I came this close to asking you to vote for me in the big blog awards thing that sweeps America this time of the year. This close. I thought about when I was in Goa, on one of my walks. I psyched myself up and said I would do it. I said I would list the things that would make me an ideal candidate for “Best whatever”. Of course, I would not be the best. There is no such thing. But for the sake of getting past these inner demons that tell us we’re inadequate, I’d do it anyway….
When I set out to write this post, I wanted it to be A) wise B) funny C) life-changing. Things changed in the past hour and the staring game I’ve been playing with a box of acrylic paints has convinced me that I need to set this past weekend in stone. Lest I forget. I forget weekends a lot. The first question people ask here on a Monday morning is: How was your weekend? If there was extreme weather, forget about mentioning anything dire. Nobody will care X 100000. This time, I decided to prepare*.
“So, how was your weekend?”
Me: Glad you asked. I woke up on Saturday with ants in my pants. I hate relaxing. If I tell you I relaxed all weekend, don’t believe me. I ran. If I was going to finish off the rest of that pizza, I needed to make more room. My insides can only take 4 slices of a medium pizza at a time. Plus, somebody gave me a box of Top Pot donuts on Friday sooooooo. As soon as I got home, I celebrated by eating my first slice of pizza with a side of 2 eggs. I am not an animal. I showered and watched my first movie of the day: The Skeleton Twins. It was on iTunes for $1 (rent, not buy). As if I needed convincing…KRISTEN WIIG. Hello. My short review is that this movie is worth more than $1. My long review doesn’t exist. After the movie, which wrecked my insides, I proceeded to work on food illustrations for the next 7 hours. It was a productive and healing time for me. Making art and eating pizza is the best thing you can do for yourself on a Saturday. Once I finished creative pursuit #3, I went to creative pursuit #4, watching another movie – Amour – all by myself, under a blankie. I can’t understand why all I want to do is emotionally destroy myself. Oh yes. It’s because I had leftover donuts.
On Sunday, lest we forget, we went to our (my) favourite grocery store and bought more shrimp, a side of salmon and lots (I’m not even joking) of vegetables. We searched in vain for cheese samples and left for home to eat more donuts and drink coffee, like Americans. Soon after I cleaned the fish and marinated shrimp, I sat down to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I never stopped. I couldn’t. I have never binge-watched anything before and in order to stay true to myself, I slept through the last episode. Pinot Noir hasn’t stopped playing in my mind cassette. As for the shrimp and kale food, it was amazing. The shrimp will never be as good as it is in Goa but it was a brave attempt and I’m willing to give it many chances until December. That’s when I’ll eat all the in-between small and fat-sized prawns. Fair warning, tourist season.
How was your weekend?
Goan-style shrimp and grits
This recipe is my interpretation of a Goan dish called “kismur”. It’s usually made with tiny dehydrated shrimp or fish. While I’ve always loved the coconut part of the recipe, I could never eat the shrimp because they always jabbed the inside of my cheek. I decided to use fresh shrimp instead and serve it over grits, a new favourite comfort food for me thanks to the Kiss My Grits food truck that spoilt us last summer. This recipe needs no “notes”, but one and that is a note of thanks to Gabby for giving me a bag of grits straight from South Carolina! THANK YOU, G-DAWG (I’m inviting you over again so I can make you this).
For the grits
- Recipe from Sean Brock’s Heritage as posted on Food 52. I halved the ingredients in Food 52 recipe for this post.
For the shrimp + coconut (kismur)
- 8 shrimp, peeled and deveined (keep the tails on)
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- Juice of ¼ of a lime
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp +1 tbsp coconut oil, divided
- 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Thai green chili, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup green onions, chopped into rounds
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut (You can also use frozen, which you should find at any Indian grocery store in the US)
- Pinch of garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Chopped parsley, butter and lime to serve/garnish
Marinate the shrimp with chili powder, turmeric, lime juice and salt and let it sit covered in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hours to a maximum of 6 hours.
Cook the grits, cover and set them on the stove on very low heat while you cook the toppings.
Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the garlic and chilli to it. Stir frequently for about 30 seconds making sure that the ingredients do not burn. Add the green onions next and sauté for about a minute. Next, add the coconut and fry it for about 4-5 minutes or until the coconut browns slightly. Take the frying pan off the heat as soon as this happens and add a pinch of garam masala and salt to taste. Empty the coconut mixture into a bowl and set aside.
Once the shrimp is ready to fry, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the pan. It should sizzle as soon as it touches the pan. Cook for a minute to a minute and a half on one side and turn the shrimp over. Cook for a minute more and take the pan off the heat. Stir the coconut mixture into the pan and toss to coat the shrimp. Place the contents of the pan back into the bowl.
