Last week hit me like a ton of bricks. From an overwhelmingly busy work week to dealing with the sudden take-down of Musical Pairings, it was a good thing I could at least look forward to having two days off. Anticipation had been building for a rather complicated trip to Michigan. A good friend of mine was getting married in what I had been telling people was the Upper Peninsula but turned out to be the upper part of ‘mainland’ Michigan. I’m not sure about the terminology but in any case–it was a journey. “Air, land and sea” as my travel companions took to calling our flight to Detroit, 4-hour drive and ferry trip to a castle seemingly in the middle of nowhere. A few stops at Arby’s in the middle of a road trip in middle America can sure put things into perspective.
For one thing, it quickly makes you forget what real life feels like (and the fact that normally I would not go near a fast food restaurant). In my case, it was a great escape from being connected. I didn’t blog. I didn’t Tweet. I didn’t update my Facebook status. I didn’t check my email (for the most part). I didn’t worry about traffic to the site. And it was glorious. I often miss living without so much technology. Of course it is brilliant to be able to connect with people all the time–any time. But there are certainly a lot of days when I don’t want to be found. And the only people that I want to focus my attention on are the ones right there with me.
I learned a few things about myself this past weekend: I do not get very emotional at weddings–even when I am really, really happy inside. I can still enjoy a gin and tonic–or three. I really, really miss road trips. I can, in fact, sleep on planes. And I really, really appreciate my kitchen when I am away from it (but few other rooms in my house).
Getting back to San Francisco late Sunday night meant jumping right back into the routine. It was rough going at first. But as soon as Matt and I sat down to dinner–our first home-cooked meal in nearly a week–I immediately appreciated the things I love here. At home. We made a similar recipe for dinner tonight–herby, citrusy grilled shrimp. Briefly marinated in lemon juice and flavored with fresh oregano, these shrimp have a bit of a smoky air to them and a pleasant citrus bite. I was intrigued by the grilled lemon wedges–they were so juicy and flavorful, after squeezing them over my shrimp and bulgur, I nibbled at their flesh. It seems that everything you grill just tastes better.
We ate these shrimp with bulgur, though quinoa or rice would be just fine. Be sure to reserve a little extra dressing to add to the grain–it really adds a nice layer of flavor and a creamier texture.
Lemon-Oregano Grilled Jumbo Shrimp
adapted from Gourmet
* serves 2
about a pound and a half of jumbo shrimp, deveined, with shells remove (tails on)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt (more to taste)
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
about 1/3 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano, chopped finely
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
*cooked bulgur or quinoa to serve
1. Combine the garlic, lemon juice and pepper in a small blender and puree until smooth. Add the oil and blend until it is emulsified. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the oregano.
2. Toss the shrimp with about 3/4 of the dressing, reserving the rest. Let the shrimp rest in the marinade for no longer than 15 minutes.
3. Lightly coat a grill pan or cast iron skillet with canola oil and heat over medium-high heat.
4. Brush the lemon wedges with some of the reserved dressing (but not all), and grill for a few minutes on both sides until grill marks appear. Transfer to a plate.
5. Grill the shrimp, turning over once for about 3-4 minutes on each side and transfer to the plate with the grilled lemons.
6. To serve, toss about a teaspoon or two of the reserved dressing with the bulgur or quinoa. Top with shrimp and serve with remaining sauce and lemon wedges for garnish.
Musical Pairings: Matt & Kim – Grand + Lemon-Oregano Grilled Jumbo Shrimp
And we’re back. And it’s been a week since our last Musical Pairing. Our excuse is that we’ve been getting pretty slammed around here. In addition to the usual, ho-hum work excuses, we also flew out to Michigan for our friends’ wedding. We hit a casino, visited Motown, crashed two other weddings, and took a long (but fun) road trip with two other good friends. And now that we are back, you’ll notice Kasey brought her A-game. That lemon-oregano grilled shrimp recipe is simply delicious. In my book, the combination of citrus with savory herbs is a sure hit – and when you add that the shrimp are grilled – it just doesn’t get any better. So it addition to selecting an upbeat, awesome album for pairing with the recipe – I also selected an album featuring a tune we jammed to a couple of times during the road trip: Matt & Kim‘s Grand. Read more at the new Musical Pairings site (same URL, different site–for now…) –Matthew