I think my favorite Fearless blogs are the ones that happen spontaneously. Like when my friend Andrea and I decided around lunchtime today that we should get together for dinner (probably motivated by the caloric disaster that was our free agency lunch of greasy deep-dish pizza).
Andrea is by and large a vegetarian, but she eats seafood, and I was eager to cook some of my CostCo shrimp. I wanted it to be a really healthy meal, since we had both ingested a cheese brick at noon. This Fearless meal is: Asian-Spiced Shrimp with Wine-Steamed Bok Choy and Cilantro-Lime Rice.
FEARLESS FACTOR: 5. Andrea is a good friend, so I knew it would be low-stress evening. However, she is a vegetarian, and I didn't want to offend her palate! In fact, I wanted to show off my cooking skills on more than just typical carnivorous fare.
The best part about the dinner was finding out that Andrea has an amazing knowledge of wine, which of course I pressed her to share. I, on the other hand, know which wines I like, but I don't really know why. After the basic knowledge of white-wine-with-fish, red-wine-with-beef, I'm hard-pressed to name anything useful about specific varietals. I served Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc with meal, which was nice, but Andrea pointed out that crisper wine (maybe a Pinot Grigio) could also be a nice complement to the spicy and citrus elements.
Read on to see how it came together.
About 14 frozen (or fresh) peeled, deveined shrimp, tails on
3/4 c. sweet Asian chile sauce
1 T. Sriracha (or to taste)
1 c. dry white rice
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
juice of one lime
handful of whole cashews
salt and pepper
splash of white wine
1 T. olive oil
2 c. chopped fresh bok choy
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
Cook rice according to package directions. Season with a little salt and pepper. Stir in the lime juice, chopped cilantro, and cashews. Cover, set aside, and keep warm.
Thaw shrimp (if frozen) by running them under warm water. Drain. In a deep bowl, toss them in the Asian sauce to marinate. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan (or skillet) over medium heat, coating with a little Pam spray. Cook about 3 minutes on each side, spooning extra sauce over each one as they cook, until pink and cooked through.
While the shrimp are cooking, heat olive oil in a medium pot with a lid. Add peppers and bok choy. Season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of white wine, stir, and cover, cooking over medium-high heat. The bok choy should be tender within a few minutes of steaming (5-6 minutes).
Place 6-7 shrimp over rice, serve with steamed veggies, and enjoy!
ANDREA: The shrimp has some kick! My sinuses were stuffed up before...but not anymore! I love the sauce, I want to lick it up. It's spicy, but the cilantro in the rice cools it down. The lime flavor is a nice complement to the shrimp. I think it might be a little heavy on the black pepper, but the shrimp are cooked perfectly, and the bok choy is crispy but tender in all the right places. It came together nice and quick, too, which is good since I was really hungry.
MY VOTE ON MY DISH: 7 stars. I agree with Andrea that the black pepper was a little heavy. I liked the spice level, but then again I really like spicy things. The shrimp were nicely cooked. I think the veggies could ahve used maybe a tad more seasoning, but I agree that they were cooked well. Not the most adventurous dish I've ever made, but considering that I only like shrimp about 50% of the time that I eat it, I consider this a success.
Andrea also had some amazing "builds" (as we say in agency lingo) on the meal:
"Next time, I might serve a coconut sorbet for dessert...with lavender shortbread. And for an appetizer, some dried figs and some really good cheese."
I am definitely making Andrea a part of my future party planning! I think the next step is to combine forces and get BOTH of us in the kitchen.
Thanks for reading! More soon...