ShakeItUp – Apple-Mango-Banana Smoothie

Here’s another quick but delicious smoothie idea with in-season fruits.

apple-mango-banana smoothie

Eat clean,

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Spicy Curried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Peanut Sauce

“What good is our best dish if we have not friends to share it with?” – Stephen Charoo, 2013

will cook for friends

With this quote in mind, I can’t say enough how much I love to cook for loved ones. There is just something eerily euphoric when I see the reactions from a well received dish of my creation.

That said, my good friend Jo-Anne and I have been plotting to have a cook-up at her house for some time now.

Today it finally happened.

The menu was shy of ambitious (in terms of volume that is) but we fared well.

This dish was inspired by my trip to The Cheesecake Factory while visiting my aunt and cousin in Chicago, Illinois a few years ago. Theirs was a Thai lettuce wrap with chicken satays, but of course, I had to put my own twist to it. Lettuce wraps are pretty fun to eat, and puts control in the hands of the guest. Serve the fillings on a platter with whole lettuce leaves on the side, and let your friends and family wrap their own.

Jo-Anne

Jo-Anne

 Starter: Spicy Curried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Camera 360

Ingredients:

  • 1 head fresh iceberg lettuce (6-8 leaves)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot, shredded or cut into thin strips
  • ¼ cup black olives, seeded, chopped
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • Peanut sauce (recipe below)
  • Curried shrimp (recipe below)

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Method:

  1. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and arrange on a larger platter.
  2. Arrange accompanying fillings alongside lettuce leaves.
  3. Let your guests create their own lettuce wraps by choosing a filling or fillings and placing it on a leaf along with the peanut sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Fold the leaf in half and enjoy!
toasted almonds

toasted almonds

Curried shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 24 oz. pack deveined, shelled, small shrimp
  • one medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 finely chopped, 2 smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • cumin powder (geera)
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 small scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil for stir-frying

Method:

  1. In a bowl, combine shrimp, onion, chopped garlic, bay leaf, thyme leaves, and pepper and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes for flavours to develop.
  2. Mix curry powder and cumin powder in 1/4 cup water.
  3. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp. oil, and add the two cloves of smashed garlic and allow to burn and flavour the oil. Remove and discard garlic after about 3-4 mins.
  4. Add liquid curry mixture and stir constantly until it reduces to about 1/3 or to a viscous consistency.
  5. Add shrimp and cook uncovered on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Try to get as much water to evaporate.
  6. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger extract
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and ginger extract until well mixed. Gradually incorporate water until texture is smooth and creamy.
peanut butter sauce

peanut butter sauce

“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”  – Dorothy Day

This starter is pretty good on texture and colour, and surely does hit about every taste bud. Create your own lettuce wraps with your favourite ingredients. And, if you’re looking to drop a few pounds or just to knock off eating healthy from your 2013 resolutions list, then this is definitely a fun and simple way to do it!

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Of course, this was only the starter. The rest of the meal included a scrumptious oven-BBQ chicken and potato medallions for the entrée, Jo’s very own creation, and out-of-the-box (literally, not figuratively) brownie. Lol. Sides included blanched string beans, fried ripe plantains, steamed rice, and corn-on-the-cob.

Jo's world-class bbq chicken

Jo’s world-class bbq chicken

corn-on-the-cob

corn-on-the-cob

my plate

my plate

One love,

S.C.

 

Mango-Cucumber Salad w HoneyKist® Habanero Gourmet Honey Vinaigrette

Mango-Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 full-sized east-indian mangoes (or your favourite kind), peeled, pitted and cut into 1 in. cubes
  • 1 lb. cucumbers
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsps. HoneyKist®  Habenero-flavoured honey
  • 1 tbsp. smoked black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. sliced almonds

cubed mangoes

Method:

  1. Peel cucumber in alternating stripes lengthwise. Cut in half lengthwise and slice into ¼ pieces.
  2. In a salad bowl combine cucumbers and mango.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk honey and red wine vinegar to form a light vinaigrette. Drizzle over mango and cucumbers.
  4. Top with almond slices and sesame seeds.

cucumber and honey

This medley of bold Caribbean flavours and contrasting textures will surely leave your tastebuds in awe. Sun-ripened, naturally sweet east indian mangoes paired with refreshing, half moons of crisp cucumber slices drizzled with a light vinaigrette of tangy red wine vinegar and sweet and spicy habanero-infused honey really wakes up the tongue. For even more flavour and texture contrasts, this salad is finished to perfection with crunchy almond slices and smoked black sesame seeds. A-MAZE-BALLS!

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Eat healthy,

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mango-cucumber salad plated