I have been so busy cleaning out and packing up my mother's house I've barely had time for anything else. During the week it's work and the gym and miles of paperwork and bills, and every ounce of the weekend is clean, sort, box, pack, throw away. I welcomed the fourth of July weekend not as a holiday but as an extra day to work. I skipped fireworks to sort through miles of photographs. I marked my birthday on the calendar (today), so I wouldn't forget.
This makes it sound like I haven't been cooking, but I have. Mostly everyday things, I'm trying to whittle down my pantry in the spirit of the new economy, lots of beans and grains and lentils finally being put to use. I've had a few salads of my homegrown (!) spinach and homegrown tomatoes, I made a batch of this white nectarine compote and used it to make turnovers.
There is nothing like hauling boxes and moving furniture all day to work up an appetite, and while slogging through mom's house is a pain (goodness she kept everything), I've found some real treasures too. Like pictures of my mom as a baby, or of the family making homemade ice cream. That's the part I like best, finding things I've never seen before.
This past weekend, between sorting my mother's collection of Wedgwood and boxing up her 18 figures of Ganesh, I made this salad. It's a chopped salad of shrimp, avocado and mango inspired by what I had on hand and what looked good in the store. It's delicious, really, served on a bed of lettuce as dinner for one, and I bet it would make an excellent pot luck contribution or filling for a sandwich.
Shrimp, Avocado, and Mango Salad
1/4 of medium-sized red onion, finely diced
2 tbl finely diced red bell pepper, or hot chili pepper
a few cilantro leaves, finely chopped
3 tbl fresh lime juice
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. Peel and slice the mango, working over a bowl. Squeeze the juice from round the pit of mango into the bowl. Add the onion, pepper, cilantro, lime juice and toss to combine.
3. Adjust the heat so the pot of water is just simmering. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque and curled in 3/4 circles. For goodness sake do not overcook the shrimp into pink rubber bands. Immediately transfer shrimp to a colander and run cool water over them to stop cooking. Dice the shrimp.
4. Add the shrimp and avocado to the mango mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as desired.