Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Rachel Alabiso's Shrimp Tacos

There is nothing in the world like next-door neighbors who pull you out of a slump...

I recently thought I was going to have to put my Marley boy down all of a sudden (I thought I had jinxed him by finally writing his book), and after all of the loss that we've had with our family and friends this past year, it was the straw that just kind-of did me in. I found myself slipping into a kind of soul-hibernation. That, and I sprained my foot, and Marley was put on major drugs—so I was holed up, anyway.

Well, the other night, our next-door neighbors, Annette and Justin, decided that I needed a break from the house and invited the three of us over for our long overdue Taco Night. They also invited over "the other Rachel" and Mike of our Thursday Night Crew.

To contribute to the dinner, Chef Reiton and I brought over some cookies (I came up with a lemon-pistachio baby that the girls gave a thumbs-up; I'll make them again and do a post later). Rachel and Mike, however, brought over the most delicious shrimp concoction for shrimp tacos that I have ever had. EVER.

Rachel Alabiso's amazing shrimp tacos recipe

I know, right?!??! And you know what I love? Rachel WINGED THE RECIPE. She thought about what flavors would taste great with shrimp—salt and black pepper, of course, with some garlic, ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika, and dried orange peel (she makes her own powder by peeling and drying just the orange part of the peel and then grinding it up).

Next, she peeled a couple pounds of fresh shrimp (fresh really does make a difference, if you can get it near you), sprinkled them with the above seasonings (no measuring, just eyeballing it) and then tossed it all to coat with a bit of frozen corn. She let the shrimp marinate and the corn thaw until we were ready to cook, and then she just sautéd the shrimp for a few minutes until they reached that perfect, just-pink curl, squeezing some lime over the whole thing when they were done and serving them on a banana leaf.

Can you say that a non-French food has je ne c'est quoi? The blend of seasonings was perfect. You couldn't figure out what made them so damn good. All you knew was that you could not stop eating them.

Sigh. Thank God for next-door girlfriends. I'd be turning into a potato by now. And I never would have experienced Rachel's shrimp tacos.

Cooking up Rachel Alabiso's shrimp tacos recipe

So, remember our lesson for today: DON'T BE AFRAID TO WING IT. If you don't feel like you are good at discerning what tastes good with what, go buy yourself a copy of The Flavor Bible. Believe me, it will change the way you cook. Recipe writing will suddenly be something you can do. Swears.

And now, I'm off. I've got some oranges to peel...

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