I think Kansas forgot about spring and dove straight into summer. After Wednesday night's breathtaking display of lightning, the temperature has soared into the 90s, making my marathon gardening session today a fairly sweaty affair (not to mention my workout afterward, or my evening tennis match with the hubs). I like it, though- it's like being back home in Virginia, sans humidity.
The downside to all this heat is that it completely saps away any desire I might have had to make something for dinner that involves a lot of time in front of a hot stove. My inner cheapskate is determined to not turn on the AC until I am just shy of heatstroke, so the less heat I have going on in the kitchen, the better. I want something quick and tasty that doesn't require much forethought or prep work, and something that I can use as a back-pocket meal throughout the summer for those nights that we just can't say no to an impromptu run or a last-minute tennis game.
This dish definitely falls into the "quick and tasty" category, and it's quite versatile to boot. Depending on my mood, I might leave out the chili paste and just drizzle the dish with sesame oil right before serving, or for a completely different feel, I might leave out the sesame seeds/oil and throw in a couple shots of lemon or lime juice with a the chili paste (or without the hot stuff- it's different every time). It's fun to see how many things you can do with this type of dish.
Shrimp and Bok Choy (serves 2)
1 Tbsp. vegetable/canola oil
3 heads baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
10 large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 cloves garlic, germs removed and minced
salt, to taste
chili paste, to taste
generous handful of sesame seeds, toasted*
sesame oil, for drizzling (optional)
Heat oil in wok or saute pan and add garlic and bok choy. Add a pinch of salt and cook until garlic is aromatic and bok choy is just beginning to wilt. Add shrimp and chili paste, cook just until shrimp is done. Stir in sesame seeds just before serving, and drizzle with sesame oil (if desired).
*In my usual fashion of not creating more dirty dishes than absolutely necessary, I dish out the stir fry onto plates, wipe the pan with a paper towel, and then quickly toast the seeds in that same pan, making this a one-dish meal. Booyah.
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