
Bananas Foster Cookies - Cooking With Character
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c margarine
  • 1 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 c flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).

  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine and sugar together until fluffy. 

  3. Add the vanilla, banana, rum, salt, and spices and mix until just combined.
  4. With the mixer on low at first, add flour and baking powder. Mix until combined.
  5. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake 10-12 minutes until set and slightly golden. Remove from oven and cool on a rack or linen towel.

 

‘Ohana Grilled Shrimp

‘Ohana Grilled Shrimp

This past weekend, we had friends over for a Moana dinner and a movie party. Like any good party (or at least the ones at our house) there was a lot of fabulous food! We tried to keep with a Polynesian theme for all the dishes, and it was a hit!

We started with an easy salad – my garden isn’t producing lettuce, so we had an easy bagged salad, with homemade croutons and Honey Lime Dressing. The recipe for the dressing actually came from the Polynesian Resort’s ‘Ohana restaurant on my first trip to Disney World with my parents back in high school! When we ate there, we all LOVED the food. My mom took a chance and asked our server for the recipe. We were all thrilled and surprised when the server came back with printouts of all the ones we asked for!

Back to the party – we made the dressing, and we made rice, and we made three different main courses. There was ‘Ohana Shrimp, ‘Ohana Chicken, and Boma Marinated Flank Steak. I will be the first to point out that the steak is not even close to the Polynesian theme. But its DELICIOUS, so we made it anyway. It was the last thing off the grill, after we’d eaten most of the chicken and shrimp, and people said they would just try a bite, but they were stuffed. We also made the Maui Wayfinder Sunrise, which is quite a tasty way to start off the evening, and Bananas Foster Cookies for dessert!

There was only a quarter of it left when I turned around later.

But we aren’t talking about beef. In this blog post, you’re going to find the recipes for the ‘Ohana shrimp. We made this for three reasons: it fit the theme, one of our friends is a vegetarian (pescatarian, I suppose, if you want to get technical), and because it’s just YUMMY.

Ohana Grilled Shrimp

The recipe says to marinate the shrimp for two days. We have made this and barely marinated it, marinated it for a couple hours, and for this particular meal, for the full two days. The taste is awesome, no matter which way you do it. If you want them really spicy, then marinate them for two days. That was the biggest difference I noted. The longer it sits, the more spice it picks up. And for the record, I don’t really eat spicy, but I can handle this, so it’s not going to leave tears running down your face and smoke rolling out your ears.

I recommend putting this in a plastic resealable bag (and then in a bowl. I’ll say it every time.) for easy clean up. You can also pour off a cup or so before you put the shrimp in and save it to baste them with. I frequently make this in a skillet rather than the grill and just pour a little of the marinade in to help make a sauce.

You will need to either make this in a food processor or a bowl and then pour it into the bag. The directions from the original recipe say to whisk it together in a bowl. But I already had the food processor out for the Ohana chicken, so I just pulsed it a few times in that. I’d probably do it again that way, just because it was so easy.

Gather your ingredients. I chose not to use hot garlic chili sauce and regular garlic chili sauce both. Instead, I just used the regular garlic chili sauce and used a little more than originally called for. I have significantly scaled back the amounts of ingredients, because it made a TON of marinade, and unless you’re making several pounds of shrimp, you just don’t need that much.

Anyway, put your garlic chili paste, finely minced ginger, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper in your bowl or food processor. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking well or keeping the food processor going until all the oil has been blended in.

Then put your shrimp in the bag and pour over the marinade. I used 25-30 size shrimp, and got them peeled and deveined. You could get shrimp still in the shells, but I wanted to keep the mess to a minimum. That is up to you! I try to seal it with as little air as possible (without making a huge mess), and then put it in the fridge. As I said, the recipe says two days. I say anywhere from 2-4 hours to 2 days, depending on what you want. It’s really convenient to be able to start it the day before a party, because it cooks quickly and you can get things made in advance to alleviate some stress the day of.

Ohana Grilled Shrimp

Then you can either sauté the shrimp in a skillet, or put the shrimp on the grill. I’d recommend a grill basket or skewers if you go the grill route, as it will make life a lot easier.

