Monday, November 10, 2008

Dinner tonight... Orange-and-Thyme Grilled Shrimp, Couscous with Carrots and Cilantro, Shitake Mushrooms

We were delighted to have the newly-married Mrs. Palmer join us for dinner this evening. She's visiting from New York City and this is the first time we've seen each other for a non-wedding-related event (hers or ours) since sometime in 2007. Mrs. Palmer and I have been friends for more than a decade and although it was wonderfully fun to share our engagement seasons together after all these years, we both agreed that it was thrilling to just relax and catch up, relieved to have all manner of wedding festivities behind us. It was also fun to have the chance to cook for her. When she arrived, the first thing she said to Mr. Fritz was: "Tonight, Mr. Fritz, she's feeding me!"

And feed them I did. Tonight's meal consisted of two Everyday Food recip
es plus a repeat of the shitake mushrooms first attempted a few days ago:

Orange-and-Thyme Grilled Shrimp is a very simple and flavorful preparation. Marinate shrimp in a little orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, garlic and fresh thyme, skewer (I used metal skewers) and grill or broil for 3 minutes per side. Couldn't be easier.

Couscous with Carrot and Cilantro is great in that it takes about 10 minutes to make, yet tastes fresh and bright. To make, bring one cup of water to a boil, add 2/3 cup couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let it sit for 7 minutes, then fluff and mix in grated carrot and chopped cilantro, plus a little olive oil. The hardest part is grating the carrot, but a box grater does the trick nicely.

Shitake mushrooms with lemon and parsley rounded out the meal. I stir-fried the mushrooms in olive oil, then once they were softened, added a pat of butter, some chopped parsley and fresh lemon juice. Mrs. Palmer remarked with surprise that the mushrooms and the shrimp tasted better together than she expected. To which Mr. Fritz noted that shrimp and mushrooms are two of my favorite foods. To which I thought silently to myself: he's starting to actually pay attention to what I like to eat. Sweet! In all seriousness, the next time I make the mushrooms, I think I'll add a sprinkle of sesame seeds to finish them off.

This was, in all, a great meal to make on a night when I wanted things to come together quickly while also being able to enjoy time with our guest.

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