Simple Shrimp Boil

Old Bay mug

Most shrimp boil recipes include corn and potatoes (and sometimes sausage), plus they make enough to feed an army. But, I was cooking for one (that’d be me) and I just wanted the “flavor.” The simpler, the better.

Recently I acquired this Old Bay mug (don’t ya love finds like that?) and I knew all I wanted to fill it with were shrimp and rice. (I’ll save the corn and potatoes for company dinner.)

In the time it took to cook the rice, the shrimp were prepped, simmered, and done — nothin’ else to do except spoon a dollop of each into my mug and eat!

Simple Shrimp Boil

(adapted from recipe #262 in 365 Ways to Cook Fish & Seafood by Charles Pierce… and Old Bay, of course)

3 sprigs fresh parsley (save some for garnish)

2 bay leaves

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half

2 strips lemon peel

1/2 tsp. black peppercorns

1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 cup water

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 lb. large shrimp in the shell, deveined with tails intact

1 cup cooked jasmine rice (prepared per package directions)

1-2 green onions, including tops, thinly sliced

Place parsley, bay leaves, garlic, lemon peel, peppercorns, and Old Bay seasoning in a piece of cheesecloth (hint: I used a coffee filter) and tie with kitchen twine.

Bring water, wine, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add seasoning “bag”; reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

Add shrimp; cook until pink and just beginning to “bend.” (Beware of cooking them until they curl into an “O” — it stands for overdone!) Drain well and discard seasoning bag.

Serve shrimp atop cooked rice. Garnish with green onions and parsley. Feel free to add a salad or steamed veggies and warm French bread for a complete meal.

Old Bay seasoning

FYI, I peeled the shrimp before serving and shared half with my hubby. (They made a flavorful shrimp fettuccine Alfredo, but he ate the evidence!)

‘Twas the least I could do after he constructed this to make my life easier.

Simplicity reigns at the lake. Ahhhhh…

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Enjoying shortcuts to happiness,

~ Kim

Sailing, Sailing, and a Boating Accident

Sailboats

In my lifetime I’ve paddled, rowed, trolled, pontooned, canoed, and boated, but I’ve never gone sailing. It always looks so serene. (Or… maybe I don’t have a clue it’s really hard work, but the idea still appeals to me.) Wind-driven bliss.

Sailboat

These shots were taken during an outing with my son, including a stop at Slippery’s Tavern in Wabasha, MN featured in the movies “Grumpy Old Men” and “Grumpier Old Men.” Yup, there really is such a place.

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Apparently the local Hot Rod Association was having an outing, too. This roadster was my favorite. :)

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Hot Rods

Although the “new” Slippery’s doesn’t resemble the one in the movies, it was fun sitting on their waterfront veranda watching boats go by.

Slipperys Tavern veranda

Which reminds me… please be safe! You don’t want to end up at the bottom of the lake like I did.

(Say what?!)

When The Man Of Few Words and I first moved here, we were anxious to launch our newly-acquired (albeit ancient) boat for our first-ever outing on Lake Eufaula.  Bear in mind the lake is huge, it’s rife with obstacles — rocks, trees, etc. — plus it’s very deep at some points.

After a delightful day of fishing we headed for home (not fast, mind you — we had a teeny, tiny Evinrude.) We also weren’t wearing life jackets, being ol’ sea dogs ‘n’ all.

Did we have them on board? Yes. On? No.

Along came a wake from a cabin cruiser across the lake, slowly and as insidiously as “Jaws.” One minute I was hugging my hubby, the next I was underwater!

Besides the shock of realizing that I wasn’t in the boat anymore, there was disorientation to deal with. “Which way is up?!” Thankfully, I remembered the Jacques Cousteau shows I watched as a kid (funny the things that enter your mind when you’re drowning) and I did what his divers did: Follow the bubbles.

The force from the swell and physics involved swatted me out of the boat like a ping pong ball and catapulted me 20 feet under. (I know this because after I stopped spinning, it took 4 or 5 strong lunges to reach the surface.) Thank God I can swim.

Then I waited for Russ to come and get me — only he didn’t.

Unbeknownst to me, the steering cable had snapped and the throttle broke off in his hands. There he sat hundreds of yards away while I was treading water in the middle of a very large lake. (Which I can attest is nothing like treading water in a pool.)

After shouting and waving frantically at him to throw me the “floatie” — the floating seat cushion — he did, but it was a long way off. I started swimming toward it aware that I was smack dab in the middle of a “water traffic lane” without a colorful, buoyant flotation device to alert folks to my presence.