Either way, the hardest part about this dish is keeping it on the table longer than a few minutes! The pictures I got of these were snapped quick, because they were gone almost as soon as the platter hit the table!

Ohana Shrimp

table rating

Print
'Ohana Grilled Shrimp
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This is slightly altered from the print out our server gave us in the Polynesian resort's 'Ohana Restaurant years ago. 

Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 3/4 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 cup chili garlic sauce (use regular, not hot)
  • 1 cups Honey
  • 1 cups Lemon juice
  • 1/2 quart Canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 lbs Peeled and de-veined shrimp 25-30 count really, use whatever size works for you
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except for the oil well. While whisking, pour in the oil slowly. You can also use a food processor.

  2. Place the shrimp in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the shrimp, reserving about 3/4 cup for basting, if you like. Marinate the shrimp for 2-4 hours to 2 days, depending on your time.

  3. Once you're shrimp are done marinating, skewer the shrimp. You can cook them loose, but if you are grilling them, skewers will make the process easier.

  4. Heat the grill, and place your shrimp on there, basting as occasionally. Alternately, you can saute them in a non-stick skillet. 

  5. Cook shrimp to an internal temperature of 145ºF, and enjoy!

7 Disney Food Blogs You Should Be Reading

7 Disney Food Blogs You Should Be Reading

My blog is (obviously) not the only Disney food blog out there. While we may be a tiny portion of the food blogging world, we are awesome! Today I wanted to share a list of what I believe are the a few of the best Disney food blogs out there. You should check them out and follow them as soon as you can! There are delicious recipes waiting to be discovered on their blogs, as well as other information – dining reviews and general Disney park posts. These are in no particular order, and I may have left off a blog that you think should be here. It could be because I don’t know about it, or it might be because I thought that the others nudged it out. Don’t be upset – everyone’s opinion is right! Feel free to let me know if you think I’ve forgotten one in the comments!

1. The Disney Food Blog

This one is really obvious, so I’m getting it out of the way first. The Disney Food Blog is amazing, full of all the dining information, reviews, and news you could want. Its also the most visible of the pages, so I’m sure most of you already know about it! The sheer amount of information on their page is daunting, but if you are looking for a specific restaurant, this is the place where you are sure to find it.

2. Yo Ho Yo Ho A Blogger’s Life For Me

This is another Disney focused site that has more to offer than just food and recipe information, run by a former Disney intern. There are trip blogs, general Disney information, news, and tips. When it comes to the food blog side of things, she has great reviews of restaurants, as well as some recipes and cooking videos! If you’re looking for a specific dining review or recipe, this is a great place to search.

yo ho yo ho blogger's life for me
Courtesy of Yo Ho Yo Ho Blogger’s Life For Me.

3. The Healthy Mouse

While this site is not all Disney, all the time, she has some awesome recipes and resources. It even has a link to a Facebook group – The Healthy Mouseketeers  – for eating healthy at Disney! If you’re very concerned about what you’re eating at Disney, this is a great site to browse. There’s a whole section of blog posts to help you find the healthiest choices when dining in the ‘World. They aren’t all just about salads or general health. Some are specific to different diet choices, like eating paleo, and other focus solely on snacks.

Even if you aren’t a healthy eater all the time, like me, it is still good to look at and read up on what things you can get if you decide you do want to chow down on something a little less sugary or fried. Her recipe section is also really cute and varied, with lots of Disney inspired dishes. Definitely worth checking out!

4. Alexis’ Gluten Free Adventures

Alexis’ website is another geared to a specific audience, in this case those who need gluten-free options, and is not totally dedicated to Disney. She covers Disney, Orlando, Traveling in general, there’s a recipe section, reviews, and more. Her Disney information is pretty extensive, and definitely worth looking through, even if you aren’t following a gluten-free diet. Her Disney posts are broken up in several sections. There’s a section of top 10 lists, “The Best Things I Ever Ate” (separated by courses), “Best Resorts for Special Diets,” and also goes through each park and offers specific information about eating gluten free at each one, as well as the resorts. While it isn’t a comprehensive list of every restaurant on property, it is extensive.

