Sunday, January 24, 2010

Food Co-op

I finally did it. I joined a food co-op. We got our first delivery yesterday, mostly the basics: celery, carrots, some apples, and pineapple among other things. As of right now, we're just trying it out to see if we like it. I kind of like the idea of getting a box of vegetables and being challenged to try new things with it.

I'm also trying to begin doing Meatless Mondays. Lent is coming soon, and I'll be meatless on Fridays too during Lent, but as a general matter I've always found the Lenten Fridays to be precisely the days when I could use a steak. Monday is more a detoxification day. But, to be sure, I'll be doing both this Lent. I've actually given up meat entirely for Lent in the past, but I found that if the purpose of the Lenten fast is to get some perspective, then I somewhat miss the point if I spend 40 days feeling hungry and moody. Yes, I admit it. Going without meat made me cranky.

Anyway, back to vegetables. Once I got all this nice produce, I wanted to put together something that would use some of the veggies that I already had, as well as show off some of nice reds and greens in peppers and leaks (peppers and leaks that needed to be eaten soon, or thrown out). I also got a good deal on some wild caught shrimp at the supermarket, so I wanted to use that too. Of course, Fuchsia Dunlop comes to the rescue again. Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, people! Get it! You need it!

I just flipped through the index for "shrimp" and found a nice recipe called "Fisherman's Shrimp with Chinese Chives". That was enough to inspire me. I fried up the shrimp in a small cast iron skillet so that I could get the shrimp deep into the oil without using a gallon of the stuff. Oil ain't free you know. I cooked some red peppers and leaks in a separate skillet and combined them at the end. If I had to do it over again, I would have actually never combined the fried shrimp with the veggies. Instead, I should have just put the shrimp on top of the veggies in the dish. Mixing them up with the moist vegetables made the shrimp a little less crisp than they were when I first fried them. It was still pretty fantastic though. Here's the recipe.

Spicy Garlic Fried Shrimp with Peppers and Leaks
Loosely adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop

1 lb. Shrimp, uncooked, cleaned, and de-shelled.
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 Egg White
1 cup Peanut Oil
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
3 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Fish Sauce
1 Red Pepper
1/2 of a Leak

Gently mix shrimp, egg white, and flour in a medium bowl to coat the shrimp. In a small pot or skillet, heat oil to around 300 degrees. Cook the shrimp in the oil in small batches for a few minutes on each side until the shrimp is crisp and fully cooked. Remove the shrimp from the oil and set aside on a paper towel.

In a separate, larger skillet, saute sliced leeks and thinly sliced red pepper in peanut oil over high heat. When the peppers start to soften up, add the minced garlic. A minute or two after the garlic is added, mix in fish sauce, vinegar, and crushed red pepper with the leaks and peppers.

Remove the vegetables and lay them along the bottom of a bowl or serving dish. Put the cooked shrimp into the large skillet and gently mix around the pan in order for the shrimp to soak up some of the seasoning and juices left over from the vegetables. Arrange the shrimp on top of the vegetables. Do not cover, otherwise the steam is likely to make the shrimp soggy.

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