With Fall just around the corner, Summer becomes much more important.
We in the Pacific Northwest wait for it like some wait for Christmas.
We hold our breath, afraid that if we blink a few too many times — due to the what-the-what-is-that?! blinding orb in the sky — we might miss it.
It arrives crazy-fashionably late, like a flaxen-haired princess on the back of a chariot. All too soon, her ride turns the corner and we find ourselves holding a half-eaten corn dog and nothing but a faint, Vitamin-D memory of her.
This time of year finds me a bit contemplative, melancholy, and cranky. It’s like my internal countdown meter knows that time is just about up, and two days from now it’ll be back to “normal” here in the Seattle area, IE. nothing but drizzle, damp, and gray ’til next July.
It’s very negative, glass-half-empty type thinking, I know.
Maybe it’s because I’m descedent from the Peloponnese, or even more likely, from Crete (I’m a Cretan! Sorry, I couldn’t resist…).
Or maybe it’s simply because I’m Greek — from the Land of Perpetual Sunshine — where the only hope for anything resembling overcast skies or rain is, well … shade.
Sunshine is in my DNA.
But I brought myself here ten years ago from New York to start a rock band with my brother called LOLA’S CRUSH.
Ten years later, much has changed. A few years back, I hung up my mic and walked off stage for a life that has evolved to what I have now. Maybe not as exciting as a rock singer’s, but just as special.
If I had left this mostly overcast place for sunnier skies, I would have never met and married my husband, Christopher.
If I hadn’t stayed, I would have never created a bedside music program at the Seattle VA with my brother, directed a full-length play, or started this blog. I would have certainly never met the wonderful friends I have now.
Life has a strange way of giving you sunshine even when it doesn’t come in the sky. But you do have to remember to look for it. Summer doesn’t only come once a year either.
Both exist in the little successes that come after much effort, in the excited “good jobs” from your loved ones, in genuine smiles given and received, and in the meals that parade across your tongue and that you make with love.
So until the sun or Summer makes its way back to you, this recipe is my gift of sunshine to you.
‘Cause though life may sometimes bring clouds, it doesn’t mean the sun can’t be out too.
Brazilian Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk
Inspired from recipe by Fine Dining Lovers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 organic green bell pepper, chopped
1 – 28 ounce can organic diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 – 14 ounce can unsweetened light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet)
1/4 – 1/2 rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper (according to taste)
1/2 rounded teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch turbinado sugar
1/3 packed cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Fresh-squeezed juice of 1 1/2 limes
1 pound medium shelled, deveined shrimp
Cooked brown rice
Organic Spanish peanuts
Handful of cilantro leaves
In a large pan over medium heat, heat pan until hot. Add oil to pan, then onion, and sauté until soft and just beginning to brown.
Next, add garlic and bell peppers and sauté until soft. Add tomatoes next, followed by coconut milk, and then the paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Stir well, lower heat to medium low, and taste. If tomato sauce tastes a bit sour, add a pinch or two of sugar to sweeten. Add cilantro, stir again, and allow sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add lime juice and shrimp and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until shrimp are thoroughly cooked through and stew begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Serve over steamed brown rice with generous sprinkling of Spanish peanuts and fresh cilantro.
- 100 Brazilian food items and dishes you have to try (brazilphenomenon.wordpress.com)
- Jamaican Shrimp Rundown Stew (homemakerchic.wordpress.com)
- Thai coconut curry seafood stew (charlotte.news14.com)