Sunday, December 11, 2005

Shrimp Suprise

Having finally moved in to our first real home, I was eager to cook something for my husband I knew he would enjoy.

My kitchen was unpacked, and the counters scrubbed to a shine. I filled my pantry with pastas, canned goods, spices and snacks. The fridge was also full of local California products: chicken,shrimp, lettuce and herbs; lemons and limes. I was ready to create a masterpiece. A meal to remember, our first real meal in this home. I poured a glass of wine and assembled the ingredients. Fresh shell-on shrimp, garlic, pickled ginger, cilantro. I'm whipping around the kitchen, cooking rice, sauteing garlic and butter, peeling shrimp. I was trying to cook something familiar, but with my own twist. The scent of jasmine filled the air as the rice bubbled away in its pot. Having sauteed all the ingredients, I heaped the fluffy rice on top, gently pressed it all down, and covered with a tight fitting lid. I reduced the heat on my un-familiar stove, and lay down on the couch, satisfied and waiting for my hubby.

An hour later, G arrives. He exclaims at the sweet smell in the air, proclaiming his ravaging hunger. I laugh and enter the kitchen, prepared to reveal my masterpiece to my husband. It was nothing, I'm telling myself, just something I threw together. I turned the pot upside down onto the waiting plate. My heart sank deep into my stomach as my eyes came upon the burnt and charred shrimp.

I threw the pot in the sink, then threw myself on the couch and buried my face in the pillows. "What's wrong?", my husband asked. "The dinner," I said, "It's ruined!" And I actually did cry. "Don't worry," G said, "I'll make something for us to eat."

I lay on the couch, feeling disappointed in myself, when a spectacular smell wafted in from the kitchen. My husband was actually cooking something! I was expecting ramen or a sandwich, but there he was, hunkered over the stove, with two pots bubbling away. "Can I help?" I asked, meekly. And it was then that I became my husband's assistant. I also learned that my husband had been faking an inability to cook for four years.

When we were done, about 15 minutes later, we sat down to a delicious saucy shrimp and rice dish. I have no idea what to call this dish except for Shrimp Suprise, since I was so suprised that G could cook so well. I'll have to burn dinner more often.

10-15 medium sized shrimp, peeled an de-veined
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup canned diced tomato
3 large basil leaves
3 cups cooked rice or pasta

1. In a medium sized pot, place diced tomatoes over medium heat. Allow to soften and reduce.
2. In another medium sized pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shrimp, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Cook until the shrimp are nearly done (about 3 minutes).
3. Deglaze with the white wine.
4. Add the cooked shrimp along with the remaining ingredients to the reduced tomatoes. Taste, and adjust for seasoning.
5. Serve with rice or pasta.