Shrimp for Dinner
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Onion, Bell Peppers, and Cumin
We started our shrimp stir-fries by tossing the shrimp with a little salt and sugar and letting them sit for 30 minutes. This not only seasoned the shrimp but also helped them retain moisture during cooking. When the shrimp were almost ready, we quickly cooked the vegetable component and set it aside. Then, rather than stir-fry the shrimp in a hot skillet as most recipes call for, we added the sauce to the pan and poached the shrimp gently in the liquid, covered, to ensure that they stayed moist. We built our sauces on a flavorful base of soy sauce, sherry, and sherry vinegar. A little cornstarch ensured that the sauce thickened to just the right shrimp- and vegetable-coating consistency.
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Shrimp and Vegetable Kebabs
"Shrimp and vegetable kebabs have a sad but well-earned reputation. When the shrimp are perfectly cooked, the vegetables come off the skewer almost raw; when the vegetables are properly done, the shrimp are so overcooked that they’re rubbery and tough. One obvious solution is to cook the shrimp on one skewer and the vegetables on another. But the ability to deliver a variety of flavors, colors, and textures to the plate in one attractive package seemed like a goal worth achieving."
Salsa for Your Celebration
Sweet and Smoky Grilled Tomato Salsa
Grilled tomato salsa is a great way to transform mediocre out-of-season tomatoes into something truly special—if you have the right method. To get great grilled flavor in the tomatoes without losing most of the tomato in the process, we used meaty plum tomatoes, starting the halved tomatoes cut side down over the hottest part of the grill and then flipping them cut side up (the skin acts as a cradle, keeping the flesh intact as the tomatoes continue to cook and soften). After moving the tomatoes for our grilled tomato salsa recipe to the cool side of the grill to keep them from being torched by flare-ups, we tossed soaked wood chips onto the hot coals to generate more smoke. And to balance and brighten the deep, smoky flavor of the tomatoes, we added a squeeze of lime juice, a handful of cilantro, and a bit of sugar, salt, and pepper to our salsa.