Saturday, February 18, 2012

Curried Shrimp with Cabbage

I'm sorta kinda pretty ritualistic and schedule-driven in all areas of my life. it what you will, but it's what I need to do to avoid twitching and worrying all the time.

The kitchen is not exempt either...I shop on Sunday, prep meats and marinades on Monday, cook on Wednesday for the next seven days. And on Saturday, I start concocting amazingly creative meals out of the odds and ends that have managed to survive a week in my house without being eaten by me or one of my hordes of children. Other people call this 'using up leftovers'. Other people are boring.

So, that brings us to today...Saturday...fridge cleaning day. Lunchtime rolls around and I start rummaging, pulling out things that need to get used up before they go bad. I hatedetestdespise throwing food away because it went bad sitting in the fridge too long...which has, admittedly, led to some rather bizarre combinations. But today is looking promising: the last two baby yellow squash from the farmer's market two weeks ago (I bought a LOT of them!), the last little chunk from a head of red cabbage. One big fat roma tomato, a piece of ginger, a jalapeno, the pound of 'broken' shrimp I hadn't ever gotten around to cooking yet, a lime,3/4 of a can of coconut milk and a bunch of cilantro. (and since I know you're all wondering...Winco sells 'broken' shrimp for $5.98 a pound. It's their big fat expensive shrimps that are deformed and not astethically pleasing a missing tail means I get shrimps that are bigger than a pea when cooked. Bam!)

It didn't take more than a second looking at the ingredients assembled on the counter to know that curry was on the menu for lunch!

And I was hungry...but I realized this would be amazingly good and I ran upstairs and grabbed the camera just for you guys. And then a pen and paper. Yep. I...ME!!!...wrote down a recipe as I made it up. And I even measured stuff. For reals. And I just checked The Weather Channel. The current temperature in Hell, Michagan is 23 degrees. Seriously! It really is! So yeah, Hell did freeze over.

So in my own unimitable style, the recipe:

Curried Shrimp with Red Cabbage

2 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 pound shrimp
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup yellow squash, sliced
1 cup tomato, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and grated
1 jalapeno, finely diced (leave seeds and membranes in if you like more of a kick)
1 tsp each cumin seeds, ground tumeric, and cayenne pepper
1 Tbs coriander seeds (can substitute ground for either the cumin or coriander seeds)
juice and zest of 1 lime
3/4 can coconut milk
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves chopped
1 cups red cabbage, shredded

Head oil in a large pan , then add mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop, about a minute.

Add onion and cook for a minute or two until they start to soften.

Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, for another minute or so.

Add squash and tomatoes.

Grind the cumin seeds, tumeric, coriander seeds, and cayenne pepper and add to the pan, along with the garlic. (If you don't have seeds or a grinder, just add the same quantity of pre-ground spices to the pan.) Mix well and cook for another minute or two.

When shrimp are almost cooked all the way,add the lime zest and juice and coconut milk to the pan. Stir and let the fat solids from the coconut milk melt down. Add the cilantro, mix and cook for another minute or two.

Serve Curried Shrimp on a bed of red cabbage. Garnish with finely diced jalapeno for a little extra kick.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Better Farmers Market

The picture above, unbelievably enough, is $20 worth of produce that I bought today in about 3 minutes! Not only did I save a ton of money (today at Winco, spaghetti squash was $0.98 lb...that is almost 20 pounds of spaghetti squash alone. So basically, everything else was free!) but my money went to a very good cause!

I love vegetables! That's not a surprise! And, years ago, I used to love going to the Farmer's Market every Saturday and coming home with bags of fresh, unbelievably tasty produce for next to nothing. But now, going to the Farmer's Market is not necessarily pocketbook friendly. We live in a pretty affluent area, and prices reflect that. However, just because I live in an affluent area doesn't necessarily mean I'm all that affluent! So I was unbelievably excited to read in the paper about the Murrieta Temecula Rescue Mission selling produce at Rancho Community Church...a tiny little Farmer's Market that is held every Saturday in the church parking lot from 8 a.m. - noon with donations for the produce going to a wonderful cause!

In short, the produce has been assessed for freshness at the border and when it's determined that it might not possibly make it to, say,'s rejected and re-directed to landfills. Through a wonderful network of people, the food now comes here, to the parking lot of Rancho Community Church. I was a little leery about the quality of the produce, but a visit this morning more than allayed my worries! These vegetables are beautiful! At the peak of freshness and in better condition than at the local grocery stores.

The way is works is simple: you donate $5, $15, or $20 or whatever you're able to. $5 will get you a paper bag to fill, $15 will get you a standard size produce box, $20 will get you a large box. You fill it as high as you can, with whatever you want and that's that! This is what a $20 box looks haul from today:

All the proceeds donated at the new farmer's market support and feed local families and orphanages. Any produce left over at the end of the market is distributed to the needy in the area who come to the church to pick up food. Anything not quite sales worthy is given to local farmers to feed their animals. None of it ends up in a landfill. Lots of people are helped. It's a win-win-win situation!

Of course, the selection is not quite as expansive as at your more traditional farmer's markets. Today's offerings were beautiful red peppers, roma and regular tomatoes, tender little baby yellow squash, plump purple eggplants, mounds of spaghetti squash and piles of hubbard squash. A couple week's ago is was eggplants, green bell peppers, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. If you don't like the total randomness of the experience, you can visit their website at and, if they know what's headed their way, they post it.

So, though I was a bit offput when I first saw the one small little pop up in the parking lot, I was more than happy with what I got for my $20 and will most definitely be making this a weekly stop!