Cocktail Time! · Summer Pairing

Cilantro Shrimp with Peach Vodka, Cranberry, and Orange Juice

I’m officially back from my vacation, but oh how I wish I were still at the beach. So I decided to bring a little bit of the beach home with me. I have a summer cocktail all lined up, but what to do about the food. Luckily as I was walking around my local farmer’s market, I saw the that one of the stalls was selling shrimp.

Now I haven’t made many shrimp dishes on my own and I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a little intimidated by the little shellfish. I think it’s the deveining processes that kind of grosses me out. However, there’s no denying that fresh shrimp is always so much tastier than frozen.

Will this week’s pairing bring me back to lazy days at the beach? Let’s find out!

The Drink: 

For some reason I found myself picking up a bottle of peach vodka not too long ago. I’m not normally much of a vodka drinker, but the fruity flavor called to me. I did a little research and apparently orange juice and cranberry juice go really well with peach flavored liquor. So here’s my version of the Peach Vodka Orange-Cran (I’m sure there’s an official name, but this is what I’m going with).

What you’ll need: DSCN1325

  • 1 part Orange Juice
  • 1 part Cranberry Juice
  • 1 part Peach flavored Vodka
  • Ice cubes

In a smallish glass, place your ice cubes. Pour the equal parts orange juice, cranberry juice, and peach vodka. Gently stir to combine. You should see a nice pink color in the glass.

Enjoy.

Level of Recommendation: A mouthful of summer and sunshine.

The Food: 

Shrimp is a lot easier to cook than I realized. However, preparing shrimp is a bit tricky. If you aren’t buying pre-cleaned or frozen shrimp please do not forget to devein these yummy little sea creatures. Otherwise the shrimp might not be so yummy.

What you’ll need: DSCN1321

  • 1/2 lb cleaned shrimp
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 minced shallot
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • A liberal amount of cilantro and roasted onion infused olive oil
  • A dash of pepper
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • Some butter
  • Water to boil the pasta

As I wrote above, if your shrimp weren’t cleaned before you brought them it’s probably best if you do that first. Marinate the shrimp in the cilantro and roasted onion olive oil (regular olive oil works if you do not have this on hand), pepper, cayenne, and salt. Place in the fridge for as little as half an hour to as long as 8 hours. The longer it marinates the more intense the flavor.

Start making your whole wheat pasta.

As the water comes to a boil, mince the garlic and shallots, then chop the tomatoes and cilantro. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook to desired tenderness.

In a medium skillet, heat some more of the olive oil. Once the skillet has heated add in the shallots. Once the shallots start to turn clear add in the garlic and butter. Allow to cook for a few more minutes or until the butter melts, before moving to one side of the skillet. Add in the shrimp to the cleared area of the skillet.

As the shrimp starts to turn pink add in the tomatoes and cilantro to the side of the skillet with the shallots and garlic. Flip the shrimp so that you evenly cook both sides (this should only take a couple of minutes). Once the shrimp is fully cooked, mix everything in the skillet together and remove from heat.

The pasta should have finished around the same time as the shrimp.

Serve hot with crusty bread.

The Pairing: 

DSCN1324

There’s a nice mix of sweet and savory flavors with this pairing. There’s a good balance with the saltiness of the dish with the sweetness of the drink as well. The shrimp has a nice little kick to it thanks to the cayenne. The heat of the food stands in contrast to the cool drink. Overall I enjoyed everything.

Level of Recommendation: A little slice of beach life, even when you’re not at the beach.

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