Out of a Rut and Into a Nest

98% of the time, I enjoy food shopping.  It’s always fun to see what might be new to the markets, or what fruits, veggies, or seafood is in season.  But there’s always THE RUT. It’s something I fall into, every so often. I catch myself…

Out of a Rut and Into a Nest

98% of the time, I enjoy food shopping.  It’s always fun to see what might be new to the markets, or what fruits, veggies, or seafood is in season.  But there’s always THE RUT. It’s something I fall into, every so often. I catch myself buying the same things over and over again.  Does this happen to you?

Getting out of the rut can be challenging, and when it happens, I enlist the hubby. He is the senior get-out-of-the-rut-let’s-think-out-of-the-box-and-stop-eating-the-same-boring-old-stuff master.  Sending him off to the grocery store or taking him along can be dangerous, though, because his food shopping sprees result in bags full of things I typically wouldn’t buy on normal occasion.  Delectable things like lobster or prime rib have been known to find their way into our shopping cart when he’s involved.

That’s the point, though, isn’t it?  To get out of the rut? I know I can always count on him to find something new to try. Like these gorgeous semolina Angel Hair Nests:

Angel-Hair-Nests

Aren’t they beautiful?  Almost too beautiful to cook?

There’s one more caveat to letting the hubby take charge of the marketing. He doesn’t necessarily have recipes in mind. So along with these gorgeous nests, he also bought tiny pre-cooked shrimp. You can do something with these, right? he asked.

It’s like being on Iron Chef.  Okay, maybe not.  Maybe a little?

I peeked in the refrigerator and found some yellow squash and a plump leek.  I decided I would put it all together to create a dish befitting the spring weather, as erratic as it has been in California lately.
Angel-Hair-Nests-Shrimp

Angel Hair Nests with Shrimp, Leeks and Yellow Squash

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek*, quartered, sliced, and cleaned
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 yellow squash, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pound of small shrimp (pre-cooked or raw)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 angel hair nests

Instructions

In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter until melted. Add the leeks and garlic, with a dash of salt, and saute until the leeks are wilted. Add the yellow squash, seasoning along the way with salt and pepper. Saute for about two minutes. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then stir in cornstarch (it may help to make a slurry of cornstarch and water first). Add the shrimp. Stir in heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add salt to the stock pot of boiling water. Gently lower the angel hair nests. They will cook fairly quickly, about three minutes. Gently retrieve the nests with a slotted spoon, tapping off excess water, and place directly on your serving plate. Spoon the sauce onto the nests, and garnish with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Comments

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  1. Amy

    your photo is gorgeous! i do agree with you that sometimes we are in a rut when we grocery shop… but that’s because we have certain favorite ingredients that we like to use over and over again.. or dishes we like to cook often because it’s comforting. but that’s why we have a food blog right? we get out of our comfort zone and cook up new and exciting things!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thanks for stopping by, Amy! It’s quite true that we have favorites when cooking but it is definitely fun to try new things!

      Reply
  2. Krissy @ The Food Addicts

    your photo is gorgeous! i do agree with you that sometimes we are in a rut when we grocery shop… but that’s because we have certain favorite ingredients that we like to use over and over again.. or dishes we like to cook often because it’s comforting. but that’s why we have a food blog right? we get out of our comfort zone and cook up new and exciting things!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Krissy! You’re so right – I do get into my ruts because I often turn to old favorites, all the old classics. It’s always so nice to get out of them and find something new to love!

      Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Norma, thank you so much! Yup, this really did get me out of the rut!

      Reply
  3. Christine

    Those look extra fun to play with and as a bonus seem like instant food styling! I love pasta nests.

    Great photography and now I’m hungry at 7:40!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Christine, yes, pasta nest = instant food styling! Who knew?

      Reply
  4. Spicy Green Mango

    There are moments when i want to upgrade my d40 and then i see your photography and I realize..my baby is A-okay. I would have never guessed that our little baby would be able to deliver such vivid shots, so I think you may have saved me a grand or two. Love the vibrancy of the angel hair b/c it pops against the black background. You’re nothing short of amazing with your skills.

    Reply
    • Liren

      The feeling is totally mutual – there are times when I’m feeling blase about the d40, and then I go onto your site and I see, wow, there’s so much potential in this little camera! I have to admit, I was really pleased with these angel hair nests shots – they’re some of my favorites. I was worried because it was one of those rainy days when there was practically zero light, but there you go, I got just enough from the window, and what an amazing effect! So yeah, as much as I would love to upgrade this camera, I can’t right now, and that’s fine because I still feel like I’m getting to know it intimately!

      Reply
    • Liren

      Hi, Memoria! Thank you for stopping by and for your lovely comments — hope you do use this as inspiration – the nests were fun to work with!

      Reply
  5. denise @ quickies on the dinner table

    This stopped me in my tracks at tastespotting – then I put my glasses on and realised it was your handiwork!!! LOL Gorgeous Liren, jaw dropping gorgeous! Guess it pays to have your camera slung round your shoulders while cooking huh? And, what a burden a husband like that must be *giggle* We should all be soooo unlucky ;)

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Denise! Funny how you noticed this on Tastespotting! That site is phenomenal – I’m always drooling when I’m there. LOL, yeah, so there you go, that’s what happens when I cook with my camera on me (though I’m starting to worry that I need to clean the lens from all the steam and splatter, lol). And yes, I guess my husband’s exuberant food shopping is just another good reason to stick with him. Never a dull moment with him around!

      Reply
  6. Cynthia

    What a beautiful presentation of a lovely dish! This is definitely the perfect dish to usher in spring! Absolutely gorgeous picture!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you, Cynthia!! I really do appreciate it :) Who would have thought angel hair nests and shrimp were so photogenic!

      Reply
  7. Jenn

    Beautiful!!! So far, that is the best dish that screams spring to me.
    And this reese bunny is just not cutting it *looks down sadly*.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Um, I’ll take that Reese bunny. Though I’ve over-indulged this Easter, there’s always room for a Reese’s. But, I do agree, this dish does scream spring, from the nest to the light sauce!

      Reply
  8. Lazaro

    Lovely presentation. A real feast for the eyes. I find this type of cooking inspirational.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you! The little nests are the perfect vessels for sauce!

      Reply
  9. Divina

    Liren, this is very pretty and I could almost taste it. I think we are thinking the same thing. The other week, I wanted to make a pasta dish with the same ingredients: leeks and shrimps. Like attracts like. :) This could be another top 9 dish.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Divina! Great minds think alike! There’s something about shrimp and leeks that go together so well, isn’t there? Don’t know about Top 9, but I did find the little nests just so perfectly beautiful, it was almost a shame to cook them!

      Reply
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