Last month, I just managed to slip my Recipe of the Month in under the wire by trying two new cucumber recipes in the last week of August. This month, I've swung to the opposite extreme, trying out a new recipe within the very first week of September. This wasn't by design; it's just that last night, Brian asked me what I felt like having for dinner, and what popped into my mind was some sort of seafood tacos. And since we didn't have the ingredients on hand to make our usual fish tacos, which are topped with a cabbage-tomato slaw, we decided to experiment.
We knew we had about half a pound of shrimp in the freezer, the last of a batch we'd bought when there was a good sale at a New Brunswick supermarket. We also had a bag of red onions we'd just picked up at H-Mart, and there were some green peppers on the Jimmy Nardello pepper plants in the garden. I suggested that if we sauteed all these ingredients up together, we could serve it up on tortillas.
Originally I thought we could just season it with a basic chili powder, but then Brian remembered that we happened to have a bottle of Northwoods Seasoning from Penzey's Spices in the cupboard. This blend, according to the label, contains "salt, Hungarian sweet paprika, Tellicherry black pepper, thyme, cracked rosemary, granulated garlic and chipotle." We'd acquired it as a freebie with another purchase a while back, and we'd never been quite sure what to do with it. So, since the bottle described it as "the perfect mix for chicken and fish," we figured it ought to work okay in our new shrimp dish.
Since shrimp cooks quickly, the whole dish didn't take long at all to put together. Brian just sauteed the shrimp, peppers, and onions together in a skillet with a dash or two of the Northwoods Seasoning, heated up a few flour tortillas, and served up some lettuce leaves and Sun Gold tomatoes on the side. And this improvised recipe, though very simple, turned out to be quite satisfying. Of course, it's hard to go too wrong by frying up shrimp, onions, and peppers in the same pan, but the spice blend really did enhance the mix quite well. Brian had applied it a bit sparingly in the pan because he wasn't too sure about it, but once we'd tasted it, we both started sprinkling more on straight from the jar. In fact, we both liked it was enough that we flipped entirely from wondering how we'd manage to use it up to wondering whether we should buy another bottle when this one runs out. Which, I assume, is what Penzey's was hoping would happen when they gave us the sample in the first place.
Now, admittedly, this "Recipe of the Month" isn't much of a recipe, since all we did was throw what we had on hand into a pan. And you could argue it's not really a veggie dish, even though it has plenty of veggies in it, because it wouldn't really work without the shrimp. So I may end up choosing a second Recipe of the Month for September, one that's a little more veggie-centric. But in the meantime, I thought this simple dish was good enough to be worth sharing.