When my wife and I lived in Austin Texas and I was in law school, we didn’t have a lot of money. We allotted ourselves $7.50 each for lunch for the week. If we watched the sales, we could buy Michelenas frozen entrees for 99 cents each, and either have a coke or a V-8. We used to give ourselves $200 per month for groceries and $40 per month for entertainment.
Obviously, if we wanted a meal at a nice restaurant, we had to save for two months or more. Or we could cook a meal at home for $10 to $20. This is when we started experimenting with cooking, and a dish I call Caribbean Shrimp was the first success. More specifically, it’s shrimp on a bed of coconut rice with mango-habanero salsa.
Ingredients (these are rough approximations–I never use measuring utensils)
20 medium shrimp, deveined and peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
salt & pepper
1/3 cup coconut flakes
What to do with it all
Combine olive oil, cumin, paprika, cayenne, garlic and about 2/3 of the cilantro. Add salt & pepper to taste. Throw in the shrimp and marinate.
Peel & dice the mango and mince 1/2 the habanero (or more, but it’s hot). Puree the mango, habanero and the remaining cilantro in a food processor or blender. Heat in a microwave for 2 minutes. This spreads the heat evenly from the habanero.
Add coconut flakes to white rice.
Now skewer the shrimp and throw on the grill and cook the rice.
Serve by plating rice, adding shrimp, and mango salsa on top.
You should have some salsa left over. If you’re into dessert, you can make Papaya-Brie Quesadillas. These are pretty simple: slice up a papaya and some brie, place on a flour tortilla, and add some salsa. Either fold that one over, or place another on top. Make certain that you butter the outside of the tortillas, and heat in a cast iron skillet until golden brown on the outside.