Saturday, November 14, 2009

Move Over Bubba Gump

Amanda and I used to coach middle school volleyball, and I recently discovered that a mom of one of the girls we coached started a seafood delivery company. For a city such as Seattle, I can’t think of a better idea! Surfin’ Seafood delivers fresh, flash frozen seafood right to your door—with a great selection to choose from. From salmon, to prawns, to halibut, Surfin’ Seafood seems to have the seafood lover covered. My friend Megan immediately jumped on the wave, and ordered an ice chest full of seafood that surfed right on up to her doorstep: two kinds of salmon, halibut, prawns, scallops, and smoked trout. Apparently, seafood delivery day was like Christmas at her house, with their seven-year-old ripping through the ice chest, estatic about the salmon and scallops!

I didn’t place an order in time for the November delivery, but after drooling over the selection posted on their website, I was having seafood withdrawals. Evan and I had just ranked our top 10 favorite proteins, and his number two choice was shrimp… which meant there was no better way to satisfy my seafood craving than to have a little mid-November shrimp-fest (because who can wait long enough for Ballard's summer seafood fest!?).

First, we needed a bright tropical preparation for Dexter night (it takes place in Miami, after all). LB came over, and we had garlic-lime shrimp over pineapple cilantro risotto. The shrimp tasted delicious, but ended up a little tough—I had let it sit in the lime and garlic marinade for too long and the acid from the lime had started to cook the little buggers.

The risotto, however, was AMAZING. I love making risotto, there’s so much you can do with it! Instead of just using chicken broth, I did a 50/50 mixture of broth and pineapple juice, and added tangy-sweet pineapple tidbits and fresh-bright cilantro. Delish! The meal didn’t satisfy our seafood cravings though… instead it sparked Evan and my appetites for more sweet and delectable shrimp!

The next night, I made a recipe from Gourmet that I’ve had my eye on for awhile now. The March 2009 issue featured a beautiful Korean menu, filled with a mix of delicate and robust recipes, like short rib stew and little dishes known as banchan. Among the banchan, completely unassuming, sat a recipe for Korean-Style Romaine. Ever since the issue arrived in my mailbox (RIP Gourmet) I’ve been drawn to the simple looking salad of romaine marinated in a hot sesame-soy dressing. Evan loves Asian flavors, so I decided to try out the salad, and throw in some boiled shrimp for good measure.

While the salad sounds and looks plain and boring, it packed a huge punch that had Evan and me literally licking the last drops of the dressing from our bowls. And, true to Gourmet’s word, the lettuce held up its crunch even after 30 minutes in the steaming hot, flavorful dressing. The shrimp—simply boiled with salt and pepper—were sweet and not overcooked this time, the perfect accompaniment to the umami-rich salad.

It’s recipes like this—simple, quick, thoughtful, and delicious—that make me miss Gourmet the most. I hate to think what I’ll be missing out on as the magazine closes its doors and recipe vaults. I guess I’ll just have to keep finding good recipes hidden within old issues, and making my own new recipes, like the amazing pineapple risotto.

Pineapple Cilantro Risotto

2 cups chicken broth
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion-diced
1/4th teaspoon ground coriander
1 bunch chopped cilantro
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup pineapple bits
S and P to taste

Bring broth and pineapple juice to a simmer in a large pot and keep warm. Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat- add onions and coriander, and sauté until onions are softened. Add rice and 1/3rd of the chopped cilantro to the onions. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth/juice and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next. When half the liquid is remaining, add pineapple tidbits. Continue adding liquid and stirring 1/2 cup at a time until rice is tender and creamy-looking, 16 to 18 minutes. Reserve a handful of cilantro for garnish, and add the rest to the risotto and stir in right before removing from heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve. I served with grilled garlic-lime shrimp and a dollop of spicy sour cream!
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