Next we have what our family has for years called, "Aunt Bertha's Apricot Nectar Cake". I use the phrase "what we call", because once I got the recipe from Aunt Bertha's cards and discovered that it originated with a friend of hers, but Aunt Bertha (who is 104 years old and still kicking) is the one that made this cake famous. It's similar to a pound cake in texture, but much more moist, has a bit of tart flavor thanks to a combo of lemon flavor and apricot nectar and is incredibly easy as it begins with a box cake mix. AAAAAAAAAH! Scandal! You say....well, don't knock it till you try it!Third is Ye Olde Bloated Cheeseball. I did a little different recipe this year and wasn't as pleased with it. It had less cream cheese than I remembered and the seasonings, while good weren't quite right. So, I'll definately be taking this one back to the kitchen for some more work. I definately prefer the extra sharp cheddar flavor of this one, but I think it will take some tweaking to get it just right in taste as well as in texture. It was a little crumbly and I prefer a smooth spread.
Fourth is Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Mango Chutney. I think these were my favorite thing to make because of the combo of yummy flavors, nostalgia from days in Puerto Rico, and cuteness. Jerk chicken is a Jamacan dish and features chicken with a "jerk" sauce, which is by definition and sauce rubbed on the meat before grilling. It is pasty in texture and the flavor is a variety of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with onion, jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro. Delicious! The mango chutney is also spicy and is a cooked mango sauce also containing red bell peppers, jalapenos, and some herbs and spices. I was a little disappointed with the selection of mangos, but it didn't seem to ruin the sauce even though I felt the mangos themselves were pretty much a disaster. Sometime I will enjoy making it with some properly ripe, not overipe, sweet as candy mangos and I'm sure then I will see how my earlier attempt pales in comparison.
Now for the nostalgia part. The chicken and chutney goes inbetweeen two tostones, which for the ignorant out there are fried plantains, which are similar looking to bananas, but are more starchy in taste. They are always eaten cooked and when fried in circles and smashed and fried again, taste like french fries (only better) and you would feel quite at home to dip them in ketchup if you adorn your fries in such a manner. Ok, so tostones and then they are tied with a blanched chive to hold it all together. A sensational package and best eaten right out of the pan. Someday, I will do this meal for my family on a non hors d' ouerve scale and I will relish this heaven on earth again.