Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pineapple & shrimp skewers

Who here has ever been in a job interview when the employer asked you this question: "What is your greatest weakness?"

I certainly have.  And I remember thinking it was the most useless question to ask of a potential employee.  No one is going to answer honestly with something like, "I procrastinate too much," or "I avoid group projects like the plague."

Instead, applicants are advised to reply with some bad-is-really-good response like, "I am a perfectionist and need to have every last detail in place."  Do you a) think your future boss hasn't heard that one before, and b) want a pat on the back and a cookie?  Nothing like fishing for compliments before you're even on the payroll.

So, let's pretend I'm back in a job interview and you've just asked me to share my greatest weakness.  And let's pretend that I'd actually give an honest answer.  Impatience. 

I have the patience (or lack thereof) of a four year old child whose been promised a trip to Dairy Queen.  It's sad but so very true.

I am notorious for wanting to give birthday gifts early because I can't wait to see friends' reactions.  I use a magazine to cover the timer on treadmills at the gym because I want to be finished... five minutes ago  And I always open the oven way too soon when I'm baking cookies because maybe, just maybe, my oven is magical and turned the dough into yummy golden treats in only five minutes.

I would even go as far to say that my love for planning stems from my impatience and wanting to enjoy/live things already.  Hurry up and get here!

But, I'm proud to say that I'm growing up!  I'm learning to temper my impatience and deal with it because that's what I hear adults do.  Like putting things out of sight so I'm not constantly reminded of them and how much I want to eat them.

Like these shrimp hanging out in a sweet and sour teriyaki marinade.  Thank goodness refrigerator doors aren't transparent or they never would've made it to the show.

The Oscars party, that is.

Before the nominations were even announced, I was (impatiently) banking on The Descendants getting a bid for Best Picture and thus giving me an excuse to make something tropical, summery, and Hawaiian.  And I couldn't think of anything more suitable than grilled shrimp and pineapple.

Marinated in a sweet and sour mixture of teriyaki sauce, minced onions and garlic, and pineapple juice, they caramelize and brown up beautifully on the grill grill pan (Griddler).  So delicious!

The skewers were very party friendly and a huge hit with everyone, even prompting an "I wish I liked shrimp because those look really good" sentiment from one sweet gal.

I'd say these are just what you need to kick the winter it's-still-February blues.  Me?  I enjoyed them as a taste of warmer climates and happily went back to enjoying the low temperatures and chance of snow in the daily forecast.  Somehow, I'm incredibly patient with winter.  Go figure.

One year ago: Black and white cookies

Yummy, Easy Pineapple Skewered Shrimp
(adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
-serves 4

A few notes: Although the Pioneer Woman herself used jumbo raw shrimp, I used 41-50 count precooked frozen shrimp to cut out a few steps and make this an easier last-minute kind of recipe.  No taste was sacrificed in the process :)  One final logistical note - I fit 3 shrimp and 3 pieces of pineapple per skewer. 

1-2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp, thawed
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks in pineapple juice, juice reserved
3/4 cup low-sodium teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup diced yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
Dash of lime (or lemon) juice
Dash of salt
Bamboo skewers, cut in  half

In a baking dish, combine teriyaki sauce, onions, garlic, sugar, pineapple juice, lemon juice and salt. Mix these together well and set aside.  Stir shrimp into the marinade and marinate at least a couple of hours [I waited about 3 1/2].

Preheat grill or grill pan to high.  Skewer pineapple chunks with the shrimp and grill about 2 to 3 minutes per side on a very hot grill.  Flip again and cook until brown to just slightly blackened.  Plate and enjoy!

Update: They were even great reheated as leftovers for lunch the next day.  Skewers removed before microwaving, of course.

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