Lent has started for many of us and so begins a modest way to eat, a more reflective period. A time, at least for me, of more prayer and even a little fasting. It actually feels good once you’ve armed your mind and body. Those observing Lent often give up something, a sacrifice, for 40 days and 40 nights. My little sister and her entire family give up sweets. For 40 days and 40 nights. No cookies, no brownies, no ICE CREAM, no chocolate. They can have fruit, but get real. When you’re jonesing for a slab of 3-layer chocolate cake with Oreo buttercream icing do you really think a cup of grapes is going to cut it? No. No, it ain’t easy. But that’s what it’s all about. Quietly, humbly, making whatever sacrifice you’ve decided upon, as Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days prior to His crucifixion. People give up all kinds of things. One year I heard a priest discussing sacrificing something that gave one pleasure and used perfume as an example. That really resonated with me. I love perfume! I use only one kind, it’s my signature scent, and I’ve never tired of it. I always have it on. I dab or spray on Cabochard first thing in the morning before walking out the door to work out or to go to Publix. I put on perfume even when I know I’m not going out at all that day. I adore Cabochard and can’t describe the delight and appreciation I have when I start my car and the first blast of AC I feel is redolent of my French perfume. That was a hard sacrifice to stick to. But I did it. And I can’t tell you how taken aback, truly astonished I was, that Easter morning the first time I sprayed on my old friend, Cabochard. The scent of the crisp, tailored perfume was positively heady. This year my Lenten commitment is to be a kinder, more gentle person with a positive, thankful attitude regardless of the situation. Well, I’m trying my best to be that person. Those who live with me and play with me are probably aware that I’m not the sharp-tongued, potty mouthed, flippant girl I used to be. But I’m also not quite the selfless, paragon of virtue I’d like to be. It’s a work in progress… work being the operative word. I find Hallmark movies make me a much sweeter, forgiving person. My husband, Jimmy, has been such a good sport when they’re on. He doesn’t complain at all although I’ve noticed sometimes he disappears from the bedroom and I find him elsewhere in the house reading his book. So back to Lent. Well, we also give up meat in this house and while that’s no big deal because we eat so little beef and pork, we DO eat our fair share of organic chicken. And the Bible considers chicken meat so ain’t no chicken in the house, either. For 40 days and 40 nights we’re down to seafood, salads, fruits and vegetables. It goes without saying this is the time when one has to be creative in the kitchen. And this is the dish that that’s gonna bring it home… knock your socks off… make ya eyes roll to the back of ya head. There is a rainbow of flavors in this shrimp bowl. Between the fresh and cooked cilantro, the quick bean and corn salsa and the cilantro lime rice, YOU are going to enjoy a panoply of flavors from the Garden of Eden!
This delightful recipe is quick, easy and incredibly adaptable. You can make it lighter in calories by cutting back on the olive oil. Any kind of rice may be used including quinoa. The plantain chips are a glorious addition, however, if you’re watching your weight leave them out. There are so many levels of tremendous flavors they won’t even be missed. This recipe also makes a great lunch the following day. Layer the rice, then shrimp, followed by the salsa and avocado in a mason jar. Cover with lid and refrigerate. How’s that for tomorrow’s gorgeous lunch? Lucky you!
Cilantro Lime Shrimp Bowls
- 1 7-ounce can of corn, drained
- 1 15.25-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 red, orange or striped bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 cloves, grated
- chopped jalapeno peppers, optional
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pounds peeled, deveined shrimp
- 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- salt and pepper
- 2 avocados
- plantain chips or strips, optional
- 4-5 cups cooked rice, kept hot on the stove as you will be adding shrimp marinade.
- In a non-reactive bowl add shrimp, 2 cups chopped cilantro, 1/3 cup lime juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well, cover and marinate for 30 minutes to no more than 1 hour. Anymore than that will give you mushy shrimp.
- In a medium size bowl add corn, beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, chopped jalapeno if using and juice of one lime. Lightly toss, Add salt and pepper, gently mix, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat. Shake excess marinade off of shrimp and add shrimp to pan in an even layer. Cook in batches if need be. Do not discard marinade.
- Bring rice up to a medium heat, add shrimp marinade and stir through. Break up any clumps of cilantro, cover rice and cook for 5 minutes so the marinade is completely cooked and the rice has absorbed all juices.
- Scoop a nice spoonful of rice into each serving bowl. Top with shrimp and bean salsa.
- Slice avocados and add to each bowl. Garnish with plantains if using.
- Serve immediately or assemble in containers and refrigerate for meals the following day.