What's For Dinner: Coconut Soup And Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Commemorate Hawaii's statehood with this menu

Not feeling inspired by your usual dishes? Here's what's for dinner.

Fifty-six years ago today, the United States made a new friend as President Eisenhower granted statehood to Hawaii. From then on, the Paradise of the Pacific wove itself into the fabric of the nation (and the fabric of our flag), completing the 50 states. Throw a backyard luau to celebrate or use this smaller menu for your own Pacific party.

① Appetizer: Coconut and Lemongrass Soup

Start your meal Island style with islands of tofu floating in an ocean of silky lemongrass soup. Chill it before serving to make it even more refreshing.

② Main Course: Steamed Black Cod with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Shrimp

This dish results in the same stunning aroma and flaky meat that you get when cooking en papillote but with an added bonus: You can actually eat the packaging. If you can't find purple sweet potatoes, their orange cousins will work, but the starchier texture (and outstanding color) makes them worth seeking out.

③ Dessert: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

This dessert became the ultimate popular kid when Hawaii was annexed, so it's only appropriate that you end the night with it. Pour fluffy cake batter over caramelized pineapples, stick it in the oven and flip it for a treat that will wow your guests.