We are having the most unusual and welcome weather this week. Lots and lots of rain earlier in the week, meaning no need to drag the hoses around to water the plants, which is such a pain when it's hot. And now it is so clear and cool and dry that I feel like I'm in New Hampshire instead of Southern Illinois in July!
And to add to the nice weather, My Favorite Husband came home from running errands yesterday with a big bag of shrimp from the seafood guy who makes regular visits to the parking lot where our dry cleaner is located. Of course, I'm talking about frozen seafood. This is still land-locked Illinois, even if the weather says otherwise. If you don't live on the coast, or catch your own seafood and take it home, wherever you live, the fish and shellfish you eat have all been previously frozen. That's a very good thing for those of us who do live "in the middle states", where it is easily a day's drive to catch our own saltwater fish. And in our usual summer heat, they wouldn't be fresh by the time we drove them back to Illinois. So the parking lot seafood guy is a good deal for us!
So what did we do with a big bag of frozen-in-the-shell, tail-on shrimp? The quick and easy peel and eat shrimp cocktail. Shrimp rinsed under cold running water for about five minutes. Big pot of boiling water with a bottle of beer and a cheesecloth bag of Old Bay Seasoning. Drop shrimp in for just a couple of minutes until they turn bright pink-coral. Remove from heat and plunge into ice water for a minute or so. Drain and place in the fridge until time to serve.
Cocktail sauce is the best and easiest accompaniment to boiled shrimp and it's so easy to make. I put ketchup in a bowl, squeeze in some lemon juice and add a big spoonful of horseradish. That's it!
And, as it happens, I had a couple of ears of fresh corn that I also boiled. Served with lots of butter and salt, they were perfect to go with the shrimp.
Even though the shrimp and corn would have been plenty, I also had some new potatoes begging to be roasted in olive oil mixed with a little butter and salt. After about 20 minutes on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees, they were crispy, brown and delicious. I tossed in a nice mix of fresh herbs from my garden -- chives, thyme and spicy globe basil -- to the potatoes just before serving. That spicy globe basil is my new favorite fresh herb. I don't have a clue how an herb can be sweet, spicy and subtle all at the same time, but it is! Next time I may chop up a bigger bunch of herbs and add them to some sour cream for a dipping the potatoes, just to make it an all-finger-food meal.
My kind of easy living dinner for the most surprisingly delightful weather of the year! Ahhhh . . . Now if I could just wash the peel-and-eat-shrimp smell off my fingers!