Micro-date #8 – Butter Tuscan Shrimp

I love to cook. I love looking at recipes and finding new things to try. Making food for the people in my life is absolutely one of my love languages. With my daughter, I am prone to make her favourites because she has certain textures and flavours that she loves. I will put the effort into making meals for other people, but for myself, I will often do what I call functional cooking or batch cooking. Functional cooking is the slapping something together at the end of the day and it could be anything from a peanut butter and jam sandwich to cooking a salmon filet and microwaving some broccoli. It gets me fed, but it does not have the love and care of when I am cooking for someone else. When I am dating someone, and well into the depths of the relationship, I love to cook for them. It relaxes me and helps me also feel loved to nurture someone else in this way. But I rarely put that extra effort into something special for myself.

Two days ago I was scrolling through Facebook in the middle of the afternoon while I was procrastinating on finalizing a report I was working on. In the midst of my feed popped up a recipe for Tuscan Butter Chicken. It was from one of those sites that has a whole story about the meal, how to cook it and the entertaining tidbits of minutia that the author thinks is important to set the ambiance for the dish. I didn’t care – I loved the picture of perfectly cooked pink shrimp nestled in a creamy sauce with pops of green and red (spinach and tomatoes) woven throughout. The story told me that there was nothing really Tuscan about the meal except that the flavour combination reminded them of time spent in Tuscany.

Middle of the workweek. Check. Time for a micro-date to spend some time making something a little more special looking and feeling. Double-check.

I wrapped up work half an hour early and headed a block down from my office to the grocery store with the recipe – and therefore my shopping list in hand – shrimp, garlic, fresh basil, baby spinach, grape tomatoes, fresh pasta. I added in some fresh spring asparagus as well because it looked so yummy and I love pasta brimming with veggies. Once home I put on my favourite dance tunes mix and started prepping my meal by sauteeing the shrimp and while those were cooking cleaning and chopping up the rest of the ingredients. I put a larger pot of water on the rear cooking element to get it boiling while I worked on the sauce.

Once the shrimp was cooked I was ready to transfer them to another bowl while I cooked the rest of the ingredients. Now, this is important, because the bowl was right beside me, on the front element of the stove. The pot with water on the rear element waiting to boil water. As I started to put the cooked shrimp into the waiting bowl, I realized that I had accidentally turned on the front element instead of the rear element and as the shrimp and some of their juices hit the very hot glass bowl, the whole thing exploded, covering my kitchen floor and counters with shards of glass. The lid that I had miraculously been holding over the sautee pan protected the rest of my shrimp, but the stove, my counters, my floor was covered in fragments of varying sizes of glass bits.

This did not feel very date-like!!! I turned the shrimp off, turned the other front element off, and actually turned on the proper element to get the water boiling. Then I found a pair of sandals and my broom and started the clean-up. I cleaned up as much as I could on the stovetop, but had to wait for the element to cool before I could clean up all the glass. With that taken care of, I went back to preparing my meal. Soon my kitchen began to smell the fragrant scents of melted butter and sauteed garlic. I added grape tomatoes, basil, asparagus bits, and heaps of baby spinach and after all, that sauteed down, I added freshly grated parmesan cheese and some heavy cream. It smelled so good!

Beautiful Tuscan Shrimp before I added the pasta

By this time my pasta was cooked and I tossed it in with the shrimp, vegetables, and rich creamy sauce. I poured myself a glass of homemade sweet tea in a fancy wine glass and sat down to enjoy the dinner that was super simple, but definitely more effort than I had been putting into my meals lately.

Plated meal with fresh pasta and grated parmesan cheese

I have decided that one of the criteria for me to consider something a date with myself was that I put a little extra effort into doing something for myself because this is not just about spending time with myself but finding ways to nurture myself a little bit more. At the end of my meal, I felt complete and indulged. I packed up my leftovers for other meals and finished cleaning up the stove from the earlier glass explosion.

Cost of my micro date – meal supplies, approximately $20

I rated this date an 10/10 (even with the bowl explosion)

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