It’s been an absolute roller coaster of emotions for me these past few days. Though I was completely stoked about the Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival, it was a little difficult to enjoy all of the events that were offered because of my new role as the house gimp (some of you may recall that I sprained my ankle last Monday – the worst possible timing in terms of the festival). I was not about to let that ruin my entire weekend though, and made sure to participate in everything I could, so stay tuned for the write-up on that in the next few days. However, a brief check-in with my email on Saturday morning brought me some terrible news: my Daddy, my king of everything, suffered from a stroke last Friday. He is still in serious condition but seems to be stabilizing, thanks to what seems to be a decent team of doctors (he lives overseas with his 2nd wife, so I have to take everything on hearsay) and the prayers and good vibes of anyone I can think to ask for help. Needless to say, it’s messed me up a little on the inside, especially because I can’t be near him right now. So if I am not as brilliant and witty as I normally am (at least I’m still modest, right? Hahaha), you know why.
Life does continue in the midst of pained anxiety over loved ones, and that includes the need to eat. It also includes the need to keep one’s previously made appointments, and I had one today with Luis, photographer for our Diocesan newspaper, The Herald, where yours truly will be featured in a couple of weeks. Because of time constraints and feeling so preoccupied and worried, I decided I ought to make something super simple and quick. But I also wanted to use this new smoked paprika that I’m trying for a certain cool project that you will all be privy to soon (such mystery, my goodness!). And I hadn’t had shrimp in forever and just had to have them tonight. All that and a can of diced tomatoes ended up becoming one of the most delicious, super quick dishes I’ve ever made.
Fresh tomatoes would be even more wonderful in this case, naturally, so you should definitely use them if you have the chance. With a sprained ankle, my only reliable means of transportation (my feet) has been put on hold, which means I haven’t been able to go grocery shopping for awhile and that fresh tomatoes are out of the question for now. That didn’t stop me, though! With the shrimp I bought at Save Mart during my last $25 Shopping Cart trip and the diced tomatoes I also purchased that same day, not to mention the smoky, peppery goodness of that smoked paprika, this dish was simple, flavorful, and impossibly easy to prepare. Now, I normally wouldn’t be able to justify the cost of such a generous amount of smoked paprika, so I understand if you can’t come by this remarkable spice. However, even regular paprika will work with this recipe, giving a little something extra to the simple and classic combination of tomatoes and shrimp. This can be served with rice, noodles, or even on a nice toasted roll for a nice change. I’m sure you’ll find yourself returning to this one regularly because of its simplicity and flavors. I know I’m going to!
Shrimp in Smoked Paprika-Tomato Sauce (serves 2; total cost per serving; $2.45)
1/2 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 t granulated garlic
1/2 t smoked paprika, divided (regular paprika is also OK)
1/4 t salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 T olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Peel and devein the shrimp under cool running water (I’ve found this makes it a bit easier to get all the shells off), then drain & pat dry. Season with the salt, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over medium high heat until it begins to turn golden brown and fragrant. Add the shrimp and sear for about 2 minutes. Next, add the diced tomatoes in their juices, along with the ground black pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 3 more minutes, or until shrimp are no longer translucent on the inside. Serve with rice or noodles and a nice salad, and enjoy!