Sometimes you have to spice things up.
Last Saturday night SSSal and I took a yacht cruise along the Detroit waterfront. This is an annual event for an organization SSSal is a board member of. It's also one of the few events to include spouses.
These sort of events are always somewhat difficult. The members know each other, but the spouses invariably feel lost, indifferent or, worst case, resentful. It's all well and good to go on a yacht cruise, but face it, under normal circumstances you wouldn't go with 60 other people that only half of you knew.
But Crabby is nothing if not resourceful when creating his own good time. As an added bonus, SSSal was one of the organizers of the event and she arranged for the evenings entertainment: music and Salsa dancing lessons courtesy of Detroit's own, Mambo Marci & Jimmy Barrios.
Award-winning, short-skirted, high-heeled, pneumatic-hipped Mambo Marci was as bubbly and outgoing as you'd expect. The dance lessons also went just how you'd expect, 10 women and 2 men participating, with 25 eagle-eyed husbands and 17 sullen wives, watching.
Yours truly did finally jump in, I love Salsa music but I just can't dance. I always end up looking like one of those slow-motion outer space explosions you see in science fiction movies, parts hurtling off in painful and improbable directions, destroying anything unfortunate enough to be in my path. No matter how hard I try, ultimately it just looks like I'm having some sort of seizure.
Mambo Marci tried, she said I'm a very good leader; I think she might have been trying to sell dance lessons. Ah well, sometimes you just have to spice things up. That brings me to today's recipe: Pasta with Grilled Vegetables & Shrimp originally didn't include the shrimp, but after reading the recipe I knew it needed a little something. Adding grilled shrimp with a spicy rub turns this light appetizer into a light dinner. So turn on some Tito Puente, mix up some mojitos and enjoy...
Pasta with Grilled Vegetables & Shrimp
from Gourmet Magazine, June 2009 and of course a Crabby tweak
3/4 pound raw, shelled shrimp
2 TBSP dry rub of choice
1 1/2 TBSP minced garlic, about 6 small cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 plum (roma) tomatoes (about 2 pounds) halved lengthwise
1 large red onion, cut into 6 wedges, stem intact
3/4 pound spaghetti
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil
You need a cool side of the grill to prepare this dish, so if you have a two burner grill only pre-heat half over medium high heat. Leave the other side cold.
As the grill is heating, toss the cleaned and deveined shrimp in a large bowl with the 2 tablespoons of spice rub. I use whatever rub I have leftover from previous meals.
Place the shrimp on the hot grill and cook until done, turning once halfway through cooking, (total cooking time approximately 3 - 4 minutes). Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Place the cut onions and tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper the vegetables.
Take a sheet of aluminum foil and fold into a small bowl shape. Add the minced garlic and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Place this bowl on he cold side of the grill as far away from the heat as possible.
Place another sheet of aluminum foil on the hot side of the grill. Transfer the vegetables to the foil and grill for 4 minutes per side, or until the vegetables develop nice grill marks and have softened slightly.
Remove the vegetables and garlic from the grill and allow to cool slightly.
While the vegetables are cooling, boil the spaghetti according to box instructions.
Roughly chop the onions and tomatoes. You may wish to discard the skins of the tomatoes and any excess seeds. Put the vegetables in a large serving bowl and add the garlic and oil.
Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Add the pasta to the serving bowl and toss with the vegetables. Immediately add the grated parmesan and toss again. If the dish is too dry, add the retained pasta water as needed.
Check for seasoning, you may need additional salt and a touch of oil.
Serve the pasta in bowls, garnishing with the chopped basil and 3 or 4 grilled shrimp.
I'll admit it crablings, this meal is a little fussy. It didn't seem that way when I started, but at the end of dinner there was this pile of wreckage in the kitchen that I was amazed by. It had to do with all that chopping and tossing and setting aside. Make sure and have a lot of helping hands around when you prepare this dish.
OK, I'm out of here for now. Remember, you can do it , you can cook and if you try, you can dance.