Last night was an unusual occurrence. Mike was working in the city for most of the weekend while the kids and I were busy keeping busy. Then yesterday evening the kids went to visit Mike’s grandma with their Nana and Papa and I escaped to a yoga class. When I came home it was just Mike and I for dinner – and at a normal dinner hour!
Now it’s not unusual for us to put the kids to bed and have an at home cooking date night, or to even drop the kids off at Nana and Papa’s for a night on the town, but to find ourselves at home, alone, at the dinner hour – unheard of. So we decided to launch our next international adventure alone, with a recipe we knew we’d enjoy, and eat it in our dining room. (I don’t know that we’ve ever sat down to eat in there aside from Christmas Eve or a random dinner party.)
So where are we venturing off to now? We’ll get to that in a minute, first we bring you “Bloggers Unplugged,” a fun little game of questions in which we were tagged by Charles of Five Euro Food. Charles as you may remember is the creator of this delicious baba ghanoush that we made for Christmas and have enjoyed for lunch over and over again. Thanks for the recipe and the tag Charles. Here are the questions fielded by both Mike and I.
1. What, or Who, inspired you to start a blog?
Mr. N was our inspiration. We had talked for a long time about exposing the kids to different cuisines from around the world. Mr. N, who was really excited about our “experiment” thought we should write a book about the experience. Well, it’s not exactly a book, but I think he approves.
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
Well, first and foremost, Mike expanded my horizons with food exponentially very early on in our relationship. Many of our early dates revolved around fantastic restaurants or cooking at his apartment. One of our favorite dishes to this day came from those early dating years. We may get around to sharing that one of these days. Other foodie inspiration – well the many food blogs we read. They’re always inspiring us. And of course Chopped.
3. Your greasiest, batter-splattered food/drink book is?
I’d have to agree with Charles on this one, either my phone or my computer. They’re nearly always nearby when I’m cooking. But if I have to name a book – the messiest by far is our Classic 1000 Italian Recipes. Italian is hands-down my favorite cuisine.
4. Tell us about the best thing that you have eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
Oh my gosh. Really? Just one thing?! Well, the first thing that comes to mind is an escargot we had on our honeymoon in Tahiti. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant or the dish. I only remember that I ordered the appetizer again for dessert and ate it all myself. I will NEED to have that dish again someday. For Mike (and a close second for me), pacific lobsters from a now closed restaurant in Rosarito, Mexico. The food and view were both to die for. And would you believe we both guessed each other’s favorite dishes even though they were more than a decade ago now? Cue the “awww’s.” How romantic.
5. Another food blogger’s table that we’d like to eat at?
Ack! Again how do we name just one? I mean seriously?! Well, if you put a gun to our heads’ and we had to pick just one…Greg and Katherine’s table. Mike’s all about Greg’s smoking and I still can’t get this out of my head. And what can we say about Katherine? I’d eat one of her recipes any day of the week, plus I think she’d be great fun to toss a cocktail back with. (Although after Joshua’s birthday celebration…see I can’t just pick one!)
6. What is the one kitchen gadget that you would ask for this year?
Easy – a pasta attachment for my stand mixer. I’m dying to make homemade ravioli.
7. Who taught you how to cook?
Mike touts that he took foods class in college. Please…a group of senior guys and a bunch of freshman girls. Yeah, that was about learning to cook. I’d say mostly we’re self-taught. Although we have been taking a few cooking classes as of late.
8. I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish?
Hmmm. I don’t think we have a signature dish (other than banana bread), but you can bet it will be an Italian meal.
9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
Sushi. We both can put away the sushi like nobody’s business. The wait staff is always amazed that we keep ordering more rolls (often looking at us like we’re nuts).
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
I love boxing. Not watching boxing, but actually boxing. A few years ago Mike bought me a heavy bag and I love wrapping up, putting on the gloves, blasting the music and kicking the tar out of the bag. It’s great for stress relief, not to mention a fantastic cardio workout. And Mike gets a kick out of telling people that it’s not his heavy bag, it’s his wife’s.
And finally, on to our new international destination. Well, since Charles thought he’d be able to try some Nicaraguan cuisine if he ate at our table, here you go Charles. We’re off to Nicaragua. You and your wife have an open invitation to dine with us.
Mike and I both really enjoyed this dish – especially alone in our dining room (although it took a few minutes to get over the silence in the house). It was light and flavorful; although I would opt for adding some cayenne next time, or just upping the amount of curry we used. I felt it could use a bit more of a kick.
The shrimp and scallops were delicious with the coconut milk and the cilantro gave it a lovely fresh bite. Mike gave the seafood stew 3 spoons, but thought it could use a bit more spinach (We only had 1 cup of fresh spinach due to a three-year old meltdown at the grocery store that weekend – long story.).
I was torn between a 2-1/2 and 3 spoon vote. It was good, but I really wanted some heat with this one. That said, I think we’ll make it again and adjust accordingly. It’s just too easy of a meal not to make again; and for our first taste of Nicaragua, I’m quite pleased. I’m looking forward to our stint in the cuisine of the largest country in the Central American isthmus.
Print this recipe: Curry Seafood Stew