Thursday shrimp and strawberries

Good evening, Dear Readers:

Boy, have I got a new shrimp dish to tell you about, and it’s quick easy and fairly cheap. Best part: you can’t screw it up! (My favorite part.) A few days ago I received the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, and with it was an Everyday Food supplement. (You can download it at that link!!)

The theme of this issue is “get more from the store.” One section discussed using store-bought baking mix–yes, Bisquick–to make homemade muffins four ways: Lighter Blueberry, Banana-Walnut-Date, Chocolate Cherry (I’d almost go off gluten-free for that one) and “kitchen-sink muffins,” swapping out the blueberries for a half cup grated carrots, and adding in a quarter cup of golden raisins, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and chopped pecans, plus some cinnamon. New uses for familiar stuff. Love that–it’s what made Everyday Food so great.

There are two features on stuff from the canned goods aisle, canned tomatoes and oil-packed cat food, I mean, tuna. When buying it for my late kitty Catmandu, all the tuna was in either water or soybean oil, so you would be looking for imported Italian tuna, that they describe as “worth the splurge.” Sorry, y’all, it all tastes like cat food, OK? Cat food with an Italian accent is not, in my opinion, “worth the splurge,” but if you like tuna, go for it. A splurge is that gluten-free cupcake I had at Frost Bake Shoppe last week.

Since tomorrow I return to the land of the employed for a while, I made something delicious that will likely be either lunch or dinner tomorrow, along with two Chocolate Chip Brownie Larabars.  (I’m enjoying my favorite things before I start the yeast-free diet.)  The Syclovir/Yeast Control arrived today, so I’ll be working getting yeast-free situated this weekend, including baking some yeast-free brownies. I haven’t had any since last summer. And this evening I made an Everyday Food recipe from this new issue that is yeast free, gluten free, sugar free, and almost fat free.

On page 14-15 (and it is available online) is a recipe for Three Ingredient Marinara. Yes, three ingredients and it’s quick and easy. The recipe next to it is Spicy Shrimp Marinara, and it takes about ten minutes to make. Admittedly, I did not use the entire 1.25 tsp of red pepper flakes; I just shook a few in.

SOOOO delicious!! You make the marinara, then when it’s nearly done, cook the shrimp according to the recipe, take the shrimp out and dump the marinara in.

I have long told folks that when I cook with tomato sauce, my kitchen looks like a crime scene. I’ve got the yellow tape around the stove while the dishwasher washes up the first batch of dishes. I’ll finish cleaning up that crime scene in a little while.

One of the ingredients is a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. Of course, what I think of and what they think of are two different things. I think of the 28-ounce can at HEB that was $1.07 when I bought two on Tuesday. What Everyday Food thinks of is a $3.59 can of San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy or a $4 can of Muir Glen Organic. (Some cans are closer to $5, depending on where you buy them.)

Let me tell you a secret: I have a soup recipe from Suzanne Somers’ first book that uses a chicken carcass and that same 28-ounce can of tomatoes, among other things. For years, I bought the HEB brand (which was 79 cents when I started buying them in 2004.) A couple of years ago I got the leftover turkey carcass from the office holiday luncheon, and did the same thing with it–turned it into a pot of the soup.  This time, I bought the fancy imported organic Italian tomatoes instead. Know what? The soup tasted exactly the same. No difference. Not better, just exactly as I’d made it for many years. I gave two neighbors and a co-worker a container of that soup, and they all loved it. And that was the last time I bought a pricey can of peeled tomatoes.

If you make this quick, easy and tasty marinara sauce for any reason, use your own judgement when buying those tomatoes, OK?

Checking the Everyday Food blog, they also have additional uses for extra marinara sauce.   I like the recipe for baked eggs in tomato parm sauce, and might make it this weekend.

Now, if you’re curious about what dinner finally looked like, well, this is the delicious Spicy Shrimp Marinara:


A basic salad of lettuce, (yes, THAT lettuce) tomato and cucumber with a bit of oil & vinegar with salt:


Dessert, one of my favorites–huge strawberries sliced down to a manageable dice, sliced with a sprinkling of Somersweet:


They were on sale, and the size of Roma tomatoes. That’s why I diced them like that.

Strawberries are very special to me. When I was a little bitty kitty, my grandparents used to take me with them to Ponchatoula, Louisiana to get strawberries by the flat. We would get bunches of them for the family, stacking them carefully on the back seat for me to guard. One of the ladies working there handed me a huge one and said, “look, this one Easter-egged itself!”  Like I said, I was a little bitty kitty then, but I still love strawberries. I’d love to be able to make a lovely strawberry dessert for my grandmother, but. . .well, she passed in 2005, so I can only think about making something for her.

Truth to tell. . .she was particular, and probably wouldn’t like it, nor the shrimp dish.  Gourmet food is my forte, my grandmother wasn’t wild about new interpretations, like a chocolate ricotta pudding with strawberries in it.

Louisiana strawberries are the best, followed by Texas’. California’s, unfortunately, aren’t quite as good by the time they get to Texas. But that’s a highly prejudiced opinion on strawberries, too.

Anyway. . .tomorrow is Friday, and if you’re in the mood for something quick, easy, and a little different, give this Spicy Shrimp Marinara a try. If you read and follow the directions, you can’t screw it up!

Happy Dining!

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