Thursday, September 21, 2017

Be a Pineapple!

There’s been a lot of gloomy news lately. Not just gloomy but windy, rainy, catastrophic stormy news. Its impossible to watch the hurricane devastation and not feel blue. On the other hand, the outpouring of love and support, resources and capital is awe inspiring. It truly warms your heart.

One of the places hit hardest by Hurricane Irma is the island of Barbuda (a native Barbudian once emphatically told me that its pronounced Bar- BYU-da and not Bar- BOO-da. Barbuda is BEAUtiful not Bootyfull).

The tiny island is the sister of one of my all-time favorite destinations: Antigua. I’ve been going to Antigua almost every year since I was about 10 years old and the beautiful place is full of happy memories. One thought that had me chuckling in the midst of all the sad news was memories of driving through miles and miles of pineapple farms. 

Once, as our family was driving through Antigua (where they drive on the wrong side of the road!) we decided to buy a fresh pineapple from one of the roadside stands. Dad got out to pick one and after a couple of moments came back with pineapple and a dumbstruck look on his face. “The pineapple cost $20 US dollars!” he exclaimed. We were all incredulous- we were surrounded by MILES of pineapples on all sides! Needless to say – they definitely saw this family of American tourists coming-Price gauging at the pineapple farm!

I’ve always loved pineapples since I was a little kid. I love their delicious tangy-sweetness and sunny color but I think my affinity goes all the way back to when my mom used to plop all my hair on top of my head and call me pineapple top. You know the hairstyle I mean:

No not this!

Well, that just looks ridiculous!

The style beloved by babies and hipsters alike:

But I didn’t pull off the look well. In addition to a chubby baby face, I also had a lot of crazy, unruly, curly hair that could not be constrained.  No matter how hard my mom and dad tried to give me cute pigtails or baby bows- I always wound up looking like Don King. 

Actual photo of me and my squad circa 1989.

Thankfully, sometime around middle school hair straighteners became widely available and I learned the power of a good blow out. I still had a ton of hair- but it became much more manageable.

Totally manageable.

But the pineapple top moniker always hung around as one of Mom’s favorite baby names, along with Pumpkin (because I was orange apparently) and Angel (wishful thinking).
So pineapples and I go way back. I love to eat them despite the torture that is peeling them. And it is torture. They even created torture devices just for this torturous purpose.  I am not sure how this scary device works but I’m pretty sure it’s a guillotine for pineapples.

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”

Or this one that would make medieval dungeon master jealous as it carves out the insides in a slow snaking motion.

Actually, I take it back. That one is cool because now you can fill that pineapple up with a Pina Colada and throw a beach party. 


But like life, you have to work through the difficult stuff to get to the sweet reward. Nothing worth having comes easy. So here as a little ray of sunshine is my favorite recipe for fresh pineapple margaritas. 


1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (about 1/2 pound, from 1 small pineapple
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) fresh juice from about 2 lemons
2 1/4 ounces (4 1/2 tablespoons) fresh juice from 3 to 4 limes
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) simple syrup (optional- depending on how sweet your pineapple is, I often admit this)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) reposado tequila
6 ounces (3/4 cup) Cointreau or triple sec
3 ice cubes


Add pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, salt, tequila, and triple sec to a blender with 3 ice cubes. Blend until completely smooth and frothy. Pour into a pitcher if desired and refrigerate up to 3 hours. Serve over ice.

If you want to get super fancy and add a little kick, you can mix 2 tablespoons coarse salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, wet the rim of each glass and roll the rim in the mixture. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and/or jalapeno is you can take the heat!

Have a great week everyone!