Shrimp, watercress, and lemon over gemelli; some version of bok choi – 28 October 2016

main161028Since I cluelessly bought the wrong amount of shrimp yesterday, we had a bunch (in fact, about 12 oz) left, and decided we really needed to cook them today. I originally thought I’d just make a pasta based on last night’s toast-based meal, but I decided I wanted to do something without the tomatoes, so we went for shrimp and watercress, with some lemon, over pasta.

in the afternoon, I washed the rest of the watercress and left it to dry, then later pulled off the leaves, and some small branches, and let them continue to dry on a towel. I also washed and cut up the other half of the “bok choi” (so called by sellers, who are Asiana nd ought to know, but it is not like bok choi with which we are familiar) and left to dry. Finally, I cut each shrimp into 3 pieces – cut off the thin tail, then split the thicker part lengthwise.

setting161028Used 5 oz gemelli. D cut up very small and thin bits of lemon, including peel, and also made some lemon juice. I cooked all 12 oz of the remaining shrimp pieces in about 2 Tbsp butter in the cast iron pan, mostly over high heat, for something like 6-8 minutes, though I intended 4ish. Salted them early on. D added some of the lemon bits then, too.

D drained the pasta and returned to the pan, and I dumped in some shrimp (probably 2/3 of it) and watercress till D thought it was enough. It was dry, so D added some wine to the cast iron pan and scraped up the leftovers, then poured the few Tbsp of liquid over our servings of pasta. It turned out to be pretty good, though I wouldn’t order it in a restaurant. D wants to try adding some kind of pepper – he mentions piment d’espelette – next time, were we to do this again.

wine161028I cooked the bok choi, salted, in olive oil to wilt it, then added a splash of water and covered to steam for several minutes.

We had a slice of the Acme Pain au Levain from last night. Also a Ligurian wine we bought today at North Berkeley Wine b/c it was on sale – from Durin, an Ormeasco di Pornassio (a Dolcetto, so we have learned – the Ligurian word for that). The person charged us $9 per bottle (2) which is a great price b/c it’s usually $19. We liked the wine pretty well, but were not bowled over by it. If the $9 price is correct, we may well buy some more. Will try the second bottle with an actual Ligurian pasta recipe tomorrow.



D really liked this soup – commented on it multiple times – so I’m writing down what I did, despite the fact that it will turn out differently every time I make it. It’s my version of Scotch Broth, a favorite from childhood.

lunch161028I had some lamb broth (just boiled fat with some meat on it when cutting up the leg several days ago) in the fridge to use, and later also dumped in about 1 cup of frozen broth from a previous time. I peeled and diced one large carrot D bought me for this purpose, and half a medium onion. I cooked the onion in some peanut oil (olive does not seem appropriate for Scotland) and added the carrot partway through, then the broth, 1/4 cup of barley, and (later, in two parts) 1/2 tsp salt. I defrosted some “lambits” frozen earlier this year – could have been as much as a cup of them – and cooked in a few Tbsp peanut oil till browned, salting well early in the cooking process. I added these to the soup with at least 10-15 minutes cooking time left on the barley (which takes about 25 mins). Then I remembered that thyme is good for this soup (Scotland, again) and added a couple of generous finger-pinches of some rather old, dried thyme. All in all, it turned out to be a wonderful, thoroughly satisfying and delicious soup for a rainy and grey day (though not a particularly cold one – it’s only October, after all). Had a bit of Acme Pain au Levain, some of which had an oddly soapy/cleansery taste to it. Not sure how this happened.

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