I just got back from a beautiful vacation in Maui where I was fortunate enough to have spent a week by the ocean with my husband, mom, and sister. It seems remarkable that just a few days ago I was sitting by the water drinking tequila watching tiny crabs skim across the surface of the sand only to disappear again into their tiny hiding places. Besides reading paperback thrillers, lying around, swimming, and exploring the island I occupied my time with eating large quantities of food and drinking cocktails at inappropriate times of the day, because what’s the point of a vacation if you can’t spend your time doing relaxing and out of the ordinary activities? And speaking of, I even went swimming in the ocean (twice!) I ate poke, sushi, shrimp, fish tacos, tiny bananas, watermelon, barbecued salmon and steak, more fish tacos, gigantic American cheeseburgers, and drank more tequila lemonades, Prosecco, J. Lohr chardonnay, malbec, vodka, mango daiquiris, and salty sweet sour margaritas than I ever thought possible. In short, a perfect escape in a stunning environment. Now that I’m back in Vancouver I feel the need to give my waistline and liver a break, although it’s Friday afternoon and I can’t stop thinking about a chilled Boulevardier after work on a sunny patio and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making french toast later on tonight to accompany our viewing of Spotlight; it’s the thought that counts! This chopped salad with mango and shrimp makes you feel healthy just by looking at it, it’s components form a lovely rainbow of a meal that offers an interesting variation in texture and colour. The dressing is surprisingly spicy and slightly sweet. It perks up the lettuce, brings the sweetness of the mango to the forefront, and gives the shrimp the oomph it needs to shine. You could definitely use chicken or a mild flaky fish instead of the shrimp, I just happened to have a bag of cooked frozen shrimp in the freezer and although not authentic, I felt like it carried on the Maui vibe I’d been feeling all week. Avocado would be really tasty in this salad, as would chopped cilantro, roasted or fresh jalapeno, grilled pineapple, fresh papaya or peaches, or even long elegant strips of endive. Basically, what you’re aiming for is a noticeable variety in colour and texture. Your ingredients shouldn’t all be crunchy and they shouldn’t all be monochromatic, this salad is meant to have a summery feel to it so get creative with your ingredients.
chopped salad with mango and shrimp:
About 1-1 1/2 cups of shrimp, cooked and roughly chopped into small pieces
1 large mango, diced
1/2 cucumber, partially peeled and cut into thick half moon pieces
1/2 red pepper, diced
10-15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 stalks of celery, cut into thin half moons
1/4 red onion, cut into a very fine dice, soaked in cold water for at least 15 minutes and then drained
2-3 Tbsp. pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 cups iceberg lettuce, torn
2 cups green leaf lettuce, torn
2 Tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted
Assemble salad ingredients on a large serving platter. I like to lay them out in sections but do whatever feels and looks best to you. Drizzle with salad dressing and let sit for a few minutes before eating.
spicy ginger/chili/garlic dressing:
1-2 tsp. Sambal Oelek (depending on how hot you want the dressing to be)
1-2 tsp. fresh grated ginger (or from a jar)
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Whisk all of the ingredients together until emulsified (alternately, shake them all together in a jar for easy clean up and storage). This dressing also makes a great marinade for chicken or salmon so make extra if you’re so inclined.
I’m torn on the new Radiohead album. It’s good, I like it, but at the same time it all sort of blends together into not quite distinct songs. I think it’s definitely their most “dad rock” album, which I suppose is fitting and contextually accurate. There are obvious shades of Led Zepellin, a little bit of Nick Drake, lots of “The Bends”, and just enough paranoia to make it a true Radiohead album. I love this song, it’s so crazy and intense sounding, especially on headphones. I was on the bus the other day listening to this and I felt like I was in the middle of an Alfred Hitchcock scene.
Radiohead – Burn the Witch