Thursday, March 08, 2007

Those hectic days... what to have for dinner?

We've been pretty busy getting things wrapped up around here as we are flying out to the mid-west this weekend, so I wanted to keep dinner light and easy tonight. We'll begin with the side we had tonight for this recipe of a Carrot-Pineapple Slaw.

I had to buy some pineapple earlier in the week for a dessert I was making (more on this later...) and ended up with some leftover chunky pieces - I looked through one of my to-try piles and came across this recipe that used up the extra amount. This is a refreshing and simple combination of crunchy carrots, juicy golden raisins and diced pineapple. The slaw is coated in a sweet and tart dressing made from canola oil, lemon juice, pure maple syrup and pineapple juice. The maple syrup make look a little out of place to some, but the texture adds a thick sticky body to the sauce and we thought it helped the dressing cling on to the thin carrots. A scattering of fresh parsley is tossed in to pop the colors and the mixture goes into the refrigerator to chill until you are ready to serve - a great dish to make ahead and have ready to go when you need it. I'd love to have this again as a side to some basic grilled pork chops.

One ingredient that we tend to move towards when we are looking to get dinner done in a hurry is shrimp - which just happen to be one of Jeff's favorite savory foods. This made-for-two dish, Salt and Pepper Shrimp, took just a few minutes to throw together and we were ready to sit and enjoy dinner after our hectic day. The crusted shrimp are spread over a crisp broccoli slaw that has been tossed in a mixture of fresh lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and a dash of sugar to help balance the dressing. What gives the shrimp their crunchy coating is not all-purpose flour, but instead we tossed them with rice flour which we found to work extraordinarily well. The rice flour, which happens to be gluten free and is basically just finely ground white rice, is seasoned with salt, fresh ground pepper and five-spice powder. The five-spice mixture brings in the basic flavors of bitter, pungent, salty, sour and sweet to give the shrimp an extra kick - try and find a blend that includes Szechwan peppercorns for the best flavor. Once they have almost completely cooked, a chopped jalapeƱo is tossed in which lends just a touch of heat without being a distraction to the tender shrimp.


  1. When I go to Brazil there is a particular restaurant I really like and that serves a carrot salad very similar to this one. It is delicious, made with carrots, raisins, pineapple and apple pieces, and the dressing is made with orange juice. Super good and very refreshing too!
    Your salad looks great Joe, as does the shrimp (my husband and son also looooves shrimp here!), I may try this carrot dish soon!

  2. That pineapple-carrot salad is on my meal plan for tomorrow. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

  3. Ana - Apple pieces would be a great addition I think!

    Pieces - Hope you liked the recipe!