This weekend. In an attempt to become a real person again. I bought the Sunday Times.

I went for two really long walks.

I spoke to both of my parents. In the same day. (Jo, that doesn’t make you a real person. Just a real crazy person.)

And where did all of this leave me.

Well. The Times is mostly sitting on my floor. Unopened. Except for the magazine part. Which I tried to read at the gym. Until a lady sat down on the stationary bike next to me. And proceeded to tell me about all of the trials and tribulations that had impinged upon her life so far that day.

Namely that her friend’s son had been kidnapped that morning. A $300,000 ransom was demanded. By midday, the police had negotiated that ransom down to $5,000. And sometime in-between noon and 5 pm, which is what time it was when I had the uncanny good fortune to have this individual enter my life, the kidnappers had let the kid go. Because they got sick of him.

And the lady. Well. She was really excited about all this. Because it would make a great storyline for her next book, don’t you think?

I mean, what use is having someone you know kidnapped if you can’t exploit it as much as possible?

Only on the Upper East Side. And only to me.

Between matchmaker cabdrivers and this. It really is a miracle that anyone gives any credence to anything that I write.
Suffice it to say. When I got home. (Especially after the talk with my parents. It’s my policy to talk to only one of them in a given day. We have a system, you see. I call. My sister usually answers. And then they get to fight over who gets to speak to me. Or she gives me the inside scoop on who is in the better mood. And we take it from there. No such luck this time. My mom answered. And then passed the phone off to my dad. Subterfuge, I tell you.)

I needed a stiff drink.

Or, better yet. To finally get around to cooking my submission to Taste and Create, a blog event that pairs you up with another blogger so that you can each choose a dish from each other’s blog. And then, well, cook it and blog about it. This month I was paired with Dave of My Year On The Grill. Who, in addition to being an awesome (and extremely prolific) blogger, is also my dating guru. He’s not afraid to tell it like it is. Apparently my real problem is that I eat tofu. I’m working on it.

Dave has been cooking a lot with coconut rum lately, since he’s been forcibly relocated to the Virgin Islands (although forcibly is not necessarily the word I would use) where rum flows like water and rotisserie chickens are cheaper than, well, anything.

For my recipe, I decided to make his garlic popcorn coconut shrimp. With chicken. Instead of shrimp. Because I don’t really do the whole shellfish thing.

And let me tell you. This was delicious. The breading was perfectly flavored so that I felt like I was being transported to the beach with every bite. Especially after the requisite shot of rum that I took before eating it.

A girl could get used to this.

Also. Dave’s had a rough time this week seeing as how his cat passed away on Monday. So please stop over by his blog and give him a virtual hug. I think he would love it.

Garlic Popcorn Coconut Rum Chicken
Serves 4, adapted from My Year On The Grill

1 1/2 lb chicken breast
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup coconut rum
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
olive oil

1. In one bowl, combine the egg and the coconut rum. In a second bowl, combine the garlic, salt, breadcrumbs, and 1/2 cup coconut. In a third bowl, place the other half cup of coconut.

2. Pat the chicken dry. Dredge in the bowl with the breadcrumbs and coconut. Dip in the egg and rum. Dredge in the bowl with the coconut.

3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Cook the coconut-covered chicken.
And since I was already in a tropical state-of-mind, I decided to have with this my submission to Regional Recipes: Haiti (hint hint), which is this vegetarian version of Joumou, a Haitian pumpkin soup, that I found in The Tropical Vegan Kitchen. I decided to add some okra into it because okra is prominent in French Creole cuisine. And because I saw it at the Farmer’s Market and couldn’t resist.

I am also submitting this to Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays!

