This past week, I spent a week out in Arizona. Interesting place, but the only way it could be more different than South Carolina was if it was really super cold. Our parks are full of dense, lush trees with creeks and waterfalls and red clay beneath our feet. Arizona’s parks (at least the one I saw) are full of rocks and dust, with no shade, because the trees are all five feet tall, if you find one, and the plants look like they might be aliens. In fact, I found the park a bit as I might imagine running on the moon might be, if the moon was extremely hot.
Really, I can’t complain. My conference was at a beautiful location, the Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs, very nice. A great event and the food was just fine. I didn’t really get to sample much local cuisine, as nothing in Phoenix is located within walking distance, but the food was also quite good. I just didn’t get to sample much Mexican fare.
Still, I was gone for eight days and while I was sad to see the event come to a close, I was happy to get back to my routine. Sure, running in the desert was a good experience, but I was happy to run on campus, get back to Jazzercise. Yeah the food was great in Arizona, but I was happy to eat my own food again, and even cook it again.
The night I got back, I was just dog tired. We had a super early flight, which meant getting up at 4 am, and then we didn’t get coffee for hours due to long lines, even at the bag drop off. I think they forgot what the term “drop off” means. One of those times when I wished I could have ordered a skinny vanilla latte from my phone and had it delivered to the gate. So when I got home, I was in no mood to cook. Lots of Cheerios and then to bed! I told the kid “you’ll have to put yourself to bed, sorry!” Thursday was a Kuk Sool night, so we made a pizza. Good, but not really cooking. So tonight? YES to cooking. I even invited the parents. And, feeling a little romantic about my home state, I went to the coastal living cookbook. Here’s the recipe:
- Butter, unsalted, .25 cup
- Onions, raw, 2 cup, chopped
- Carrots, raw, .5 cup, chopped
- Celery, raw, .5 cup, diced
- Garlic, 2 clove
- Thyme, ground, 1 tsp
- Salt, .5 tsp
- Pepper, black, .5 tsp
- Brown Rice, long grain, 2 cup
- Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average, 2 large whole (3″ dia)
- Vegetable Broth, 3.5 cup
- Bay leaf
- Shrimp, raw, 24 oz
- Cod (fish), 8 oz
Melt the butter in a large pot. Add garlic, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes, until soft. Add tomatoes and rice and stir until coated. Add the broth and cook about 30 minutes. Add the cod and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook another 5. Serve.
Now the original recipe called for clams and crabmeat and oysters and mussels, along with shrimp, but I figured I could add whatever seafood I liked. So I went to my favorite grocery store (Ingles, of course) and they had NC wild caught shrimp, $9.98 a pound and they had wild caught US cod, so I bought a filet of that. Heck, they even sell local grown tomatoes and bulk brown basmati rice, so I was set.
Bonus: there’s enough for tomorrow too, which means I don’t have to brave the streets tomorrow for any more than my 6 mile run, because there’s a football game in town. With the tigers winning, well, it’s gonna be a bit nutty out there. Still, football game or not, I’m glad to be back home. Sure, I came back to freezing weather and leaves that need to be raked and work that needed to be done. But if nothing else, I get good fresh shrimp around here and that’s as good a reason to live down here as any!