Sunday, February 15, 2009

Salt and Pepper Shrimp, anyone?

I could not bring myself to do a posting yesterday. It was Valentine's Day, and I got rejected! Via email regarding my "audition" for a guest chef at a local William Sonoma-like store.

The "audition" was on Friday the 13th. I had joined a Travel Writing Group and we had a meeting that same morning. Everyone was encouraged to write an article about a romantic trip or a trip that had gone wrong, or to combine both into one story. I did the latter, and the article can be found in - Travel Destinations: Florida by E. Thai. Anyway, the people I met were very professional and of high caliber. I am already looking forward to our next meeting.

I left early to make my next appointment. A week earlier, when I was asked to do an "audition," I simply laughed at the word, not realizing what it all meant. I had never cooked in front of an unknown audience before. Here, I thought I'd just show people how to cook good, fast and simple Asian food. Apparently, that was not enough. What they wanted was a show! The chef/owner said my food was wonderful, but my presentation skills were not a good fit for them. Ouch, that hurts! Then again, if I have that kind of presentation skills, I may have persued a different profession entirely.

I'm just a computer geek with a passion for writing, traveling and cooking. I have many years of experience in the restaurant business, from being a waitstaff, a certified bartender to part-ownership. Although I was never a chef, when push comes to shove, I'd cooked many a dish. Alas, this means nothing. America is obsessed with celebrities and reality shows. Even my favorite chef Ming Tsai is no longer on the Food Network Channel:-(!! And who watches Hell's Kitchen anyway?

When we moved to the boat and traveled up and down the east coast, I had to streamline my cooking big time. The boat galley is a U-shaped one-butt kitchen. We learned to conserve and live with less (water, cooking equipment, refrigerator space, even refrigeration for that matter). We had a space for either a microwave or a convection oven. I chose the latter. Forget appliances like dishwasher and washing machine! South of Virginia, you cannot even get decent Chinese food, let alone Chinese groceries! I learned to provision more efficiently and to substitute.

So after all these years, I have collected and refined recipes for good, fast and simple cooking with an Asian twist. It's all in a document that is waiting to be published. Some day ... I close this posting with the Salt and Pepper Shrimp that I demonstrated at my "audition." Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera, but I assure you it is pretty and tastes very good. Best of all, simple, fast, and dare I say, healthy? Bon Appetit!

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Serves 2
14 large shrimp (21/25 count), deveined, and with shells on
5 lettuce leaves
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
½ of a jalapeno pepper, sliced thin (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil

Wash and brine shrimp in ½ teaspoon salt for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Wash and dry lettuce leaves. Cut crosswise into ½” slices and place in a serving dish.

In a large saucepan or wok, under medium high heat, dry fry shrimp (yes, no oil!) for about 2 minutes. When the color of the shrimp turns pink, turn it and sear the other side for 1-2 minutes.

Sprinkle in the pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt (and jalapeno, if using). Stir until shrimp is well coated. Add olive oil and shake the pan or wok so that the shrimp is well coated with the spice and oil. Pour over lettuce in serving dish. Serve immediately with cooked rice.

You might also like:
Sesame Noodles recipe Escape to the Florida Keys for Valentine's Day Black-eyed Pea Salsa


  1. What an experience! The recipe sounds very simple and great. Maybe next time you make it (without the audience), you can post a picture. :)

    Btw, yes you can substitue sesame oil for tahini. Never tried it myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

  2. Definitely will post a picture next time I make this recipe!

    I will try hummus with the sesame oil and let you know how it turns out...