There are more articles, ranging from reviews of specific allergy free menu reviews, Disney cruise line information, links to gluten free Disney Pinterest boards, and has a few gluten free Disney recipes. I know several people who follow a gluten free lifestyle, and eating out can be a struggle. This site is really well done, with lots of great information, and very thorough in helping you find what you need at Walt Disney World. I would highly recommend this if you have a person in your family who has a gluten free requirement.

Gluten free beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter
Gluten free beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter – Photo Courtesy of Alexis’ Gluten Free Adventures

5. The Disney Chef

This is probably one of the other biggest and best known Disney food blogs. She has TONS of recipes from all over Disney World (and Disneyland) – if you can’t find it anywhere else, you can probably find it here! Her signature recipes are also pretty awesome! Her website also includes Disney tips for touring the parks as well as tips for dining in the parks (which is always helpful). It also includes a section about Run Disney. Her blog covers her recipes and food (obviously) but she also posts about other Disney related things which have nothing to do with eating in the World.

Her site is fun to read, and guaranteed to make you hungry. If you’re looking for a specific recipe you just can’t seem to find anywhere else, she’s probably got it. There is something for everyone, so definitely stop by and bookmark this one!

6. Dining at Disney

This site is less focused on recipes, and more focused on dining reviews, news, and suggestions. But don’t let that stop you! Its really a one-stop site for whatever you want to know about dining at Disney, whether you have the meal plan or not. Because they are run by a team of people, rather than a single person, there is a lot more variety in what they cover and in their reviews. They also have guest bloggers, which gives you even more diversity of opinion.

Their information is very detailed and useful if you’re trying to decide between restaurants on your next vacation. They also have links to recent food related news in Disney, some recipes, and they’ve broken down restaurants by park. If you are planning a trip, I would say you should add this site to your list of places to check for information and reviews. This should be a great resource if you’re trying to plan and decide!

Dining With Disney Logo
© Dining with Disney

7. Allergy Free Mouse

This site has no recipes, but does have extensive reviews and tips for eating in Walt Disney World if you or someone in your family has allergies. They also run a podcast. (I’m a sucker for a good Disney podcast – they’re in the queue for my commute to work.) They cover all kinds of allergies, from gluten-free to peanut-free, but also have sections about general Disney planning. Everything from tips about character meet and greets to tipping. The website is easy to navigate, and if you have any of the allergies they talk about, could be useful when planning your trip.

 Are there any sites I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

7 Disney Blogs You Should Be Reading

DisNews – World of Pandora Attractions

DisNews – World of Pandora Attractions

I know I’ve already posted a DisNews post about Pandora, but I can’t help but post another. Disney has begun some preview days, and released a video of one of the animatronics in the Na’vi River Ride.

And they look AMAZING.

Na’vi River Journey

Just take a few minutes to give this a look – I mean, the movements are seriously smooth, and the details are just mind boggling. The amount of engineering that went into that…. I can’t wait to see it! There are a few other videos from what looks to be a media preview on YouTube. Some of them have longer clips of this, and really its just amazing what they’ve done. Whether you liked the movies or not, I think seeing the new area of Animal Kingdom will definitely be worth it. If nothing else, its pretty to look at!

Video courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts.

Avatar Flight of Passage

The river ride looks fun, but pretty laid back. (That is NOT a complaint!) But the Avatar Flight of Passage ride looks pretty awesome. The details about it floating around the internet seem to be mysterious and vague, but it looks to me like a combination of a 4D ride and Soarin’ – and that is something I would definitely go for! Especially if its as pretty to look at as the movies were. Besides that, I love Soarin’, as well as 4D movie experiences.

AVATAR Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage. (Disney Parks)

My problem is I know we’ll probably only get to see one of the two attractions, as they currently have the FastPass system set up with tiers for these, meaning you can only pick one when you choose your first three fast passes. Since we’re planning to FP Rivers of Light, it means we’ll only be able to get to one. (Unless the lines are shorter than I’m thinking they will be this August.) If that ends up being the case, which one do I pick?!?