Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail and Clifford Brown and Max Roach

I asked Matt to choose a record that wouldn't necessarily be "my shit" just because everything we've listened to so far has been firmly planted in my wheelhouse. So he picked an instrumental jazz album, "Jordu" by Clifford Brown and Max Roach. He didn't have the cover so that's why it's just a picture of the record itself. Definitely the farthest from "my shit" as possible. And while we were listening to it I did my usual whining that it's boring and why is no one singing? From some very cursory research, it appears this is "hard bop" but to me it sounds neither particularly "hard" nor like Ice Cube's Bop Gun which I would have much preferred. If some jazz bro wants to mansplain to me that this album is not technically "hard bop" but rather "semi-rigid borp," save your breath. In my limited jazz vocabulary, I can only describe this as "jazzy." At the time of cooking, I was relieved that the record was skipping really badly and I got a reprieve. But upon re-listen just a moment ago, I really did start to groove on that horn and developed a mild appreciation for it. It didn't get me hyped to cook but it makes for good writing music. But let's be real, I'm listening to Bop Gun now and gettin' down just for the funk of it. C+

For our recipe, we chose Mexican-style shrimp cocktail. It is kind of a summery meal but since the weather where we live totally skipped winter this year, it started feeling summery in late February. I was originally going to follow yet another Serious Eats recipe but then I started looking at other recipes for comparison's sake and was inspired to do some mixing and matching. Instead of just using the tomato puree and ketchup, I incorporated some Clamato. I've always thought Clamato sounded repulsive but I was willing to give it a go since adding some more seafood flavor couldn't hurt. I also added cucumber which was such a nice fresh taste that I couldn't imagine it without. I totally failed in my grocery shopping and somehow didn't have an onion so Matt kindly ran to the store to grab one while I prepped the remaining stuff. I made the shrimp by doing the ol' dry brine again and attempted to poach the shrimp. The instructions in the Serious Eats recipe involved checking the internal temp of the shrimp and that just seemed fussy to me so followed some other instructions to boil 'em until they are pink and look appropriately curled up which seemed to work fine.
We halved the recipe so we wouldn't have leftovers as we were going out of town the next day but we still used 3 avocados and really, we could have used even more because I love avocados. When I bought them they were not quite ripe enough so I put them in a paper bag full of flour overnight and it really did ripen them up. Serving suggestions in all the recipes usually include tortilla chips and/or saltines so I tried both (I'd always ignored that saltines when I had this at a restaurant and ate it with broken off tostada shards or nothing at all) and the saltines were the winner by a long shot. It's also possible I just really love saltines and never have them around the house because I would just mindlessly inhale them by the sleeve-ful. If you have more self-control than me (most people do) and can buy a box of saltines, I am brand loyal to Zesta for some reason although I've never done a side by side comparison. According to this Real Simple piece, Back to Nature makes the best saltine but I'll be the judge of that...eventually, I have a lot of Zestas to eat.  A+


  1. oh that sounds good ! i'm curious what kind shrimp you bought tho ? tails on ? already peeled ? heads ? i don't think you can poach shrimp well because they cook so fast !

    1. I got "EZ Peel" where it's already deveined and split up the back so it's super fast to peel but not as expensive as the peeled ones. I think very patient, focused people can probably poach shrimp just fine but that's not me so I did my best and it was fine!