Dinner inspiration comes from practically anywhere

Exhausted from an entire day of watching other people exercise at the Olympics, I fell into bed Sunday night. I couldn’t rouse myself,  even when I heard a suspect, wham, thump and whir in the middle of the night. The next morning, everything seemed to be in one piece, so the day went by.  Much later, as I was trying to decide what to do with some frozen shrimp for dinner, my grinning husband presented me with the orange kittens’ latest victim. They had knocked a mini can of ginger ale off the bar and rolled it around the house like the best shiny, mobile plaything. They apparently lost interest when it lodged itself under the recliner. Its lid was so dented it looked like an explosion was imminent.

So, of course I decided I might as well cook with it. I already had hoison sauce and when I had delved into the freezer for that knob of fresh ginger I just knew was in there, I came up with an iced fossil. The makers of the ginger ale proudly claimed it had “real” ginger in it, so what the heck. I sauteed up the shrimp and a bag of baby spinach, added a big dose of the soda and let it cook down, then added the hoison. Now we have a new version of sweet and sour shrimp for our quick midweek dinners.

Yesterday’s annoying plaything had become today’s secret ingredient. Funny how that works out around here.

Ginger Cat Shrimp

Serves four

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag (12 oz.) baby spinach

1 8-ounce can ginger ale

1/2 cup hoison sauce

sea salt

Coconut Rice

1 12-oz can unsweetened light coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup jasmine or basmati rice

Bring the coconut milk, water and salt to taste to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until fluffy.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and add shrimp and garlic. Stir until shrimp just starts to turn pink. Add spinach and stir for about one minute, until spinach starts to wilt. Reduce heat to medium, add ginger ale and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half. Add hoison sauce and simmer for three more minutes. Salt to taste and serve over coconut rice.

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