that ONE dish that fixes you

shrimpandrice

recipe first, history after, that’s the drill here…

SHRIMP AND RICE

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp, rinsed

1-2 tbsp. coconut oil, avocado oil, or ghee

s&p to taste

I use Flavor God lemon & garlic seasoning to taste

juice of 1-2 (Meyer preferred) lemons

steamed, white rice OR cauliflower rice (pictured)

optional: add sliced mushrooms with shrimp

optional: chopped fresh parsley

pictured: avocado.  because, avocado.  Hello.

add your fat/oil of choice to pan over medium-high heat,  evoo smokes too easily, I prefer ghee.

once shrimp begins too turn pink and is cooked on both sides, all the way through, about 5-6 minutes, add your seasonings of choice.

then when shrimp is almost done, squeeze lemon juice and mix well. you should have one hell of a pan sauce. now would be the time to add evoo if you want the flavor, a lot of times i do to round it out.

backstory….

Back in the early 90s when hubby and I were still in college, taking heavy unit loads and also working, we did not know how easy we had it.  Disposable income, going to every concert we wanted, dinners out every Friday, going to see a movie anytime we felt like it…I can not imagine this now.

Would you believe that back in 1995 I paid $25 for a Pearl Jam ticket I bought at the UCSD student center? Dude, things have changed. Everything has changed.

I’m not chasing toddlers around restaurants anymore, and my kids are old enough to handle a carefully chosen ‘R’ movie (one of them can get in on his own, my gah), but just picking up and going to see True Romance for the third time in one weekend or trying a new restaurant every Friday? Now we have to find a restaurant that satisfies five (sometimes six, if Grandad goes) picky palates, and I’m just now thinking about letting my middle child watch Quentin Tarantino films.

One Friday night in our college years, hubby and I tried a Southern cooking restaurant in the Gaslamp District in San Diego. I ordered some sort of shrimp dish. Even then, I had that thing, that thing that makes you constantly think about a dish you had somewhere, so that you had to try and recreate it at home.

If I made it at home, then I wouldn’t have to wait for another Friday night to satisfy cravings (cravings wear away at me like nothing else), and cooking for yourself, that’s just self-sufficiency that in your mid-twenties, it’s high time to have.

Of course it didn’t hurt that this dish was so easy to make. The restaurant version was more creole, I worked the spice out because we had a Meyer lemon tree in the backyard and I wanted that flavor forward. And the Meyer lemon juice, what a pan sauce it makes. I would drown the bed of rice at the bottom of the bowl with the sauce and top with the big, meaty, sauteed shrimp.

There were weeks I made this every night.  Every.  Damn.  Night.

Mid-terms, term papers, finals, wedding planning, or just because it was Tuesday, I made this dish. I don’t think I ever got sick of it. It comforted me, it was easy, I had no idea I was eating gluten free, high protein, low sodium.

So when that whole low carb thing hit, I stopped eating this dish. And I had that love/hate relationship with carbs as I had children, gained weight, and consequently struggled to take it off.

If I knew then what I know now, right?

Everyone’s brain needs carbs. I personally go insane without them. Now doing modified Whole30/paleo, I don’t crave shrimp and rice with rice, or pasta. I just don’t. I eat this with cauliflower rice. It works. Thank Heavens, it works.

And that pan juice, it still tastes the same, it hits the familiar pleasure centers in my brain, and I eat, slurp, inhale, devour, and otherwise enjoy it sitting next to the same guy I did twenty-two years ago.

That hasn’t changed.

Pearl Jam tickets don’t cost the same. The last time PJ tickets went on sale, we were driving up to LA for a soccer tournament and by the time we got through on our mobiles to buy tickets, they were upwards of $400 each.  Each.

(Almost) everything has changed. My tastes have not. My compulsion to adapt recipes to my physical and emotional needs, that will never change, I attest in my best Scarlett O’Hara “God as my witness” voice.

Some things I understand I must sacrifice–expensive tickets to a show to see hubby’s favorite band of all time, double IPAs, sleep.

But not good food. Not flavor. Not comfort. Not nutrients I need, now that I am enough of an educated eater to know what I need, and to know what my body can’t, and can, do without.

Like that one album, that one movie, that one book, this is probably that one dish for me. Shrimp and (cauli) rice is that one dish that fixes me, soothes all those outside world pressures then, and now.

It’s a complaint indulgence. It’s my spirit dish.

And the leftovers are great too 🙂