Atrocious isn’t it? I can’t believe I would use that word on my scrumptious food blog, but there it is. I had such hopes for this dinner. And it was wonderful to prepare.
The candle on my altar was lit, I had some Buddha Lounge music on and the evening felt important and prayerful. I was going to make dinner for 4 of us, and my meditation as I prepared the food was filled with the intention of harmony and deep deep connection. I have to laugh now thinking back on it, because even though the intention and the joy involved in making this meal was real, the results? An unmitigated disaster!
I was making Cilantro Jasmine Rice, Grilled Corn on the Cob and Lemon Garlic Butter Marinaded Shrimp Kabobs. Mouth full isn’t it?
The rice came out smashingly, but the grilling? Oi… the grilling.
I’m still not well versed in handling this grill and I thought I had turned on the propane as I needed too. The flames came on, and I placed the corn on about 20 minutes prior to putting the shrimp on. I turned the corn a couple of times, and then placed the shrimp, lovingly on the grill. The sun had gone down, the breeze smelled of sweet frangipani. It was a perfect night. Can you feel it?
So the shrimp is grilling and I dab some marinade on it while watching it carefully. I’m feeling a bit insecure because I don’t cook meat or fish and so I’m never quite sure when its properly cooked, although I have cooked shrimp in my stir fries a few times in the last few months and that has always come out fantastic.
Typically, shrimp should grill for about 3-5 minutes on medium heat, flipping over once. I waited, squinted to really get a good look at it, and then flipped at about the right time. Added a bit more marinade, the flames sizzled and the aroma was amazing. I was feeling pretty good about myself when I took the first skewer off the grill and placed it on the plate and took a good look at it.
This is where things went wrong. Forget my zen food practice, and my full presence in the joy of cooking. A huge wave of insecurity hit when I looked at the shrimp and something just didn’t look right. I flipped it over and over and it looked cooked, but then… not really. The flesh was tinged in orange like all cooked shrimp, but again, something was not right.
I had my friend, Jonathan taste one and he said it wasn’t cooked thoroughly, so I placed it back on the grill with a frown. I flipped them all again, but again, something wasn’t right. I had also turned the corn a few times and had taken them off the grill and onto a plate. Ok so like 20 minutes later, the shrimp are grilling… still. And I’m no longer thinking of a great meal, now I’m just wondering what the hell is going wrong, and why am I even bothering to grill shrimp anyway?
By the time I pulled them off, they looked like the picture above. Charred, but still oddly translucent, gummy and not evenly cooked. It. was. a. disaster.
Jon and I both tried to eat them, but it was no use. There weren’t edible and I ended up throwing away the entire platter which made the whole thing even worse. *sigh*
I couldn’t even begin to understand what had gone so wrong. While in the kitchen cleaning up, Jon called from outside and asked me if I had turned the propane tank all the way on. I canted my head and thought about it, and couldn’t really remember if I had or not. As he continued to clean the grill I could hear him from outside saying that the grill wasn’t hot enough because the propane was only partially on, so the flames were too low.
I don’t know why, but somehow this made me feel a bit better as I ran out there and asked all hopeful, “So was that it? Is that why the shrimp sucked?” He nodded saying he thought so, and I didn’t press much after that. I’m going with the story that I didn’t properly set the grill up and that’s why the shrimp were unevenly cooked and downright awful.
Clearly, I took pictures anyway. I had to. Because when it was all said and done I could only laugh. The entire experience up until the grilling had been such a good one. Actually, it had been an unusually ritualized one, and then… it ended like this. Nice lesson in not taking life to seriously huh?
We ate rice, and under cooked corn, because yes… those were undercooked as well. And still had a great evening.