Friday Night Home Date

Meal for 2

Sometimes I find myself envying the freewheeling days of my children. Maybe it’s because they’re in the “golden” stage of their childhood - they exist within an endless, joyful continuum of pleasures and distractions, and they wheedle and negotiate like little con artists in order to fulfill them.
  • They Want: Cheese Nips, popsicles, bacon, ice cream
  • They Need: To play 2 hours of Game Cube, to have a sleepover, to build a 700-piece Lego star fighter
  • They Ask: When is it going to snow? Where did you put my homework? Did you wash my blue sweatshirt yet?
Everything needs to happen right now, not in an hour or most dreadfully awful, Next Week (translation: NEVER). It’s all play, sweets, entertainment, and a little bit of whining, all the time.

By the end of the week, I’m whining too - when do I get to play? - and I’m worn down to a nubbin.

A small lump or residual part.

I look like Mommy, probably smell like Mommy, but the lumpy parts of me that are left need an hour in the whirly-tub and a large cocktail.

And that is why we have instituted Friday Night Home Dates in our house. It’s the best! We give the kids whatever they want for dinner and put them to bed. Then the grownups, in this case, Mom and Dad, get to have a playdate; a quiet dinner at home and no need to call the sitter.

Now T walks in the door on Friday nights with his hand outstretched, waiting for me to place a drink in it. I cook whatever I’m in the mood for, and I keep it simple.

This week I made this quick, delicious shrimp with coconut milk. It’s from Tyler Florence’s new book Tyler's Ultimate. I’m not a Tyler fan, but I have to admit this book has lots of easy, appealing recipes and juicy photography.

To start, I recommend a classic Vodka Gimlet.

Coconut Shrimp with Basmati Rice, Apricots and Lime
Adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence

For two, generously

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 red hot chili peppers, chopped
4 chopped shallots, or 1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 lime, halved
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup apricots, diced
3 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
1 cup fresh greens (Tatsoi is great if you can find it, otherwise use prewashed baby spinach or arugula)

1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts
Lime wedges

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, chilies and shallots and cook a few minutes, or until the shallots are softened. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for 25 minutes. The sauce should be reduced by a third, and slightly thickened. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook until they are just done and turn pink - 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the rice, salt and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover. Cook 15-18 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the shrimp.

3. Serve in shallow bowls topped with some peanuts and an extra squeeze of lime.

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food


Kristen said...

Karen -
I love this idea... at home dates. I can completely relate to your by the end of the week nubbin comment. I'm feeling the same today.
I think I'll actually take a nap during nap time... then tonight I'll greet my hubby with a cocktail!

Karen said...

Cheers to you...

Alanna said...

That T is a lucky man!

Sara Ellison said...

Karen! Serioulsly, I love you and your blog!... a Vodka Gimlet is my drink of choice and one day, when I have a husband, i will greet him with one when he walks in the door too... for now i'll keep drinking them while i cook for me and my friends!

Karen said...

Sara, thanks for coming...and enjoy those gimlets while you can!