Esme used to say that she wanted to be a chef or a doctor. And Ben and I would always tell her that those were skill sets we'd be happy to integrate into the family. But lately she's change her mind. The last few times we've talked about her career goals she's told me she wants to be a Mummy. And yes, the first few times she said it I actually teared up. I'm not a cryer, but how sweet is that? Naturally my ego jumped straight to the conclusion that it's her four year old way of telling me that she admires me. That she notices what I do and appreciates it and thinks motherhood is an important job. Right? Yeah, not so much, as it turns out.
On our way to school recently she was asking me about her other recent obsession: judges. What do judges do? How do they decide who goes to jail? How bad do you have to be to go to jail? She listened thoughtfully to my answers and said, "I don't want to be a judge. That sounds really hard." I agreed that being a judge would be an enormous responsibility and it wouldn't appeal to me as a job either. Again she told me she'd rather be a Mom. I reminded her that being a mother is also a hard job. She turned to and said, "Yeah, but like, being a judge is this hard." Arms spread wide for emphasis "And being a Mummy is like this." Hands held very close together. Very close. So it's not so much that she wants to be a mother to be like me but because she thinks it's easy! I don't mind telling you I got a bit huffy.
We had Laura and Scarlett over for dinner the other evening and I wanted something, yep, you guessed — easy. I knew I had a busy day and I didn't want to be fussing around with something complicated. I like grilling but I'm not a fan of eating a ton of red meat, so I like meals like this that are grill alternatives to a big steak. Once you've cleaned your shrimp, which is the only fussy thing here, this salad comes together quickly. I split a shrimp with Esme when they came off the grill — just to test the seasoning. Also we couldn't resist, they looked so good. As soon as put in my mouth, I couldn't help but exclaim, "Oh. My. God. So good." Esme popped her half in her mouth and shouted, "Oh. My. God. So good." Okay, so maybe she copies me just a little sometimes. And she's no longer grounded.
Marinade & Shrimp
1 pound large shrimp (frozen is fine, just let them thaw before starting)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic minced
couple of grinds of black pepper
4 or 5 wooden skewers
2 or 3 cobs of corn
1 x 19 ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 red, yellow or orange pepper, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
1 avocado, diced
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1 head Boston lettuce, washed, spun and chopped
Peel shrimp entirely. I don't understand leaving the tails on for people to have to pluck off at the table. Some people prefer to grill shrimp in their shells but I didn't fancy peeling hot shrimp! Run a small, sharp knife lengthwise down the top of the shrimp. You only need to make a very shallow cut. In larger shrimp there will be a dark vein that will easily come out with your knife. It's actually part of the shrimp's digestive tract. So yes, it's another creature whose poop you're having to concern yourself with. Sorry. Once you're done, rinse all the shrimp under cold water just to be sure it's all gone.
Mix together the other marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl. Add shrimp and gently stir. Cover and pop in the fridge for about an hour.
Place wooden skewers in a shallow dish, covered in water. Allow them to soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes before putting them on the barbecue.
Fire up your grill and get it good and hot! Husk the corn and put it on a lightly oiled grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so. They'll just begin to char. Remove from heat and allow them to cool a bit before running a knife down the corn to slice off the kernels.
Put corn, beans, chopped peppers and coriander in a bowl. Mix together. Gently fold in your avocado dice — easy does it, you're not making guacamole here!
Whisk together oil, lime juice, salt, cumin and pepper. Taste and adjust to your family's taste. Pour over the bean mixture — you may not need it all — and toss.
Take your shrimp out f the fridge and put about three on each skewer. Go through the tail and again through the top so they can be flat on the grill. Put them on the barbecue for about six minutes. They'll turn bright coral pink. Use tongs to take them off the heat. Allow them to cool slightly before sliding them off the skewers.
On a serving plate, arrange the chopped lettuce and pile the beans on top. Arrange your grilled shrimp on top. You could sprinkle just a bit more dressing over top if you wanted.