Thursday, September 24, 2009

Making it Stretch - Curried Coconut Shrimp Rice Bowl

I've been trying desperately to make summer stretch: an easy thing to do as we drove through Redding yesterday and glanced at the temperature which read 114 degrees. Wow. I used to live there! How does anyone survive that kind of heat? I seem to remember spending as much time as possible submerged in water. From Ashland through Redding down to Williams and all the way to Vacaville, there was no escaping the heat. Not until we reached the Bay Area of course, where the fog lay thick and cold. We unloaded our bags and headed down to my local bar, The Graduate, for a beer, just to milk the last few minutes of vacation. Today it was back to work, and back to cooking.

I haven't been in the kitchen for awhile. For such a tiny little town, Ashland seems to have no end to great places to eat, and we were happy to be spoiled for awhile. On Sunday we rented bikes in town, rode out to the winery and sipped on the porch overlooking the valley, we then rode back across town and up into Lithia Park. That evening after sushi we saw a show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and then sat on the porch watching the stars.

It wasn't all relaxation however. A huge fire South of of Ashland had the whole town on edge. It had started right behind the winery we visited and quickly grew to 100 acres. Luckily it was quickly contained and did little damage, but the town was filled with thick smoke that turned the light orange. It was definitely unsettling. We were relieved to find the winery still standing on our way out of town. The fire department had set up an impressive headquarters in their parking lot.

Returning home brought the familiar challenges of catching up on work, emails and calls and opening an empty fridge. Luckily, this is an easy dinner to throw together with just a quick stop at the store and a few pantry staples. It's actually one of my favorites...such great flavors. Don't skip the mango or the coconut milk in the rice! Delicious!

Curried Coconut Shrimp Rice Bowl

For the Rice Bowl
1 1/4 cup jasmine rice
2/3 cup light coconut milk
2 cups water
3/4 cup shredded carrot
2 cups mango, diced
1 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green onions
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt

For the Shrimp
1 1/2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin
cooking spray

Cook rice using coconut milk and water. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients from the shrimp through the cumin in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Set in the fridge to chill. Toss the rice with the bell pepper, mango and onions. Set aside. Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over high heat, having oiled the pan with a bit of cooking spray or a tiny bit of olive oil. Grill the shrimp 3 minutes on each side or until done. Toss with the rice and veggies, serve.

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