February 5

The Maine Ingredient: Give your sweetheart a dinner bursting with flavors

Shrimp with bright veggies over coconut rice makes a hot Valentine’s dish or a great meal any day.

This meal is such a colorful combination of the blush reds of shrimp, the spring green of peas and the sunny yellow of tomatoes that it is a perfect foil for the more muted colors of our winter season.

click image to enlarge

Yellow Tomato, Ginger and Lemongrass Shrimp over Coconut Rice brings color and heat to midwinter dining.

Elizabeth Poisson photo

The tang of lemongrass and tomatoes pairs well with the heat of the ginger and sriracha sauce.

Add the rich feel of the shrimp and coconut and this meal is a savory burst of delicious delight. Simple enough for a weeknight dinner and elegant enough for company, it’s become one of my favorites this winter.

Also let’s not forget that Valentine’s Day is coming up, and this meal would be a perfect one to serve your honey.

Finish it with Butterscotch Mocha Cake, and your meal will strike that wonderful balance of ease, elegance and comfort.

Wishing all those paired and combined in love a happy Valentine’s Day.

Yellow Tomato, Ginger and Lemongrass Shrimp over Coconut Rice

You can easily substitute red tomatoes for the yellow.

Shrimp:

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon minced lemongrass

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

4 cups yellow tomato; core and skins removed and quartered

8 ounces snow peas, stem ends removed, about 3 cups

1 pound raw shrimp, shells and veins removed, but tails intact

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Rice:

1-inch piece of ginger, peel removed

Fibrous outer leaves of lemongrass

4 cups water

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups rice

Shrimp:

To mince lemongrass, remove the fibrous outer leaves of the stalk. Mince only the inner, softer core, by slicing lengthwise first and then chopping finely crosswise.

Reserve the outer stems to flavor the rice.

Once the rice preparation is started, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then the ginger and lemongrass. Saute for 30 seconds to a minute and add the fish sauce, sriracha and yellow tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat until the rice is ready.

When the rice is complete, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the shrimp and snow peas to the pan.

Heat the shrimp until it just barely loses its gray tinge and turns pink.Serve immediately over the rice with cilantro leaves as the garnish.

Rice:

In a medium stock pot, bring the water, ginger and lemongrass to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and let steep for 30 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Discard the ginger and lemongrass from the stock and measure with the coconut milk to make 41/2 cups.

Return the stock and coconut milk mixture to the pot with the salt and bring to a simmer again over medium-high heat.

Add the rice, stir well and when the water has returned to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.

Simmer for 20 minutes, remove from heat and let steam until you are ready to serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Butterscotch Mocha Cake with Butterscotch Buttercream

This recipe is initially inspired by Kate Schaffer’s Olive Oil Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream from her book “Desserted.”

Cake:

1 cup canola oil

2 cups brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temp

21/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa, sifted

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup butterscotch schnapps

(Continued on page 2)

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