Thursday, 23 April 2015

Tequila Lime Shrimp with Mint

There is an obsession about “easy” food. Everyone wants convenience (which is why we buy meals in partitioned plastic) and of course, they would ideally like it to be healthy too. But it isn’t. Healthy food takes time; there is no drive-thru for balanced meals without processing, preservatives, and enough sugar to permanently damage your pancreas. Of course, generally convenience wins over health, despite our brains and bodies knowing better.

If you own a food television network, you are aware of this dichotomy.  You then might be likely to fill your network slots with either food competition shows, or shows featuring home cooking which promises to offer food in thirty minutes or less. Today I watched an episode with a woman who lives on a ranch and has a best friend named “Hyacinth”.  She was going on a road trip with her two daughters, and therefore her husband couldn’t be trusted to then feed their other two children without supervision. She made a bulk amount of breakfast burritos, with 24 (TWENTY-FOUR!) eggs, cream, bacon AND sausage, cheese, and a pepper or two. She also pre-grated cheese for the burritos, lest someone have to shred cheese all by themselves. Then she says, “I also got whole wheat tortillas, so it’s a little healthier!” OH WELL THEN.

Not trusting her husband to then assay said burritos might be served hot, rather than directly from the fridge, she wrote instructions on how to heat up the burritos on a post-it note, and then stuck it ON the Tupperware. Guess what it said? “Put eggs in the microwave. Heat until hot. Warm tortilla in the microwave. Warm. Wrap with cheese and salsa.” She also made pasta with sauce for her husband to serve for dinner. These also received heating instructions, stuck to the container. Somewhat more complex, these said, “Top pasta with sauce. Heat for two minutes (or until hot.)” Two steps, one post-it. As soon as she got in her big, red, shiny pickup, guess what her husband served their boys? The handmade ice cream sandwiches she had prepared for dessert. Granted, those did not come with instructions so were considerably less intimidating, likely.

This is not to say that easy food cannot be healthy- it can be. It can even be flavourful! Take for example the tequila-lime shrimp I made for my sister’s birthday last weekend. This was so easy, and they were a huge hit. (Much more of a hit than the boozy caipirinhas  I made.)

Start with a pound of peeled, raw shrimp. Marinate them in a bar or a bowl with a quarter cup of olive oil, two teaspoons (or more) of tequila, juice of two limes, a hefty scoop of cumin, a hefty scoop of cayenne, and some minced/pureed garlic. Let them marinate for 1-4 hours, then put them on skewers. Grill for three minutes a side, and then top with chiffonaded fresh mint. Serve hot. Never microwave.  Also, never trust someone named “Hyacinth”.

Let us know your favourite healthy and easy dish in comments below!

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