Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cooking it Old School

Some recipes are passed-down-from-your-grandmother's-grandmother old.  Some recipes are original-Good-Housekeeping-Joy-of-Cooking-whatever-is-your-recipe-bible old.  Some recipes are just I-honestly-can't-remember-when-I-started-making-this-I-can't-remember-when-I-didn't-know-how old.  This is the latter.  I have a very dear (and sadly pretty empty) cookbook that my mother gave me.  In it she wrote some "recipes" and some recipes for things we a) made a lot and b)she thought I could actually cook.  This recipe isn't in there.  Instead I have a recipe card, presumably right out of her recipe box, possibly predating my cookbook.  It was one of the first dinners I could make that you could actually serve to people.  I have never once made it for a dinner party (true confession:  I have never in my life had a dinner party.  I think I'm depressed by that.  I should have a dinner party.  Why don't my friends live close enough for a dinner party?).  But close to 10 years ago, I did walk my dearest friend Lizzie through making it for a dinner party she was throwing.  This strikes me as pretty hilarious in retrospect.  It's not like I was a particularly accomplished chef back then, but Lizzie is the kind of person who needs to be told that garlic is not supposed to turn black when you saute it in butter.  But evidently I considered myself enough of an expert (at least in comparison to her) to play the part of Cyrano de Berger-chef.  Although this may seem like a nasty put down of my friend and a disturbing display of overconfidence on my part, there's really only one take away.  This recipe is obscenely easy.  It had to be. When I walked her through it, I was in San Francisco, at least 3000 miles from any recipes I possessed and I was not at a point when I could cook without a recipe. She had exactly the culinary chops listed above.  And yet, instant dinner party!

Can you remember back to the first thing you knew how to cook?  Was it simple or dinner party ready?  Share in the comments!


1 1/2 C canned chopped tomatoes
1 lb raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
3 T olive oil
1/4 C chopped onion
1/4 to 1/2 C dry white wine (or vermouth)
1/2 t oregano
2 oz feta, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat your olive oil to medium low. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring periodically.  They shouldn't brown.   Stir in the tomatoes, wine, oregano, and bring to a boil.  Cook uncovered until it thickens to a light puree (probably around 5 minutes).  Add the shrimp and cook over moderate heat about 7-10 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque.  The exact amount of time for the shrimp varies depending on whether you have a pound of little shrimp (which will cook more quickly) or a pound of big shrimp (which will cook more slowly).  Remove from the heat and crumble in the feta.  Give it a good mix. Serve over rice.  Pretend you know how to cook.


JMLC said...

Yummy. And you have become an amazing chef!!! I made scrambled eggs. It was a disaster. I was 9.

mom said...

This may be a bit embarrassing. I was 22. I made veal Parmesan. Or what was meant to be veal Parmesan, if only I knew that one had to pound the thick cut of veal shoulder to some semblance of tenderness. It was as chewy as an old shoe.


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