Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cooking Corner: Cocount Shrimp with Pina Colada Sauce

I really love cooking.  Hell, I didn't get to my current waist size by hating food!  However, in college I got sick of fast food and decided to start cooking my own, so I would always know what went in it. It can be much healthier and I can count calories better.   And this is how I developed my absolute passion for cooking. It is only stronger now that I live with my mom and have someone else to eat my food. I LOVE cooking for other people.  It also helps that she will help with cleaning.

However, I only started cooking a few years ago, and I couldn't pull any recipes from my mom because they were all casseroles. The only spices she knew were salt and pepper.  Really, her eating habits have changed a bunch since we moved in together as well.  People always ask my favorite dish, or best dish or whatever.  This is when I realized my recipe base was rather slim.  So, I have decided to cook one new recipe each week.  If it sucks, I buy pizza.  If it doesn't suck, I add it to my arsenal.  I now have a list of 20+ recipes on the fridge, one new each week, and mom chooses which one we're doing each week.  Thus begins my new series, the Cooking Corner!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a professional chef. I got all of my recipes off of the internet or from cookbooks.  I have never been to culinary school and I don't have a fancy kitchen. Essentially, if I can do it, so  can you!  You can make GOURMET foods in your home for MUCH cheaper than a restaurant!

This week was the beginning, and it was Coconut Shrimp with Pina Colada Sauce.  Seriously!  We got half a pound of peeled, cleaned shrimp from our local grocer for around $5.  This and a can of crushed pineapple were the only ingredients that was completely exhausted tonight, so we have left over ingredients for next time of: powdered sugar, sweetened coconut flakes, corn starch, spiced rum, pina colada mix, and bread crumbs.  This recipe was compliments of the food and cooking app on my Windows 8 computer.

First I made the sauce.  Ingredients are
  • 1 cup pina colada mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBL Crushed Pineapple (drained)
  • 1 TBL Sweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 3 TBL Powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Corn Starch 
  • 3 tsp cold water
Combine all the ingredients until the corn starch in a small pot.  Put on medium low heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. Then  add the corn starch/cold water mixture, stirring during and after, and let it continue simmering for 3-5 minutes. I then set it aside, as it needs to be served at room temperature.

Finished Sauce

Next it was the shrimp!  First, butterfly the shrimp so that they cook through. For the breading, I got three bowls ready. The first contained 1/2 cup corn starch. The second contained 1 cup plain bread crumbs, 1/4 cup corn starch, and 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, mixed real well.  The final (which I put in the middle of the other two) was 1/2 cup pina colada mix, 1 TBL powdered sugar, and 3 TBL Spiced Rum.  The dipping process went Corn Starch, Pina Colada, Bread Crumbs, Pina Colada, Bread Crumbs.  This essentially gave it a double breading. Then, into the pot it went!

The Shrimp in the Pot
Now, the recipe said to wait til the oil was at 375. I have no way of measuring this, so I got my fingers wet and threw the water into the oil. If it sizzled, it was hot enough.  Then I did the shrimp, 3 at a time.  I purchased a coolio metal straining spoon thingy (technical terms here) at the grocery store for $8 with this meal in mind. It's probably my new favorite spoon. And for the record, this was the first time I have EVER friend ANYTHING, I felt so ridiculously awesome!  Seriously cheffing it up.  Keep them in until they're golden brown, then put them on a plate with paper towels down until they're dry.

Check out that beautiful golden brown pile
Now, a 1/2 pound of shrimp doesn't seem like much, until you're done breading them and stuff.  This was a LOT.  Mom and I both ate our fill.  For an appetizer they'd easily feed 4-6. 

Unless you're feeding a bunch, don't be stupid and add pasta like we did
Tada! Food! On a plate! And now in my stomach. It was SO good. I love when I cook food and the entire meal my mom is "Mmm"ing throughout the meal.  It feels AWESOME.  Additionally, she had to talk about how gourmet this meal was. Please note, this will make a MESS with all the pots and pans and such. 

Next week's meal? Chicken and Goat's Cheese Pinwheels with Tomato Butter Sauce. And remember, I'm 24 and a grad student in music, NOT culinarily trained. Any questions, tips, or suggestions?! LEAVE A COMMENT! And PLEASE follow my blog.  If you check out the side bar, there's a fancy new facebook link where you can like my page!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Plus Sized in Paris

I hope my amazing readers can excuse my lack of posting for a few weeks. I was on vacation and decided to take my vacation to its fullest, and that included no blog posting. However, this vacation inspired an amazing blog post.

While on vacation, I spent a week in Paris. Of course, I was self-conscious on the plane there.  Paris, land of thin people and supermodels. Paris, land of women who can eat bread non stop and four-course meals without gaining a pound.  I'm not kidding, I got eaten under the table by multiple super thin Parisian women.  These ladies have the metabolism of Gods, or something.  So of course, I was a little intimidated
Obligatory Eiffel Tower Selfie
However, I found something interesting.  I was a sort of hot commodity in Paris. Me, with my size 20 hips, pudgy belly, and cellulite ridden thighs and booty.  However, whenever I made eye contact with a man, he maintained it.  When I gave him a smile, he smiled back.  And, when I noticed this trend, and gave a flirty wink or raise of eyebrows, he returned it and occasionally approached me.  My first night, while getting a crepe at the creperie across the street from my hotel, I had a gentleman lean out his window and beckon me up to his apartment for some, relations.  He was jokingly referred to as my "boyfriend" for the duration of the trip.

Now, you could easily say these men were being friendly. Or maybe they were thrown off by a lady making eye contact. Or maybe they were being rude or sarcastic.  I don't care what you have to say, I saw what I though. I was actually attractive to these men.  Perhaps I was exotic. My well-proportioned curves at a thicker ration was new to these men, surrounded by women who belong on the runway.

I'm not saying I was the only fat person there. I'm saying that I was special.  And dammit, it boosted my self confidence more than ever.  Once, while walking down the street, a man stopped me and said "My God, you are beautiful."  I said thank you with eyebrows raised in shock, and then continued on my way.  I have walked tall ever since.  So half the guys in America are shallow freaks who won't give me two looks.  I am attractive, to some men, even if they're in Paris.  It's ok, I prefer a man with an accent anyway ;).