We have some fall birthdays to celebrate around here. As many of you know, I completely emerge from my summer doldrums bright eyed and bushy-tailed at the first whiff of a fresh fall breeze and welcome the fall season with wide open arms.
It's P.'s birthday this weekend and that just heightens my celebratory mood even more. We've been anticipating weekend birthday indulgences for awhile now. I tried to put special thought into this year's birthday for him because his very special daughter...for the first time in her life, would not be here to celebrate with him. (Sigh)
He has flipped through my special "cake" book and chosen his signature birthday cake this year. Let's hope I can make it! You might stay tuned...or not!
M. is on a trip with her women's honors group in college. "Really? A trip already?" one asks. "Didn't you just drop her off?" I know, a trip on the second weekend of college. I am impressed...and very happy for her.
About 20 young women are out on the Gulf of Mexico doing whatever it is students who are interested in science do within the realm of marine biology. I have had to channel all thoughts of sunburn and sea sickness possibilities to her mentally (and texts, mind you...) to put my mother's mind at ease.
I am doing well...letting "go" that is. But my fingers sure can fly with accuracy while texting on those teeny tiny letters on my phone. I just texted one word to her
Their minds are being filled with scientific endeavors about aquatic life within the field of marine biology. That soaking up of knowledge must be wedged in between "other" endeavors...
The latest photo we received on my phone (right AFTER the one showing huge dolphins swimming right beside their boat...displayed her beautifully decorated "henna" tatooed hand!
Apparently, these young scientific minds had some spare time to move within the realm of cultural and artistic pursuits as well.
I love it. I love college. Eat it up I say...these years should be lots of hard work...interspersed with great fun and shared experiences with good friends who will stand by each other for a lifetime.
The dolphins were impressive...but that henna design was quite striking too!
So back to the birthday hubby's weekend and what any of my side tracking might have to do with this "Rosemary Grilled Shrimp, Pancetta, and Poached Egg Salad".
We've started moving from "walking" to "running" lately in addition to removing processed sugars and refined flours from our diets. During the week, we look for creative ways to enjoy a healthier meal plan so we can indulge on special occasions...like this weekend's birthday!
One could say, "There are so MANY ways to make salads interesting." Or, one could say, "There are ONLY so many ways to make salads interesting."
This was one weekday salad that we enjoyed recently that we thought was delicious, healthy, and elegant too. I recently found this "rosemary salt". I put it in my salt grinder and grind some on just about everything I cook lately.
A few ample flakes of shaved Parmesan cheese add great flavor to this simple salad. The crunch of the sautéed pancetta and the scented rosemary shrimp elevate this spinach plate to something that feels so special.
But, it's the poached egg on top that was so much fun to cook and really heightened this humdrum salad dinner to a level of main course that would be delightful if served to me in a nice restaurant.
Months ago, I was delighted by the "egg poaching" video on the immensely popular blog "White on Rice Couple".
I was mesmerized by the video. I watched expectantly as the water bubbled to a boil. When the egg was carefully dropped into the scalding water, I leaned over my computer and peered into the hot pot of swirling water.
But it was as the fork broke into the soft egg and the warm yolk slowly melted out that I sat back in my chair and knew that "poached eggs" were to going to enter our world.
And here they are...on our weeknight Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and a Warm Poached Egg.
Thank you White on Rice Couple!
Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Salad with Pancetta and a Warm Poached Egg
(recipe inspired by Saveur)
8 oz. pancetta, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
16 medium shrimp, deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
2 sprigs rosemary, stemmed
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
Several handfuls of spinach leaves
Sunflower sprouts for garnish
Heat pancetta and oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; cook until crisp, 6–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a plate. Add garlic to skillet; cook for 1 minute. Season shrimp with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Add wine, rosemary, and tomato; cook until wine is reduced by half, 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle with pancetta.
To make the poached egg for the top of the salad, watch this fun and lively video made by "White on Rice Couple"