No, this is not a Japanese recipe, but I’m on vacation. I was Publix looking for half and half for coffee, and some very nice large shrimp tempted me.
In the hotel, we have a small refrigerator. The fridge had plugara butter, a lime, and lots of salty left-overs from restaurant meals. The room also has a small microwave, two square plastic food containers, plastic silverware, paper plates and napkins, styrofoam cups… Try not to think about the last time I was in Florida and wanted to make a cheese sandwich in the microwave. The whole fourth floor was ringing with fire-alarms, smoke, and people peeking out their doors to see what the fuss was. I did run the mess under water and put it outside. Not a very promising list of cooking tools; just remember, “It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools!”
I grabbed a pound of shrimp, a head of garlic, another lime, and a can of chicken broth. There were some nice frozen peas in a small package. Then I wandered around trying to find some sort of starchy-side dish. Pasta? I thought it would get mushy cooked in a microwave. Frozen rice, ready to zap, but no, I wanted some home-cooking! Couscous? But it’s so much better with spicy foods, and it’s too much to invest in multiple jars of spices for one meal. Then I thought of grits! Shrimp and Grits!!! Great. Until I found a small bag of cornmeal: polenta would be perfect.
- 1/4 cup of cornmeal (I used a styrofoam cup and eyeballed one quarter)
- 1/2 can chicken stock
- water to fill the cup (1 cup total liquid)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- a spoonful of butter
- a nice chunk of Sage bleu cheese
Mix the cornmeal, liquid, and salt well in the plastic container. Microwave, one dish at a time, uncovered, on the “potato” setting for about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and mashed up cheese. Microwave another 3 or 4 minutes. Stir well to make sure the polenta is not all stuck to the bottom of the dish. Cover and microwave another 6 minutes, stirring again at the 3 minute mark. Let the dishes stand, covered, for 5 minutes while you change into your swimsuit. Uncover. Refrigerate while you use the hot-tub and pool.
When you return to the room, remove the now gelled poleta from your only two dishes to paper plates. If I had a hibachi I’d grill squares of polenta. Cover with a damp paper napkin and return to fridge.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 -2 spoonsful of water
- 1/2 pound shrimp
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 small package of frozen peas
Peel the garlic, and using your husband’s pocket knife, slice it as thinly as you can. Put it into a baggie and smash the garlic with a beer bottle. Put the garlic and butter into your dish, squeeze on some lime juice and nuke it until the butter melts and you can smell the garlic cooking. Arrange the shrimp in the dish, top with a spoonful of butter, cover and microwave on “potato” for 6 to 7 minutes. Add the peas, stir well, and microwave on “pizza” another 2 or 3 minutes. Repeat for the second dish.
Warm the polenta, put newspapers or towels on the bed and serve. Have lots of paper napkins because this is messy! Have a plastic bag to collect the shrimp shells.
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