Tuesday, February 9, 2010

catching up

I'm back from Boston, where I spent my time whipping up a variety of freezable meals, had a fantastic meal at Hungry Mother, and generally had a lovely time.

Cooking has been a bit light around here, and will continue to be so for a while. I'm finishing the writing on my doctoral thesis, and much as I'd love to escape to the kitchen, I need to focus on that for a while. Here's what we've been up to food-wise this week:

Sunday: Plumped Ginger-Caramel Shrimp; brown jasmine rice

This is, so far, the only shrimp recipe I've used. Eating seafood is a relatively new thing for me, and I still am somewhat hesitant to cook it. This was my second time making it, and it was (again) delicious. I made a 1/3 recipe:

Plumped Ginger-Caramel Shrimp
adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper

for the brine:
  • 1/2 C kosher salt
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/3 C medium-hot chile powder
  • 2 qts water (warm if using frozen shrimp, cold if using fresh)
  • 1 1/2 lb shrimp (in or out of their shells)
In a medium bowl, mix together the non-shrimp brine ingredients. Add the shrimp, and let stand for 20 minutes while you chop the other ingredients (at room temp for frozen shrimp, and in the fridge for fresh).

for the saute:
  • 4 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 4" piece ginger, peeled and grated (you could mince both this & the garlic, but I like to use my microplane on 'em)
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • a sprinkle of salt
  • 4 tsp sugar
After they've been brining for 20 minutes, drain the shrimp. Peel them if necessary and pat them dry. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, ginger, pepper, and salt. Cook for about a minute, stirring to let all the aromatics come into contact with the hot oil. Add the sugar and keep cooking until the garlic is pale gold - the line between slightly darkened and burnt is a fine one in this dish, so be watchful. Drop in the shrimp and stir for another 2 minutes or so, until the shrimp are turning pink and are barely firm.
serves 4, very generously

The brown rice was partly a chance to play with my new toy - a rice maker that will cook it! Our old Zojirushi was wonderful, but basically couldn't cope with brown rice. The new one is smaller (we just got a 3C, since I found a fabulous deal on that size), but still makes enough rice for 4 people. Or for the two of us, plus enough leftovers for fried rice the next day:

Monday: Ginger Fried Rice with a Fried Egg

Victor made this - it was amazingly good and didn't seem to take too long. Definitely an addition to our regular rotation, since it has a lot of room for improvisation, but the crispy bits of garlic and ginger really take this particular version beyond most fried rice recipes. For this time, though, he just made the recipe as detailed on Smitten Kitchen.

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