In preparation for the new year party I attended, I decided to make coconut shrimp. I found many recipes, and all were very different. You’d think there’d be some consistency between recipes when making a specific dish, but this was not the case. I decided on one for which I had all the ingredients (I have moments of intelligence sometimes). The process was very simple. First, I thawed and shelled the shrimp, leaving the tail on. Next, I prepared an assembly line that included first a bowl of flour, then a bowl with two beaten eggs, then a bowl of coconut flakes, then a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of butter on medium heat. The shrimp went through the flour first, which stuck because the shrimp were damp. Then they were dipped in the egg, which stuck because the flour was dry. After letting the excess egg drip off, the shrimp were dipped into the coconut and rolled around to make sure everything was coated. Then they went into the frying pan. After a couple minutes, I flipped them over so the other side would be cooked, and when they were finished I put them on a paper towel to dry off. Every second batch I washed out the pan because the coconut that fell off would start to burn. I also had to keep adding butter to the pan.
In the end, though, I had made about 50-60 coconut shrimp, and they were still warm when I got to the party. Very tasty. I’m definitely saving that ‘recipe.’
All was not well in Bob’s kitchen last night, though. I made a sheet cake from scratch and was happy with the results, but I needed a frosting, and didn’t have any good recipes that also included ingredients in my kitchen. This is a frequent problem because I have a hard time maintaining a stock of perishable exotic ingredients and whenever I try I end up with many losses.
Anyway, I tried to make a frosting, but the first recipe flopped. Essentially butter and confectioner’s sugar, it never solidified (I’m also short a mixer, so mixing by hand is a bit limited in its success). That went down the drain and I tried another recipe, this time involving shortening. Still no luck, but it didn’t go down the drain yet. I found a third recipe that included the same ingredients plus one or two others, so I morphed the second attempt into the third, with still no luck. By this time I was convinced that the lack of a mixture was a significant factor. It was getting down to the wire and I still didn’t have a frosting, so I gave up and went to the local Safeway, where I bought some frosting. It was sad, but unavoidable. With the frosting and the sprinkles, the cake looked great, and I was happy to discover later that night that it tasted even better than it looked.