To serve: Spoon a heap of grits into a bowl and top with the shrimp and coconut. Serve hot/warm with chopped parsley, a wedge of lime and more butter.
It should be eggs on a Sunday but it’s not. It’s not even Sunday but it might be by the time this reaches you. I do insane things. I work at a kitchen and on my day off I say “Hey, let’s make more dishes for you to wash!”
And so I do.
It’s worth it.
This was dinner the Sunday before the last one. I’d like to say it took me an hour to make but that would be stretching it. It was the easiest fancy-looking meal I’ve made in a while and it was delicious. There’s some Pacific cod, chorizo, couscous, eggplant, red peppers, parsley, shallots, red grapes, cherry tomatoes, WALNUTS (duh)…all in that plate.
This here is an adapted version of the cod recipe. I say adapted like I’m some sort of genius but really I was just making do. That’s what adapting is I suppose…
You can use a thick filet of any white fish and you’re guaranteed to get a similar result. If you’re in Goa or have Goa on your things-to-do list, please try making this with the local rosary sausage. Ahhhhh. Delicious thoughts.
I hope you’re living well.
Like a round of shots. But without the hangover. Unless you have fish hangovers, which if you do, I envy your life.
Last week I said I’d share two salmon recipes from a book and I never did that. I shared one and then left you wondering if I’m worth the time. If I’m ever going to be that one honest person in your life that tells you the truth when you ask where babies come from. Except I’d adult it up.
I AM worth your time. We were born from rash decisions and the idea that babies happen to everybody else. Storks bring them.
I chalk this all up to being a newbie and losing my marbles from time to time. Have you seen them by the way? My marbles, of course.
This week, I’m a whole new person. I’m not going to forget what I tell you as soon as my dog stops panting in my face (I CAN SMELL YOUR TULIP-SCENTED BREATH CHEVY BOY). He needs to go for a walk but I made a commitment right now so you and me, we’re doing this thing.
The thing where I demonstrate my ace fish cake skills…
For the salmon mix (should make 4 round cakes)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh salmon, skinned, poached in water and flaked (you can also skin it after poaching, if that’s how you roll)
- 2 tbsp finely diced red/purple whatever you call it onion
- 1/2 cup grated pepper Jack cheese
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp minced jalapeno1 tbsp washed and chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp minced red pepper
- 1 egg white, beaten lightly
- 2 tbsp panko
For breading the salmon cakes with panko
- Peanut or any vegetable oil
- 1 cup panko
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 4 egg whites, beaten lightly
Mix together all of the ingredients listed below and refrigerate the outcome.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced jalapeno
- 1/4 cup minced red/purple onion
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- Pinch of black pepper
Please don’t be intimidated by all the ingredients. You’ll see what a breeze it actually is once you do the mise en place. That’s what it’s called, right? If anything, my use of French should intimidate you.
Boil some water in a pot and drop the salmon into it. Gently. Be cool. Let it cook for 5 minutes after which you take it out of the pot WITH YOU BARE HANDS. Do not do that, please. Oh my gosh, what am I even on.
Flake the salmon.
Mix the salmon with the onion, cheese, mayonnaise, jalapeno, salt and red pepper. To this,
ass add the egg white and (2tbsp) panko crumbs and combine. Too many “ands” spoil the soup. Sort of unavoidable but I’ll spare you the English lesson.
I’d eat it this way if nobody was looking and if I lived on the edge.
Once it’s all mixed well, shape it into 4 patties and refrigerate for an hour so it sets well.
Pick a pan that’s deep enough and using your super powers of guestimation (a word I swore I’d never use) pour enough oil that would cover half of the salmon cake on the base.
Heat the oil to a good medium-high temperature. The original recipe says 350 degrees F but I don’t own a thermometer so I flex my arms and go with the flow. Whatever works.
Then I proceed to play with my food. Aren’t you so glad you found me?
To bread the salmon cakes, mix the cup of panko and cormeal together. Dip the cakes into the egg whites and then coat it with the dry cormeal-panko mixture. Fry the salmon until they turn a nice crispy golden brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towels. This step always makes me feel like I’m doing my body a huge service.
Serve warm with the jalapeno aioli. And garnish with all of nature’s bounty. I use cilantro sprigs, matchstick carrots and lemon juice.
If it’s too pretty to eat, give me a call. I’m sure I can talk you into buying me a plane ticket, without being Miss Crazy Stalker.
I do it for the fans.