Friday, June 24, 2016

Recipe: Lemon and Butter Shrimp Scampi

Need a SUPER fast, easy, and affordable dinner? 

This is it, my friends. 

When I got home from a work event last night at 8:30, I was starving. The word "shellfish" had been mentioned, and I wanted shrimp.

I always want butter and pasta, so the choice was easy. 

This is almost too easy to call it a recipe, but I hope you enjoy!

Lemon and Butter Shrimp Scampi
4 servings

1 stick of butter, plus 2 tablespoons
4 cloves garlic
A handful of dried parsley
1 lemon
30ish frozen shrimp - de-veined and peeled with the tails off
(I used half of one of the "salad size" frozen shrimp bags from Target - this is really adjustable)
1 lb linguine or fettucine pasta
1/2 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
Garlic powder
Cajun seasoning (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Start water boiling for pasta - when boiling, add pasta and boil according to package instructions until done.

2. In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter. While it's melting, chop garlic and add to butter, then add dried parsley and juice of half the lemon. Simmer on low.

3. Put 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan (I like these from Rachel Ray) and throw in frozen shrimp. That's what makes this so fast - you don't even really have to thaw the shrimp.

4. Since the shrimp is frozen, it's going to produce some liquid. In 3-5 minutes, pull shrimp off the burner and drain the liquid in a colander. Put shrimp back in pan, add another tablespoon of butter, then add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and, if you like a little kick, Cajun seasoning to taste. Cook shrimp until pink in color and mostly opaque.

5. Drain pasta, then toss into pan with shrimp, turn pan to low. Pour on butter sauce and toss. Slice up the other half of the lemon very thinly and add to pan, along with parmesan. Toss and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and add chopped fresh parsley.

Then enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Taste the Rarity 2016 at Wiseacre Brewing

Anyone who knows me knows I love beer, especially when I get to try new and fun (and sometimes weird) things.

A couple of weekends ago, Sloan and I went to a beer festival at one of my favorite Memphis breweries, Wiseacre.

(Also, when I moved here in 2009, there were NO breweries except Ghost River, and definitely no tap rooms. Four for you, Memphis, you go Memphis.)

Wiseacre has a great tap room and a wide variety of beers - almost anyone can find something they like, and it's in a great location.

Their annual beer festival, Taste the Rarity, is a huge collection of breweries both local and from all over the country. While it's not as big as Cooper-Young Beer Fest, it's still got a lot of great beers, food trucks, and entertainment. For $50, you get entrance and a commemorative tasting glass.

I tried a LOT of beers, most of which are things I can't get here or can only get in really limited release. I did try the Wiseacre Unicornucopia, which wasn't totally my style, but it's a very good beer that I just didn't love. Mostly though, I focused on the beers that we don't get in Memphis.

(via Wiseacre's Twitter)

(Because I'm a t-shirt fiend, I did buy the awesome color-changing shirt. I have a problem.)

Sloan was all about Three Floyds from Munster, IN. Seriously, he talks about their beer a lot, and now I see why. Zombie Dust may be the best pale ale I've ever had.

I also loved Indeed Brewing out of Minneapolis. When I go to beer fests, I want to try the weirdest stuff people have - I can drink a normal beer any day, but of COURSE I want to try that Lavender Sunflower Honey Dates Honey Ale that you're calling LSD! Actually, as weird as it sounds, I would buy this one for sure. It was definitely all of those flavors, but I LOVE lavender, so I didn't mind - plus the people working the Indeed booth were super nice.

We decided after a bit of drinking and listening to the Grizzline that we needed some food. Luckily, my favorite food truck, Gourmade, was there! We split the Mambo No. 5, which is basically tater tots covered in mac and cheese, braised short rib, green onions, and angel tears.

Mambo No. 5 with LSD Honey Ale from Indeed.

While we were eating, we got to talking to another couple who are from Richmond. Turns out he is Jay Bayer, owner of Saison and a huge proponent of the Richmond local beer, wine, and food scene - so fun to talk to another person who has the same passions we do (including early American history and the history of food and drink)! He recommended we try the Richmond brewery he was there with, Hardywood Park, and they definitely did not disappoint!

