Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting a Taste of Roatan, Honduras

My husband, John, and I have been visiting Honduras for nearly 20 years and one of our must-dos each visit is relaxing for a few days on the resort island of Roatan. We have seen the island go from a laid back dive destination where backpackers could hang their hammock between a couple palm trees to a place with five-star resorts. Roatan is a beautiful Caribbean island that is now a cruise ships so port stop there are a variety of things to see and do.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the food. Nothing beats the island’s fresh seafood and fruits. We like trying out new resorts and this time we stayed at the Mayan Princess Resort. It was a wonderful choice. Our spacious suite was complete with a living room, dining area, balcony and a kitchen. There was no need for me to use the kitchen with such wonderful food on the resort’s menu and the staff’s willingness to share their recipes.

One day we spent the afternoon on Maya Key, a wonderful place that encompasses the spirit of Honduras. Besides a beautiful beach, pool, rescued animal center, tropical vegetation and a Mayan museum complete with a replica of the Hieroglyphic staircase, they have a long dock out to the reef. Snorkeling is one of my favorite things to do. I mentioned to Edwin, the reef guide, that in all the years and places I had been snorkeling I had never seen an urchin or conch. At which point, he dove down and brought up a conch and then an urchin. One of John’s favorite dishes is Conch Cerviche, which is perfect for lunch or an appetizer.
Conch Ceviche ala Mayan Princess
3 oz conch, cubed (any fish or sea food will do)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. jalapeno pepper diced (add more or less to taste)
5 oz lime juice
1/ 4 tsp salt
1/ 4 tsp pepper
1/ 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put in serving bowl and garnish with a lime. Serve with fried plantains.

One night at dinner, the F&B manager, Juan Gomez de la Torre, suggested I try the newest item on their menu – Coconut Shrimp. As he explained, “Of course, the shrimp is fresh but so is the coconut. It comes from the coconut trees right here at Mayan Princess Resort.” It was wonderful and served with plenty of fresh vegetables.

Mayan Princess Coconut Shrimp
8 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
1/ 4 tsp. sea salt
1/ 4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup coconut, fresh and grated into flakes
1/ 2 cup milk
1/ 2 all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil for frying

In a mixing bowl combine salt, pepper, coconut, milk, and flour. Stir well. Bread shrimp. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook shrimp until golden, about two minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Serve with mango dipping sauce.

When John and I are in Latin America one of our favorite desserts has always been flan, a baked custard served with caramel sauce, but now we have a new favorite – Tres Leches. By using a white cake mix it becomes a super simple recipe!

Tres Leches
1 white cake mix or make your favorite white cake from scratch, set aside
Milk bath
1 can condensed milk
4 cups evaporated milk
4 cups whole milk
1 tbs Honduran rum or to taste (optional)
Boil the milks for five minutes, set aside, add rum if desired

1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp Honduran Vanilla
1 tbsp sugar
Bake cake per instructions. Let cool to room temperature. Place on a platter. Pierce with a fork 20-30 times. Place in a refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Prepare milk bath. Slowly pour milk over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for four hours occasionally spooning the runoff milk back on cake. Whip heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar until it forms soft peaks. Spread topping on the cake. Garnish with fresh fruit.

One night the hotel had a seafood buffet with piles of lobster tails and shrimp. Plus, there was seafood soup, fresh caught fish – cooked anyway you wanted it - and plenty of watermelon, mangoes, pineapple, and papaya. It doesn’t get any better! I don’t want it to sound like all we did was eat. However, we deserved these wonderful meals after alternating between swimming in the warm Caribbean and the pool. Morning and evening we walked the beach. Sometimes we held down the lounge chairs while reading a book! Phew! One day I decided by body needed a bit of tender loving care so I ambled over to the resort’s Kukut Spa for one of their signature treatment. It’s a tough life but someone has to do it!!

In the evening we watched the sunset while enjoying a Mayan Princess Mango or a Monkey LaLa Cocktail and then watched the evening show. One night it was a vibrant Garifuna Cultural Show. The Garifuna are an Afro-Caribbean people who have lived on Roatan since the 1700s. Another evening we were dazzled with a Fire Dance.

We were living the Good Life at the Mayan Princess Resort on Roatan Island, Honduras – sun, sand, sea, and great food as fresh as it gets. We hated to leave and return to reality. But, we will be back. For more information check

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