Caribbean Pumpkin Soup with Okra
Serves 4, adapted from The Tropical Vegan Kitchen

1 tbsp canola oil
1 lb cubed acorn squash (also a Farmer’s Market find!)
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
1 lb okra, sliced

1. In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, chili, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add teh remaining ingredients (except for the okra) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

2. Blend in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add the okra to the pan and cook to desired consistency. Serve warm.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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65 Responses to Garlic Popcorn Coconut Rum Shrimp Chicken and Haitian Pumpkin Soup with Okra

  1. Ha ha…well to me …u sure are a real person…and a lovely sweety gal at that:-))
    Well hint hint hint ,we all get it, and ur creations are fantastic and look way better than the original reicpes too:-))
    U Rock!!!!!
    And i sure have a little message with a suprise for ya, excuse the dancing fonts while ur there ok, am still tryn to get around the HTML but couldn :-)))

  2. I loce the okra pumpkin soup..yummy!

  3. MaryMoh says:

    I love okra. Pumpkin soup with okra sounds very delicious.

  4. Okar pumpkin combo is unique and I bet it tasted fabulous. Sorry to know that Dave lost his pet. I will go over and to his space now.

  5. Debbi Smith says:

    So the popcorn chicken doesn’t have popcorn in it and the pumpkin soup doesn’t have pumpkin? In any case, they both look delicious! I would totally make both of these.

  6. Kim says:

    You gotta wonder about that lady at the gym. Why in the world would she be working out at the gym if her friend’s son had been kidnapped – crazy! I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall to see your face during that conversation. I don’t even know how I would react to something like that.
    On the flip side, I know I would love this coconut rum chicken!

  7. Joanne,,sorry for his pet dear… ur okra curry looks great dear okra n pumpkin combo sounds great dear Jo..

  8. Both the chicken and the pumpkin soup with okra sound excellent! Yummy stuff!

  9. Erica says:

    Wow! Love the flavors!!!!What a delicious soup.I love the habanero pepper in this soup 😉

  10. The chicken look so SO good! I like shellfish but I haven’t yet ventured into cooking it myself. Mostly because I hate peeling shellfish. Which is why I make my boyfriend take me to seafood restaurants and then peel my shrimp for me 🙂

  11. Toni says:

    I have had okra once. And it was. not. pleasant. My Mom said they overcooked it so it was slimy and did not last long in my mouth… or my plate. But… maybe if I cook it myself… and eat it myself… then no one will know if I mess it up or… I won’t have to share the soup. Win.

  12. elra says:

    Oh Okra, I love this, unfortunately my family don’t. It’s too slimy for them. Maybe I just eat it for myself then. Looks scrumptious Jo!

  13. Bob says:

    Hm, I could see how eating tofu would be an obstacle. 😉

    The chicken looks awesome, although I’ve never had okra. Crap, I need to find a Haitian recipe.

  14. PJ says:

    lol.. its always such a pleasure to read your posts, Joanne! the lady sure made a great story out of the whole sad and scary incident and you got to be on the recieving end.. but hey, on the plus side you made this delicious chicken and okra soup! the okra soup is extremenly intriguing.. I have got to try it soon.

  15. Gulmohar says:

    Lovely combo of okra and pumpkin..never had okra in a soup before..coconut rum sounds interesting too…

  16. sra says:

    the kidnappers got sick of him? reminds me of that O’Henry story, The Ransom of Red Chief. The funniest short story I’ve read! Your meal looks good, and that okra soup – intriguing!

  17. Oh Joanne, my jaw dropped in awe at your gorgeous recipe and then I chuckled my way through your crazy story. Hilarious! I love the nutters you meet. 🙂

  18. Paul Wynn says:

    Yummy! Throw some spices on that breast and a little on the soup. Thats what I call a power lunch .. should have packed that for lunch instead of going to the deli … ugh gaining weight

  19. Mary says:

    the shrimp and coconut rum looks like a really fabulous combination. I’ll wager the rum elevates this a notch or two. Your story was crazy wild, but, nonetheless, delightful. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  20. RV says:

    I love the chicken, looks very crispy n juicy. It pairs well with the soup.

  21. Amy says:

    LOL. I stopped talking on the phone after Haley was born. Now we subject ourselves to SKYPE. After 10 minutes of the kids fighting for video time, my parents trying to ask questions, and everyone interrupting one another…we all have a massive headache.

