You all seemed to enjoy my last recipe review, so let me feed your interests. (See what I did there?)
I’ve always been told that people respond to Food & Fashion the best when it comes to blogs, but I refuse to stop writing about the benefits of silence and why women shouldn’t compete with each other. Maybe someday reading inspirational essays will become the new craze!
Nonetheless, I can’t deny the entertainment and practicality of Food & Fashion, so I’ll be sure to keep adding to those categories regularly. I even signed up for a photoshop/photography class, so soon you’ll get to see my smiling face wearing old clothes that I try to make look trendy since I don’t want to spend money on new outfits these days.
That’s a lie. I totally want to spend money on new outfits, but savings are more important (adulting is the WORST, amirighttt??). Thus, I need to hold off on buying 80 off-the-shoulder tops, even though they’re all the rage this summer.
The good news is that unlike Fashion (capital F, just rolling with it), Food is a necessity. No matter how much money I’m trying to save, I must eat. It’s not like I’m cooking lobster or filet mignon, but we’re comfortable enough that we don’t need to live on Cup o’ Noodles. Which are delicious, by the way. Still, I don’t have to feel any guilt buying fresh shrimp to make a stir fry, which gives me *almost* the same excitement as buying a new dress.
Even though it’s not quite as exciting as buying new clothes, I’m slowly becoming domesticated, as seen by my newfound love for the kitchen. “Love” is a strong word. More like “interest.”
Perhaps someday I’ll break away from SkinnyTaste.com, but for now, it’s my go-to website to find recipes that are easy enough for newbie chefs to cook, and also won’t make me gain 60 lbs in one sitting.
This week, I’m “reviewing” Skinny Taste’s Garlicky Shrimp Stir-fry with Shiitakes and Bok Choy.
I’m pretty sure the title of that meal leaves little to the imagination as to why I chose to try it. If you describe anything as “garlicky,” good luck keeping me away. For the official recipe and directions, click the link.
I’ve made this meal twice now. The first time, I spent $40 total because Kroger was out of $7.99/lb shrimp, so I had to buy the $11.99/lb stuff. Which was RIDICULOUS, because the more expensive stuff wasn’t even deveined. If you need a clear understanding of how grossed out I get by shrimp legs/spines/poop, you should know that my wedding vows literally included this line: “I can’t promise I’ll ever be able to peel my own shrimp, but I can promise to love you blah blah blah.”
Thank god my friend Mallory (Miss America, it’s casual) was in town to do the dirty work for me. Her stomach is stronger than mine when it comes to food that’s still in its animal form. She’s also just a really phenomenal house guest who would never say no to a chore, even if it includes pulling the spine out of a sea creature.
The other thing that raised the cost was that Kroger was also out of the shiitake mushrooms that you can shovel into a bag for $5.99/lb. The only shiitake mushrooms I could find were pre-cut in prepackaged 5 oz cartons for $4.50 a pop. We were lookin’ at $13.50 just for mushrooms. My husband and Mallory made fun of me because they said I could’ve just bought a different kind of mushroom…
Listen. This was my chance to finally cook with the ingredient that I’ve used as a curse word for the last 10 years, so it was worth the extra $6.50 in my mind.
I also didn’t have corn starch, chicken stock, or anything basic like that sitting around the house. These are the things that slowly grow in the pantry as one begins to cook. But it’s more money up front.
The second time I made this stir fry, Kroger was all stocked up (way to finally do your job, Kroger), so the whole thing costed $20. The recipe is plenty for 4 meals, so we’re looking at a $5 lunch or dinner. Not bad, kids!
Both times I bought the bok choy, I thought the grocery store police were going to arrest me. You see, Kroger only bundles bok choy stalks in threes, but you need four for the recipe. And, what, now I’m forced to buy two extra?! Absolutely not. So I pulled one bok choy out of another bundle and threw it in the bag for an even four. I mean, you still pay by the pound at the check out counter, so I wasn’t stealing it or anything. But the whole process still felt very wrong. Stop pre-bundling the bok choy, Kroger!
Add that to the sentences I never thought I’d say.
The prep and cooking part of this Asian fiesta (…I’m leaving it…) is super easy. Mallory took the reins of throwing it all together the first time, while I hastily tried to mince the garlic and ginger without losing a finger, but the second time this was on the menu, Aaron was in charge of the knives, so I channeled my inner Mallory and oversaw sautéing and spices.
In my short three weeks of cooking, I’ve stopped measuring anything out. It takes too much time. I’m sure that sooner or later, I’ll regret this overly confident rookie mistake, but so far so good.
Extra red pepper flakes, because duh.
I learned that a monkey can sauté a bunch of different ingredients together, plus it only takes like, 5 minutes to cook once the prep is complete. This is great news!
By the way, I couldn’t find sesame oil in the grocery store, so we used olive oil both times. It was still delicious, so the type of oil clearly means nothing. I’m slightly peeved that I wasted 15 minutes of my life staring blankly at the bottles of oil in Aisle 4, willing the words “sesame” to magically appear.
I forgot to season the shrimp with salt and pepper before throwing them in the pan when I was making this the second time. Mallory was in charge the first time (remember: deveining), so obviously the shrimp were perfect. Once I realized my mistake, I just threw some extra salt and pepper into the whole sauté mixture and hoped for the best. It was fine.
For Round 1, Mallory, Aaron, and I put the final product over brown rice. We also added a little soy sauce. It was scrumdiddlyumptious.
Round 2, Aaron and I decided to eat the meal sans rice, because we’re trying to cut back on carbs. Marriage weight is real, y’all.
The stir-fry is super yummy even without the rice, but I will say that we felt like it needed something to soak up a bit of the extra liquid. Now, that could be true, or it could be that I didn’t measure out the chicken stock/corn starch/rice vinegar mixture that you cook the whole thing in. Which could explain the soupiness.
All in all, this culinary delight is SO FREAKING GOOD. And it’s really fast to make, which is a major plus for nights that I forget I’m supposed to be a good wife until Aaron already tells me he’s on his way home. Including prep, the whole process is like, 20 minutes. Maybe 25 if you have to devein the shrimp. Or 30 if you have to devein the shrimp and the girl mincing the garlic is the slowest, most untalented veggie chopper of all time. The important part is that it takes Aaron 40 minutes to drive home, so I can run across the street to the grocery store, then prep and cook this meal allllll in time for him to think I’m amazing when he walks in the door.
Let me know what you think if you try it out!