Basically, I was a sitting duck.

I swam faster.

By then, I was getting tired so I flipped over and back-stroked in the direction of my beloved and the boat hundreds of yards off. (Incredibly, I bumped into the “floatie” on the way there with my eyes closed and grabbed it like it was manna from heaven.) To me, it was.

When I finally reached the boat, Russ hauled me over the side and we quickly resolved the issue “why didn’t you come get me?!” (Never assume.) Then as we stared incredulously at each other wondering “what the hell just happened?” the pain of my injuries and hypothermia set in.

Prior to that I didn’t realize that my body hit the boat when I was pitched out. My entire left side was bruised and my ankle was swollen and throbbing. It was a miracle I could swim at all. The sun was also beginning to set and the temp was dropping rapidly.

Following a long, slow trip back to the landing several miles away with me shivering uncontrollably in a damp beach towel (which I wrapped part of around the broken throttle handle to keep from cutting my hand), Russ had to maneuver the boat motor between his legs. It was the only way he could steer.

Thankfully, we finally made it back to shore.

Moral of the story:  Wear a life jacket! Old sea dogs can learn new tricks, but we’ll never go out on the lake without wearing life jackets ever again!

Which brings me back to sailing. Have you tried it? Whatever your water craft preference is, be safe! It’s much less painful than being sorry.

Enjoying the prospect of wind-driven bliss with a life jacket,

~ Kim

Waiting For The Rain

The lake is so low these days, there’s a forest of driftwood trees jutting up beyond the shoreline like wooden soldiers, standing at attention, waiting for the rain to deliver some much needed relief.

Once the lake rises again, they’ll be submerged — present, but lurking under the surface.  So it is with my resolve.

Lately, every time I make a measurable advance in one of my pursuits, a drought of mind and spirit follows, seemingly sucking it dry.  I wonder if the lake is aware of this constant emptying and refilling; I know I am.

The lesson I’ve learned is to pay attention.  Previously, I thought that meant paying more attention to my pursuits.  Putting in the extra effort.  Moving forward at all costs.  Sacrificing sleep to stick with it.

Finishing what I started, and all that.

But after experiencing the gnawing fatigue of being “on duty” twenty-four hours a day while I was caring for my father, I’ve come to know that ebb and flow are good things — inevitable things.  My cup isn’t going to run over just because I think it should.

It’s okay to be tired.  As long as I take time to rest.

It’s okay to be motivated.  As long as I recognize my limits.

It’s okay to push forward.  As long as I honor my needs.

It’s okay to set aside dreams.  As long as I pursue them later.

Now I’m paying attention to the lake, observing its ebb and flow.  And like the weary wooden soldiers at the front, I, too, am waiting for the rain.

Enjoying a moment of introspection,

~ Kim

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Water, Water Everywhere, and Not A Drop To Drink

I took these photos during the Oklahoma drought of 2010.

It’s happening again.

With temperatures climbing to near 100° F, I’ve watched the lake get lower (and lower) by the day.  It’s scary.

(I’m not an activist, nor a fanatic, but it concerns me.)

Last year, one of my friends published a post that I can’t get out of my mind.  (http://www.wasslaweekly.com/2011/10/one-drop-of-water/#respond)

I hope you’ll read Nasrine’s excellent suggestions.  (And watch the video… a mere 15 minutes of your future.)

Causes come and causes go, but this one’s personal.

Each one of us is responsible for the water we consume — or waste.

I’m especially conscious of it as a food blogger… water to wash, boil, simmer, do dishes.  Drink.

All it takes is one person — ONE drop — to make a difference.

What will you do to make an impact on the world’s water supply?

Your water supply?

Please choose to make a difference.

Enjoying a glass of water,

~ Kim

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Friendship Renewed (Rhapsody In Blue IV)

Hi, friends. It’s been awhile since Old Boy (or you and I) spent time together.

Friendships are like that, advancing or receding like waves on the shore.

Thankfully, good friends understand that good friendships withstand the undulation.

When I heard Old Boy’s familiar aaawwwkkk sounding low across the water, I grabbed my camera and headed for the bluff.

He settled onto a branch and I settled onto a boulder.

We eyed each other tentatively.

Then, as good friends do, we picked up where we left off…

Comfortable in each other’s presence…

Happy to be ourselves.

“Birds of a feather flock together.” ~ Aristotle

Friendship renewed is a sweet thing indeed.

Enjoying the prospect of reconnecting with you in the coming weeks,

~ Kim

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