This Page

has been moved to new address

the decadent pleasure of summer

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
/* Primary layout */ body { margin: 0; padding: 0; border: 0; text-align: left; color: #554; background: #692 url( top center repeat-y; font: Trebuchet;serif } img { border: 0; display: block; } /* Wrapper */ #wrapper { margin: 0 auto; padding: 0; border: 0; width: 692px; text-align: seft; background: #fff url( top right repeat-y; font-size:80%; } /* Header */ #blog-header { color: #ffe; background: #8b2 url( bottom left repeat-x; margin: 0 auto; padding: 0 0 15px 0; border: 0; } #blog-header h1 { font-size: 24px; text-align: left; padding: 15px 20px 0 20px; margin: 0; background-image: url(; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-position: top left; } #blog-header p { font-size: 110%; text-align: left; padding: 3px 20px 10px 20px; margin: 0; line-height:140%; } /* Inner layout */ #content { padding: 0 20px; } #main { width: 400px; float: left; } #sidebar { width: 226px; float: right; } /* Bottom layout */ Blogroll Me! #footer { clear: left; margin: 0; padding: 0 20px; border: 0; text-align: left; border-top: 1px solid #f9f9f9; background-color: #fdfdfd; } #footer p { text-align: left; margin: 0; padding: 10px 0; font-size: x-small; background-color: transparent; color: #999; } /* Default links */ a:link, a:visited { font-weight : bold; text-decoration : none; color: #692; background: transparent; } a:hover { font-weight : bold; text-decoration : underline; color: #8b2; background: transparent; } a:active { font-weight : bold; text-decoration : none; color: #692; background: transparent; } /* Typography */ #main p, #sidebar p { line-height: 140%; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 1em; } .post-body { line-height: 140%; } h2, h3, h4, h5 { margin: 25px 0 0 0; padding: 0; } h2 { font-size: large; } { margin-top: 5px; font-size: medium; } ul { margin: 0 0 25px 0; } li { line-height: 160%; } #sidebar ul { padding-left: 10px; padding-top: 3px; } #sidebar ul li { list-style: disc url( inside; vertical-align: top; padding: 0; margin: 0; } dl.profile-datablock { margin: 3px 0 5px 0; } dl.profile-datablock dd { line-height: 140%; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 10px 5px 0; border:4px solid #8b2; } #comments { border: 0; border-top: 1px dashed #eed; margin: 10px 0 0 0; padding: 0; } #comments h3 { margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: -10px; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; text-transform: uppercase; letter-spacing: 1px; } #comments dl dt { font-weight: bold; font-style: italic; margin-top: 35px; padding: 1px 0 0 18px; background: transparent url( top left no-repeat; color: #998; } #comments dl dd { padding: 0; margin: 0; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


05 June 2008

the decadent pleasure of summer

shrimp cocktail I

The weather outside may look like January — heavy grey clouds; rain on the freeway that makes the truck to our right loom larger with its spray; nippy air — but it really is June. The light, no matter how dim, is lingering longer into the evening than it did a month before. All the stores advertise sales for dad and grad. And just this morning, at the Market, I saw the first cherries grown in Washington State available for sale.

It’s finally starting to be summer.

I’ve been thinking about summer a lot, lately. The joys, the bounty, the unexpected pleasures. The roaming season. The months of meandering. Growth without needing to be measured.

Little Bean will be a summer baby. The Chef and I both were, as well. In fact, LB will be born just before his birthday, and about two weeks before mine. For years to come, those few weeks at the height of summer will be a time of celebration, gluten-free cakes, and a cacophony of green leaves in the garden. This summer, if the weather ever turns warmer, after Little Bean is born, perhaps we’ll spend sleepless nights walking around the backyard with LB in our arms, looking at the moon and listening to the grass grow beneath our feet.

(Thank you to our friend Laurie for that poetic suggestion of how to deal with a crying baby.)

Summer has always been the time of bounty for me. Most of my life, simply having three months off from school (first as a student, and then as a teacher) was enough to make me want to wake up with a hallelujah every morning. Now that I create my own schedule, I see how the earth unfurls itself in these oh-so-short months. It’s as though all the energy lying dormant under ground during the winter explodes outward into summer. Every bit of produce I crave, all year long, is available at the farmers’ markets in twelve short weeks: fat heirloom tomatoes; plump raspberries; bitter arugula; cool cucumbers; dark juicy blackberries. Miss a week of the market and miss a week of the summer. It’s a time of almost embarrassing blowsiness, like Blanche DuBois in too much red lipstick.

Oh god, I love summer. We can’t wait to share it with Little Bean.

When I was a kid, summer meant barbequed steaks, long swims in chlorinated water, Bing cherries, late mornings waking to the sunlight on my face, iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing, red flag smog alert days, listening to the Beatles on my headphones, and tall glasses of lemonade.

But a really decadent pleasure of summer? The one I looked forward to most at the end of a long, hot day? A cold glass bowl of shrimp cocktail.

