Monday, March 31, 2014

Orange Ginger Shrimp with Orzo Kale Salad

Following my week away with Robin at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we found ourselves desperately craving something healthy. Apparently filling yours days with butterbeer, pizza, barbecue, candy from Honeydukes and actual beer leaves your body craving the precious nutrients only green things can provide (sadly, green gummy worms somehow do not count). 

Cauldron Cupcakes and Butterbeer- just two of the many treats of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Note: our butterbeer from a few months ago was way tastier (and far more alcoholic). Go us!
After our 6 and a half hour drive back to Charleston was finally over, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up healthy eats. The result was the incredibly delightful and rejuvenating Orzo Kale Salad. It was so good (and my body still needed so many more nutrients) that I made it again upon my return to Houston with a little protein assist from some quick and easy Orange Ginger Shrimp (since we found just eating the orzo kale salad led to further snacking).

This display in Zonko's Joke Shop accurately describes how you may feel after a vacation of eating like a kid.

Orzo Kale Salad
Adapted from Whole Foods
Servings: 8
Time: 60 minutes (inactive for 30)

The kale is taking over!
1 packet orzo
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/4 lb heirloom tomatoes, chopped
~ 6 kale leaves (sprigs?), de-stemmed and chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ginger, minced
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn

  1. Prepare the orzo according to the instructions (usually boil in water for about 10 minutes). Then drain and run under cold water to cool.
  2. Toss the orzo in a large bowl with the tomatoes, kale, onion and 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  3. Whisk the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and ginger together in a small bowl and pour into the salad. Add the basil and toss again.
  4. Chill covered in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  5. Feel super healthy.

I can practically feel all the sugar leaving my body just looking at it.
The orzo kale salad was incredibly fresh and delicious, and it smelled awesome. The earthy, crunchy kale complimented the smooth orzo, juicy tomatoes, and powerful basil, while the acidic dressing helped pack a punch and bring it all together in a nice harmony. Overall, this is an amazing side that just needs the right protein partner to make it into a full meal. Just be careful not to let the kale take over (since I apparently have no idea how much kale actually magically generates once you cut it).

Orange Ginger Shrimp
Servings: 4
Time: 70 minutes (inactive for most)

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of 2 oranges
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

  1. Marinate the shrimp in the orange juice, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper covered in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Remove most of the marinade from the shrimp and sauté in the olive oil 2-3 minutes per side until opaque and orange.
  4. Drizzle a little of the oil mix on top of the shrimp and serve.
They're just as simple as they look.
The shrimp was fairly noncomplex, but the protein needed to be to help the salad stand out. The ginger and orange exist as merely subtle hints in the background, but those traces really help it go with our acidic salad without overwhelming you. If you want to make this on its own, I'd suggest trying to turn the marinade into a glaze (add some corn starch that's mixed in well with juice/water). Really, though, you should just give in like I did as soon as I took all the fancy pics and mix the shrimp and salad together.

A more exciting action angle. Also, special shout out to Kevin's fancy display plate and to me for never returning it.
Despite its simplicity, this was an incredible meal that I look forward to having for the next several days as my body continues to detox from the vacation. Sacrificing our health for a few days was a small price to pay for a great getaway where we could feel and act like kids again, while also investing in our future (read: purchasing several wands and magic kits).
Our wands.  I can't decide whether or not I should be afraid that Robin thought Voldemort's was the coolest looking one.

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