Posts tagged “shrimp

Shrimp Caesar Salad

Posted on October 24, 2012

Yesterday, I showed you the Romaine lettuce that was growing in my garden.

Today, I’m going to show you what I did with that lettuce.

I made a Caesar salad with homemade dressing and grilled shrimp. Caesar salads were created by the Italian restaurateur Caesar Cardini who, during a July 4, 1924 rush, wanted to create something great with the dwindling supplies at his San Diego, Calif. eatery. Using whole Romaine leaves, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pepper and croutons, Cardini tossed the ingredients together tableside to create what has become a staple on many restaurant menus today. Ever since Cardini famously made do with his ingredients-starved kitchen, cooks have put their own twist on his simple masterpiece, adding chicken, seafood and sometimes even steak to the mix.

Because I live in Louisiana, I decided to use grilled shrimp.

So here’s what I did:

1. With my youngster’s help, I picked a bunch of Romaine leaves from my garden. Pretty, no?IMAG07802. Then, I peeled and deveined about a pound of 20-25 count shrimp.IMAG07773. Once that messy work was done, I cracked open this lemon pepper marinade (which officially makes this the “Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee” part of this post).


4. Then I poured the marinade on the shrimp and put it in the refrigerator for about a half-hour or so.IMAG07795. At that point, I informed my husband that the shrimp were officially his problem and that he should grill them so I could concentrate on how not to kill us with the semi-raw egg part of this exercise. He followed my directions while I ripped the Romaine into bite size pieces and then boiled an egg for precisely one minute. After that minute, I set aside the egg and got to work building the base of the dressing.

6. The New York Times Cookbook says you should use a wooden salad bowl for this next step, but I did not follow directions. I went rogue and used a ceramic bowl. And into that bowl, I sprinkled salt (to taste), crushed one garlic clove, and then blended it all together with 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon juice and Tabasco sauce (to taste).


7. After that, I added 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the above mixture, stirring it rapidly until it was well-incorporated. Then I added the Romaine leaves to the mixture, as well as 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. I cracked the semi-cooked egg on top of that, tossed the ingredients together, and got this:


8. I topped the above with grilled shrimp and here’s how it looked:

IMAG0783The salad was crisp and fresh, the dressing was bright and tangy, the shrimp were subtly sweet with a hint of mesquite smoke. Cardini’s recipe may have been driven by a crush of hungry diners, but the result remains one of the delicious little accidents of culinary history.

The Heffalump in the Room

Posted on November 4, 2011


When A.A. Milne first wrote about heffalumps —  which are elephants in little kid speak — they existed as a figment of Winnie-the-Pooh’s imagination. All the same, Pooh was determined to capture these pachyderms that stomped through his dreams. In the end, Pooh snagged himself and his nervous little buddy Piglet in a trap that he set to catch one of these critters.

I bring up heffalumps because some friends and former colleagues have told me I really should write about what it’s like to be an older person in graduate school. That is the heffalump in the room, so to speak. Honestly, I haven’t done it, because I could not see why anyone would find my impressions of graduate school interesting or the slightest bit entertaining. A lot of times it’s neither of those things. Footnotes? Please. Historiography? Please. Sitting still for three or more hours straight? Please. I also haven’t done it because I felt like my first year of graduate school mainly consisted of battling Heffalumps, Wizzles and Woozles — imaginary monsters that trapped me in my own net.

Now that I know those monsters aren’t there, I laugh a lot more.

I’ve also thought of the people who told me to write about graduate school. Many of them are my age and have wondered whether they could go back and do this to themselves as they juggle a career and kids and whatever else. They’ve wondered whether the time and the toil are worth it.

I’d say yes and no. I’d say yes because the experience has knocked some cobwebs out of my brain and helped me refine my so-called critical thinking skills. I’ll  never read a book the same way again, because I’ve spent the past year looking at arguments and finding out what’s wrong with them. These skills are useful for a reporter, writer, or really anyone from any walk of life. So that’s good.

Still, a lot of times I ask myself why I did this. A lot of times I count the days until I can go back and do what I love — write full-time for a living. I miss reading well-written books. I don’t know what that’s like anymore.

I miss a lot of things but I know I’m going to come out of this grateful and good. Because I’m determined.

And I’ve had a lot of great people in my corner who have been pulling for me.

I’m a very lucky lady.

In the meantime…

Maybe I’ll start telling Student Union cashiers that I actually DO get the employee discount. Or maybe I’ll stop telling professors that no I’m not teaching the next class, I’m learning in it.

“Hell yes, I’m teaching this class,” I’ll say. “Who wouldn’t want to learn about ‘Duran Duran: A Soundtrack of 20th Century Decadence’?”

But I’ll refrain from beating the next 18-year-old with my walker when he asks “Excuse me, ma’am, can you tell me where Lockett Hall is?”


There’s a certain fun in pointing to a vague “over there” and just letting them meander through a sea of pajama-clad, hormonally-deranged humanity. I guess we come back to school to wade through that sea so we can emerge on the other side, waterlogged but stronger in who we are.