#1: Lemon Garlic Shrimp & BIG Surprises!

Well, here goes nothing! Welcome to my first recipe testing post in The Cookbook Journal. I feel as if this is the beginning of a very fun, yummy, and I predict somewhat stressful (nothing a glass of wine or a baguette with cheese or a chat with a friend or a date night with my husband can’t help!) journey that I am SO EXCITED FOR! I truly, madly, deeply appreciate your support and encouragement and I am overwhelmed by your well wishes! So, with that being said…shall we get cookin’?!

I made a major fail and did not take any photos of my very first attempt at recreating a dish that we had during our time in Portugal BUT I do have a good reason!…which I will get to in a second. First, let me tell you about this dish…

Butter. Tiger Prawns. Butter. Garlic. More butter. Lemon. Fresh parsley. Crusty baguette. Local beer. BOOM. I don't even think I need to say more! 

A warm evening in Portugal called for a walk to downtown Lisbon and a dinner that good ol’ Anthony Bourdain recommend. We watched his episode from his time in Lisbon (which is an amazingly colorful city so full of life, nice people and cheap food!) on our laptop in our tiny studio up cobblestone steps and knew that we needed to hunt this restaurant down…Cervejaria Ramiro, we were coming for you. As we approached, we knew it was the right place! The line was out the door and they were packed inside with locals and tourists alike. Beers were being poured, waiters were rushing around with plates and plates of hot food on their trays and that is when we saw the prawns. No menu needed, just those prawns, some bread and two cold beers, thank you very much. YOU GUYS…we just literally could not even handle the deliciousness. Creamy and buttery and so full of flavor from the simplest (and most aromatic!) ingredients! I knew I needed to recreate this dish. Read about our time in Portugal here!

So that brings me to today…with that memory still in mind of that delicious meal, I did my best to mimic the flavors of the sizzling plate that sat between Sean and I. Now, this was round 1. I knew i wasn't going to nail it, but I feel as if I came pretty close! The only thing I did not put all my effort into was finding Tiger Prawns which are the big daddy of the shrimp family and they kind of have a lobster quality about them. For the first test, I just stuck to Wild Caught Prawns from Trader Joes. I figured they would be more accessible for most people and that is a big thing I want for this cookbook - for all ingredients to be found in your grocery store, whatever that might be. I want to make adaptations to some dishes so we, the Americans, can make them with what we have available to us…without compromising the specific essence of the dish. anyways, back to the dish: the flavors were on point and the bread was the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the buttery goodness. I am kind of surprised I am saying this, but not ashamed in the least bit but…I think I need to add more butter next time. 

I can already tell that this is going to be so fun! And not only that, but being able to eat it afterwards was a HUGE bonus. With that being said, let me get to my excuse for not taking any photos…

Sean and I have been waiting 7 months to be reunited with our best friends whom we traveled Asia with as they made their way around Europe. We have been missing them terribly and we just couldn't wait for them to get home! We can talk for hours and hours and hours and sharing a meal with them is one of my favorite things of all time. Well, on that Saturday in March, THEY SURPRISED US AND I CAN’T CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT FOR THEM TO BE HOME! We got to gather around the table and just be in their presence….and I couldn't even THINK about getting out my phone or camera to capture our meal because I was too busy capturing moments with my people. It would have only taken a second, but I seriously just forgot I was even testing a recipe and just dove into making a meal to be shared with friends. We broke bread together (and used that bread to soak up the butter sauce in the pan and oh.my.goodness) and enjoyed being with them once again. 

So there it is. My first recipe testing post in The Cookbook Journal. While I have you here, can you think of any place I might be able to find Tiger Prawns? Is that a thing in Southern California? Or should I just stick to jumbo prawns???

Until next time & the next recipe,

Lisa Call