New York City is one of my favorite places to visit and while I am there, I want to experience everything that this amazing city has to offer. I have often described the feeling of being there like standing in the middle of the world.
I have taken up a special fondness for food blogs that focus on the food and culture of New York City. One such blog is Nora’s Amateur Foodie Adventures www.amateurfoodieadventures.com
who writes about her food adventures in New York City. I asked Nora if she would be interested in doing a guest post about a food experience or a favorite recipe. She graciously agreed. Without further delay, say hello to Nora the host of Amateur Foodie Adventures. As always, stop by her blog and say hello. You don’t have to live in New York City to enjoy her blog posts.
Velva is a faithful reader and commenter on my blog. I was thrilled when she asked me to be a guest blogger despite the fact my website isn’t a recipe-based food blog like hers. On my site, I cover food events in New York City, throwing in a few restaurant postings and an occasional recipe for some variety.
Here, I’m going to write about a recipe from a personal favorite website of mine called Food52.com (www.Food52.com
). This site is cool enough for a separate blog posting, but Ill simply say check it out when you have a moment.
The recipe is Shrimp Couscous with Grilled Eggplant and Peppers. I dig this recipe because A) it combines 3 of my favorite ingredients; shrimp, couscous, and sweet red peppers and B) it helped me overcome a recent and unexpected bout of subpar cooking ability that seemed to steal away my kitchen mojo.
Example 1: Potato souffle. I tried a gorgeous recipe from a food travel book I’m reading. Alas, my dreams of an airy, creamy souffle were foiled by me overcooking it. Yes, I lost track of time. Making matters worse, I substituted cinnamon for the nutmeg which I didn’t have and added twice the amount by mistake. I know, I know. Potato and cinnamon–it doesn’t conjure up the same delicious grandeur as chocolate and peanut butter.
Example 2: Spaghetti Carbonara. An easy recipe for sure, but I managed to mess it up because I never made it before and I was trying to entertain my dinner guest and cook at the same time. That’s a bad combination for me!
Example 3: Pakistani Goat Stew. Inspired by the cut up organic goat meat I snagged at the Union Square Greenmarket, I found a recipe onlie and had every spice in my cupboard. Except garam masala, which you can’t find anywhere in my Polish neigborhood. After nuturing the curry, the flavor turned out just-meh. My culinary self-esteem hit an all time low as I ate the goat stew which tasted like regular old beef stew with a mild curry sauce. Where was the adventurous, exotic, complex flavored stew I planned for?
Much like Austin Powers, I finally was able to get my mojo back. Yeah Baby! How you might ask? I simply returned to the basics. Simple food and good ingredients I’ve worked with countless times. Of course, I probably could have avoided this whole saga by using more of Velva’s recipes 😉
Shrimp Couscous with Grilled Eggplant and Peppers
Serves 1- can easily be doubled.
2 thick slices of eggplant
1/2 red bell pepper
4 large shrimp-peeled, cleaned
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup whole wheat couscous
3/4 cups seafood stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
Fresh black pepper
2 green onions-chopped
1. Heat the grill to med-high. Brush the eggplant and pepper with tablespoon of olive oil, squeeze juice from half the lemon over them, and sprinkle with salt. Grill the eggplant until they have a nice char but are not completely cooked. Remove from the grill and cut into bite sized pieces.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil to medium, add the garlic and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are just pink but not completely cooked.
3. Add the stock and thyme, a couple of grinds of black pepper, bring to a simmer, and add the couscous. Stir, turn off the heat and leave covered for 2-3 minutes.
4. Stir in the eggplant, peppers and juice from the other half of the lemon, as well as the green onion, and cover for an additional 2-3 minutes.
5. Spoon into a bowl, top with toasted slivered almonds, serve and enjoy!