Thursday, 18 April 2013

Shrimp Tacos

Spring is so great. It really is. I love it. But, on the other hand, it does slightly make me feel like I’ve been loafing on the couch for six months, and this makes me feel a bit like I should do something to change my life. Renewal and all that. Predictably, I assume, I then buy into all that business of “getting bikini-ready” and such. Spring is much more a signal for me internally than New Year’s Resolutions. At the time of the New Year, I am still comfortably numbing my body with all sorts of delicious and unhealthy things.

So anyway, I’m also weirdly defensive about this healthy living thing though. Like, I secretly don’t want people to know I’m making good choices and trying to get a grip. The other day I posted a smoothie photo on Facebook, and a friend of mine commented that I was on a health kick. I wrote back something along the lines of, “Well. Not a HEALTH KICK. I’m just like, drinking water and running and making smoothies and clean eating and generally trying to not be a fat hooligan, you know?” Because, I’m not jumping on any kind of bandwagon, you know what I’m saying? I am NOT going to be on of Those People on Pinterest who posts up 9 million posts a day on motivation and cross fit and vegan choices. You know? Because my shit is private on Pinterest.

Anyway. Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that I was, in fact, going to do a 50-day clean eating challenge. And again, just for the ease of discussion, let’s also say I am following this great blog on how to do exactly that, which I may or may not have re-posted on my Facebook wall. So let’s also agree that possibly, you might be interested in eating clean too. Because perhaps you are being sucked in by this warmer weather, and maybe you also have an itsy-bitsy Kate Middleton bikini bottom that you are planning on wearing at some point this summer. Now, the only question is, what the hell are we going to eat?

This is important. This is important to all foodies, (and yes, I just referred to myself as a “foodie”, so get over it) because I feel a constant internal struggle between loving food and loving being healthy. These do not always match up. Various fad diets make this more impossible. Recollect, for example, Skinny Bitch, the book promoting a completely vegan lifestyle in order to be thin. Well that is great, if I want to eat chickpea curries for the rest of my life. But then it came out that soy wasn’t great for you, and any kind of soy created fake cheese/turkey/ mayo/etc. was probably more processed and chemically poisonous than if you just ate some damn evilly-raised chicken. Out the door that went. So now it’s eat clean, blah blah, but is this going to be DELICIOUS? Is it going to be fun to make wonderful things to eat? Because this is crucial for me. It has to be delicious and not taste only of curry powder and kale. (What is it with vegans and curry powder? Just because you put curry powder on something does not make it delicious. Not only that, it makes every single thing you cook taste the exact same.)

Short answer? Yes. We can make delicious food that tastes great (okay, not Kraft Dinner great- but good all the same) and is also healthy. Case in point: shrimp tacos. I made these the other night (inspired by something from Pinterest, I admit) and they turned out so perfectly.

Fish tacos are also great, but they are battered and deep-fried. This is not healthy eating at all, so the shrimp tacos are not. Start with several bell peppers, which you are going to julienne. Add to that an onion. Put all of this in a pan with a little olive oil or oil of your choice. I actually used coconut oil. Allow these to slowly caramelize in your pan. Add about a teaspoon of cumin, coriander and chilli powder to taste. This is going to taste exactly like the powder taco seasoning that comes in those kits, except without all the other bits they put in it. If you’re avoiding salt, then don’t add it. If that isn’t your thing, then put some salt in.

While those are simmering on low, make an avocado dressing. This is actually the highlight of the meal. Take an avocado or two and put in a food processor or blender. Now add some fresh cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and just a kick of Tabasco or something spicy. Think guacamole but a little thinner, more the texture of a sauce. Guess what? Now you don’t need to add sour cream to your tacos!

When your peppers are just about ready, add your shrimp and cook until pink. I recommend pre-peeled, pre-tailed, de-veined shrimp for the ease of your life. Wrap in a whole grain tortilla. (This may not be “clean”, per se, but go for your healthiest choice.) Add some chopped fresh tomato and spinach, and there you go! Shrimp tacos for the clean-eating-bandwagon win.

Editor’s note: If you would like to know why there are no final photos of the tacos, refer to Fish Taco. These are not a photogenic food.

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