It’s been crazy times here on the farm! Well, farm may be overstating it, but in the last few months we’ve expanded the vegetable garden and squeezed organic and heirloom veggie seedlings into every nook and cranny. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say we’ve tripled the size of the garden. My knees and fingertips certainly wouldn’t argue. They’re killing me from putting in a gazillion new drippers!
As I mentioned in my last post, we also just finished building a fence complete with a colorful gate made from assorted metal dumpster treasures. Here’s a pic, in case you missed it:
By the time weekends roll around we are exhausted and just wanted to chill out with a tumbler of torrontes over ice, good friends and tasty food. It’s been gorgeous here in San Diego, so last weekend we invited some friends for a spontaneous grill-and-chill on the back deck. I wanted to keep it really simple so I popped down to Seaside Market for a hunk of wild yellowtail and a pile of fresh wild shrimp.
I like to grill shrimp with the shells on because it keeps them moist and tender. Peeling them while I eat also makes me feel like I’m on vacation in an exotic locale. Picture this: you pull up a chair at a beat-up wooden table in a casual outdoor bar/restaurant (is that a palapa overhead?), and order grilled shrimp and a cold beverage. Moments later, a waiter dumps a pile of steaming shrimp and lemon wedges on butcher paper in the middle of the table. You take a sip of your icy cold bev and casually reach for a shrimp, peel back the shell, squeeze on a little lemon, and bite into the moist, tender morsel. You close your eyes and chew slowly, savoring the moment. You lick your salty fingers and toss the shells back into the middle while all around you a bunch of your favorite people are doing the exact same thing. All that can be heard are happy lip-smacking sounds and clinking ice cubes. Ahhhh, heaven.
Ahem…sorry, my mind wandered off for a minute. Okay so normally I make an olive oil-lemon-garlic marinade for shrimp but I was craving something a little sweet and spicy… which led me to Thai. I’ve always been scared to make Thai food at home and generally been disappointed with my efforts, which is sad because I love it so much! I once watched a pad thai challenge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay thinking I’d be inspired to try again. I was not. I was totally freaked out! It just looked way too hard.
BUT I am happy to say that this effort changed my mind! See how happy I am?
It was really easy and tasty – sweet, salty, spicy – and the leftover marinade made a scrumptious sauce. Seriously, it was so good that one of my friends drank it right from the bowl, which gives me an idea for a soup recipe… hmmm. Since I’m feeling social, I think I’ll head over to Fiesta Fridays at The Novice Gardener’s lovely blog and share my recent success story. I’m a little nervous since those folks rock in the kitchen, but they seems like a pretty decent crowd, I’m sure they’ll be nice to the newbie.
As usual with my so-called recipes, it’s a mish-mosh of ideas I found online, ingredients I had on hand and modest amounts of guesswork. I didn’t measure anything, just put stuff in a bowl and tasted it along the way to make adjustments. If you want to give it a go, the basic marinade ingredients are:
Full-Fat Coconut Milk (don’t worry, it’s good for you now)
Lime Juice and Zest from One Lime
Fish Sauce (or salt)
Red Chili Pepper
Coconut Oil (or Vegetable Oil)
White wine (if needed to thin sauce)
Start, please, by cleaning your shrimp. This is easy with kitchen shears, just slice up the back of the shell, focus on something happy and pull out the, um, you know… stuff. Remove the little feets. Rinse and set aside to dry.
Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl, adjust to suit your taste, and add the shrimp. Heat the grill to high. After 10-15 minutes, use tongs to remove shrimp from marinade, shaking off the excess. Place shrimp on the grill. After about two minutes the shells should turn pink. When they do, flip them over and cook until the flesh is opaque white but still moist-looking, 2-3 minutes more. They should be fully cooked and super tender.
Before serving, warm the remaining marinade (don’t overheat like I did) and pour into dipping bowls for your guests. We poured the excess over brown jasmine rice and the grilled yellowtail.
Now set down that icy beverage and dig in! The louder the slurping the better.
And please, if you wouldn’t mind, share your favorite shrimp marinades with me in the comments – you can just write them in or link to your own blog. With grilling season around the corner I have a feeling I’ll be needing more tasty ideas!
~~~~~~~~~~~ END POST ~~~~~~~~~~~