This weekend I came to a realization that sparked two great ideas.
I realized I need to learn how to cook.
Admittedly, I’ve never had an interest in cooking. Baking, love it. Cooking, not so much. But, I can’t live off of baked goods, salads, and scrambled eggs for the rest of my life. I’m starting to get tired of the monotony of my diet, and while eating baked goods all day and night sounds heavenly, I would get more curves in all the wrong places.
Introducing Idea #1. Inspired by the movie, Julie and Julia (2009), and many other food bloggers who have “cook-through blogs”
I have decided to dust off the pages of my one and only cookbook, How to Boil Water (2006). I bought this cookbook over five years ago in hopes of breaking out of my take-out, prepared foods rut. (Didn’t happen.) This book is geared towards beginning cooks and includes basic recipes in all areas (breakfast, sandwiches, soups, desserts, main courses, etc.) and food knowledge, like how to prepare a cup of coffee, make rice on the stove top, and what to look for when picking vegetables and fruits.
My goal is to cook every recipe one-by-one, and then of course, blog about it. Unlike other cook-through food bloggers, I will not be expanding upon my cooking repertoire, but simply learning culinary basics. I’m talking about real basic stuff that most of you probably already know. Once the book is cooked through, hopefully this will lead to new recipe ideas and maybe even a fondness for cooking? Don’t worry, Baking – you will always be first in my heart.
The first recipe I chose for our “How to Boil Water” series was Green Beans with Shallots. This was a basic recipe and preparation that we paired with baked panko coconut shrimp, which is the perfect segue into ….
Idea #2. While learning how to cook basic dishes, I also want to learn how to cook family recipes so I can recreate comfort food in my own kitchen. Hence, the birth of the second series in this cooking blog, “My Family’s Kitchen,” which will feature recipes from my parents, grandparents, and Jon’s family as well.
To start off this series, Jon and I made Baked Panko Coconut Shrimp, one of my family recipes. We had some leftover panko breadcrumbs from the week prior, and I remembered that my family makes delicious panko coconut shrimp as a main course for dinner. I immediately asked them to scan the recipe page and email it to me! Thanks, technology!
Green Beans with Shallots
- Green beans (should be smooth and crisp with velvety skin)
- And a little salt, extra virgin olive oil, and freshly ground pepper.
- I also added minced garlic because I had extra.
All the steps were very simple.
I was able to cut off the stems without any injuries.
I messed up on Step 2 and boiled the green beans for too long. The recommended time was 4 minutes, and this made my green beans a little too soft. I was distracted prepping ingredients for the shrimp so I let a timer determine when to take out the green beans. Mistake. Next time, I’ll check on the crispness of the beans at 3 minutes.
Baked Panko Coconut Shrimp and Tangy Marmalade Dipping Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, for dipping sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, for dredging mixture
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup panko
- 1/2 cup shredded medium coconut (more or less depending on taste)
- 3/4 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Place oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat wire rack with cooking spray and place on top of baking pan.
2. Prepare dipping sauce by stirring together orange marmalade, lemon juice, whole grain mustard, and ground red pepper in small bowl. Set sauce aside.
3. Combine second 1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper and flour and salt in large zip top plastic bag. In a shallow dish, whisk eggs, and in another shallow dish, combine panko breadcrumbs and shredded coconut.
4. Place shrimp in bag with flour mixture, and shake to coat well. Using one hand, dip shrimp in eggs and roll in panko-coconut mixture. Other hand will help to coat all surfaces of shrimp.
5. Place covered shrimp on wire rack in a single layer. Bake for a total of 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Flip shrimp over at halfway point, cooking shrimp for 8-10 minutes per side.
Underneath the shrimp and green beans is a nice little serving of Caribbean-Style Red Beans and Rice (recipe coming soon). Perfect complement to the crunchy shrimp and semi-crisp string beans. Mmmm mmmm, take me to the Caribbean!