Part of what draws us to the tropics is the promise of an endless summer. This recipe is our own invention… a tribute to the spirit of summer with a tropical twist (of course).

We wanted to bring you a recipe that would bring back childhood memories of the beach, weekends on the boardwalk or your first cookout of every summer. Two American classics go hand-in-hand with such memories – hot dogs and hamburgers. This time around, we chose the hamburger and mixed in a little bit of Hawaiian Luau. We’ve found this to be a huge hit with kids and adults. The recipe is quick and easy, the burgers are fun to eat and the whole thing takes as less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Here’s to the endless summer!

Recipe (serves 4-6 people):

2 1/2 lbs ground beef

8 oz Cheddar cheese

8 oz Swiss cheese

1 Pineapple – sliced

2 packages of Hawaiian Sweet mini rolls (12 count)

Sandwich pickles

Preparation:

Open packages of mini rolls. Allow the individual rolls to remain attached and cut in half as if one giant bun. Place 1 1/4 pounds of ground beef on a sandwich press. Press the ground beef into a large patty the same size and shape as the package of sweet rolls. Cook at high heat for 10 minutes. Once cooked, place entire patty on bottom half of sliced mini rolls. Adorn with cheeses, pickles, pineapple slices and ketchup as desired. Place top half of rolls back on top and cut down to individually-size rolls. Repeat for 2nd package of rolls. Serve with sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries.

Bananas are a staple of any tropical environment. Bananas can last quite awhile on the tree, but once you pick them they tend to ripen quickly. One of the best ways to save them is to make banana bread. In the early days of the keys, making banana bread was as common a practice as making Key Lime Pie since it was important to have less perishable foods with the lack of refrigeration and transportation of to receive fresh foods that could not be produced on the island. As a matter of fact, the Keys inhabitants were so good at making use of everything they had that they actually used the empty cans to bake their banana bread loaves in… the same cans from the condensed milk used for their key lime pies (see our recipe and history below). This recipe has a rich banana flavor that will surely take you to the tropics.

Recipe (makes 2 can-sized loaves or one 9x5x3 inch loaf)

1 3/4 all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large, ripe bananas (the more ripe, the better)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preparation:

Since you probably don’t have condensed milk can large enough to make a banana loaf in, you can use 2 coffee cans or 1 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Butter and lightly flour the cans or the loaf pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside. Peel and mash the bananas with a fork in a separate bowl or plate (allows some lumps to remain). In another bowl, mix the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs followed by the bananas. Stir in the dry ingredients a small amount at a time. Add and fold in walnuts if desired. Pour into the pan or cans and bake for one hour. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack. Keep refrigerated in tin foil. The loaves will taste best after chilled for 24 hours and served with butter or light cream cheese

This is actually a Bahamian recipe. We love it because it also has a hint of Polynesia with its main ingredients of pineapple and coconut. It can’t get much more tropical and it certainly can’t get much easier to make. Great as a summertime treat, a boating snack or to accompany any holiday.

Recipe:

1 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon lime juice

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup grated coconut

Pineapple Jam

Powdered Sugar

Preparation:

Cream together sugar and butter then add salt, lime, flour and coconut. Roll dough into 2 inch roll, wrap in foil and chill for 1/2 hour. Finally, cut into 1/4″ chunks and press a dimple in the center with your thumb. Fill the dimple with pineapple jam/ Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and garnish with powdered sugar. Sweet!