Sunday, January 24, 2010

What’s cooking? Ellen’s Mexican Shrimp Dip

So, here we are almost a month into the new year, and I still am not used to writing 2010 on my checks. It’s been 200something for so long that my hand starts moving and I get two zeroes out before I can stop myself. So then I end up with checks that are dated 20blob10. Argggghhh. This would mean that one of my new year’s resolutions has become learning how to write the date. Pretty lame.

Another of my resolutions – along with half the rest of the breathing population – is to lose weight. Again. This time, I have the wedding (my son’s) as sort of a target. It’s in October, so I figure that gives me time to fall on and off the diet wagon several times and still look better than I do today. In the good Weight Watchers tradition, I’m writing down everything I eat, which definitely helps, and going to bed earlier, which restricts the late-night snacking. (Also, there’s now some research that says the fat-burning enzyme doesn’t kick in until you’ve been asleep for at least 7 hours. This could be part of my problem, as I haven’t had 7 hours sleep since about 6th grade. Ah, well.) So, at the end of the first week, I’d only gained 2 pounds. But I’m trying to commit myself to these changes, and after 10 days, I’ve actually dropped 5 pounds. I’m not going to the meetings – I figure I’ve paid the Weight Watchers people enough money over the years to build my own meeting place; so I’m staying home. Anybody who wants to give me a suggestion that doesn’t involve surgery should jump right in.

The hardest part is entertaining, which I love to do. Crudité platters are good but a bit boring after a while. But it turns out that I actually have a few really good low-cal recipes for entertaining. So when we had guests for dinner the other night, I made my friend Ellen’s wonderful shrimp dip. [And here’s a shout-out to Ellen’s daughter-in-law – hi, Meagan!] If you’re not dieting, this stuff is dynamite on multigrain chips or those pita crisps from Whole Foods; but if you’re in my camp, it’s also fab on cucumber slices or red bell pepper scoops. And Ellen tells me she wraps it in lettuce leaves for lunch. Yum!

A couple of notes about this recipe: first, I’m not a big fan of raw onion, so I use only about half a small onion; second, you can buy raw shrimp and cook them, but why? I buy the already cooked variety from the seafood counter at the grocery, but I’ll bet you could even buy frozen cooked shrimp and they’d be fine. Kitchen Goddess note: Use the best quality olive oil you can find. It really does make a difference.

Ellen’s Mexican Shrimp Dip

1 pound shrimp, cooked and coarsely chopped
⅓ cup fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 large avocado, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, cover, and allow to sit 1 hr. Serve as appetizer with tortilla chips.