Hello friends! It has been a bit of a lazy and blah few days on the blog front. I’m not sure if it’s the weather; the snow and cold making anything related to thinking and writing quite difficult. I love winter though, so I’m usually at my happiest at this time, but I rather just stare out the window for hours on end at the snow falling rather than be attached to a computer or straddled to the stove.
The reality is that I’ve been crazy busy and when free time rears its head, I am so tired that I cannot think, let alone compose a sentence or photograph. This does lead to hours of blank staring out the window or mind numbing marathon of shows recorded on my DVR.
I have been preferring my dusty, paperback, even though I sneeze and cough every time I pick up the book to read, over the cold smoothness and blinding brightness of my iPad. I realised I had gone 48 hours without opening my iPad when it told me to sign in again! I apologise to my friends for not stopping by to read your posts. It’s just been one of those weeks.
Sometimes, I think that when I go on a diet to help my autoimmune symptoms, the world of food is suddenly lost because I’ve given up wheat and dairy! I also know that’s not true because there are so many delicious gluten free and dairy free foods. Case in point, these shrimp tacos. They are wonderfully tasty and naturally gluten free, and can be dairy free too if you omit the chimichurri sour cream sauce and just use the herby vinaigrette.
To me playing with flour, butter, yeast and cream is the ultimate form of therapy and creativity. If I have to give up those, even for just a short time, my mind seems to shut down to all other possibilities. I do watch my gluten quite a bit but it’s just recently that I took out dairy as well, and now my world has ended, even though I know it’s just a temporary abstinence. The heart wants what the heart wants…
I know that’s the wrong way to deal with my dilemma and I should look at the vast array of delicious food that I can still post, they won’t be comfort foods but I’m sure I can come up with a few things that appeal to me…or I can just say to heck with it and go back to eating my beloved bread and butter 🙂
So, the last few months, I’ve been consciously adding more seafood to our dinner rotations. However, the whole idea of eating fish 2 or 3 times a week is just not possible. I can barely eat fish once a week, and unfortunately, the rest of the family feels the same way. We don’t dislike seafood, we love it when we have it once in a while but it’s one of those things that can get a bit much for us.
The shrimp tacos were a way to get the kids to eat shrimp in a fun way and a way they recognise. I am thankful to have children who are willing to eat anything and love trying new things. They are actually less picky than I am!
I also find myself getting into a cooking rut come dinner time. Since my job revolves around cooking, I really get tired of being in the kitchen (especially my crappy one after I’ve been using the fantastic ones at work!) I have noticed that my menu at home is suffering more and more, and the kids are beginning to notice. I always get the “You make the best stuff for work these days, and nothing good for us” And they are right. I am exhausted by the time I’ve created a menu, shopped and cooked and that leaves a sloppy attempt at dinner time.
Like keeping up with this blog, it’s getting harder to be organised at home too. I’ll figure it out I guess, I just need the voices in my head to stop telling me all that I still need to do.
Back to these shrimp tacos, they were delicious. Whole Foods carries a great Peruvian spice rub that I love. It smells amazing when cooking and tastes fantastic. I love roasting whole chicken with this spice rub, and even searing a salmon steak. If you can’t find a Peruvian rub, just use a good chilli powder rub or any other Southwestern or Latin inspired spice rub.
Since these are tacos, there is no hard and fast rule. Top them with anything that pleases you, I used crunchy jicama, red cabbage, red bell peppers, creamy avocado and lots of mixed greens and herbs. The sauce was a herby chimichurri that I mixed into some sour cream. You can most definitely use the chimichurri sauce by itself and can even marinate the shrimp in it. I used the rub to get another spice profile in there, and because I really love that rub!
I used a small 31-40 count variety of wild shrimp. That allows for more shrimp per bite in the taco instead of rationing shrimp to 1 or 2 per taco as is the case with the larger shrimp. These were met with much approval, even by the younger guy who isn’t a fan of shrimp. Put anything in a taco and it’s the best food ever.
Serves: 15-18 tacos
- 2 pounds/1kg small shrimp (31-40 count in the US)
- 1 generous tablespoon Peruvian spice rub, chilli powder, or other spice blend
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 lime
- 1 large jicama, julienned
- ½ large red cabbage, shredded
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 2-3 avocados
- mixed greens
- mixed herbs
- 15-18 corn tortillas
- Chimichurri Sauce
- ½ cup cilantro, packed
- ½ cup parsley, packed,
- ½ cup mint, packed
- ½ cup/120 ml balsamic vinegar, or any vinegar
- ½ cup/120 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 green chilli, or red pepper flakes
- ½ cup/120 ml sour cream
- Put the cleaned shrimp into a bowl and add the spice rub.
- Toss till all the shrimp is covered with the spice rub.
- Marinate for about 15 minutes.
- Meantime, chop up the vegetables for the topping and make the chimichurri sauce.
- In a blender, add all the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce and blend till smooth.
- Taste to adjust seasoning if needed.
- Toss a couple of tablespoons of this herby chimichurri with the vegetables.
- I tossed my vegetables all in a bowl (not the avocados though) and everyone scooped a handful to put on their tacos.
- You could keep the vegetables all separate incase someone doesn't like a particular thing.
- If you want to make the creamy sour cream sauce, add ¼ cup of sour cream to the chimichurri sauce.
- Adjust the sauce to your taste, add more sour cream for a creamier sauce.
- Set aside.
- Heat a large non stick skillet on medium high and add a tablespoon of oil to the pan.
- Add half of the shrimp and sear quickly.
- As soon as they are pink, and slightly charred, remove from the pan.
- Don't over cook!
- Repeat with the remaining shrimp.
- Once the shrimp is cooked, while still hot, squeeze lime juice all over and taste for salt.
- Warm the tortillas on a cast iron skillet.
- Keep wrapped in foil or napkin to keep warm.
- Time to assemble!
- Take a tortilla, put a heaping spoonful of the vegetables, add some shrimp, some avocado, some greens and drizzle with sauce.
- They're messy, but oh so good.
These were definitely tasty and so beautifully colourful. As much as I love winter, it can be a bit dreary and I get tired of eating heavy soups and stews. These make a great change to brighten up the winter blues and lighten up the heavy winter eating.
Hope you’re all off to a great week!