I tried the Spirit Braid, a farmhouse style ale with citrus, and Sloan had the Foolery, a bourbon barrel aged milk stout (stouts just aren't my bag, but he loved it). Spirit Braid was insanely good - I could close my eyes and imagine I was sitting on a front porch somewhere with absolutely nothing to do all day. Perfect.

We tried several other beers, including ones from Sun King (the rudest people there, so I'm not going to link them, but decent beer), Haymarket, and 2nd Shift (a favorite of mine), but I had to go by my favorite brewery's booth at some point that day: Jackalope.

I fell in love with Jackalope a Cooper-Young Beer Fest last year, and they didn't disappoint at Taste the Rarity. Super nice people based out of Nashville, they're really willing to talk about their beers and events, which is fun when you're at an event like this. And believe it or not, they had something even stranger than the LSD from Indeed - Birthday Cake.

Birthday Cake was a wheat beer brewed with Jasmine tea and vanilla. They also had a personal favorite, Bearwalker, but I mean...birthday cake.

It tasted like cake. Like beer and cake and happiness all rolled into one glass.

My happy place.

Only two small gripes about the festival as a whole.

At $50 a ticket, we were surprised at how quickly most beers ran out. We stayed from 3:30ish until 5, and literally almost every booth was out of at least one beer. For a fest that goes from 3-7 that just seemed like poor planning. I think selling fewer tickets, even if that made them slightly more expensive, would be the way to go - it was super crowded, more so than is comfortable.

Second, and this is probably not even really a fair criticism, some of the vendors were really not very nice. It was hot, and there were some very drunk people, but you're here representing your brewery and the craft beer industry in general - be a little nicer.

Other than that, it was great! Definitely going back next year!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I'm a platter, but still...

A good friend told me one time that people shouldn't judge when others are overwhelmed, or feel bad because they're struggling, because everyone has different size plates.

Some people have saucers, and can only handle a couple of things at a time, because nothing else will fit on their plates.

Some people have dinner plates, and can handle several things easily. 

Others have serving platters.

Platters shouldn't feel like saucers are lazy, and saucers shouldn't feel like platters are superheroes.

We all just have different sized plates.

I've always felt like I had a large platter, like the kinds they put cookies on at events. I'm good at juggling lots of things, and always have been.

But let me tell you. There isn't a platter big enough for the last month.

Here's what's been happening lately:

1. I'm still struggling to finish the last chapter of my dissertation. It's so close, but I feel really abandoned by some of my mentors, and have one who has out and out said he didn't want to even be on my committee, so I'm having some real guilt and pain  and anguish about the whole thing.

2. I had a HUGE work event the end of April that took up a ton of my time. At least I got to buy cute new shoes.

3. After the huge work event, I have at least 9 medium work events coming up that I'm coordinating in the next 3 months.

4. The day after the huge event, I found out that, while I had been planning to move in July (just across town, in with my boyfriend) I needed to move May 13th-ish. So even though I was happy that my roommate found a new roommate, yikes.

5. I had to clean out my boyfriend's house - with his help - and figure out what was staying and what was going in a yard sale.

6. I had to pack my house and do the same thing. 

7. I had to physically move, which mostly consisted of me cursing my mother for teaching me to read and encouraging me to buy all those heavy ass books.

8. My boyfriend got a job after almost 3 months of unemployment.

9. Said job meant that he had to fly to training on Sunday, come back Wednesday, and work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - for 4 weeks. 

10. Starting the week after I found out I needed to move earlier.

11. We both got sick.

12. Yard sale.

And in between all that, we each had family stuff, small work stuff, dog stuff, kid stuff (his daughter is here for the summer), and everyday stuff like eating.

While all of this resulted in some awesome things (great weekend moving, in all honesty, where I got to hang out with my mom and his mom and our friends), I'm exhausted.

Like "I took too many benadryl and now I can't feel my toes" exhausted.

So I'll be in and out here, with lots of exciting stuff in the works (local food reviews! Taste the Rarity review! summer work clothes!) but this platter has got to recognize limits for a minute.

After all, I'm a platter, not buffet table.