Allez les Bleus – You’ve Been Chopped

I wish I could tell you that I haven’t posted in a while because I have been so wrapped up watching the World Cup.  If I were to say that, I would definitely earn some points in The Hub’s book.  He literally has the schedule memorized, has installed I don’t know how many new apps on his phone to track scores and standings, and cut our San Diego getaway weekend short because he had to be back home to watch France’s first game.  Never mind that the hotel had a gazillion TVs – all of which were tuned to the World Cup.  Nope, there’s something special, I guess, about watching it in a fellow Frenchman’s living room with 15+ other screaming and cheering Frogs.

The Cup Mania is so intense with him this year, that he went so far as to order cable.  The family who hasn’t had cable in over 6 years, whose children don’t really even know what cable is, now have it just so one man can watch grown adults kick a ball around.

The upside for me? Shhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t say it too loudly, but with cable also comes the Food Network.  I literally feel like I am on a permanent vacation.  I can watch the Food Network whenever I want . . . . not just when traveling and staying in hotels.  So the small people in this house may be a bit impressed by the World Cup thing, but they are now INFECTED with the Food Network.  The Medium Little One has taken to critiquing every meal I put on the table a la Geoffrey Zakarian.  Just today the Little Little One was playing in her pretend kitchen and asked me how many minutes she had left on the clock.  And the Big Little One is trying to figure out how we could have a Chopped Party with a couple other families using only one kitchen.

There you have it, the highlight of our Summer so far: A father obsessed with soccer, a mother obsessed with food, and kids just newly exposed to cable trying to navigate the thrill of it all.

Yet, none of this should overshadow the thrill of the family’s newly acquired vegetable spiralizer.  I am a spiralizing fool!  Don’t stand in my kitchen too long or you might find an appendage starting to spontaneously ribbon off.  A recent creation with the spiralizer was this Sriracha Shrimp Over Zucchini Pasta.

I started by spiralizing about 3 medium large zucchini.  The little hands just love to help with this part.

zoodle61

Then I spread the spiralized zucchini out on a couple of layers of paper towels, sprinkled with salt, and let them sit for about 5 minutes.  This helps to release excess liquid so you don’t end up with a soggy mess.

zoodle51

While the “noodles” were basking on the paper towel, I put a pot of water on to boil and set to work on the shrimp.  I mixed my Sriracha sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar and salt and pepper in a little bowl.

zoodle41

I warmed some olive oil in a large skillet and sauteed up some chopped shallots.  I added in the Sriracha mixture and my shrimp.  I let it cook until the shrimp was just pink.

zoodle31

I tossed my zucchini noodles in my pot of boiling water for 1 minute.  Yep, only 1 minute.  Any longer and you will have mush.  I drained the noodles and reserved a bit of the cooking water.

zoodle21

I added some butter and a bit of the reserved cooking liquid to my shrimp and then placed the noodles on a platter and crowned them with the shrimp.

zoodle11

I guess some people call these lovely little zucchini noodles Zoodles.  I prefer to just call them noodles and my kiddos are none the wiser.  Luckily for me, I wasn’t chopped after serving this for dinner.  I think they kind of know that they’ll starve should they ever decide to “chop” me.

Here’s the complete recipe for Sriracha Shrimp Over Zucchini Noodles.

 

School’s Out for Summer – Orzo with Grilled Shrimp, Summer Veggies & Pesto Vinaigrette

I think I’m starting to decompress.  I think I’m starting to decompress.  If I repeat that another dozen times, maybe I’ll start to believe it.  About 4 million things have fallen off of my schedule in the last few weeks – with the biggest one being school.  Yes, I homeschool my children and yes, it’s insane.  But the implications of that on the cooking front is that I’m always trying to wedge dinner preparations into everything else I’ve got going on during the day.  Keeping all of the plates spinning is my boiled down job description.  And no, I won’t bore you with the names of each and every plate.  Just trust me when I say, “There are  A LOT of them!”

But with school finished for the year, I can take a more leisurely approach to things in my kitchen.  I love that.  I know for some people cooking is such a hassle, but for me it really is therapeutic.  I’ll take zesting a good lemon over journaling my innermost feelings any day.  Body combat workout to release my aggressions?  I’d rather beat egg whites into stiff peaks.  If I have the time, I like to linger over the steps of putting a meal together and not rush through things.  That’s exactly what I did in assembling this summer salad.

I started by making a nice pot of orzo, draining, rinsing, tossing with a little olive oil and setting it aside.  I truly think orzo is one of my favorite pastas.  There’s something about the size and the texture that just works for me.

shrimp orzo1

Then I chopped up some red bell pepper and summer squash.

shrimp1

I whisked together a little olive oil and red wine vinegar and brushed the veggies with the mixture.

shrimpveg2

Finally, I grilled the veggies until they were just browned and then set aside.  Yes, this was the inaugural busting out of the grill for the summer.

shrimpveg4

While the veggies were grilling, I had the peeled and deveined shrimp sitting in a little marinade of prepared pesto, lime juice, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  As soon as the veggies came off the grill, on went the shrimp.  I grilled them for about 3 minutes per side and then pulled them off.  Actually, Medium Little One handled the grilling for me and did quite a fine job at it.

shrimpgrill1

I chopped up some grape tomatoes and fresh basil (we are OVERRUN with basil, so if you find all recipes for the next 3 months oozing with basil, it’s not my fault it’s the garden’s), and then cubed some fresh mozzarella.  I tossed this all together with the orzo, the grilled veggies and the grilled shrimp and then poured my remaining pesto vinaigrette over.

shrimpsalad1

I served it with some sweet potato fries and we were good to go.

shrimpsaladtable1

So welcome summer!  I am so glad you are here.  No I won’t be grading anymore Singapore Math, nor will I be measuring soil compaction with knitting needles for Science Fair projects.  I will not be be nagging to complete your DOL, nor will I explain rotational symmetry for the 98th time.  I don’t care if you don’t know whether the pronoun is a subject pronoun or an object pronoun, and if you can’t remember to find a common denominator before comparing fractions, then that’s just your own problem for the next three months.  I’ll be lingering over summer recipes in my kitchen and sipping white wine while doing it.

For the complete Orzo with Grilled Shrimp Summer Veggies & Pesto Vinaigrette Recipe, click here.

Want to explore some more fun Orzo Recipes?

Related articles