Monday, July 5, 2010

Shrimp Tacos Ole!

I'm a teacher and it's SuMmEr BrEaK ! ! ! This means all sorts of fun things... no more waking up early... no more 45 minute drive to school... more time to lay by the pool... and more time to cook! I've got lots of experimenting to do this summer.

This past week, I decided to make some SHRIMP TACOS.  I love tacos with beef, chicken, pork, and even fish, but I wanted to try something a bit lighter.  I had bought some avocados and a mango and was really craving some mango salsa.  I had also seen Paula Dean make some coconut mango rice and thought that it sounded great, so I needed a dish that would go with both of those sides... so shrimp tacos it was!

I didn't use any sort of recipe, just threw in whatever I had in the house.  Here are some of the ingredients for shrimp tacos, mango salsa, coconut mango rice, and black beans with corn: 
You'll need:

* 2 fresh ears of corn
* 1/2 lb shrimp
* 1 small red onion
* corn tortillas
*1 mango
* 1 avocado
* 3 cloves of garlic, minced
* 2 limes
* 1 jalapeno
* 1 can black beans
* 1 can coconut milk
* 1/4 cup tequila
* 3/4 cup brown rice


(Here's the soupy mix that went into the rice cooker)

I was watching TV the other day, and I saw Paula Dean and her son make this coconut mango rice.  It looked delicious!  I love rice and mango and coconut, so it would probably be amazing all thrown together right?!  Here's the recipe from the Food Network Website.  Mango Coconut Rice.   I didn't want to make a whole batch of it, so I cut the recipe in half.  Also, I have a rice cooker, so rather than cooking it all on the stove, I threw everything (3/4 cup brown rice, 1/2 diced mango, 1/2 can coconut milk, and 1/3 cup water) in the rice cooker and hit "GO."  Since rice takes the longest to cook, I started it immediately and got on with cooking the rest of the meal. 

(Here's what it looked like when the timer went off!)

Next up, was the corn and black bean side dish thingey.  I was thinking that a corn and black bean salsa would be good... the only problem is that neither Curt nor I really like tomatoes, which is usually a main ingredient in salsa.  Also, I had fresh corn, not the frozen stuff which is usually what's used to make a corn salsa.  I needed to improvise!

I cut the kernels off the 2 ears of corn.  They looked pretty, but they were raw... I didn't really know what I should do, but I did know that I should cook them.  So... I threw them in a pan with some butter and garlic powder.  I figured I'd let them start cooking and figure out what to do with it after. 

(look at those big chunks of jalapeno!)

As the corn cooked, I realized that having cold black beans and warm corn were probably going to taste weird together, so I just threw in the can of rinsed black beans.  I added some oil so the whole mess of stuff wouldn't dry out.  I think I may have added some water too.  Also, to give it a bit more flavor, I sprinkled in some dried cilantro leaves I had floating around in the spice drawer.  I also threw in some big chunks of the chopped jalapeno.  The plan was to just let the flavors infuse the dish, then pull the peppers out... but I left the peppers in there.  Curt usually just picks out anything resembling a green bit of vegetable, so I assumed he'd do it this time and I could save a step... unfortunately, I was upstairs on the computer when I heard him start rapidly sucking in breath... he had eaten a big piece rather than pick it out.  Of all the times to start eating everything on his plate and stop picking out the green!

Next up, MANGO SALSA!!!

(mango, red onion, and jalapenos)

I love mangoes and I didn't really start loving avocado until a few years ago.  Together, they are absolutely delicious!  It's the perfect way to add a little jazz to your food, but in a healthy way! 

I took some red onion, the whole avocado, the other half of the mango (remember the 1st half went into the rice), and some jalapeno.  I diced everything into tiny little chunks.  The jalapeno and onion, I pretty much minced into microscopic pieces. 

I threw everything into a nice little bowl and mixed it up with a wooden spoon.  Be careful when mixing everything together so you don't mush up the avocado or mango and turn it into guacamole.  After everything was pretty well mixed, I squeezed the juice of 1 lime into the dish.  This really helped to combine the flavors and brighten up the dish.  I added a bit of garlic salt, but overall, the dish was super easy and super delicious!  I covered the mix and threw it in the refrigerator to chill.


Finally, it's time for the Shrimp!  I, personally, think that shrimp is delicious no matter how you cook it... but for the tacos, I did want to add some flavor, rather than just saute them in a bit of butter.  Then, it came to me!  Tequila!  We had a HUGE handle of Jose Quervo left over from our wedding (yes, we did have a bit of liquor left!)  

I decided to make a tequila lime shrimp to stuff in the tacos.  In a pan, I melted some butter and  added the garlic. Once the butter was melted and the garlic started smelling good, I added in the juice of the other lime and 1/4 cup of tequila.  At first, it smelled REALLY strong!  I've never been a huge fan of tequila, but figured it seemed like a good way to cook shrimp for a Mexican dish.  After a few minutes, the tequila all cooked off, and all that was left was a delicious smelling butter lime sauce.  I tossed the shrimp in and gave them each a flip after they started turning pink. 

The shrimp seemed to really pick up the flavors of the sauce and they cooked quickly.  I poured the contents of the pan onto a plate and cut up the shrimp into little bite sized chunks.  After cutting them, I let them sit in the sauce to soak up as much as possible.   Once the shrimp was done, it was time to feast!

I used a corn tortilla because I really like the flavor and texture of the corn tortilla with the shrimp... also, I had corn tortillas, not flour!  I added some of the mango salsa to the tortilla then added a decent amount of the shrimp.  Then, I added a few scoops of beans and corn and a few more scoops of rice!

(Beautiful, huh?)

Overall, the tacos were delicious!  Curt and I finished the entire amount of shrimp and most of the mango salsa.  I ate the rest of it the next day with some tortilla chips.  We had tons of the beans and corn left over.  I ended up seasoning some chicken breasts with some mexican type spices, then just cooking them in a bit of oil.  Then I put them in a tupperware, covered them with some shredded cheese, and topped them with the rest of the corn/bean mixture.  When Curt heated them up at work, the cheese melted and the had a nice little Mexican style chicken!  Anyway, we were able to put the leftovers to use which is always a good thing!   

About the rice... ugh... I LOVE rice... this... not so much.  The mango cooked a lot, so it was pretty mushy.  Its taste and texture reminded me of baby food.  Mango aside, the rice cooked in the coconut milk was OK, but it wasn't anything great.  I would have preferred rice-a-roni or something similar.  I don't think I'm going to make the recipe again, but maybe you'll like it!  Paula Dean sure seemed to!

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