The last 10 days have been filled with shopping, a road trip to McPherson, Kansas, and the most wonderful Valentine dinner in Springfield, Missouri. The Valentine dinner was outstanding because I didn’t have to cook. Once again Jimm’s Steakhouse had all the elements in place for a relaxed prime rib dinner. For those who are quite familiar with the Springfield area this would be the former Steak & Ale, located on Glenstone. Like many foodies/cooks I’m always looking for the restaurant that has all the key elements for good dining. Without a doubt Jimm’s surpasses the ordinary and strives for perfection at every turn.
The first weekend of February I was in McPherson, Kansas, at the Cook’s Nook presenting two classes with a Mexican theme for Valentine’s dining. The guests were wonderful and, as usual, I could have stayed at the store and shopped all afternoon. I even had guests who drove over from Kansas City, Missouri to attend class as a part of their ‘Valentine weekend.’ We concluded our busy Saturday with a glass of pinot served fireside on Janis & Larry’s lanai. What followed was a relaxed dinner and good conversation.
Like I said the last few days have just been terrific. My husband, Ervin, wrapped up the Valentine weekend by buying me a new coffeemaker/single cup for the kitchen. Oh I failed to mention I also attended a jewelry party (my hobby/pastime) and purchased a few lovelies for myself. My Valentine weekend certainly contained everything a girl could desire
I am glad I can finally share my recipe for Cocktail da Cameron with you. I wanted to wait until I presented the dish in McPherson last weekend, before placing it in the column. I enjoy this recipe to the utmost and it is wide open for all kinds of modifications. The great thing is how easy it is to make ahead of time. Also as I made this over the past few weeks I found that I really liked making some of the ingredients bigger than others for aesthetic appeal. Basically the last time I made the dish I cut the avocado bigger and kept everything else (except the shrimp) small.
Sometimes we Midwesterners consider shrimp as something noteworthy for special occasions. You are definitely worth it, splurge a little and prepare this opener for your lunchbox next week. One thing for sure, every staff member in your office will be green with envy!
One comment regarding shrimp preparations. I prefer to cook shrimp instead of purchasing pre-cooked. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I believe it has better flavor. Keep in mind that when you’re boiling the shrimp they will lift to the top when they are done. Remove immediately to avoid a rubbery outcome.
Simply yours, The Covered Dish
Cocktail da Camaron
2 cups chopped tomatoes, or 1 can petit canned tomatoes
2 cups small cucumbers finely diced, (about 4 petites)
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 lb. shrimp, medium size
2 avocadoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cups Clamato juice, contains clam juice-
1 1/4 cups good quality ketchup
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Cilantro to taste
This is a very healthy appetizer or main dish. There are so many different options for this recipe, leaving an open window for personal adaption. Don’t care for cucumbers replace with celery or even small zucchini. Adore avocado, raise the amount to 3 instead of two. Additional ‘heat’ is easy to add with additional hot sauce or cayenne pepper. The size of all the ingredients can be changed to your personal likes.
Chop tomatoes, cucumbers & onion, placing into a bowl. Grab 4-6 shrimp and chop fine and leave the rest of the shrimp whole, add to the first mixture. Chop avocados and stir into the lime juice; now add to above ingredients. Measure out the Clamato juice in a bowl and add the ground cayenne, garlic and onion powder. Stir the spices into the juice and lastly whisk in the ketchup of choice. Now pour over all the ingredients. Stir to blend, and add your chosen amount of cilantro to the dish. Cocktail da Cameron is traditional served with saltine crackers. It presents very nicely in a margarita glass. Expect the recipe to yield at least 6 appetizer servings.
My personal preference is to make this early in the day or the night before to allow the shrimp flavors to permeate the dish.