It seemed like just the thing needed to lift the mood was a van trip…
On the way to the camping spot, I made a quick stop. at Chongs Market in Coralville, Iowa. It’s sort of the mother of oriental grocery stores. They also have a lot of middle eastern goodies, too. I usually stock up on cans of Moroccan sardines and Asian dried squid jerky… It’s fun stuff to nibble on.
Toward the back of the store was a display of assorted veggies. I selected a bundle of green onions and that’s when I saw them… Fresh shrimp for $5.99 per pound – not a bad price! They were quite large and rather beady-eyed.
I bought ten of the shrimp but had to throw one back… It seemed to have the most intense look – almost as if it was staring at me. For a second I feared some kind of a political interrogation using loaded language. Of course, any resemblance between the beady-eyed shrimp and a talk show host is purely coincidental.
Back at the campground, the temp was hovering at 32 degrees with a moderate breeze blowing. It was deceptively chilly; a person had to work fast. I had not popped the heads from shrimp for many years and it was a a fun exercise. Unfortunately, the cold quickly stiffened the fingers and it was quite difficult.
Everything worked out great. Due to the high wind, it was necessary to cook the food inside the van; the butane stove had threatened to blow out from the gusty breezes. Once inside, I had no troubles with the burner although it seemed to lose efficiency and didn’t put out quite as much heat after a while. Normally, the little Chinese-made butane stove does put out a strong heat and it’s ideal for stir frying.
The taste was friggin’ incredible. The trick was using the marinade and letting the “juice” reduce down while cooking. You get tons of flavor without having to drown the food in a lot of oil. We won’t talk about sodium but I think there was enough that one could have melted the ice on a three mile stretch of Interstate 80 with a healthy tinkle.
Speaking of oil, I added just a dab (maybe 1/2T) of chili oil… It comes in a cute little container about the size of a cough syrup bottle and fits great in the van’s spice rack. Used in moderation, it adds just a little heat to the dish. You can get the tiny bottles in an oriental market.
In the morning, I made a plate of multi-colored peppers along with onions, eggs, and low fat ham non-cured ham. Once again, the food had beautiful colors and the calories were within reason. Besides being tasty, every forkful helped with the wellness program, too.
Remember the post about the 20 ounce pork tenderloin last fall? Next time I pass through the town of St. Olaf the choice will be a grilled tenderloin with lots of brown mustard and veggies. Half the sandwich will go into the cooler. Fun and tasty doesn’t have to result in a heart attack. *smile*
After the hearty breakfast, I made a trip to the Menards home improvement store to exchange one of the LED task lights that had burned out. The newer one is not quite as bright but through the clear bezel you can see where a resistor was added in line with each LED so they little lights do not get pushed to run quite so bright (and hot). The new design should last longer. If you saw the task lights in an earlier post (Christmas time), I like them a lot and these new ones are more of a natural light.
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