Shrimp and White Beans

 

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Don’t be dissuaded by the bland looking picture. I didn’t have the fresh basil leaves that would have enhanced the visual appeal of the dish. The flavor totally exceeded the monochromatic presentation.

This is an adapted version of a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. The original recipe can be found on their website.

Ingredients:

1 pound (26-30 count) shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
2 anchovy fillets ( or equivalent anchovy paste)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 (15 oz.) cans (Goya) cannellini beans
1 can (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (drained)
shredded fresh basil or one or two tablespoons of pesto
1/2 tsp. lemon zest and a couple of squeezes of juice
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1. Peel the shrimp and reserve the shells. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells. Cook the shells, stirring until they start to brown. Remove from the heat and add a cup of water to the pan. Be careful. This will bubble up and spatter. Return to heat and simmer for about five minutes. Strain through a colander, discard the shells and set the liquid aside. Wipe out the pan.
* You may be tempted to skip this part but don’t. It really adds to the flavor.

2. Heat 2 TBS. oil in the wiped out skillet. Add the onion, garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook for about five minutes until the onion starts to soften and the flavors have combined.

3. Add 1 can of drained and rinsed beans, 1 can of beans with their liquid, can of diced tomatoes, and the reserved shrimp stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to low.  Add the shrimp. Cover the pan and cook gently for about five minutes until the shrimp are just cooked. Stir once during cooking.

5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of pesto or some shredded fresh basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine. Serve as is, or over rice.

 

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Not For Everyone

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Funny thing about raw oysters.
For some, aversion.
A queasy sense of unease
as they dwell on the thought
that these briny creatures
pulsed with life
only moments before
their shells were severed apart.
For others, a flash of pure delight
as they eagerly reach
for this primal connection
with the sea.

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Re-visiting Pad Thai

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Based on a recipe from Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds. I adapted the recipe to include chicken and tamarind paste. The end result was really close to the Pad Thai that you would order in a restaurant.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (26-30 count)
About a cup of shredded cooked chicken
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons minced garlic
8 ounces flat rice stick noodles, softened in hot water and drained
2 cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

Sauce

mix together:
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water

Garnishes

3 tablespoons diced scallions, white and green parts
1/4 cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or basil) – optional
1 lime, cut into wedges

Method:

1. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until hot.  Add the shrimp and stir-fry until they turn pink. This will happen very quickly. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Wipe out the pan.
3. Reheat the pan over medium-high heat.  Add the remaining oil and heat until hot. Add the eggs and cook, stirring to scramble them, until just set.
4. Add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.  Add the sauce and the rice noodles and toss for a few minutes, until the noodles have absorbed the sauce and are tender.
5. Add the shrimp and bean sprouts and toss to mix.
6. Transfer onto a serving platter and sprinkle with the scallion greens, peanuts, red pepper, and cilantro or basil (if using).  Serve with lime wedges.

Should serve four.

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Query

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Question of the day.
iPad propped on a treadmill.
Streaming a segment
of America’s Test Kitchen.
Exercising
to the sights and sounds
of a cooking show.
Symbiotic or juxtaposed?

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January Beach

Last year on this date,
Old Silver
was frozen in place.
Waves captured in an iron grasp
as they rolled towards
a snow encrusted beach.
Winter had a strangle hold
on our shores.

Our January beach
is peaceful
as this new year opens.
Waves remain free
with their normal ebb and flow.
A lone seagull
contemplates the expanse
and appreciates the moment,
as do we.

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Fun Fact of Aging

 

I  have age related hearing loss. Nothing major. Basically, if something is loud enough, I can hear it. Recheck appointment in two years. I can live with that.

One of the fun facts about aging is that you collect an array of doctors. I remember with great fondness the years when it was just a yearly appointment with my friendly OBGYN. I made the appointment in the summer to coincide with my teaching schedule, and that was that. Those days are gone forever.

Let me say at the outset that I’m lucky enough to enjoy good health. In spite of that, I have routine blood work, and my records grace the offices of an internist, a dermatologist, an ophthalmologist, and now an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I’ve had recent tests for glaucoma, skin cancer, and hearing loss. That’s not even counting the mammogram and bone density test. All negative. At least so far. There are definitely times when I feel like the proverbial kid with her finger in the dike.

I guess I should be grateful that these tests are aimed toward nipping a potential problem before it blossoms into a big deal. And I am. Also grateful that I can whip out my Medicare and supplemental coverage cards, and all fees are covered. In a better world, all people could say the same.

 

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And the Years Fly By

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Added this year’s Christmas card to the collage  on my bulletin board. Children are such a stark indicator of the passage of time. Those chubby babies smiling from early cards are now pre-teens.

Photographs can capture a moment in time and hold it captive for later contemplation. So can a blog entry. I’ve been thinking about this because it’s January, and my blogs for 2018 have been compiled into book form. It’s a thin book. Better photographs, some poetry, a scatter of recipes, but little in the way of true blogging.

The compiled book for 2014 is thick with daily entries. Subsequent years slim down, with 2018 reaching a new low. Strange for such a significant year. This was the year when we lost both Daisy and Sam. The year of fiftieth reunions from college for both of us. The year of a long anticipated trip to Great Britain.

I re-read last year’s entries. Scant though they were, they brought back memories. The weeks of bitter cold that ushered in the year, and a frozen Old Silver. The frustration and pain surrounding Daisy’s illness. Memories of travel and friends. Of grandchildren. Of early morning walks on the beach.

But much was lost because memory alone is not enough without a jog to send one back to another time and place. Aiming for a thicker book in 1019.

 

 

Posted in General Musing | 2 Comments