There have been three influences in my life that encourage me to try to cook more creatively (or at all). My mother, the original role model, could take yesterday’s leftovers and create an entirely different meal from it. My husband, my muse (and really the pickiest person I know), sees a Chopped-stocked refrigerator when looking for something to eat, while I see a need to run to the grocery store (or order takeout). Finally, the talented Mimi, who reminds me that I need to be a better shopper, keeps key ingredients always stocked in her kitchen for future cravings. These are all qualities that I do not possess but am determined to learn, at the very minimum, in order to expose my children to a variety of meals.
Now I should mention that in order to make a meal more interesting (and I don’t end up with fruit salad every night), I have my daughter pick from four different areas of the kitchen i.e. the pantry, fridge, freezer, etc. This allows for more variety. This week, she chose the following:
As soon as my daughter selected shrimp and rice, I already knew I would make shrimp curry. It’s pretty easy and delicious (and I’ve made it before). I, first, marinated the shrimp in lemon juice. Let me stop for a minute and tell you about my love affair with lemon. Since being pregnant with my son, I have had the biggest cravings for anything lemon. I am obsessed. I want it in everything, and I don’t care if you like it or not, it is a delightful ingredient. Okay, where were we…So, while the shrimp was marinating in God’s juice, I cooked the rice. Rice is one of those things one should learn to cook, whether you’re a good cook or not. When I first got married, my husband taught me how to make rice. It’s easy and you don’t have to stand over it all day. Learn it. One cup of rice, two cups of water, salt, pepper, curry. Done. I could’ve chopped up some carrots to go in it, but didn’t feel like it. Back to the shrimp. Another trick I have picked up is to let your pan and oil get hot before throwing your meat on it. I am embarassed to say, I just learned that this year, but I am a ditz in the kitchen, sometimes, if I haven’t brought that point home yet. Anyways this process provides a far superior taste and texture rather than just warming up your meat. I let the shrimp sizzle for a bit until it smelled delicious and looked a little sunburned. I didn’t have any coconut milk, which is something my husband usually puts in his curry, so I just used coconut oil to cook and added some milk. I like my rice pretty moist, so I made the shrimp and milk a little saucy to pour over the rice in the end, but it’s really about preference.
While the shrimp was cooking, I decided what to do with the blueberries. To keep with the Indian food theme, I made lassi. Lassi is basically a smoothie with salt. I used organic whole milk yogurt, blueberries, some water, and a couple of dashes of salt and blended it. You can boil some water and put sugar in it to add to the smoothie, but I thought the blueberries would give it enough sweetness. Everything was done from start to finish in about 40 minutes, but my distractions seen below added time, so others can do it in less time if you have help with the kids or no kids at all.
In the end, I think I got 4 stars. About the curry, my daughter said, “What I like about it is the flavor and the shrimp and the rice.”
And I guess Lassi is an acquired taste because she pointed out, “It doesn’t have too much flavor…” One minute later, “Oh now I like it, sometimes I have to wait until I like it.”
Well I’m glad my judge got it together…