the best shrimp I ever had

I had to chance to try these shrimp from the Wedge Co-op in Uptown when I volunteered to make some food for a friend’s birthday party. The menu was teriyaki chicken and shrimp spring rolls. I hadn’t had time to go to grocery shopping so I went to the Co-op that was near their place and bought most of the groceries there. I remember the bill being excessive, something around the range of $60 for what would’ve ended up being around $20-30 at a traditional super market. I’ll say this though, these were the best damn chicken yakitori and spring rolls I’ve ever made and I attribute it all to the quality of ingredients I found at the co-op and would happily pay the premium once my budget allows for it.

The shrimps are a little on the small size if you are used to larger shelled shrimp, about half the size of a normal cocktail shrimp. They come de-shelled and cleaned. They are called “Laughing Bird Shrimp” and are farm-raised sustainably in Belize. I steamed this in a steaming basket just until they turned pink. When I tasted them, whatever amount I ended up paying (I think something like 14.99 a pound) went out the window and all I could think of was how sweet these were. The texture was perfect too, they have a very satisfying unadulterated bursty shrimp texture (I don’t really know what the word for it is but it’s something I look for in every shrimp I eat). I do know that a lot of the shrimp that is sold in the US are treated with phosphates so that they retain more water. What happens is this lends to a weird translucent color and squeaky watery texture and taste that is epitomized in those ready to eat cocktail shrimp or in many frozen pre-made shrimp products. I find that this is more common in pre-shelled and cleaned shrimp you find at the supermarket. That’s why I always try to get whole shrimp with the shell and head from the asian grocery store. Those usually do not tend to be treated with phosphates based on my experience. Anyway, that was my rant on shrimp. I take shrimp very seriously! It’s one of my favorite things to eat and I will recommend to anyone to seek these out and try it for yourself!!!

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lunch from Bun Mi

For the past semester I’ve been rotating between sushi, Panda Express, and Chick-fil-A at the union for lunch but the union was closed for the break. I had to trek over to (almost three blocks in the cold!) Bun Mi for lunch.

I got the vermicelli salad with lemongrass chicken and eggroll. Usually their chicken is not this charred but this time it was. Love it.
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New year’s resolution: stop eating out every day for lunch!!!

grillin’

I don’t want to admit this but I am not good at grilling. This was a last minute get together on a 4th of July weekend. We had decided to take inventory and grill up whatever vegetables and meat we had on hand. Between Avijit, David, Joe, and I wen ended up with a pretty good portion of food.

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This probably shouldn’t happen. Too much lighter fluid! Need to get me a chimney starter one of these days.
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In case you didn’t know…

…I LOVE tacos. The Twin-Cities are kind of lacking in the taco department but the best I have found are the ones from Taqueria Los Ocampo (though they are still no match compared to La Tienda in Gainesville <3). They have multiple locations but I have been to the Lake St one which is more of a fast casual place that is usually always busy and the one in St Paul which is more like a sit down restaurant. I usually always get the Al Pastor taco which is my favorite style.

These are from the Lake St location. The Al Pastor here tends to be a tiny bit dry but still enjoyable.
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These are from the St Paul location. I would say these are a grade above the ones served at in the Lake St location.
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shrimp curry

This is kind of like my secret recipe (shhhhhhhhhh). It’s my variation on shrimp curry that is traditional in Burmese cuisine. Some versions have tomatoes but mine doesn’t. The key to the rich flavors in this dish is that I get whole shrimp with the head on. When you peel the shell and carapace, save the guts inside the heads aka shrimp mustard (or crab butter or lobster tamale in the case of other crustaceans). This is what gives the really creamy flavor and red color to the dish.

Start with caramelizing some onions with some oil. Add some peppers (whatever you have on hand) for some heat if you’d like. Keep everything on low-med heat.
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I think I also put in some garlic as well. Not entirely necessary. Stir frequently so that the onions don’t burn. Sometimes I put a teaspoon of shichimi togarashi (japanese spice mix) spice which is untraditional in this dish but I like the heat and color that it gives. If you don’t have that some paprika or cayenne pepper will do to add some color.
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Once the onions are well caramelized add the shrimp, the shrimp mustard, and let it chill. Do not stir!
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You’ll see that the shrimp will turn on the bottom side and once it is about pink halfway through body. Turn the shrimp over. Add some cilantro. Turn off the heat and let the residual heat finish cooking the shrimp so you don’t overcook them.
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Punch pizza

Punch is the local pizza chain in the Twin Cities that serves up Neapolitan style wood-fired pizza. Because the oven is so hot the pizza comes out pretty fast and there is nice charring on the crust that I love. I would go there more often if it wasn’t so expensive compared to other options available nearby campus.

Their box is pretty cool.
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I got the Siciliana which has prosciutto, artichoke, picholine olive, and basil.
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This wouldn’t be a pizza post without some upskirt action. Look at dat char! <3
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