We didn’t eat it often. But sometimes, on special occasions, my mom piled tiny pink shrimp into a parfait glass and smothered them with red cocktail sauce. It never mattered that the sauce poured out from a bottle. What mattered was eating as many shrimp as possible. Damn that glass for emptying so fast.

After I went gluten-free, I found out the hard way that many commercial cocktail sauces are now forbidden to me. The Chef and I were at the ocean, two summers ago, in a little beach shack seafood place. Outside, in hand-written letters, a worn wooden sign reading Restaurant lay up against large rocks, a man-made driftwood, quite a distance from the shore. The menu felt sticky underneath our fingers, one page laminated with nothing much on it but seafood simply prepared. Everything had been pulled from the ocean the day before. We stared at each other across the table, moony-eyed and taking photographs of each other’s hands, the engagement rings on our fingers new to the touch.

He persuaded me to try oysters. Until that day, I had never let one slither down my throat. Early in my childhood, I had been traumatized by the memory of my slovenly uncle (no longer part of the family, thank goodness) at a buffet. Always greedy and slightly seedy, he walked to a table piled with ice and dotted with fresh oysters. In just a few minutes, he plucked enough of them from the display to mound his plate high with the craggy shells. Unfortunately, he sat across from me at the table. I watched in horror as he threw back his head, opened up his mouth, and shoved one oyster after another into his gaping maw. He smacked his lips after each one. I lost my appetite after that. (And who eats oyster at a buffet?) I could never imagine eating an oyster, since it meant looking like that man.

The Chef laughed when I told him this story, and then he ordered us oysters. “We need to get you past that,” he said. In order to make the first briny, still-swimming-of-the-sea mollusk seem more appealing to me, he dolloped some cocktail sauce onto the slithery flesh. And then, slowly, he slid the oyster into his mouth, savoring it, before swallowing. Okay, he made it look sexy. Much better than that uncle. I tried one too, keeping my mind as open as my lips. To my surprise, I loved the texture, the taste only a glimmer on the back of the tongue, since I swallowed the oyster whole. I looked at him, in pure pleasure, and said, “Give me another.”

Too bad the cocktail sauce was bottled, and it contained soy sauce. I didn’t think to ask. I spent the next two days sick.

(Still, I’ve eaten oysters many times since. I won’t let one little gluten episode ruin my pleasure in food.)

I don’t want to go all the rest of my summers without the tangy taste of cocktail sauce on my tongue. And we want to share with Little Bean, someday, the pleasure of a cold glass, salty large prawns, and the wash of red peppery lemony sauce.

We have no way of knowing what Little Bean’s memories of summer will be through the years. But shrimp cocktail, I have a feeling, will be one of them.

shrimp cocktail II

Homemade cocktail sauce

Really, it couldn't be any easier to make this if you tried. That bottle seems more convenient, but once you stir these five ingredients together, and dip your finger into the tangy red sauce, you won't reach for the bottle anymore. A bit of bite, a peppery lick, a little lemon, and some zing at the end -- oh my goodness, bring the summer here.

I much prefer raw, grated horseradish here, but you can use prepared horseradish too. Beware -- some prepared horseradish has gluten in it. That, and about 12 ingredients, some of which I don't know how to pronounce. But prepared horseradish is more intensified than the raw stuff, so be sure to use a little less, unless you want your mouth to fall off.

1/2 cup ketchup (find the best one you can, with the fewest ingredients)
4 tablespoons raw horseradish, grated (or 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish)
1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely minced
several dashes of Tabasco, depending on your energy that day
1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together. Allow the cocktail sauce to marinate for a bit (at least a couple of hours), coaxing the flavors to mingle together.


Feeds 2.


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Christine said...

What great timing! I had this exact craving just the other day and bought a bag of shrimp. And I stood in my kitchen for a while, peering in the fridge, trying to figure out if I could make my own sauce--now I know how. Thanks again!

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Lora said...

I was curious to see your cocktail sauce recipe since I, too, make my own. Growing up we never used the kind in the bottle. I had to laugh a little to see that you and I make the same recipe. I've never understood why people BUY the sauce when it's so easy to make. My mother-in-law has no less than 4 partially used bottles of the stuff in her fridge. And she doesn't even eat shrimp!

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Krys72599 said...

My neighbor just had a baby in January. The minute he begins to cry, someone walks him outside (now that the weather is cooperating).
He LOVES the outdoors! He stops crying immediately, sits at attention in your lap or in your arms, and just watches the world.
Your friend Laurie is right on the money!

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Darby said...

WA cherries? These we have not yet seen at our Bothell market! I just texted my husband to ask him why not.

It's only 10:17 am and I'm craving shrimp cocktail now. :)

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Dale said...

Which stand in the Market had the cherries, and do you recall how much they cost?

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous sarahbf said...

I haven't eaten shrimp in many years, but your post brought me right back to many birthday celebrations with filet minion preceded (always!) by shrimp cocktail. And oh, those red flag Claremont smog alerts - blech! Don't miss those one bit!

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Yum, shrimp my favorite! I'm trying your recipe the next time we have it!

