Tonight my hot gf cooked a meal for me unlike anything I have ever had before. This is just one of the many things I cherish about her–that she not only cooks for me, but is always expanding my tastes too. You gotta love a girl who’s willing to experiment and try new things in the, ahem, kitchen.
We went to the Spanish supermarket nearby to pick up some shrimp because I am an example of the “gentrification” occurring in their neighborhood. Unable to afford city rent, we starving writers, artists, and musicians find sanctuary settling in the cheaper outskirts of surrounding urban areas, such as parts of Jersey City, Queens, and Brooklyn. I’m not sure the term “gentrification” is politically correct in defining trendy, white young adults moving into minority neighborhoods due to financial instability as “a sign of improvement”, but if vintage bicycles, skinny jeans, and lattes symbolize sociocultural evolution, consider me a pioneer!
The name of the grocery store is “SUPREMO” written in big red letters on its facade, except the lighting is out on the “S” and the “O”, so at night they’re called “UPREM”. Frankly it’s not a bad grocery store, and unlike corrupt C-Towns, offers fair market prices so you don’t get the inherent sense of capitalist oppression when shopping. I also enjoy the salsa music playing overhead and odd assortment of produce I have never seen before. Their seafood selection isn’t spectacular, but we came across some fresh tiger prawns from Ecuador and she ordered half a pound. Unsure it would be enough, when the clerk handed her the bag she examined it, continuing to question herself. I told her if she was concerned to just buy more, because she knows by now she’s better off having more than less when it comes to feeding me. She decided it would be enough and I hoped she was right.
Chef’s Note: Something I am still learning is food portions. It happens all of the time when I cook pasta, I start pouring it in the water and think, “hmm… that just does not look like enough,” and add more—usually too much. Half a pound of shrimp did not look like a lot, but luckily it was the perfect amount for the boyfriend and me.
Watching her prep this dish was fun. The shrimp sizzled in a frying pan and looked beautifully displayed in the spices in which she coated them. When I saw the ricotta, my jaw dropped. It was so smooth and delicate looking, at first I thought she made lemon sorbet and became excited. She had also sprinkled lemon zest on it, which didn’t help prevent the illusion. When I discovered it was actually ricotta, I wasn’t disappointed because I love ricotta. It was the perfect addition to the dish. Originally intended for the zucchini, I found myself dipping the shrimp in it too for the cooling effect it had on their spiciness.
As far as the shrimp went, whatever she rubbed them in was out of this world. There was just a complete eruption of flavor as soon as one hit your tongue. All the flavors I was getting reminded me of some kind of Middle Eastern dish: hints of coriander, cumin, the mint in the hummus-like ricotta. The flavors were so strong and distinct, I couldn’t stop saying “Oh my god” the whole time I was eating. Every bite was so damn delicious. If I were Muslim, I’d consider this a dish fit for Allah himself. Forget 72 virgins–one great girl who knows how to cook is all you need!
Chef’s Note: I love that the boyfriend thought I was making sorbet. I mean, really? We just bought shrimp but let me go home and whip up a sorbet… Anyway, I love spices. Sometimes at fairs or farmers’ markets they have those stands with endless spices, and I love just going over to them and smelling the various aromas. Spices can take you all around the world while you are at home in your kitchen. Your dish can go from Korea to Mexico and you do not have to change planes or timezones! Spices are also a great way to add flavor and not fat. This dish is actually very healthy, but you wouldn’t necessarily think it because it is so flavorful. Don’t be afraid of spices–experiment. Your SO will be glad you did.
Prep time: 10 min Cooking time: 25 min
- 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled, cleaned and deveined
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- salt, freshly ground pepper
-Make spice rub - mix together curry powder, cayenne pepper, mustard, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl.
-Add the shrimp to coat.
- Heat EVOO in a frying pan over medium heat and add the shrimp.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes, turning once.
*Note: as with other recipes from me the spices are really a rough estimate - I never measure them! Use your judgement.
**Note: I also cooked up some penne to serve with this meal. The boyfriend likes his carbs with dinner but feel free to leave this out or cook up another carb of your choice.
Roasted Zucchini & Fresh Ricotta
- 2 zucchini diced into cubes
- 1 tbsp. EVOO
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh mint finely chopped
- 1/2 cup ricotta (I use skim)
- salt, freshly ground pepper
-Chop zucchini and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Add the zucchini, red pepper, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper - stir around to coat zucchini. Roast until the zucchini starts to soften and brown, about 10-15 minutes. Turn the zucchini once or twice.
- While the zucchini is cooking make the ricotta topping. Mix ricotta, juice of half of the lemon, mint, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
- Serve the ricotta on the side of the zucchini - I paired the shrimp and zucchini together purposely as the ricotta really cools the spicy shrimp and roasted zucchini.
Perfect summer meal. If you can get fresh zucchini from a market or garden that is even better!