Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Taste of Warmth

There are those magazines that one gets every month or week or so, whether at the newsstand or by subscription. Then, there are those that I call "trip magazines" as I only pick them up when I'm traveling and don't have anything else to read. Generally, I try to stockpile some of my regular stash to take with me when I'm going somewhere, but it doesn't always happen that way.

My boss handed me a few of her magazines, which she'd read on one of her previous trips, and I held on to them for my trek to Virginia for the holidays. This was great because she had ones that I enjoy, but don't usually pick up for myself, even while traveling. I managed to snag some interesting recipes and health tips from the ones that she gave to me, and this weekend, while sparkley snow was falling from the sky, I put together a dish that might not be out of place in the warmer climes of the South of France.

I came across Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta by Ellie Krieger in Fitness magazine (the link is to the version on The Food Network site). It looked straightforward and simple enough. As a plus it would allow me to use the shrimp I had stored in the freezer (part of my goal to cook from what I already have on hand). As an additional bonus, I was also able to put to use a pan that I hadn't used in a while. It's one of those pans that you buy on special offer and think you can use it for everything, but somehow never do.




I'm not a big fan of feta, so I figured that I'd swap that out for a more mild goat's cheese. That sort of got the wheels spinning. I'd have to buy dill to use in this recipe, but goat's cheese made me think more along the lines of France, so I pulled out the Herbes de Provence from the back of the cupboard. I'm not sure that those have much more life in them so I need to use them up. Ms. Krieger notes that you should use low-salt tomatoes in this recipe, which then allowed me to feel as though I could throw in some chopped up Niçoise olives to give a bit of a briny, earthy kick to the dish. I did not add any extra salt at all to this dish, beyond what the olives gave to it.

With a crusty baguette, a crisp green salad, and a lightly chilled glass of Rosé, you could transport yourself away from the frigid temperatures that we've been having of late, and into the summer sunshine of the Mediterranean coast. I served it with orzo (per the recipe's recommendation) and some greens. It was wonderful. The creaminess of the cheese balanced out the acidity of the tomatoes, which had helped to cook the shrimp just perfectly. The herbs and olives just brought out more of the personality of the dish. I'm also really glad I dug that pan out of the back of the cupboard because it worked out wonderfully. I'll be keeping it on hand to use more after all.

Buon appetito!

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