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.

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.


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



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


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.


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.”



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

1 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease two 9 x 3 round cake pans. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar and eggs.


Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, alternating with the schnapps, boiling water and vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pans.

Remove and cool completely.

Butterscotch Buttercream:

4 large egg whites at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar


2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps

In a very clean mixing bowl with a very clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Sometimes if there is a little oil on the bowl or the beaters, the egg whites just won’t whisk to peaks.

Gradually add the sugar until fully incorporated and the whites are glossy peaks.

Reduce the mixer speed and add the butter in about 2 tablespoon increments. Wait until the butter is fully incorporated before adding the next clump.


Continue until all of the butter and then the chocolate and schnapps are added.

To assemble:

Remove the cakes from their pans. Spread the top of one cake layer liberally with frosting and then place the other cake layer on top. Frost this layer liberally as well.

Serves 10 to 12.

Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of “At Home, At Sea.” She can be reached

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