    I’m glad I exercise at home. Then I’m only subjected to my crazy family. Although, my life isn’t as interesting as yours!

    Lovin’ the look of that crispy chicken. And how can you go wrong with coconut/rum combo? Seriously. Makes me daydream about someplace tropical.

  22. teresa says:

    oh my gosh, your gym story, crazy! you tell such great stories!

    great post, this looks delish! i just got done reading daves blog for you, i love it!

  23. Faith says:

    Awww, I’m sorry for Dave’s loss.

    This meal looks amazing and your pics are so vibrant! I love the coconut in the coating for the chicken..yum!

  24. Julie says:

    no way. i don’t even believe this woman’s story. hahahahahaha i seriously can’t understand it. i don’t understand how you come across these people! hahaha you need to bring an ipod to the gym next time or atleast headphones…

    maybe the cab driver was trying to set you up with the kid who got kidnapped..

  25. That lady sounds like a crack pot! I would of came home and drink a shot too. Love the coconut rum chicken! And the sound of the pumpkin and okra soup – still haven’t tried okra.

  26. Chris says:

    She should title her next book Ransom of Red Chief. Don’t know why, just sounds like a great name for a book about a kidnapped kid, released because he was so bad. 😉

    Great looking meal but then again, I’m a sucka for okra!

  27. You sweet thing… and you tossed in some Cajun okra as well. Love the chicken sub. Now I am pondering a rotisserie chicken coconut rum dish!

  28. You did a beautiful job with this. I, particularly like the way the chicken looks. Real crispy, it would appear……right?

    You are one great cook.

  29. Very different and unique soup, never tried it out with okra, but looks awesome, colour, flavour makes it more appealing..and chicken too looks delicious joanne..beautiful clicks too

  30. Shannon says:

    wowsa, i’d totally need some rum after having to listen to that at the gym! actually, i would’ve gotten up and moved… if i could swing a break 🙂

  31. Sophie says:

    Hello Joanne!

    What a fab & tasty meal you created here!

    I so love okras but rarely eat them!

    tasty & very flavourful too!


  32. Katerina says:

    This chicken looks yummy. I never say no to new ways of cooking it. The soup sweet and nice. Looks delicious.

  33. Meena says:

    that okra soup looks fab…also loved your brownies post….im a brownies oerson and that is one seriously good brownie!

  34. Debinhawaii says:

    Everything looks delicious–love that coconut rum chicken and the soup looks hearty and good. Thanks for submitting it to Souper Sundays. I had better get moving on my RR submission–I have no idea what to make.

  35. tigerfish says:

    Good idea to add the okra to the pumpkin soup :), and to pair it with Garlic Popcorn Coconut Rum Chicken…what could be better?

  36. Debbie says:

    I love Dave’s blog and felt so bad for him when I read about his cat. You could tell how much he loved Eng. Anyhow, your chicken looks delicious…love the breading on it. The lady at the gym sounds very interesting to say the least!!!!

  37. Lori says:

    Oh my, you seriously crack me up. What a day! I love your system for talking with your parents as well. Ha, ha!

    This chicken sounds amazing. I’ve made coconut chicken before, but had never thought of adding the coconut rum. Awesome!

  38. you had me laughing girl….love the part about the phone call home-oh how many times that phone call makes me crazy and i have to have a glass of good wine just to balance it out. wine is better than prozac right?
    anyway, i would die for your okra soup-delish!
    have a great day 🙂

  39. ruchikacooks says:

    I love okra and pumpkin and coconut, the soup must have delish! Thanks for organizing the regional event Jo,we get to taste a lot of recipes.

    Kids should be brought up like that- annoying- so there is no need to negotiate anything 🙂

  40. Pam says:

    You are such a GREAT writer! I am loving both recipes – this meal would make me extremely happy.

  41. Marisa says:

    Aaaah great minds think alike – I was also eyeing Joumou soup for the roundup. The okra was an inspired addition.

    And that coconut chicken – mmmm yes please.

    Loving the combo of the two dishes too – sounds like a great meal.

