Thursday, January 03, 2008

Shrimps on sticks!

Tonight's Menu

  • stovetop-grilled shrimp on rosemary skewers
  • quinoa
  • spinach salad (sort of)
Oh, internets! I have neglected you horribly these past couple of months, I know. And I'm REALLY REALLY sorry. Blame it on The Pre-Holiday Slump That Almost Ate My Brain. But hey, it's January now, and my brain and I are back! And we are COOKING, bitches!

Okay, so the shrimp! This was kind of an experiment. What I did was cut some branches of rosemary (old/firm branches, not young/bendy ones) from the bushes out front, strip them of leaves to about an inch or so from the tip, then cut the ends (opposite the tips, yo) on an angle so they were fairly sharp. Then I cleaned about a pound of large-ish shrimp and threaded them onto the branches, alternating which direction the tails were facing (they lay a little more flat on the grill that way). I would have liked to brush them with something yummy at this point, but with the girl being allergic to soy and both kids complaining of itchy throats every time they eat garlic lately (please God, do not let my children be allergic to garlic on top of everything else), I gave up and just brushed them with EVOO.

Then I got my beloved IKEA grill pan screaming hot, and this is where the fun began, because the shrimps weren't making good contact with the grill. Since the grill pan isn't covered (because hello, it's a GRILL PAN), they were in danger of not getting cooked through or of getting burned/tough on the outside in order to be done in the middle. SO, after flipping them (I gave them maybe 2 - 3 minutes per side) I covered the pan with a cookie sheet for about a minute. This allowed them to get grilled as normal on the second side while still cooking through. As an added bonus, the leaves on the tips of the skewers were making contact just fine and were smoking a bit as a result, so covering the pan gave the shrimp a mini rosemary smoke infusion that really boosted the flavor. I cut wedges of lemon for folks to squeeze themselves and hardly missed the garlic at all (sniff!).

We've talked about how to cook quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), right? Just put a cup of it in a pan along with two cups of water (like for rice), bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then take it off the heat and just let it sit, covered, for five minutes or so before tossing with a fork to fluff it up. I always stir in a little salt and pepper before serving, but you can also go whole-hog and make a sort of pilaf with sauteed veggies (we just had it plain last night). This is a really great substitute for rice, particularly white rice, because it's a whole grain but doesn't have that sometimes unpleasant texture of brown rice (or whole-wheat pasta, shudder!).

Finally, the spinach salad. I say it was sort of a spinach salad because lately the boy child has requested that all our salads be served in "bar" fashion. In other words, a big bowl of greens with lots of little bowls of veggies or whatever surrounding it, so folks can mix their own. I thought this was a swell idea so that's what we've been doing. Last night it was a bowl of baby spinach with canned mandarin orange segments on the side. Dried cranberries and toasted nuts are great options, too, but we didn't have any.

Okay! So! Back to the kitchen!


Jaye Joseph said...

My dad was the king of salads, and he used to keep a veggie tray in the fridge with salad fixin's in the little compartments. When we had dinner, he'd put that out with our bowls of greens. Clever, but takes up a lot of room in the fridge.

jessica said...

i mince up some garlic (i know, maybe your kiddos would protest) and onions and throw them in with red pepper flakes and dried (or fresh, i guess) herbs before closing the lid on the quinoa. s & p too, of course. i love quinoa but find it too bland otherwise. cooking it with stock instead of water helps too.

damn, i'm hungry now!

Poppy Buxom said...

Today I went out to lunch and had the following salad: grilled shrimp with grilled peppers and grilled asparagus on top of baby spinach leaves, tossed with a vinaigrette.


Thank God I ate it before I read this, or I'd be chewing on my laptop.

BreadBox said...

Oooh! She's back! And what a wonderful idea -- rosemary skewers for shrimp sounds amazing: we have some very healthy rosemary bushes outside, and I just may have to try this one:-)
Welcome back from hiatus,

BreadBox said...

Are the kids allergic to sesame oil? ginger? It might make an alternative to soy/garlic for flavour on shrimp....