I love long lounging weekends where there is nothing on my agenda, when my to-do list is blissfully blank, and there were no commitments made to anyone or anything. Weekends like that are a true luxury I believe. The beautiful nothingness of no plans. Something that money cannot buy. On weekends like that I can sleep in, then putter around the kitchen making something that takes hours and hours in a big pot that doesn’t need much tending, just a long, slow cooking that will render whatever it is soft and pliable and delicious. During this time, I, along with most of my family, will stay shamelessly in pajamas well past the hour one would deem appropriate. My daughter’s wild curly hair will remain resolutely un-brushed. My son will remain in his underwear. Just because. We will take random naps throughout the day, interspersed with checking on the pot in the oven and watching X-Factor UK on Youtube.
That is heaven for me. Call me corny but I feel, in this day and age of rushing to and fro, being able to spend a whole day doing what is technically “nothing much” is priceless.
But, those time are few and far between. And in truth, most of the days I am rushing around, trying to juggle a full-time (albeit home-based) job, my household, my children’s needs, and everything else in-between. Sometimes my daughter’s hair is un-brushed because I didn’t have the time, nor the skill, to see that it is placed in a fancy French braid. Sometimes my son is running around in his underwear because, well, one less thing to do, and he loves it anyway. Sometimes I’m just on the wrong side of ragged, or stumble into bed exhausted from just. so. much. to. do.
Although I would love to coax a slow-braise to life for my family, or do my daughter’s hair up in a magnificent coif, or be able to go to the market everyday, I just can’t. Sometimes, shortcuts are in order. And you know what? That’s ok. I go by the belief that we do the best we can, and then we don’t beat ourselves over the things we weren’t able to accomplish.
So…I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite “shortcuts”, peeled frozen jumbo shrimp. Pacific Bay frozen jumbo shrimp to be specific. This has has gotten dinner on the table on frenetic days, and quick pica-pica ready for unexpected guests. Of all the brands and vendors of frozen shrimp I have tried, Pacific Bay is my favorite. It is the one least affected by freezing, with no freezer burn, and with the best flavor. The shrimp are succulent and sweet despite being frozen. I have used them is so many different dishes, and I get irrationally nervous when I run out.
I know fresh is always best, and there is certainly nothing like having shrimp heads for stock, but when you are up against it you will be glad you have a pack of this in your freezer. I know I am. I always have one stashed away for emergencies.
Or sudden cravings for gambas al ajillo.
Or for something like this.
(recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven)
- 1-2 tablespoon canola oil
- 500 grams shrimp
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Sesame seeds and chopped green onions to garnish
– In a small bowl whisk the hoisin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil until well combined. Set aside.
– Pat the shrimp dry and season lightly with salt and pepper.
– Heat a skillet on medium high heat (preferably one big enough to accommodate all your shrimp in one layer). When the pan is hot add the oil. The amount will depend on the size of your pan. You want the oil, when swirled around, to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.
– When the oil is hot, add the shrimp in one layer. You don’t want to over-crowd the pan so do this in batches if your pan isn’t big enough. Sear the shrimp on each side and cook until just done (when they turn pinky-orange). This will take about 3 minutes in total, maybe a little more or a little less depending on the size of your shrimp. Do not overcook the shrimp or they will turn tough and rubbery!
– Once the shrimp are just done add the sauce mixture to the pan and toss until everything is coated evenly. Remove from the heat and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.
This is perfect piled on top of a mound of piping hot rice. I suspect that it will be equally delicious tossed through some freshly cooked egg noodles. I’m thinking that you could also add some chili oil to make a spicy version. Using the frozen shrimp, and barring thawing time, I can have this on the table in less than 10 minutes.
Because I love this product, and so enjoyed my last giveaway, I am happy to announce that Pacific Bay has decided to sponsor a 500-gram pack of their frozen jumbo shrimp for one of my readers!! Hooray!!!
For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post telling us how you would prepare these shrimp. Let’s get those creative kitchen juices flowing! There are no wrong answers…just go with the tastes you love the most. This giveaway is open to readers within Metro Manila. All you need is a valid email address where I can notify you, and a Metro Manila address when Pacific Bay can deliver. Winner will be chosen, as always, by my special randomized name-out-of-a-hat method. Deadline for entries is Nov 24. That’s it!
So, while we run around doing all the things that need to get done, let’s dream of idyllic days of lazing luxuriantly, of slow cooking and long snuggles, of messy beds and no demands…and until the stars align to give us such a day, you can rest easy knowing that you can at least get dinner on the table in 10 minutes!