So I’ll have you know I put on my big girl pants for this recipe! HA! I can be a bit squeamish when it comes to slimy foods and raw meats. I’m getting better but still tend to opt for pre-shelled, de-veined, and de-yucked (I know, not a word but it should be!) ingredients when I get the chance. This time I sucked it up, shoved my hands into the cold slimy abyss, and peeled and de-veined these little suckers like any self-respecting grown woman should. I will say, it was worth it! I broiled this recipe but you can also grill it for an easy clean-up free option.

This year I’ve been traveling a ton domestically, but it’s been years since I had a proper vacation on an island somewhere. As summer winds down I’m taking some time to play pretend. So  put on a steel drum band, flip off those shoes and let’s cook on island time!

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  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon smashed garlic
  • salt and pepper

~ Process all ingredients except the shrimp in a food processor until combined.

~ In a bowl, combine marinade and shrimp and toss to coat.

~ Preheat broiler on high.

~ Thread shrimp onto skewers and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining caribbean marinade.

~ Broil 2 minutes on each side taking care not to overcook.


This one gets it’s name from it’s ability to seriously punch you in the face. With a double shot of espresso, whiskey, and pure cocoa this sweetly bitter treat is truly a “slugger”, not to mention the “pow!” it gets from a pinch of chili pepper. If you don’t have chili pepper you can substitute a small pinch of cayenne. I love this warming treat when the cooler fall nights roll in. It’s the perfect drink for a movie night, deliciously decadent with just enough punch to keep you awake for the next 2 hours! 😉

Don’t forget share your favorite hot drinks with us!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

makes 2

  • 2 shots espresso or very strong coffee
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 drop almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ancho chili powder or 1 dried red chile (remove chile before serving)
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

~ Heat espresso, milk, whiskey, chocolate, cinnamon, almond extract and chili powder over low heat whisking constantly until chocolate melts. Do not boil! Pour into mugs.

~ Whip heavy cream and sugar until it forms soft peaks. Top each mug with whipped cream and serve.


I’m not much of a champagne kind of gal and I can’t take credit for this delicious concoction. My idea of good “bubbly” is a craft beer, but this not-too-sweet little number is welcome at my brunch table any day. This champagne cocktail is absurdly easy and incredibly beautiful. My friend Secia Mischke over at Petite Insanities made this fizzy delight for me the morning after I was in a bad car accident and it was a pretty lil’ pick-me-up for my bruised and bummed self. It’s the perfect drink to make if you’re hosting a brunch because it’s easy and nothing needs to be muddled, grilled, shaken or any of those cocktail tasks that can get messy. Why not? It’s a good excuse to start day drinkin’ 😉

Make sure to check out Secia’s blog. She’s full of great ideas!

copyright all right reserved Crystal Cartier 2012

  • 1 sugar cube
  • few dashes cocktail bitters
  • 2 fresh raspberries
  • champagne or sparkling wine

~ Place sugar cube in champagne flute, shake in a few dashes bitters over the sugar.

~ Add raspberries and pour champagne to fill glass. DONE!


copyright all right reserved Crystal Cartier 2012

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Continuing on with our cool cocktail series, I offer you a Blackberry Bramble Crush. Say hello to a seriously tasty and refreshing cocktail. The spice of the ginger, the tang of lemon, and the sweetness of berries and herbal syrup make this easy drink seem quite impressive. I don’t often use Chambord, but it is truly a perfect addition to this cold treat. I hope it has you crushing!

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  • 4 whole blackberries
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon basil simple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 ounce Chambord
  • 2 ounces vodka

~ Muddle/smash blackberries, lemon juice, basil simple syrup and ginger in a cocktail shaker.

~ Add Chambord, vodka and ice and shake the bejeezus out of it.

~ Strain into a glass of crushed ice. Garnish with a blackberry.

basil simple syrup:

~ Use a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water accounting for the number of cocktails you plan to make. Add several (I used 10 leaves for 1/2 cup of sugar) torn basil leaves. Tearing the leaves help release the oils that are responsible for the fragrance and flavor of the herb.

~ Heat in a pan to a rolling boil until sugar fully dissolves. Steep for 3 hours and store in the fridge.


copyright all rights reserved Crystal Cartier 2012

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