I love it when my kids take an honest-to-goodness interest in what I like. It makes me happy. It thrills me to no end when they ask me how to do something (hopefully that I know how to do...), when they actually want my advice with a problem, or when they just want to sit next to me, hug me, or tell me about their day. These are the moments I live for.
Yes, I want them to be independent and have interests of their own! But nothing compares to that special, private, in-the-know inside joke we share because of time spent doing something together. It literally makes my heart sing. Granted, my heart only sings 80's pop music - which my kids absolutely love, by the way - but it sings, nevertheless.
So when they say "Mom, can I help you with dinner?" my heart goes into overdrive and does a medley of the best of the 80's...and yes, 'Jessie's Girl' is (always) in there. Why? Because Rick Springfield rocks, that's why. Don't pretend you haven't sung it in the shower either. Besides, who couldn't love the only song known to mankind with the word 'moot' in it? It's an English major's dream...not to mention the man is damn easy on the eyes...
Drama Queen wanted to cook dinner the other night. By herself. Cue Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party...
Turns out, she had a really great day at school and some really exciting things had happened to her and she wanted to talk about it all. So as I instructed her on how to make what was for dinner that night, which happened to be Shrimp Fritters, she told me bits and pieces about what happened to her that day. She even brought out her iPod and I listened while she sang (which I love to listen to her do). Her latest favorite is the 'In The Heights' soundtrack from the Broadway production. We saw it in Orlando in March as one of her birthday presents/bribe.*
*I call it a bribe simply because I told her a month or so before her birthday that I would get tickets to the show if she agreed to have a full eye exam and get glasses if she needed them. Dangling theatre tickets to her current favorite musical in front of her was a sure bet that she would overcome her (irrational) fear of air being puffed into her eyes or drops being put in her eyes and just get it done. She is deathly afraid of doctors, needles, and foreign items in her eyes, ears and throat. When she was younger, she was a barrel of freakin' monkeys at the pediatrician... Oh, and the rite of passage getting your child to upgrade from a bath to a shower? I still haven't recovered from that trauma. On a side note, she did get glasses and looks absolutely smashing in them.
Sneaky? Uh huh. Underhanded? Certainly. Wrong? Hell, no! She got what she wanted and I got what I wanted and everyone is happy. Works for me...and I shall continue to do so as long as it remains beneficial to both parties involved in said bribe. Let Doctor Spock put that in his pipe and smoke it...
Drama Queen did all the prep work herself and even took my basic sauce for the fritters to a different level. She added a few ingredients (when I wasn't looking!) and the results were wonderful. She was so proud of herself, too. Her face was so completely lit up throughout dinner that I believe we may have suffered third degree burns. I love to see her that happy! Cue ABC's The Look of Love...
But her biggest accomplishment...the one where she should get the key to the city...was the fact that Little Lawyer ate every bite. I repeat: Ate. Every. Bite. Unless she is eating something covered with chocolate, caramel, whipped cream and sprinkles, or unless her meal comes with a toy - she never, ever finishes everything on her plate. In her nine years of life (eight and a half if you count from when she started eating real food), I think I may have accomplished this miracle of miracles....maybe ten times?
Drama Queen knocks it outta the park on her first attempt...what the?
At this point, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I hate to cry, so I'll just laugh and go with it.
Dinner that night was amazing. Drama Queen and I hung out in the kitchen, I taught her a few cooking techniques, we laughed, talked, sang and had a fantastic time. Little Lawyer consumed her entire meal. Triumph! How could it get any better? Really? Cue Andrew Lloyd Webber's Any Dream Will Do...
A knock at the door from Publishers Clearing House with a huge check? No....
A phone call from a lawyer of a long-lost filthy rich and now deceased relative leaving me their vast fortune? Nah...
A letter in the mail from Food Network offering me a dream job and the authority to fire Sandra Lee? Nope...
Drama Queen told me she has a...a...a boyfriend.
Dum Dum DUMMMMMM!!!
Cue Aerosmith's Get A Grip...
SHRIMP FRITTERS WITH SESAME LIME SAUCE
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
1 egg, beaten
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 tsp of your favorite seafood seasoning blend
1/3 cup mayonaisse
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp garlic powder
Baby spinach (or any greens you prefer)
Do something like this:
Coarsely chop the shrimp, and try not to pop too many in your mouth while performing this task or there won't be any left and you'll just have fritters. I always have this problem, so I usually buy extra shrimp to compensate. Grab a big mixing bowl and add the chopped shrimp, beaten egg, green onions, flour and 2 tsp of the seafood seasoning (I use either Old Bay, which I almost always have, or Weber Grill Creations Mango Lime Seafood Seasoning). Stir it all together and check the consistency before adding any breadcrumbs. You're looking for the mixture to lightly hold together while it cooks, so start with the 1/4 cup and go from there. I know you've heard it before, and I will always repeat it because it is so true: you can always add, but you can't take it back out!! When you reach the consistency you're looking for, let the mixture chill in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, zest and juice both limes into a medium sized bowl. This is particularly hilarious if you let your kids do this part! Then add the mayo, the remaining tsp of seasoning, honey, sesame oil and garlic powder and whisk! Ta Da! You have sauce!
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat - that's number 8 on the dial to me. Add about 1/4 cup of oil (your choice - for this I prefer veggie oil). When oil is heated (which I test by a toothpick tip in the center of the pan. If it starts to bubble around the toothpick, you are good to go), drop mixture by 1/3 cup portions into the oil and flatten slightly with a spatula. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until you get that golden color we all dream about on fried food. Drain fritters on a paper towel and keep warm if frying in batches.
Serve fritters nestled in a bed of baby spinach (or greens of choice). You can serve the sauce on the side, or if you are a sauceaholic like me, drizzle the sauce over the top. Hey, they are shrimp and they were born to swim in something, right? If you are really like me, you'll have some extra limes on hand that you can cut into wedges and serve alongside, because you thought to yourself while standing over the bin of limes at the grocery store that two little limes look so lonely in the produce bag, and they're so tiny...why not throw in 5 or 6 more? Yeah, me too.