A typical Friday night when Chauncey works
Having the admiral job of a Neuro/Spinal ICU nurse, and as a relative newbie at it having to work the night shift, there are many weekend nights than I am without my boo. 91% of the time what I do on these nights is cook.
First things first, I pour myself a glass of wine.
Then comes the music. If you want a sense of my style while I cook, peruse my cooking go-to playlist on Spotify.
Next, mise en place ("mees-en-plas"). If I had to pick the single biggest positive impact on my cooking over the years it is adopting a strict mise en plas policy. Whatever you do, do NOT scoop those measuring cups/spoons into your mixing bowl! I beg you. Take the time (and the dishwasher space) to cut/slice/dice/measure/prep all of the needed ingredients into their own holding device. Mise en place is my favorite for two reasons:
- Chop. Dice. Measure. Meditate.
- Without the distraction of whether you are burning the garlic or overcooking the pasta, you can chop and dice without a care in the world. (Except protecting your fingers.. that should always be top of mind...). Mise en place has transformed this part of a recipe from stressful and chaotic to peaceful and stress-relieving (the wine also has a part in this).
- Move swiftly about your recipe
- With all ingredients in place, you can be so much more agile, on your feet, and reactive. Also, a lot of my learning has been spent in those brief pauses while you watch how the steak begins the mallard reaction, or what flame is appropriate to control your heat.
After this comes the cooking and the way too many photos because I don't entirely know what I'm doing behind a camera yet. Throughout there's a few wine refills and then watch something foodie on Netflix like Anthony Bourdain (my obsession), or a documentary.
An excellent excuse to eat Burrata
I'll be honest. This whole dish started because I wanted to eat Burrata cheese tonight. So a caprese variation was a safe next step. The rest of my thought process as follows:
"Oh, and what if we roast the tomatoes to give their flavor more concentration and sweetness?" Done.
"I probably need some protein in addition to the cheese...Shrimp sounds like a good pair with these ingredients.." Done.
So here we are and this dish was deeeeelicious! So simple, the only thing that took any time was waiting for the tomatoes to roast.
I tried an new wine delivery service last week called Bright Cellars. Their concept is around taking a flavor survey and every wine has a match number associated with your flavor preferences. Every time you rate a wine, it helps influence your taste "code." So I think it is like the Netflix of wine. Unfortunately I opened a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that I was really not a fan of. It tasted flat and weak. Rated it as such on the website, so I'm interested to see how the next round is. I am looking forward to trying the remaining 4 bottles of red they sent me.
Burrata Caprese Salad with Garlic Shrimp
8-10 grape tomatoes
1 tsp sugar (optional)
6 jumbo shrimp, cooked and cooled
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups spinach
6 large basil leaves
1 ball of burrata
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, toss tomatoes in 1 tbsp olive oil, sugar (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. Place on foil lined baking sheet. Roast at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Return to room temperature after roasting.
While tomatoes are roasting and in the same bowl, combine garlic, a pinch of chopped basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Let sit.
Combine spinach, garlic shrimp, roasted tomatoes, and burrata in a salad bowl. Top with lemon juice, and remaining basil. Salt and pepper to taste.
675 calories; 32g fat, 16g sat fat, 19g carbs, 71g protein
*Sugar is optional on the tomatoes, but develops the caramelization a bit better.
*This recipe contains a healthy amount of olive oil. My personal olive oil consumption far exceeded this because I tell myself it makes my hair healthier.
*The burrata alone is 20g of protein, so the shrimp makes this really pack a protein punch and can be left out.