I grew up in a culinary-inclined family. My paternal grandmother was a Home Economics teacher who made the best fruit cakes during the holiday season. My mom teaches the same subject in school and she's a whiz in the kitchen herself. It was considered preposterous if none of us siblings learned how to cook at such a young age. Frying a sunny side-up egg was the first skill I perfected. It made me so proud. Soon I moved on to simple breakfast food like hotdogs and pancakes. It didn't take long before I was helping out in the kitchen preparing our meals.
As I grew older I learned how to experiment with dishes that I loved. We had this Sunday barbecue tradition in the family wherein I would showcase the best marinade for chicken that I mixed or my easy pork marinade variant for the week. I learned how to prepare fresh garden salads using my mom's secret raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe. In support of my culinary inclination, my parents gifted me with an herb garden that I diligently cultivated throughout high school. It provided me a ready stash of fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano whenever I needed it for the dishes I cooked.
But things changed when I went to college. I lived on-campus and became too busy with academic responsibilities that I started neglecting my love for cooking. There simply wasn't anytime to experiment in the kitchen if you have a gazillion of term papers to write. I lived off fast food and would sometimes skip meals if I was pressed for time. I wasn't eating right. I became unhealthy and had to be hospitalized several times because of it.
When I landed my first job, I resolved to start eating healthy again. Aside from daily exercise, I began preparing my own food using recipes I've researched on the internet. Food magazine subscriptions also came in handy. What I gathered were easy to prepare, low-fat, low-calorie dishes that are perfect for people with a busy lifestyle. It felt good to be cooking again. I've always felt really comfortable working in the kitchen that I once thought of taking some culinary courses if I had some time. Anyways, allow me to share one recipe I've found online that is now a weekly staple on my menu for the week.
Grilled Curried Shrimp with Mango Couscous
(Recipe developed by Anna Berman from Fitness Magazine) - http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/quick-recipes/dinner/dinner-in-20...
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon finely diced jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
3/4 pound shrimp, cleaned and shelled, tails on
1 7-ounce container 2 percent Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Lime wedges (optional)
1. Cook couscous according to package directions. Combine with mango, jalapeno pepper, 1 teaspoon of the lime juice, and half the cilantro. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together red curry paste, vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of the garlic, and remaining lime juice. Add shrimp; toss to coat.
3. Mix together yogurt, ginger, and remaining cilantro and garlic in a small bowl. Season to taste with black pepper.
4. Heat a grill to medium high. Grill shrimp until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
5. Arrange shrimp and couscous on a platter and serve with the yogurt sauce. Garnish with lime wedges if desired.
Just remember, have fun in the kitchen and make every meal count.