Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shrimp and avocado tostadas & pulled pork tacos with fennel slaw

I have quite a few strengths as a cook, but timing is not one of them. I am at my best when I am making a dish that I can ease into, adjusting seasonings as I go, hovering and poking to test doneness. Or I enjoy things that I can make ahead and either serve cold, room temperature or reheated.

Meals that need to be carefully orchestrated, with several components being finished at exactly the same time, really stress me out. Take, for example, my husband's father's day request: surf and turf. There's nothing spectacularly difficult about this dish...no fancy ingredients or complex preparations. But the simple fact that I had to serve a perfectly cooked filet, perfectly cooked lobster tail, roasted potatoes, and broccoli, all steaming hot, ALL AT THE SAME TIME... Well, it gave me an anxiety attack. Yet, I managed to pull it off:

Anyway, the point of this post wasn't to brag about my surf and turf (although my husband did say it was delicious), it was to talk about the type of dish I prefer to make. The first is Shrimp and Avocado Tostadas. This dish makes a perfect appetizer, lunch, or light dinner. It's served cold or room temperature which means it's great to make ahead or to serve on a hot summer night. Here's how to make it:

Shrimp and Avocado Tostadas


1 lb shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined, and chopped
1 or 2 limes
1 or 2 ripe avocados, chopped
a few handfuls of grape tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes, halved
minced red onion
chopped cilantro


Once the shrimp have cooled, mix them in a bowl with the avocado and tomato. Squeeze in some lime juice. Add the onion, cilantro, and salt to taste. Mix together gently and serve atop crispy tortillas, or with tortilla chips. **If you want to make this a "make ahead" dish, wait to chop and add the avocado until just before you're ready to serve; otherwise it will turn brown.

The second dish I have to recommend is Melissa D'Arabian's "Pulled Pork Tacos with Fennel Slaw." This dish is definitely a bit labor-intensive, and has quite a few ingredients. But, it is a delicious recipe, and a perfect thing to make on a leisurely weekend afternoon. The pork cooks for three hours, so you can make it at lunch time, shred the pork in the late afternoon, and have it sitting on the stove ready to serve at dinner time and/or when your guests arrive. Click above for Melissa's recipe. I followed it pretty much exactly, except that I left out the sour cream and parmesan to make it dairy-free.

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