Thai Peanut Shrimp and Kale over Basmati Rice

Thump, thump, thump, clang, clatter annnnd done.  That’s the sound of me racing to the kitchen to make dinner at halftime last night.  Yes, the Patriots played and I was glued to my seat the entire game save a hurried trip to the kitchen.  Even though I grocery shopped last week, this weekend’s snow storm left us a little light on ingredients.  Rather than brave the roads and the storm (or leave the game for any reason), I rummaged in the pantry and dug into the freezer to find a group of ingredients that could make a quick dinner.

Halftimes and football games not withstanding, rummaging and digging for ingredients which then become a delicious meal is, without question, one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen.  It’s actually also a little calming.  Rather than having so many options with a wealth of ingredients, the restriction of “what’s on hand” actually makes the creation process easier, with only a few choices rather than unlimited options.

It’s also, for many, a different way to think about cooking.  Rather than planning a menu and shopping to that plan, which I also highly recommend, the rummage and dig method, or “freezer diving” as I like to call it, is a perfect way to reduce waste, use up what’s on hand, and spend a little less at the grocery store.

Hope you like this quick, healthy meal!

thai peanut shrimp and kale over basmati rice

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Baby Kale over Basmati Rice
Rice
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Shrimp and Kale
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup sliced onion; about 1 small onion
1/2 tablespoon minced lemon grass
1/2 Thai chili, seeds removed and julienned
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger: about 1/2 ginger root
1 tablespoon minced garlic; about 3 cloves
4 cups light packed baby kale
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp (16 to 20 count)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Rice
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Meanwhile, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Add to the boiling water, cover and remove from heat after 15 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.  Meanwhile, prepare the shrimp and kale.

Shrimp and Kale
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil and then the onion and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon grass, chili, ginger and garlic and sauté for another 1 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the kale and the rest of the ingredients except the shrimp. When everything is well incorporated and at a simmer, add the shrimp and cook for 2 to 4 minutes watching closely until the shrimp just turns pink all the way through. Serve over basmati rice with garnishes.

Serves 4 to 6

Shrimp, Snap Pea and Couscous Salad

Shrimp, Snap Pea and Couscous Salad

1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and grilled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, or 2 teaspoons, minced
8 oz. snap peas or 2 cups
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dill
6 oz. feta cheese
1 cup couscous, uncooked
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
baby greens such as mesclun mix

Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise.  In a medium bowl pour boiling water over the cous cous and salt.  Stir gently with a fork and cover for 5 minutes.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and sauté 30 seconds.  Add the snap peas, dill and salt and pepper and sauté 1 minute.  Add the white wine and lemon juice and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp and tomatoes.  Separate the grains of cous cous with a fork and spoon over a bed of baby greens.  Crumble feta cheese on top and serve.

Serves 4

Shrimp, Snap Pea and Couscous Salad

1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and grilled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, or 2 teaspoons, minced
8 oz. snap peas or 2 cups
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dill
6 oz. feta cheese
1 cup couscous, uncooked
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
baby greens such as mesclun mix

Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise.  In a medium bowl pour boiling water over the couscous and salt.  Stir gently with a fork and cover for 5 minutes.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and sauté 30 seconds.  Add the snap peas, dill and salt and pepper and sauté 1 minute.  Add the white wine and lemon juice and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp and tomatoes.  Separate the grains of couscous with a fork and spoon over a bed of baby greens.  Spoon the shrimp mixture on top of the couscous then crumble feta cheese on top and serve.

Serves 4

Cook the Book – Cornish Game Hens with Smoked Shrimp and Brandy Stuffing

While I’ve used Ducktrap smoked shrimp in this recipe because it’s my favorite, you could easily substitute something else.  In the Caribbean, where I actually created this recipe while cooking on a yacht, I used canned smoked shrimp and it was almost as yummy.  Oysters would also be a good choice.

Cornish Game Hens with Smoked Shrimp and Brandy Stuffing

Stuffing:
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1/2 minced shallot
1 1/2 cups finely diced day old French bread
1 tablespoon brandy
1/2 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup smoked Ducktrap shrimp
1/4 teaspoon salt

Hens:
4 Cornish game hens
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a medium sized sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter and sauté the onion, celery, shallots and salt. Add the mixture to the remaining stuffing ingredients and gently toss until everything is mixed. Rub the outside and inside with the oil, salt, pepper and paprika.  Stuff the hens and roast them until the thighs move loosely in the joints (about 1 hour).

Serves 4

Annie
Off now to paint the kitchen!

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Caramelized Black Pepper Shrimp & Jasmine Rice

While the farmer’s markets may be woefully absent (or hidden in churches and community centers) and the roadside stands that dot our rural roads may be bereft of the colorful vegetable stands of the summer and fall, there is still color beside the road and local food to be found.  The color takes the form of the shrimp vendors standing by the side of the road with their bright yellow and red parkas zipped all the way up to their noses.  The local shrimp is so plentiful that it’s tough not to indulge too much.

Caramelized Black Pepper Shrimp

16 oz. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon molasses
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons fresh Thai chili pepper, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons grated onion

Combine molasses, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, Thai peppers, black pepper, rice vinegar, nam pla and water in a bowl.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Heat the oil and add the shrimp. Toss gently and add the mixture.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp is pink.  Serve with jasmine rice.

Serves 4

Jasmine Rice

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 cups jasmine rice
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Rinse rice in cold water until the water runs clear.  Drain.  Heat a medium stockpot over medium high heat and melt butter.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add the rest of ingredients, cover and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes or until tender.

Serves 4-6

Annie
Glad to know local is just around the corner

© 2009 Anne Mahle