This could be considered the first post of many where I will talk about the joys of a well stocked kitchen/pantry. There are a few things shown in the pic above that should be in every well-stocked kitchen.
1. Rice. I keep several types of rice on hand: Basmati (so flavorful for Indian and Thai dishes) Brown, Sweet (sticky rice for Asian desserts), Long Grain and White short grain. It’s easy to store, it’s cheap (usually no more than $2 per pound) and in a pinch, you have an instant side dish.
2. Onions/Leeks/Shallots – Don’t keep these in the fridge. DO keep them in a dry, dark place in your kitchen, separate from other fruits and vegetables. I don’t always have leeks on hand, but I DO always have onions and shallots. When I’m at the grocery store, whether I have a recipe in mind or not, I assume that I will need onions. I usually buy medium sized, sweet yellow or Spanish onions. I would guess that 9 out of 10 recipes I make include onions in some form. Okay, maybe 10 out of 10.
3. Frozen Shrimp. Kind of the wild card that you might not think of, but in the frozen section, usually near the meat department in both grocery stores and big chain stores (walmart, target, etc). They come in a few options: raw with shell, raw, shelled and deveined or cooked. Get the raw, shelled, deveined. You don’t want to have to fuss with peeling shrimp and you definitely don’t want to mess with removing the poop chute. You may not think that you’ll use shrimp often enough to always buy a bag when you’re buying other frozen items, but you’d be surprised. Shrimp tacos, shrimp lettuce wraps, shrimp stir-fry, or coconut shrimp and rice…
Coconut Shrimp with Basmati Rice*
1 tbs butter
1tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek (about a cup, white and pale green parts only – halved lengthwise, rinsed and sliced thin)
4 scallions (white and some green tops, sliced and save some for a rice garnish)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup of dry Basmati rice, cooked to package instructions
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek, scallion strips, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the leek starts to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, curry powder, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the wine or chicken broth and cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced by half-about one minute. Add the coconut milk and simmer until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cilantro, and let stand, covered, for about 10 minutes to meld the flavors.
Serve on top of rice, garnished with extra scallion and cilantro, if desired.
*recipe adapted from the Bonne Femme Cookbook