Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shrimp Tacos = Summer Time

I must confess… it’s been a strange start to June. Today I woke up at 6 a.m. to a major thunderstorm, then I literally sunburned my arms while sitting outside during lunch, and then this afternoon a huge gale-force wind storm blew up again. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride into Summer, I must say, and while I adore summer storms, I’m sort of craving the sun these days. And honestly, since Sunday night, I keep thinking about a fantastic meal that Roni and I put together which is truly summer-swoon-worthy.

Before I delve into said meal, I have to preface this by saying that every month, we receive two printed culinary gems: Gourmet and Bon Appetit. Honestly, when each of these come in, I grab a mug of coffee/glass of wine/pint of beer and peruse to my heart’s content, dog-earing certain recipes, post-it noting others, etc.

Yet I hardly get around to ever making any of these recipes, mostly because I’m Lazy and Forgetful and these things do not bode well for meal planning. Yet I changed things with a “Mexican Seafood Saute” recipe in the June issue of Bon Appetit and am now UN-Lazy with a Great Memory. Anyway.

First of all…. For our Shrimp Tacos, I…wait for it… made… wait for it… TORTILLAS. Yes, I know, who does this? It’s like saying “Yo, I’m totally gonna make crackers” or “Man, I should just whip up some mustard right now.” I mean you can, obviously, but there are certain things that I think people take for granted at the grocery store, like tortillas. Tired of not getting my Mexican food craving satisfied, I took matters into my own hands and kneaded and rolled my way towards tortilla heaven. And guess what? Twasn’t hard at all. In fact, it was so flippin’ easy that Roni took one bite, looked at me, then said, “Sammy D, I’m sorry, but we are NEVER going back to store-bought tortillas.” This of course means I’ll be perfecting my technique because I kind of suck at rolling dough out into perfect circles, but oh MAN were they good. Here’s a quick shot, and I’m sorry that my stack of 9 tortillas doesn’t look taller.

From new year, new food

So, if that isn’t enough to get you all hot and bothered for this post, then we are moving on to the filling of said tortilla awesomeness.

Roni was in charge of the Shrimp Saute. First off, this sauce/marinade is so good I want to bathe in it. Which is kind of gross, but you haven’t tried it yet so don’t give me that look. With the shrimp it was incredible: bright, with multi-leveled flavors of fun and summer and there was a fiesta in my mouth.

From new year, new food

Money Shot!

We had some pretty ripe mangoes that I chopped up for the salsa, along with an avocado, jalapeno, shallots, lime juice and mint.

I can’t really describe why this dinner was so good. Maybe it was because the day had finally been sunny, we had gone kayaking in the Potomac in the morning, and were in complete summer-vacation moods with sunburned shoulders and that sweet exhaustion that comes with being outside all day. But, it was that good, and mama don’t lie.

From new year, new food

I also just made a straight-up black bean/corn/pepper salad that I always make when I have tacos or enchiladas because its tradition and I am a traditional kinda gal, you see. Plus its super easy and makes for good lunch-fixins for the next day or so.

Please make these tacos this summer, and set yourself a goal of making tortillas. It’s really not scary, I promise. Also, you’ll be the coolest person you know! It’s a win-win situation if you ask me. Oh, and don't rub your nose or your face after chopping jalapenos...even after you wash your hands twice...because it will burn. And if you actually read all the way through this long post, you get a gold star and I’ll even throw in a tortilla.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Your New Favorite Cookie

Okay. So. This is gonna be a quick and zippy entry because I’m kind of in between two bigger posts. Yet I know I need to get something up here like yesterday, so I thought I would treat you to some cookies.

Because everybody deserves a good cookie sometimes.

From new year, new food

I apologize for giving you such a meh oatmeal cookie recipe last time, but I am now making up for it with these Pecan Drops. I got them from The Wednesday Chef who in turn got them from the L.A. Times who in turn got them from Harris Ranch, which is an inn and restaurant owned by some huge beef feeder/marketer in California. Weird, I know, but what can you do. I’ve made them multiple times, they’re pretty fool-proof, and are SO GOOD. Also, they package and travel well according to Roni who has sent batches home to her family. This is made all the more important by the fact that Roni doesn’t really like baking at all. See? Easy as pie. Pecan Pie, actually, if we’re going to get down to business about what these cookies remind me of.

I love Thanksgiving, which I am sure I will discuss more and more as we get closer to the Big Event this upcoming November. One of my favorite aspects of Turkey Day is the array of pies. I LOVE pie. I do. Especially the crunchy topping on a good pecan pie. Honestly, that's what these cookies should be called- Easy Crunchy Pecan Pie Topping Amazingness Cookies.

From new year, new food

Oh, and guess what? They have no flour, no butter, maybe 5 ingredients, and come together in the flashiest of flashes. They are nutty and chewy and taste maple-y, which must be a magical caramel chemical reaction between the pecans and brown sugar.

From new year, new food

To the genius who invented these cookies: I want to give you a high-five and wear BFF heart necklaces together and then bake these cookies on rainy Sunday afternoons. Love, Samantha