Summer dinner

I have been getting pretty bored with my “at home” meals lately. I have been busy socially which hasn’t left much time to cook at home. Consequently, meals have been an afterthought. I even went so far as to buy premade hummus. It is now sitting in the refrigerator being ignored. Too much garlic and all I can say is it didn’t agree with me. Mine, I love.

So this weekend, I decided to make a nice meal for myself. It was easy to make, fresh and perfect for a summer evening.

Although I wanted to cook, I had no desire to go to the grocery store.  I had some nice shrimp in the freezer, a perfect avocado, a mango and herbs from my patio garden.

One of my favorite food blogs is Closet Cooking. On the site I found a recipe for Mango, Avocado and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Peanut Dressing http://www.closetcooking.com/2009/09/mango-avocado-and-grilled-shrimp-salad.html.  Almost perfect, I had most of the ingredients.

The grilled shrimp came from another recipe on the site, Tom yum grilled shrimp.  I found it to have too many ingredients that I didn’t have and sounded too time consuming. It was already 9pm and I was just starting dinner.  So, instead of making the as suggested, I chose to marinate them in a marinade I found of Bobby Flay’s, on the Food Network site. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/ginger-soy-lime-marinated-shrimp-recipe/index.html .

The only things I changed in the marinade was the ginger and leaving out the shallot. I had no fresh ginger but I did have crystallized ginger. I cut the sugar out of the recipe and used chopped crystallized sugar instead. It worked just fine. I grilled the shrimp on skewers on a med hot grill until browned and just done, but still tender.

The dressing for the salad called for a birds eye chile. I had no fresh chile but I did have Sriracha, so I used just a small squeeze of it instead.  The recipe also called for 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. I am not a big fan of fishy, so I only used about a teaspoon. For the salad greens, I had arugula.  I am happy I used it. It went very well with the dressing. Brown sugar was my choice of sweetener.

Along with the dinner, I made a tropical vodka colada using the tropical vodka I made from Roy Yamaguchi’s recipe http://ptbcooking.blogspot.com/2009/06/on-visit-to-dallas-last-year-i-had-very.html.

I combined the vodka, Knudson Pineapple Coconut juice and ice in a blender and blended until smooth. I toasted some fresh sweetened coconut, dipped the rim of a martini glass in honey then dipped it again in the coconut to decorate.  I then added the juice/vodka blend to the glass and topped it with cool whip I had mixed with a little rum extract. It was delicious.

I have included the link to the meal recipes above, but here they are as well.  I hope you will try them.  This makes a great summer meal.

Mango, Avocado and Grilled Shrimp Salad with a Peanut Dressing
(makes 2 salads)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1 lime (juice and zest)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 birds eye chili (sliced)
1 teaspoon palm sugar (grated or brown sugar)
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon mint (chopped)
1 mango (stoned, scooped and sliced)
1 avocado (stoned, scooped and sliced)
2 handfuls salad greens
2 green onions (sliced)
2 tablespoons peanuts (roasted and chopped)
6 tom yum grilled shrimp (optional)

1. Mix the coconut milk, lime, fish sauce, peanut butter, chili, sugar and cilantro in a bowl and set aside.
2. Assemble the salad, toss with dressing to coat and serve garnished with chopped roasted peanuts.

Ginger-Soy-Lime Marinated Shrimp
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

    2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
    1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
    4 cloves garlic, smashed
    3/4 cup soy sauce
    1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/4 cup chopped green onions
    1/4 cup peanut oil
    1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
    2 pounds large shrimp, shells and tails on


Place shallots, ginger, garlic, soy, lime juice, and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the green onion and oil and blend until combined. Season with black pepper, to taste. Place shrimp in a large bowl, pour the marinade over, and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Preheat a grill to high. Remove shrimp from the marinade and grill for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Serve on brown paper bags, if desired.

Serves: 8; Calories: 177; Total Fat: 5 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Protein: 25 grams; Total carbohydrates: 7 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber: 0 grams; Cholesterol: 172 milligrams; Sodium: 1923 milligrams