This Mother’s Day was my turn to honor those who ‘mother’ me the rest of the year. Although my Mom has passed, I’ve been adopted by a friend and her Mom, so I treated their family to dinner. They went to church & when they came home…..all was ready !!
The menu was a mixture of favorites as well as things I knew they loved but were 1st time prepations for me. (are you beginning to see a pattern here in using my friends as guinea pigs for my culinary experiments ??) I was pretty sure the meal would be a success, so I took the risk. We started with Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, which is an appetizer that I copied from a visit to a bar in El Paso. It took me about a year to get that last ingredient. My friends love beets, so we had a salad of beets stuffed with apple-waldorf & bleu cheese. The main course was Pork Tenderloin with Grapes in Pomegranate Sauce which I copied after watching Jacque Pepin prepare it on MPT. He is my favorite chef…..who else could call french cooking ‘Fast Food My Way’ ?? Anything he prepares is marvelous and this did not disappoint, obviously another post yet to come. For greens we had wilted spinach in olive oil & garlic, with toasted macadamia nuts stirred in. The weather hadn’t heated up yet so I’d been working on my bread baking skills. That meant I got to prepare asiago foccacia with rosemary. (one of my favorites !!) There were seven of us enjoying a lovely meal on a beautiful spring day on a table with a bouqet of white tulips. Delightful !! And, I am blessed to have such loving people to call my family….well ‘extended family’ perhaps. So, how about the Mexican Shrimp Cocktail ??
1 bag frozen shrimp, 40-50 count
Juice of 6-8 limes
Fresh Pico de Gallo & Tabasco
Sugar or Splenda
Of course, you can use fresh shrimp, but I always have frozen on hand since this is easy & well-liked by all….sometimes as dinner for me. The shrimp should be fully defrosted and drained well. You can defrost my covering them in cold water. Toss them in lime juice to fully coat & then pour on Clammato to just cover them. Add pico and at least 1/2 bunch finely chopped cilantro, mixing well. Add 5-10 splenda packets, tasting regularly. You will know when it is just right & if you like it spicy, add tabasco or any jalapeno-based hot sauce, to taste. This creates a soupy shrimp cocktail which is the tradition on the Mexican coast. It makes ahead wonderfully, even overnite, allowing the flavors to really marry. The flavorings are slightly different each time since the strength of the lime juice and the pico are different each time. So, be prepared to adjust the sugar/splenda & hot sauce to taste (that is the best part of making this dish.) Dice the avocado to float on top when you serve it. I usually serve in parfait glasses & ice tea spoons. On this particular day, I used martini glasses. At parties I make large batches in a soup tureen and serve in unstemmed wine glasses. If you want a thicker sauce, you can use ketchup in place of the sugar. It will add sweetener and thicken the sauce. Personally it is like a cold soup to me. By the way, I use splenda because it dissolves most easily in the cold clammato.