UNEXPECTED TWISTS IN LIFE
Six years ago on a mid-September night, I was getting off the plane from Singapore to hot and humid Chennai, when I saw a familiar face in the sea of unknown strangers.
It turned out that Jeanie, a former university classmate, had also been on the same flight I’d taken to India for a three-week work-related program, but she was returning to Chennai, where she was based, after a short holiday back in Singapore. We later met up for dinner once during my trip, but after that, we sort of drifted off each other’s radar, living completely different lives, she as a consultant in South India, and I relocated in Argentina.
It’s funny how life throws unexpected turns at you. Fast forward to the present, six years later by some purely random coincidence, Jeanie’s taking a break from work and has moved to Buenos Aires, for the next few months at least.
We met the day after she arrived, about a week before Spring arrived, right in the middle of six continuous days of rain. It was freezing cold, but over warm milanesas (breaded beef cutlets) and fresh salads, we chatted and caught up with the past 6 years’ of each other’s lives.
How crazy is it that it takes being at the other end of the world for us to reconnect after so long?
Life’s irresistibly surprising, and I’m definitely all for it.
ALAS, IT’S SPRINGTIME!
Spring has arrived! Can you hear the heavens singing? The angels playing their harps in joy?
There is sunshine everywhere in this turn of the seasons; there is a lightness in the air; there is happiness; and most of all, there is color once again.
No more drab grey winter skies; only a brilliant bright blue and white clouds dotting the view above.
As the cold, chiller evenings make way for warmer, toastier afternoons and longer days, together with later dusks and earlier dawns, heavier foods are also replaced by lighter, healthier salads.
There was a time when I never could comprehend eating salads as a meal; but now, as brighter, sunnier days make me reach for icy cold drinks and refreshing juices, I look away from thick stews and heavy-carbohydrate dishes to easy, quick-to-assemble salads – the kind whose ingredients are both happy and bright and full of the taste of citrus and vegetables.
Salads which incorporate seafood like tasty sautéed shrimp; fresh, cool cucumber in tones of dark and pastel green; juicy, blushing red tomatoes which burst in your mouth; and just enough red and white onion bits to add some kick and body to the meal.
You know what makes it even better?
Freshly-squeezed lemon juice from ripe, rich lemons the color of golden sunshine, mixed with good olive oil, drizzled generously over the salad. Oh, and of course, garnished with fresh chopped parsley, this salad gets taken up a few more notches.
There’s a feeling of pure joy as you smell the intertwined aromas of citrus lemon, fresh parsley and olive oil; and as you tuck into the salad, crunchy, cool cucumbers, tangy red and white onions and juicy tomatoes combine with the cooked shrimp in one of the most beautiful ways.
It’s the feeling of spring.
P.S. To welcome this beautiful, dearly-missed season, Dish by Dish also has a new look, and a new home! This little blog is now on wordpress.org, hosted by Bluehost, and most of all, has been designed by Sara from Moonsteam Design.
SHRIMP & VEGETABLE SALAD WITH LEMON VINAIGRETTE
(Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a light meal)
Linked up to The Untamed Cook
1) 250g of peeled shrimp
2) 2 tomatoes, diced
3) 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
4) 1 red onion, diced
5) 1 white onion, diced
6) ½ cup of chopped parsley
7) ½ large lemon (or 1 small lemon), juiced
8) 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
9) Salt & pepper to taste
1) Blanch peeled shrimp in hot water for a few minutes. Later sauté blanched shrimp in saucepan with little oil over medium heat until they turn bright orange
2) Seed and dice the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and white onion
3) Squeeze the juice from the lemon, and add in the olive oil to get the lemon vinaigrette
4) Arrange cooked shrimp, diced tomatoes, cucumber and onions in a bowl or plate, sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper to taste, drizzle over the lemon vinaigrette, mix well, and serve, garnished with chopped parsley