  42. Julie says:

    I didn’t even know they made coconut rum! Sounds like a good reason to purchase some 🙂

  43. msmeanie says:

    You crack me up with your description of the gym lady! Okra and pumpkin sounds like an awesome combo!

  44. Barbara says:

    It’s amazing the stuff you hear at the gym, isn’t it? You’re a captive audience a lot of the time too. Is it something like being a bartender or something??

    Truly am drooling over the chicken! And I have all the ingredients too! (naughty me!)

  45. Love your story and also the wonderful recipe here, which has all the island flavors I like. I don’t know whether to be envious of you for the “interesting” people you meet or pleased that I manage to stay well clear of them! Many thanks for sharing.

  46. Andreas says:

    Your pictures keep getting better and better.

  47. Hannah says:

    I’ve got to admit, I’ve never actually cooked with okra, and I’ve only eaten it as chips! I’m really into soups and stews right now though, so this looks pretty amazing… If I can find the okra, I may just give this a shot!

  48. Jo
    You really made me laugh! Plus those two dishes look like I need to get busy and try at least one of them; coconut rum, yeah! never had the stuff but sounds wonderful!
    The story about the kid who was kidnapped reminded me of a French movie where a young boy gets kidnapped and he is such a pain that the kidnappers not only give up asking for the ransom but are willing to pay his parents to get him back and the parents are all too happy to have their son kidnapped; anyway, the movie was hilarious.

  49. oh kidnapped?! that’s was a bit out of normal life 😛

    The okra soup looks sooo yummy ~ I always struggled with how difficult to deal with these “gooey” stuff, now u inspired me again to try out this dish!

  50. Sippity Sup says:

    Pumpkinless pumpkin soup is delish looking! GREG

  51. Jessie says:

    You know, Joanne, I would totally think you were lying with your crazy kidnapping and matchmaker cabdriver stories, but I lived and worked in NYC for a summer in college. And I know you’re not lying.

    (Besides, you wouldn’t lie, wouldja? 😀 )

    DELICIOUS soup. Coconut rum should be a required addition to any tropicall-y soup.

  52. Everything looks delicious and I especially LOVE the crossed out shrimp 😀

  53. sweetlife says:

    what’s up with that lady? at the gym? oh my.. anyways I love the soup habernero and ginger..great flavor..I checked out Dave’s post..he’s post about you was just lovely…


  54. aquadaze says:

    Here after ages Joanne. Love the new look here!
    And your brownies look delectable.

  55. Velva says:

    Both recipes look awesome. The Haitian pumpkin soup with okra is really good. That soup really symbolizes local carribean cuisine. I have always found okra to be a love it or hate it vegetable. It’s grown in the late summer here in Florida, the south loves it. I have never prepared okra but always enjoy it when other folks prepare it.

    I would have gotten a real kick out of the lady at the gym. I find those kind of conversations very entertaning.

    I will stop by and give Dave a virtual hug.

  56. Poor you sitting next to that gal at the gym! Yikes, especially when you wanted to read the paper. Both of your recipes sound wonderful here. Love pumpkin and everything coconut. xo

  57. Azita says:

    love okra and this okra pumpkin soup sounds wonderful! beautiful shots!

  58. theUngourmet says:

    Wonderful recipe! I love the okra! I spotted a pumpkin soup recipe tonight as I was looking for a good Haitian recipe to make. I still cannot decide on what to make! Ugh!

  59. Lea Ann says:

    omg. I am kidnapping both of these recipes and will exploit the hell out of them!

  60. Martha says:

    Sure looks great! I think I’d especially love the okra recipe, yum! Don’t know if I’m going to make it for regional Recipes this month – haven’t even had time to browse through recipes yet!

  61. I did shrimp for the first time in many years this past week so think I’ll try your chicken version of Dave’s recipe. Looks yummy!

  62. I have been looking for a more creative use for okra. My search is over!

  63. Anonymous says:

    What’s up, I read your new stuff like every week. Your humoristic style is witty, keep it up!
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