Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time for a quickie!

There is nothing I like more than quickly throwing together a meal. And when I say "throwing" I literally mean taking all sorts of random things that are in the kitchen and just throwing them together! What do shrimp, peppers, onions, tomato sauce, kale, pine nuts, goat cheese, and raisins have in common? They were dinner last Friday night. While in the kitchen I channeled my inner Julia Child and said, "What the hell!"

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” 
― Julia Child

Back to our task at hand - dinner. We arrived in VT at 7:15pm. Kids had food cooked and brought from home. Can't tell you what, but I can say that it was mushy. Poor Sophie is still recovering from stitches just below her lip. That is another story better shared when there is a little distance between us and the "incident". Kids were tucked in by 8:15pm, fire was blazing by 8:30pm, and it was time to make food for us. I started with an onion because whatever else does one start with when looking for layers of flavor?

(zee onion, pre slice and dice)

Onions went into a frying pan with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a diced fresh red pepper. Pepper and onion sweat it out for 10-12 minutes. The pepper made the trip from CT to VT. I have a great set of reusable grocery bags, and one of them is insulated with a closable zipper top. Ideal for 3 hour trips in the heated car. The pepper and a handful of other goodies were thrown in the bag on Friday lest they rot away at home over the long weekend. I abhor wasting food. 

I always keep deveined and shelled shrimp in the freezer. Thaws quickly and cooks even faster. Once the peppers and onions had been peppered and salted I added the shrimp. 

(Take note of the pine nuts roasting to the right of the shrimp. We'll get to them later.) 

We are big fans of kicking things up a notch - so "BAM!" - we always add crushed red pepper.

Last but not least - the tomato sauce. I'm digging the Rao's brand - tomato basil is my favorite. Let that combo simmer for 5 more minutes. While simmering I threw together the salad.

I had a half a bag of leftover, chopped, pre-washed kale - still lingering from all those juices I planned to press this week but never got around to. In the bowl goes the kale, 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts, what was left of a container of crumbled goat cheese (also thrown in the bag that came with us from CT), and two handfuls of raisins.

 The raisins may or may not have been more than a year old. Secret trick - put raisins in a bowl with a tablespoon of water, cover with "press and seal" plastic wrap, and microwave for 30 seconds. Raisins are once again soft, moist, and a nice warm addition to the cold salad.

I always have a bottle of homemade dressing on hand and it usually consists of equal parts balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil - a tablespoon of dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Pour a decent amount on the salad - toss!

(Check out the steam rising off the shrimp - me gusta la comida caliente!)

Oh if only we had had a nice loaf of crusty french bread. A big glass of vino counts as a carb too right? Bon Appetit!

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