Italian mushroom and celery salad

June 21, 2012 § 23 Comments

First, the bad.  My hometown was ravaged by horrible flooding in the last two days.  Just torn apart.  A torrent of rain developed overhead and wouldn’t budge until it had dumped 7 inches, 9 inches, 10 inches of water in some places.  The wall of water rushed down the hill toward the lake taking out huge chunks of roads and sidewalks, dumpsters and bridges with it.

Perhaps you even saw it on the news yesterday.  I know the story about the seal that was swept out of the zoo by a river of water and was found stranded on the highway received a lot of attention.  Many of the other zoo animals – the little barnyard animals in the petting zoo – drowned.  I spent half the day in unremitting tears about this.  Unfair is not nearly a strong enough word.

It’s horrifying to be reminded how powerless we are. It’s  also probably really important to be reminded.  These extremes may be the new normal, and it’s time to be truthful about the fact that we are not remotely in control.  And perhaps the best we can do sometimes is bond together, lend a never ending supply of helping hands, and cope.

All my family and friends there are fine, though.  Thank heaven for that.

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Shrimp and avocado tacos

August 22, 2010 § 4 Comments

Even though I generally think of myself as falling into that category of “people who like to cook“, sometimes I kind of wonder.  Right now, for example, I feel more like resting on the laurels of “one who has cooked well and enjoyed it at times” rather than wanting to actually cook up anything notable.  Also, lately, every time I’ve noticed I’m hungry, I look up and discover I’m either in an airplane, visiting someone, driving the hour and a half commute to my summer worksite, too grouchy to be trusted with a knife, or too hot to consider eating anything other than flavored dry ice.  Not exactly a recipe for being inspired to cook.  And I find it so much more of a schlog to cook when I’m not inspired (gee whiz, there’s a surprise).

Mostly I’ve simply been adding salt and pepper to everything that crosses my path and putting it on the grill.  And, while fulfilling the role of “home cooked food that nourishes and does not offend the palate”, it’s not particularly interesting.  Someone get this girl a tantalizing recipe, stat!

Thankfully, inspiration fell out of my freezer (literally) in the unlikely form of a bag of  frozen shrimp and some corn tortillas.  Shrimp tacos!  Now that’s something worth hauling the frying pan out over.  Especially shell-on shrimp.  I know, I know, shell-on shrimp seem like way more of an effort and are way messier than already peeled shrimp.  But, you see, they cook up infinitely much better.  Peeled shrimp almost always wind up over-spiced and over-cooked to a rubbery texture.  The shell protects this from happening, keeping moisture against the delicate meat to keep it tender and lightly flavored.  Plus, it’s really kind of wonderful and fun to get your fingers goopy and sticky, peeling shrimp to put into your taco.  So, why not just go for it?!

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