This week two of our best friends and their son came to visit from Vancouver. The best part of our visits, whether they’re here or we’re out west, is that their company always makes us feel like we’re on vacation. We could have work coming out the ying yang, but when they knock on the door, suddenly work doesn’t matter.
Out come the wine, and cheese, and food, and dessert, and wine, and hangovers, and then back to the hair of the dog, and more food.
They arrived Thursday evening. By Friday morning we decided this week’s kitchen challenge was going to be a group effort. Being from the west coast they regaled us with stories of stuffing their faces with freshly caught prawns.
Right now B.C. spot prawns are in season, so it was decided we’d find some and support our B.C. shrimpers.
I know we’re suppose to be supporting Gulf shrimpers this week, but being from Canada I thought we could stretch some geographic fishing lines, build a united front and show support for sustainable shrimping, period.
We researched fish markets that sold spot prawns. None were remotely close to our house. We could have, should have, gotten off our butts and made good on our sustainable alliance. But, we were tired and hung over. I know it’s disgraceful. Believe me, I feel it.
We ended up at a local fish market and bought what they were selling – large tiger shrimp. I didn’t ask where or how they’d been caught, so it’s possible they’re from the Gulf, right? They were fresh from the local fish market. That’s gotta count for something.
We paid for our prawns, and decided on a theme. A theme would help us focus on our task at hand. We mulled over some shrimp curries, shrimp jambalayas, and a couple of other ideas. Then we decided the shrimp just looked too good for our fancy concepts.
Screw it, we’d grill it and enjoy it for all its shell-fishy goodness.
Phew, the decision was made….until, we got stuck trying to figure out what should accompany the shrimp. After much heavy brewing (no pun intended on our mental condition) we agreed on a Southwestern/Asian theme; a little grilled shrimp fusion.
We would grill the shrimp, along with pineapple slices, and red peppers. Create a mango salsa/salad. Steam some baby bok choy, and drizzle it with sesame oil and fried garlic.
After we put the kids to bed we got to work. Four cooks, one kitchen.
Is there a reality show about too many cooks in a kitchen, yet?
As we got to work we decided we needed to amp up the competition. This challenge wasn’t going to be challenge enough if we weren’t some how competing against each other.
To add to our awesome southwestern/Asian challenge submission, we’d compete for the best in plating.
Surprisingly, or not, two of us decided to try and be artistic and two decided art looked more like a buffet, or a representation of ‘verticality’ as my husband expressed his plate. Right….
Artistic attempt no. 1
Artistic attempt no. 2
Buffet with an emphasis on verticality (verticality = shoving alot on your plate)
The dish was delicious and the company even better. Good food, good wine, good people. Over dinner we toasted this week’s challenge, and told stories about the moments in our lives that we discovered good food. Stuffing your face at a buffet being one.
So to the Gulf and B.C. shrimpers, and all sustainable fisheries – I sincerely apologize if Friday night’s dinner didn’t entirely make the sustainable grade – but I salute you in your practice, I hope BP cleans up its act, and I thank you and this week’s challenge for making good friends compete.
Drizzle shrimp with olive oil. Place on grill and cook until pink.
Slice pineapple. Place on grill until marked. Turn over and repeat
Grilled Red Pepper
Cut pepper in half. Place on grill until soft.
Mango salsa salad
2 Mangos, finely chopped
½ Cucumber, finely chopped
1 Tomato, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ Hot pepper diced, finely chopped
1 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp Limejuice
Mix Mango, cucumber, tomato, onion and hot pepper in bowl. Add oliveoil and limejuice, and stir. Add cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.
Sesame Baby Bok Choy
2 Baby Bok Choy
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Clove of garlic, sliced.
In a small fry pan, cook garlic until lightly browned. Put aside. In another pan pour in ½ an inch of water and boil. When water boils add bok choy and let steam until slightly wilted. Remove bok choy from pan, drizzle with sesame oil and toss with garlic.