We spent many evenings "walking, looking at the stars and moon, listening to the bugs" outside with my colicky daughter. She was a Spring baby and being outside was one of the only things that soothed her!

Can't wait to meet LB!

Lisa :)

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

...and if you can make that cocktail sauce, you can make some kick-butt Bloody Mary's to go with the shrimp- you can even skewer a shrimp and put it in the Bloody Mary. This is after LB is born, of course!


At 4:26 PM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Sheer delight! While I like shrimp, it is really just a vehicle for the cocktail sause as far as I am concerned. I am going to take this one step further and use some homemade ketchup! Thanks for sharing this one!

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Tori said...

I thought of you last night as I sat at the Hawthorne Fish House, the sister store to the Corbett Fish House here in Portland, Oregon. I was remembering the joy on your face when we talked about a safe place to have fish, chips and best of all deep fried cheese curd.

The fresh, plump oysters and spicy gluten free cocktail sauce were amazing. Little did I know that you'd be posting this gem of a recipe today.

At 1:28 AM, Blogger shinyruby2 said...

o my GOD!!!!! your pics are just so tantalising!!!!!!!!!!

ps- we call them prawns in australia, and you have just given me a massive craving! yum!!! xx

At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Sho said...

I have been making an easy version of your cocktail sauce for a couple of years. I just mix prepared horseradish with Ketchup. I stopped using bottled cocktail sauce because they don't last very long in the refridgerator.

I always like when you talk about the meals you grew up eating in your home. My siblings frequently complain that our mother fed us the wrong things. My father became a health-food addict over forty years ago (in his forties.) He was way ahead of his time. He has been taking vitamins and supplents for years. He also has the healthiest eating habits of anyone I have ever met. Since I can remember, he eats a lot of fruits and vegetables. He eats very low fat and small portions. He never eats junk food, soda, or desserts.

At any rate, our mother cooked the way EVERYONE did back then. It was just that our father was ahead of his time. He hardly ever ate my mother's meals. He made his own with fresh produce and other stuff that would have him farting all night.

When your book came out, I told my siblings to read it. I told that that everyone was raised on the food we were raised on. As for my father, he is in his late eighties, lives on his own, drives, has a girlfriend, and still plays all the same practical jokes on everyone.

Fast forward to the future, and my siblings have made our mother look like the world's healthiest cook. With all their complaining, they did not put half the effort (of my mother's effort) into feeding their children.

At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Wow does this ever tempt me! I never really crave meat, but now and then I could really go for shrimp, must be from growing up by the Chesapeake Bay. I would never have thought to make my own cocktail sauce - thanks! You're awesome!

At 4:50 AM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

Shrimp cocktail makes a quick and easy meal for these oppressive summer days. I had two summer babies as well(after the first one you would think I would know better) and was not above setting up a kiddie pool in the backyard to cool off in!

At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Gracie said...

Sigh, we're heading into winter here in New Zealand. There has been snow in parts of the country, and where I am we're having gale force winds!

I miss summer fruits but I also love winter foods like pumpkin soup. Mmmm

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Anna Lee said...

I am so excited to be able to give my daughter shrimp cocktail again! She loves shrimp and seafood, and for her shrimp cocktail is like an ice cream cone, and devoured with as much glee and attention. Thanks for the recipe. We'll be using it very soon.

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous EB said...

The way to talk about the excitement of LB... makes me misty. And I really am not a maternal one. But you just ooze happiness. It makes me happy for you.

At 2:25 AM, Blogger Gemma said...

Yum, this looks and sounds great. I was a summer baby as well and loved having birthdays outside, and still do in fact. I've always wanted to plan for a summer baby when the time comes. Hope the next few weeks go well for you.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger The SCD girl said...

In regards to ketchup with the fewest ingredients...I suggest make your own! My son and I love eating our homemade ketchup and it is really easy. I use two cans of Campbell's tomato juice and add one cup of vinegar. Simmer with the lid ajar until it's to the thickness you like and add a little honey for sweetness if you prefer. You can also flavor it with onion or garlic -- just remove them with a slotted spoon before putting it away! Yum!

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Flanboyant Eats said...

Hi Shauna. It's been a minute.
I'm always amazed at how we are so quick to buy jarred or bottled foods, when it's so easy to make at home and it's always better anyway!.

Nice "smelling" sauce!

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Katherine said...

I am new to the whole world of eating gluten free, but absolutely love your website for how it seems to give a gluten free alternative for just about anything I could ever want. The reason I'm writing is because I just mixed up some cocktail sauce from scratch, per your recipe. Delicious! Only one small problem. I was eating it with "fake" crab meat. Big mistake. As if commercial cocktail sauce wasn't enough of a problem, I was accidentally consuming "Wheat Starch" in the form of my crab meat. Major bummer. It hadn't occurred to me to check that label, but was shocked when I did. Just wanted to give a heads up to any other unknowing schmucks like myself. The rest of today could be a little rough, but at least now I know the culprit.


Post a Comment

<< Home