Rebecca is my daughter. She’s a very good cook. While I couldn’t get her to chop an onion when she was growing up, she’s become a cook who tries everything now—successfully. She also is the Manager of The Good Cooking Store in our little Lancaster County town of Intercourse, PA. She taught Language Arts to middle-schoolers for 7 years. Now we benefit from all of her energy and good ideas. Don’t miss what she has to say!
For the past few years, I’ve enjoyed staying in and cooking at home to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my husband, Rob. It gives me an opportunity to attempt some new recipes that feel special. I try to carefully select menu items that I know Rob will enjoy, but that are something a bit unusual.
Two years ago I decided to tackle calamari. Rob enjoys fried calamari as an appetizer. I wanted to try a different preparation, so I found a recipe for a squid stew. I knew this was a bit unconventional, but the recipe seemed pretty simple, so I gave it a whirl. The stew was a basic tomato base with rounds of sliced squid. Some garlic bread and a salad completed the meal. The meal was a success.
Last year I planned something a bit more romantic, or so I thought. I set the table, lit some candles, and set a piece of chocolate on our two plates. I continued with the seafood theme and did linguini with clams. This is a dish I’d always loved as a child, but had not tried to make at home before. I even made heart-shaped brownies.
A few hours before dinner, a friend of Rob’s called. He wanted to come over to hang out, not thinking about the fact that it was Valentine’s Day. We let him know we had a bit of a romantic dinner planned, but we agreed he could crash the party.
When he arrived, he laughed at the chocolate on our plates. He still did not get that we were actually planning a romantic evening! In the end, Rob and he both enjoyed the entire meal, from the clams to the heart-shaped brownies. Even though having another person for dinner dampened a bit of the romance in the air, I had a fun evening, and we all laughed a lot.
This year I plan to try yet another new recipe. It also needs to be special, but not too complicated to make. Sticking to those guidelines, and our ongoing seafood theme, I’m planning to make this fantastic Thai shrimp recipe.
Thai Shrimp and Rice
adapted from Fix-It and Enjoy-It Healthy Cookbook, page 78
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 6 servings
1 tsp. olive oil
½ cup sliced scallions
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
14-oz. can light coconut milk
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
pepper to taste
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp. salt
12 ozs. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 ½ cups (about ½ lb.) fresh snow peas
2 tsp. lime zest
cilantro for garnish
jasmine or basmati rice
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté scallions and garlic.
2. Add coconut milk and water to skillet and bring to a boil.
3. Stir in red curry paste, soy sauce and pepper. Add carrots and salt.
4. Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes.
5. Stir in shrimp, snow peas, and lime zest.
6. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until shrimp and peas are crisp-tender.
7. Garnish with lime wedges and chopped cilantro just before serving. Serve over jasmine or basmati rice.
What do you plan to make for Valentine’s Day this year?