It’s always a bummer when you set out to make a dinner you’re really excited about, but then it turns out less than perfect. This happens to me when I’m in a hurry or feeling lazy, the former of which was the case last night. I decided at 6:00 to make shrimp tacos and crispy portobello mushroom fries, both from How Sweet Eats even though I had to be at the movie theater a little before 7:00 to see Bridesmaids.
Can I digress here for a minute to say how HILARIOUS that movie was? I don’t want to overly build it up, but I honestly thought it was much funnier than The Hangover. It has a perfect blend of gross/raunchy humor, snarky humor and character development. GO SEE IT!
So anyways, my horrible time management skills caused me to rush through every phase of this dinner – the prep, the cooking and the eating. When I cook/bake, I like to take my time and really enjoy what I’m doing…I guess I’m like my dad in that way, who tediously chops vegetables into equal size pieces when he cooks. However, instead of lovingly dredging my shrimp in seasoned flour, I was flying around our 1 square foot kitchen like a mad woman trying to cook dinner in 20 minutes.
The pictures certainly look pretty enough, but sadly my shrimp were less than crispy (definitely did not give them enough time to fry on each side) and while the mushroom fries were crunchy, they were powdery from the excess flour and a little bland from a lack of seasoning. The texture of the fries was definitely interesting – they were crunchy from the panko, but the inside was light and airy, almost like a rice cake. I will make them again, but next time I’ll add more smoked paprika and salt and reduce the flour.
The shrimp had great flavor (hello, cumin and chili powder, the most heavenly spice duo ever), but sadly was soggy instead of crispy.
Soggy shrimp. Gross. At least the picture looks nice, right?
The pico de gallo I made on Sunday saved my sad tacos; even though I forgot to buy fresh tomatoes (only I would forget to buy tomatoes after planning to make pico de gallo for the week) and had to use canned, it still turned out really well! I used to hate pico de gallo because of the strong onion/cilantro flavors and the chunkiness of it. Ironically those are the two reasons I love it now – it’s amazing how my tastes have changed since high school.
Basic Pico de Gallo
I wasn’t really following a recipe when I did this, although I think it’s similar to most basic recipes; makes 1-1.5 cups
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 1/4 red onion, diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
– 1/2 jalepeno, seeded and diced
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– pinch of salt
Drain the can of diced tomatoes, then roughly chop them into smaller chunks. Carefully dice the onion, garlic and jalepeno into equal size pieces, just like Poppa Reed.
Just kidding. A rough dice is fine, obviously.
Roughly chop the cilantro, then add the spices. Mix everything together, then enjoy with tortilla chips or on top of soggy shrimp.
I’m also going to include the recipe for the mushroom fries, just because they’re so interesting.
Crispy Mushroom Portobello Fries
by Jessica at How Sweet Eats; serves 4
– 4 portobello mushroom caps, sliced
– 2 egg whites
– 1.5 cups panko bread crumbs
– 1/4 cup flour (next time I might use 2 tablespoons)
– 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper
– 1/2 tsp paprika (I might make it 1 or 1.5 tsp next time)
– 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, for drizzling (I didn’t do this…I used good ol’ fashioned ketchup)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet.
Mix the flour, breadcrumbs, panko, salt, pepper and paprika into a shallow bowl. Mix well. In another shallow bowl, lightly beat 2 egg whites. Dip the mushroom slices into the egg whites, then toss in the bread crumb mixture, pressing the crumbs onto the mushroom to help the crumbs stick.
Lay the mushrooms on the wire rack and spray each with cooking spray or oil before baking in the oven for 7 minutes. After the first side bakes, flip the fries and spray again with oil, then bake for another seven minutes.
I just realized that I didn’t do that last step. Rushing does not pay!
And now I’m off to go make jambalaya with Chris, Adam and Kathy!